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Instructions for authors

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Editorial policy

The International Review of Social History (IRSH) is one of the leading journals in its field. While covering all areas of social history, it has a particular focus on Global Labour History. This includes the history of work and labour relations, defined in the broadest possible sense, the history of workers, as well as the history of their struggles, organizations, and associated social, cultural, and political movements, both in the modern and all pre-modern periods and across periods. IRSH aims to be truly global in scope and emphasizes the need for a comparative perspective that acknowledges the interrelationship of historical change and the phenomena and factors underlying that change, both comparisons and the analysis of circulations and connections. We welcome submissions from all over the world that deal with the social history of work, workers, and labour relations, explored on a local, regional, national, or transnational level, but always with an eye to how they contribute to a better understanding of what constitutes global labour history.

The journal is issued by the International Institute of Social History (IISH), and published by Cambridge University Press. Per year, three regular issues appear, in April, August, and December, while an additional Special Issue of commissioned essays on a current topic is also published annually, in April. IRSH aims to publish some twenty-five articles each year in its four issues and to cover a major part of the books published in the field of social and labour history in its book reviews and annotated bibliography sections.

Approximately one submitted article in three or four is accepted for publication. The editorial committee endeavours to reach a decision on submitted articles within six months, and to publish accepted contributions within a year. All articles are refereed before acceptance. The EC retains the rights to accept or reject an article; the decision is not only the outcome of the external reviewing process. See Cambridge University Press's publishing ethics guidelines and the IRSH's Editorial Statute for more information. On acceptance, the executive editor gives an approximate date of publication but reserves the right to change that date at short notice, owing to space constraints and the need to achieve an appropriate balance of content in each issue. The online version of IRSH now has the FirstView feature, which means articles are published online - and are available to all readers - until they are allotted to an issue. For authors, this has the advantage that their articles remain available for a longer period of time. IRSH also has the option to publish your article in open access, to meet funders' mandates. Click here for more information on open access in IRSH.

Editorial Committee and editorial staff

The current members of the editorial committee are:

− Rossana Barragán, International Institute of Social History, the Netherlands

− Pepijn Brandon, International Institute of Social History, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands

− Leyla Dakhli, Centre Marc Bloch, Germany

− Leo Lucassen (chair), International Institute of Social History, the Netherlands

− Christine Moll-Murata, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

− Filipa Ribeiro da Silva, International Institute of Social History, the Netherlands

− Aditya Sarkar, Warwick University, United Kingdom

– Eric Vanhaute, Ghent University, Belgium

– Pim de Zwart, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

The current executive editor is Aad Blok. The editorial assistant is Marie-José Spreeuwenberg. Astrid Verburg is responsible for the book reviews and annotated bibliography. All three are based at IISH.

Data Availability Policy

1. Data are important products of the scientific enterprise, and they should be preserved and be usable for decades in the future. Therefore, the International Review of Social History promotes, as an integral part of its publication policy, that data supporting the results in published papers are archived in an appropriate data archive, preferably with a Data Seal of Approval. Recommended data repositories are, for example, those listed by the International Federation of Data Organizations (IFDO) for Social Science (

2. Data to be archived can be quantitative and/or qualitative. Included can be data created in all current database, spreadsheet, word processing and statistical formats (a list of preferred file formats is available on the website of the Dutch data archive DANS.

3. When archiving in an appropriate data archive, data together with programs and scripts for computation are to be documented clearly and precisely to allow replication. We encourage authors to submit data prior to publication of the article, to enable inclusion of a reference to the data archiving in the published article.

4. By default, archiving in an appropriate data archive will imply open access and availability. Exceptions may be granted, especially for proprietary data. Authors will have to supply written information on the conditions and procedures by which these data may be obtained.


IRSH only accepts submissions through our ScholarOne Manuscripts portal. This secure online peer-review system facilitates real-time communication and access to manuscripts for editors, reviewers, and other editorial team members.

Go to, and log in. If you have submitted to or reviewed a manuscript for IRSH in the past, you may already have an account. If you need assistance submitting your manuscript or review report through the portal, contact the editorial office at

The International Review of Social History now requires all corresponding authors to identify themselves using their ORCID iD when submitting a manuscript to the journal. ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript submission and grant applications, provides the following benefits:
1. Discoverability: ORCID increases the discoverability of your publications, by enabling smarter publisher systems and by helping readers to reliably find work that you’ve authored.
2. Convenience: As more organisations use ORCID, providing your iD or using it to register for services will automatically link activities to your ORCID record, and will enable you to share this information with other systems and platforms you use, saving you re-keying information multiple times.
3. Keeping track: Your ORCID record is an efficient place to store and (if you choose) share validated information about your research activities and affiliations.

If you don’t already have an iD, you’ll need to create one if you decide to submit a manuscript to IRSH. You can register for one directly from your user account on ScholarOne or Editorial Manager or via If you already have an iD, please use this when submitting by linking it to your ScholarOne user account. Simply log in to your account using your normal username and password. Edit your account by clicking on your name at the top right of the screen and from the dropdown menu, select 'E-Mail / Name'. Follow the instructions at the top of the screen to update your account.

Create an Account. First-time users need to create an account. Click the Create an Account button and fill in the information requested. By default, your e-mail address is your username. Please keep your account up to date when your contact information changes. Do not create duplicate accounts. If you have more than one account or need assistance editing your account, contact the editorial office at

Manuscript Submission. Once logged in, click on "Author," then on "Start a New Submission," and follow the prompts and instructions on each of the 7 steps of the submission form. Please note that you will be asked to submit two versions of your article, one anonymised version and one non-anonymised version.

Once you finish, double-check for accuracy, and then click on the "Submit" button. You will then receive a manuscript number and an e-mail verifying that your manuscript has been received. Keep track of the status of your manuscript by logging on to ScholarOne Manuscripts, where the status will be displayed in the Author Center.

Submission of an article is taken to imply that it has not been published previously and is not being considered for publication elsewhere. Authors are also asked to provide brief details of any book they are in the process of publishing which includes all or part of a submitted article.  

When submitting an article through ScholarOne, contributors will be asked to complete a form licensing copyright (on certain conditions) to Cambridge University Press. This helps to ensure maximum protection against unauthorized use, and also assists in the effective handling of requests to reproduce contributions. As contributors you retain the right to reproduce the paper or an adapted version of it in any volume of which you are editor or author. Permission will automatically be given to the publisher of such a volume, subject to normal acknowledgements. For further information see the instructions on the copyright form.

Contributors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce any material for which they do not hold the copyright (including illustrations) and for ensuring that the appropriate acknowledgements are included in the typescript. In quoting from copyrighted material, contributors should keep in mind that the rule of thumb for “fair use” limits direct quotation to a maximum of 200 words.

Digital files: The files uploaded in ScholarOne should be saved either in a recent version of MSWord for Windows, or in an MSWord compatible format, or as a PDF file. In case of doubt, please contact the editorial staff at:

Length of contributions: Articles should preferably not exceed 10,000 words, including notes.

Manuscript preparation

Manuscripts should be in British English (or American English for American authors). If no English text can be provided, authors should always contact the executive editor before submitting an article.

The article title should be kept short and plainly descriptive.

Pagination is essential.

Footnote commands should be used to create footnotes. Footnotes should be limited to necessary references as much as possible: an excessive number of notes distracts the reader and may raise suspicions that the aim is to display erudition, not impart information.

Automatic hyphenation should not be used.

Major articles should be divided into sections; sections should emphasize the structure of the argument. They should be marked by short titles of no more than fifty key strokes. Sub-sections should likewise be marked by short titles. Avoid numbering and avoid further levels of division.

Paragraph breaks should be indicated by indents and not line breaks. The first paragraph of an article, and of each section, should not be indented.

Figures and tables

If you are including figures and/or tables please note the following:

Figures (i.e. graphs and illustrations) must be provided as separate documents. Illustrations should preferably be a substantial addition to points made in the text.

For detailed technical instructions on file format, quality, resolution, etc., please consult the general guidelines of Cambridge University Press at:

Graphs may be sent as EPS files, preferably together with the Excel files containing the graphs and figures from which they were drawn.

All figures should be numbered in sequence throughout the article; for each figure a descriptive caption and reference to the source must be listed at the end of the article. Please also indicate clearly where the material is to appear by placing a reference to each figure in a relevant place in the text (see Figure 1), and adding <FIG.1> directly below the paragraph in which the reference is made.

Tables must be placed at the end of the article, together with a descriptive caption and, if applicable, source information. Tables must be numbered in sequence throughout the article, again indicating clearly where the material is to appear by placing a reference in a relevant place in the text (see Table 1), and adding <TABLE 1> directly below the paragraph in which the reference is made.

Text conventions

The following paragraphs describe the text and typographical conventions of the International Review of Social History. It is essential that contributors observe the journal’s stylistic conventions closely. If they fail to do so, their articles may be returned for amendment. All corrections and modifications introduced during the proofing stage (apart from the correction of typesetting errors) are extremely expensive and may be charged to authors.

Effective prose: Authors should write as clearly as possible. The following problems often appear: mixed metaphors; wandering tenses; excessive use of jargon or neologisms unfamiliar to the average reader; unnecessary use of “it is”, “there is”, and “the fact that”; excessive use of nouns as adjectives; use of empty words such as “factor”, “aspect”, “element”, and “manifestation”, instead of exact words required by the context.

Quotations: In quotations, the punctuation, capitalization and spelling of the original must be followed. For short quotations use double quotation marks (except that quotations within quotations take single quotation marks). Long quotations of fifty words or more should be typed as a displayed extract, i.e. a separate block with a space above and below and without quotation marks. Punctuation follows closing quotation marks except where whole sentences are quoted. Note that superscript numbers follow punctuation.

Quote: When using a quote at the beginning of the article, place it below the abstract, between quotation marks and outlined to the right.

Ellipsis in quotations: Use three full points in square brackets. For instance: “Abbreviations should be [...] consistent throughout.” Note that there are no spaces between the full points or between the points and the brackets.

Spelling should be consistent throughout. British English and American English are both allowed but should not be mixed within an article. When using British English, please note the following preferences:

elite (no accent)
Global South/Global North
New Left
per cent
practice (noun)
practise (verb)
role (no accent)
World War I, World War II

Note especially the use of -ize and -iza rather than -ise and -isa.

Masculine form: Turns of phrase using masculine forms as universals are not acceptable
(e.g., “The historian and his problems”).

Abbreviations and acronyms should be easily identifiable and consistent throughout. The following standard abbreviations are used:
f. ff. (= the following page(s)), fo. (= folio), ed., vol.
But: 2nd edn, eds, fos (= folios), Dr, Mr, St, vols (i.e. without points – these are contractions where the abbreviation ends with the last letter of the word).
For any acronym or unusual abbreviation an explanation should be provided at the first mention, e.g., Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), Sozialistische Partei Deutschlands (SPD).
Initials in personal names retain points, e.g., G.A. Smith. Note that in IRSH style there is no space between initials in personal names.

Dates should be typed without commas as follows: 5 July 1985. In referring to a century use the form: twentieth century. Note that when used as an adjective a hyphen appears between the ordinal and the word “century”, e.g., nineteenth-century labour.

Figures and numerals: Units of measurement and all numbers over 100 should be given in figures; others should be in words (e.g. ten schools, twenty-five countries) – except in passages where many statistics are discussed and it is obviously desirable to use figures. En-dashes are used to separate page numbers (p. 15–21) and dates (1920–1930), not hyphens.

Titles cited in the text: Titles of books and journals should be italicized; quotation marks should not be used. Double quotation marks should be used if naming a part of a book, an individual contribution to a volume, or an article in a journal. Song and movie titles and ship names should be italicized, quotation marks should be used for the titles of reports, and laws should be without quotation marks but in capitals, i.e. The Human Rights Act 1998.

Foreign words and phrases: These should be italicized, except when they are naturalized, e.g., fabricant, Festschrift, but: bona fide, status quo, vis-à-vis. Note especially the naturalized forms for emigré, and ancien régime. Exceptions to this rule are foreign addresses and institutions, which are not italicized. When using foreign words and phrases, please check and double check the spelling, especially when the language used is not your first.

Punctuation: The serial "Oxford" comma is preferred (Marx, Engels, and Kautsky rather than Marx, Engels and Kautsky). The possessive “s” following an “s” is preferred (Phillips’s rather than Phillips’). Round brackets are used for brackets within brackets; square brackets are used for interpolation within quoted matter.

Emphasizing words using italicization should be used sparingly. Bold type should be avoided altogether and underlining is never used.


Use footnote commands to create copy for notes.

Note that the Harvard system of citing author and year in the text amplified by a list of references is never used in the IRSH.

Unnumbered initial note: A note containing acknowledgements should be an unnumbered initial note. A superscript asterisk should be placed at the end of the title accordingly. The unnumbered note should contain any reference to previous forms of the article (an address delivered, for example) and any acknowledgements (of the assistance of colleagues and of grants from foundations).

Explanatory notes: Notes are primarily for the citation of sources. Use explanatory notes only for those items of detail that would otherwise interrupt the flow of your argument or for those highly technical qualifications that would be of interest or use only to a very few scholars.

First references: First references to books and articles are to be punctuated and capitalized as follows.

Articles: Neville Kirk, “In Defence of Class: A Critique of Recent Revisionist Writing upon the Nineteenth-Century English Working Class”, International Review of Social History, 32 (1987), pp. 2–47, 15.

Special Issues: Clare Anderson, Niklas Frykman, Lex Heerma van Voss, and Marcus Rediker(eds), "Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism in the Age of Revolution: A Global Survey", International Review of Social History, 58:SI21 (2013).

Please note that inclusive page extents must always be included in references to articles and collected essays, even when only one page is referenced. This page number should follow directly after the page extent, separated by a comma, as above.

Books: Michael Poole, Theories of Trade Unionism: A Sociology of Industrial Relations (London [etc.], 1981), pp. 18–30.

Multi-volume works: Franco Venturi, Settecento riformatore: La caduta dell’ Antico Regime (1776–1789), 2 vols (Turin, 1984), I, p. 203.

Essays in collections: Yves Lequin, “Apprenticeship in Nineteenth-Century France. A Continuing Tradition or a Break with the Past?”, in Steven Laurence Kaplan and Cynthia J. Koepp (eds), Work in France: Representations, Meaning, Organization, and Practice (Ithaca, NY [etc.], 1986), pp. 457–474, 459.

Multi-authored or edited works: Peter Armstrong et al., White Collar Workers, Trade Unions and Class (London [etc.], 1986), pp. 87–93.

Theses or dissertations: H.F. Gospel, “Employers’ Organisations: Their Growth and Function in the British System of Industrial Relations in the Period 1918-39” (Ph.D., London School of Economics, 1974), pp. 15–20 [hereafter, “Employers’ Organisations 1918–39”].

Papers presented at workshops/conferences: E. Mantzaris, “Jewish Trade Unions, 1903–1907”, paper presented to the workshop on the History of Cape Town, University of Cape Town, 1983.

Websites: Mention the URL and the date of last access, e.g., available at:; last accessed 3 September 2018.

Also note the following:

  • Authors’ names should be as they appear in the original (in full or initials only);
  • If using authors’ initials, there is no space between the initials, e.g., E.P. Thompson;
  • Subtitles are separated by colons;
  • (ed.) and (eds) are used not ed. and eds;
  • In English references, capitalize the first word of the title and the subtitle, and all significant words;
  • In German references, the first word of the title and the subtitle, and all nouns should be capitalized;
  • In references in any other language, only the first word of the title and the subtitle, and any proper nouns are capitalized;
  • Lower case is used for “bk.” and “bks” for book(s); “ch.” and “chs” for chapter(s);
  • Place and date of publication of books and collections are always given, or if not available, “n.p., n.d.”;
  • When referencing a new edition of an older work, the original date should be included, as well as the date of the new edition, to which the reference refers, in the following format: (Amsterdam, [1949] 1977);
  • For US publications it is helpful to indicate the state postal code as well as the town, e.g., (Cambridge, MA, 1990);
  • If more than one place of publication is given for a book, only the first should be mentioned, followed by “[etc.]”;
  • Use p. or pp. before page extents and references;
  • Other abbreviations to use are “app.” and “apps” for appendix and appendices; “l.” and “ll.” for line(s); “n.” and “nn.” for note(s); “no.” and “nos” for number(s); “pt.” and “pts” for part(s); and “vol.” and “vols” for volume(s).
  • In general, volume but not issue number of journals are given, except in cases where every issue of a journal starts with new pagination;
  • Volume numbers are given in arabic numerals for journals, even when the original gives roman numerals;
  • Volume numbers are given in roman capitals for multi-volume books.

First citations of manuscripts: The footnote should include: full name of the author, if any, or for a letter the author, addressee, and date (and the place of origin within parentheses, if important); the title of the document, if any, and date within parentheses, when appropriate; the repository of the collection, if any; the designation of the series; and the folio number(s) (or box number[s] or other identifying specific location, where appropriate), as in the following examples:

Archives Nationales, Paris [hereafter, AN], Register E, MS JJ26, fo. 302v.

Gneist to Müller, 26 July 1848, Deutsches Zentralarchiv, Abteilung II Merseburg [hereafter, DZAM], Rep. 92 v. Gneist, No 22, fos 66r–70v.

Second and subsequent references: The last name(s) of the author(s) or editor(s) (without “ed.”) and a short title should be used in subsequent references to the same work. The short title should contain key words from the main title of the book or article. Do not use words from the subtitle (without including the main title), abbreviations, or words out of sequence unless you signal such an alteration in the first citation, using [hereafter]. In shortening foreign language titles, be careful not to omit a word that changes the capitalization or that governs the case ending of a word retained in the shortened title. In other words, please keep the shortened title grammatically and stylistically correct. Titles of six words or less need not be shortened; and titles should not be so shortened that the sense of the reference is lost (e.g., History of the British Empire should not be shortened merely to History). For a second essay from a collection previously cited, the shortened form for the volume should be used even though it is the first citation to the article in question. See the following examples:

Kirk, “In Defence of Class”, pp. 6–8.

Poole, Theories of Trade Unionism, pp. 18–30.

Michael Sonenscher, “Journeymen’s Migrations and Workshop Organization in Eighteenth-Century France”, in Kaplan and Koepp, Work in France, pp. 74–96, 88.

AN, Register E, MS JJ26, fo. 306r.

Gneist to Müller, 26 July 1848,

But, Gneist to Müller, 28 July 1848, DZAM, Rep. 92 v. Gneist, no. 22, fos 83r–84r, 87.

N.B. Authors should, of course, follow the citation instructions given by institutions.

Additional or subordinate citations: When a footnote contains both the source of the quotation in the text and other related references, the citation for the quotation comes first and the related references follow, separated from one another by semicolons. Beware of the distinction between “see also” and “cf.” (from confero, “to compare”), which is italicized only in legal style. Use “cf.” sparingly, and only to mean “compare”. Generally, clarity takes precedence over brevity.

Latinisms and other abbreviations: IRSH, along with most scholarly journals and university presses, does not use op. cit. and loc. cit. Authors or editors and short-title forms are always used instead. Ibid. (ibidem, “in the same place”), which is always italicized, refers to a single work cited in the immediately preceding note or within a single note. Thus, the citation of more than one work in the previous note, the intervention of explanatory material that does not include a citation, or the intervention of another book or journal within a note precludes the use of ibid. Idem should be used when listing more than one book or article by the same author consecutively. Passim (“here and there”) should be used very sparingly and only after inclusive page numbers, chapter numbers, or section number indicating a fairly sizeable, but not impossible, amount of text cited.


Proofs may be expected at any time after acceptance of your article. Only essential factual or typographical errors may be changed at proof stage. Do resist the temptation to revise or add to the text. The publisher reserves the right to charge authors for correction of non-typographical errors.

[October 2020]