Editorial Policy

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American Archivist Editorial Mission and Guidelines
American Archivist is the semi-annual journal of the Society of American Archivists. It seeks to reflect thinking about theoretical and practical developments in the archival profession; about the relationships between archivists and the creators and users of archives; and about cultural, social, legal, and technological developments that affect the nature of recorded information and the need to create and maintain it. The journal also provides a forum for the evaluation of the literature that affects, and is affected by, emerging archival theory and practice. We strive to publish contributions that advance the core organizational values and strategic goals of SAA.

American Archivist is a refereed journal. Each submission will be reviewed by experts in the subject matter of the submission and a final decision for publication will be based on this review. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.

American Archivist features a variety of types and lengths of articles (length requirements can be waived for certain articles in consultation with the editor):

  • Research Articles are analytical and critical expositions based on original investigation or on systematic review of literature. A wide variety of subjects is encouraged. (Suggested length: 8,000 words)
  • Case Studies are analytical reports of projects or activities that take place in a specific setting and offer the basis for emulation or comparison in other settings. (Suggested length: 3,000 words)
  • Perspectives are commentaries, reflective or opinion pieces, addressing issues or practices that concern archivists and their constituents. (Suggested length: 3,000 words)
  • International Scene pieces may include elements of any of the above formats in covering archival developments outside the United States. (Suggested length: 5,000 words)
  • Professional Resources can be annotated bibliographies, other items designed for practical use within the profession, or essays that review the developments (as opposed to the literature) in specified areas in a way that describes particular initiatives and places them in the context of broader trends. (Length varies)

In addition, the Forum contains letters to the editor commenting on recently published articles or other topics of interest to the profession. (Nota Bene: Letters to the editor are published to allow readers’ viewpoints to be shared. The responsibility for accuracy remains with the letters' authors. The opinions and information are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the Society of American Archivists.)

We welcome constructive critiques of ideas and perspectives expressed in the published literature, but ad hominem attacks are not constructive and do not belong in the journal.

Questions about the above types of articles, or to discuss an article idea, contact:

Head, Special Collections and University Archives
Raynor Memorial Libraries
Marquette University
(414) 288-5901

To submit an article, create an account. It's an easy process!

The Reviews section in American Archivist provides a forum for the evaluation of the literature that affects, and is affected by, emerging archival theory and practice. In addition to reviews of monographs and reports and comparative analyses of publications in the journal, the Reviews Portal creates space for the evaluation of emerging technologies and resources that archivists use and create, facilitating the preservation and stewardship of archival material and greater engagement with users. Reviewers are selected by the Reviews Editors.

Inquiries about material to be reviewed or to become a reviewer should be directed to:

Reviews Editors 
Archivist, Archives 1 Reference Branch
National Archives and Records Administration

Metadata Librarian and Assistant Professor
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
(817) 272-7047 

Manuscripts should be submitted in Microsoft Word through the Submissions Manager. Text (including lengthy block quotations) should be 12 pt Times Roman, double-spaced. Please format citations as endnotes and insert them via Word's endnotes tool. All pages should be numbered. Submissions must include a title page; the submissions manager is able to extract several elements from the front matter of your submission automatically if you follow specific formatting conventions. If you would like to take advantage of this feature, see Best Practices for Preparing Submission Files for LiXuid Manuscript Extraction

NOTE: The author's name and contact information should appear only in relevant text boxes in Submissions Manager, not on any submitted documents. To ensure that the peer review process is completely blind, it's essential that author names do not appear anywhere in the content or metadata of submitted files. Please do a (Control+F) search within the document and check the file name to ensure that author names do not appear. In addition, Microsoft provides instructions for stripping any author information from the document's metadata. Selecting File > Info > Related People within the document should reveal whether any document authors are still listed. 

All articles must be accompanied by a 250-word abstract.

Figures and tables are welcome for all types of articles. Please embed figures and tables in the text and include captions for each. Captions should be short descriptors of the content rather than full sentences. Also be sure to reference each figure or table from somewhere in the body of your text. Digital images (300 dpi; .tif or .jpg) will be required if the article is accepted for publication.

Editors of American Archivist use the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style as the standard of style and endnote format. Terms having special meanings for members of the profession should conform to the definitions in the Dictionary of Archives Terminology. Authors' variations from these standards should be minimal and purposeful.

The author is responsible for understanding and following the principles that govern the "fair use" of quotations and illustrations and for obtaining written permission to publish, where necessary. Accuracy in endnote citations is also the author's responsibility, although the editors may occasionally confirm the accuracy of selected citations. 

American Archivist will not consider a manuscript that is being reviewed by another journal at the same time, nor will it normally consider an article that has been published previously in a similar form. 

To submit an article, click here and create an account. It's an easy process!

Manuscripts are sent out (without the author's name) by the Editor for peer review by three readers (including one member of the Editorial Board) who evaluate them and recommend acceptance, rejection, or revision. Author notification of a decision normally takes about one to two months. Acceptance for publication is usually on the condition that specified revisions be made. If an article is accepted, the author will also send a biographical statement (no more than 100 words in length) and photo (300 dpi jpg). Authors are given the opportunity to approve all editorial changes and to review page proofs for corrections. The minimum editorial and production cycle—which includes receipt of a manuscript, review, acceptance, revision, page makeup, publication online—is approximately twelve months; various factors can affect that time period.

Each author retains copyright of their work but licenses its publication to American Archivist. This means that an author can freely share their own article upon publication and may post that article in their institutional repository or on a personal website. Click here to download License to Publish form.

In addition, except where otherwise noted, article content in American Archivist is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 United States License. This means that others may share and adapt the content so long as appropriate attribution is given, a link to the CC license is provided, and any changes indicated.

Creative Commons License

All linked information (websites, reports, email addresses, etc.) has been verified as accurate and current at the time of publication. Neither the Society of American Archivists (SAA) nor the American Archivist Editorial Board maintains or updates links that are published in American Archivist or on the American Archivist Reviews Portal. SAA and the Editorial Board are not responsible for dead links or links that lead to unanticipated sites.

American Archivist is indexed in Historical Abstracts (ABC-CLIO), Library Literature and Information Science (H. W. Wilson), Scopus (Elsevier), and Book Reviews Index Online (Gale/Cengage Learning).


With the exception of select articles in the three most recent volumes, content in American Archivist is open access. 


Address additional inquiries about American Archivist to Hannah Stryker, SAA Editorial and Program Specialist, hstryker@archivists.org.


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