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Instructions for contributors

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Business History Review

Instructions for Contributors

Business History Review seeks articles drawn from rigorous primary research that address major debates and offer comparative perspectives. We consider the history of entrepreneurs, firms, and business systems, and the subjects of innovation, globalization, and regulation. We are also interested in the relation of businesses to political regimes and the environment.

Manuscripts are considered for publication on the understanding that they are not currently under consideration elsewhere and that the material—in substance as well as form—has not been previously published.

Manuscripts should be submitted via the journal’s online peer review system:

Authors must remember not to identify themselves in the body of the manuscript; specifically, references to their own work in the text should be in the third person, and citations should be written without possessive pronouns—not "See my …."

We use the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (2017) and spell and hyphenate words according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Send a bio of three to four sentences, stating affiliation and recent publications.

Be sure to include an abstract of no more than 100 words outlining the main point(s) of the paper and placing the article in context. Subheads should be used to divide the manuscript into three or four sections (or more, depending on length).

Articles should not be more than 10,000 words in length, including footnotes.

Each table and figure must be accompanied by a complete source.

When submitting figures, please include the data files. Any figures submitted using colour will publish using colour online but will be black and white in print.

Tables should be prepared in a Word format to facilitate in-house editing.

Authors are responsible for obtaining all illustrative materials and permissions for reproduction, and for writing captions.

The journal encourages authors to use gender-neutral prose in all cases where it is not anachronistic to do so; male nouns and pronouns should not be used to refer to people of both sexes.

We use the day-month-year form for dates in citations, as 11 February 2007.

Double quotation marks should be used for journal article titles and direct quotation; single quotation marks are used for quoted material inside quotations.

Authors, particularly those whose first language is not English, may wish to have their English-language manuscripts checked by a native speaker before submission. This is optional, but may help to ensure that the academic content of the paper is fully understood by the editor and any reviewers. We list a number of third-party services specialising in language editing and/or translation, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate:

Please note that the use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge published journal.

Authors of accepted manuscripts will receive a copy of the issue in which their article appears and a pdf file.

We encourage BHR authors to make their abstracts available on SSRN after the publication of their articles. Please visit for more information on our open access policies, compliance with major funding bodies, and guidelines on depositing your manuscript in an institutional repository.

Last updated 22 March 2019

Sample Citations

Book: Thomas K. McCraw, Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction (Cambridge, Mass., 2007), 205-21.

Journal: Naomi R. Lamoreaux, "Scylla or Charybdis? Historical Reflections on Two Basic Problems of Corporate Governance," Business History Review 83 (Spring 2009): 9-34.

Note that we do not include the publisher in book citations. We do not use loc. cit., op. cit., idem., or ibid. Where you would use “Ibid.” previously, now use the shortened citation format. For example:
1. McCraw, Prophet of Innovation, 205-21.
2. McCraw, 205-210.

Editorial office:

Business History Review
Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
tel.: (617) 495-1003
fax: (617) 495-2705

Business office:

Cambridge University Press
University Printing House
Shaftesbury Road
Cambridge CB2 8RU UK
Tel.: +44 (0)1223 32 6498
Fax:: +44 (0)1223 32 5801

Guidelines for Book Reviewers

Please submit your review via e-mail to, either as an attachment or within the body of the message.

Book reviews should be 800 to no more than 1,000 words. Review essays should be approximately 1,500 to 2,000 words. The length of the review should be indicative of the book’s importance. Please do not undertake a longer review without checking with the editors. If you submit a review that exceeds the word limit you will be asked to cut and resubmit it. Please let us know if, after reading a book, you believe that it does not merit a review.

Reviews originally undertaken for the Business History Review must not be pre-published in another venue, whether print or on line. The Business History Review reserves the right not to publish a review.

Describe clearly and concisely the nature, scope, and thesis of the book, locate it in the relevant literature, and indicate its contribution to scholarship. Your review should not consist entirely of a summary of the book’s contents.

Discuss the extent to which the book achieves its stated objectives, draws on relevant source material, and is well organized and well written.

We are interested in the value of the book to business historians, but please bear in mind that the authors of many of the books we review are not themselves business historians and may have intended a wider, or simply a different, audience. It is appropriate to indicate the extent to which a book may be of interest to the readers of this journal, but it is less appropriate to condemn or praise a book primarily for the extent to which it suits a business historian’s needs.

Attach to your review a brief biographical statement, including your title and affiliation. Use the following format:

Henrietta Larson is professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. She is the author or co-author of several works, including History of Humble Oil & Refining Company (1959).

You need not list more of the title and bibliographic information than are required to identify the book. We will provide the correct heading here.

When quoting from the book under review, please cite the page number. It should appear in parentheses at the end of the sentence. "Cite quotes like this" (p. 95).

If you quote from or refer specifically to another book in your review, please provide the author’s name (first name as well as last), the full title of the book, and the book’s date of publication. If you cite a journal article, include the author’s name, journal title, and the month and year of publication. You may include the article title or not, as you wish: "In a recent study on slave mortality, Robert Brown concluded that… (Journal of American History [June 1984])." Do not use footnotes.

Include the first name (or initials, for those authors, like D. C. M. Platt, who are known that way) in the first reference to any person you mention. This does include any person you feel sure everyone will recognize.

Similarly, use the full name in the first use of any item that you wish subsequently to identify by an acronym.

We generally follow the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (2017).

Last updated 26 July 2019