Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Word count

Suppose I'm submitting an article to a journal, and the journal has a word-count requirement. Suppose they want a word count on the title page, so I know they're serious. Does the word count include footnotes? Does it include the bibliography? I mean, it doesn't include the bibliography, right?

--Mr. Zero

6 comments:

m.a. program faculty member said...

The word is relevant to the editors because they have a limited amount of space per issue, so footnotes and bibliography should be counted, I'd presume, as those words take up space too. But if you're unsure, why not e-mail the editor?

Anonymous said...

The guidelines should state whether the word count includes bibliography or notes. For instance, Philosophy and Public Affairs specifies that their 12,000 word limit does include notes. I'd say if they don't specify, you should assume the notes do count (for the reason given by m.a. program faculty member.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that if it doesn't say to include the notes, don't include the notes and bibliography in the word count.

chrono said...

When submitting to conferences, they want to know how many words will be spoken. So don't include the notes and bibliography.

When submitting to journals, they want to know how many words will be published. So include the notes and bibliography.

Ben said...

I think that the intention is probably that you should include notes and bibliography but, given that most journals specify this, if they don't tell you to it's probably acceptable to exclude them - and see whether they ask you to shorten the paper.

Of course, if in doubt you could include both word counts, making it clear that you count the 'main text only' as the significant one (and that that's under their limit).

John Alexander said...

Give them both counts and let them decide.