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Instructions for authors

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Natural Language Engineering

Editorial statement

Natural Language Engineering encourages papers reporting research with a clear potential for practical application. Theoretical papers that consider techniques in sufficient detail to provide for practical implementation are also welcomed, as are shorter reports of on-going research, conference reports, comparative discussions of NLE products, and policy-oriented papers examining e.g. funding programmes or market opportunities. All contributions are peer reviewed and the review process is specifically designed to be fast, contributing to the rapid publication of accepted papers.


Submission of a paper to Natural Language Engineering is held to imply that it represents an original contribution not previously published and that it is not being considered elsewhere. Authors of articles published in the journal sign a license to publish with Cambridge University Press (with certain rights reserved) and you will receive a form for signature on acceptance of your paper.

Contributors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce any material in which they do not own copyright, to be used in both print and electronic media, and for ensuring that the appropriate acknowledgements are included in their manuscript.

All manuscripts must be submitted online via the website:

Papers should be preceded by an abstract of approximately 300 words.

Any queries not addressed in the Instructions for Contributors should be directed to the editorial team at

Manuscript requirements

Manuscripts should be single spaced throughout, with wide margins. Pages should be numbered consecutively.

The first page of the manuscript should give the title, the name(s) and full mailing address(es) of the author(s), together with e-mail addresses(es) when possible.

The preferred formatting system is LaTex, which can be used for direct typesetting, and a style file is available here.

In case of difficulty, please contact

Competing interests declaration: All authors must include a competing interests declaration in their manuscript above their references. This declaration will be subject to editorial review and may be published in the article. Competing interests are situations that could be perceived to exert an undue influence on the content or publication of an author’s work. They may include, but are not limited to, financial, professional, contractual or personal relationships or situations. If the manuscript has multiple authors, the author submitting must include competing interest declarations relevant to all contributing authors. Example wording for a declaration is as follows: “Competing interests: Author A is employed at company B. Author C owns shares in company D, is on the Board of company E and is a member of organisation F. Author G has received grants from company H.” If no competing interests exist, the declaration should state “Competing interests: The author(s) declare none”.


Spelling British or American English spelling may be used provided it is used consistently throughout the paper.

Footnotes should be kept to a minimum. Any acknowledgements, or explanation of the genesis of an article, should appear as the first note keyed to the article title by an asterisk (*). Note indicators in the text should follow punctuation.

Bibliographical references should be given in parentheses in standard author-date form in the body of the text: (Lee and Devore 1968: 236). When a second or subsequent work by a particular author in the same year is cited, references should be distinguished by letters (a, b, c, etc.) placed after the date. When a work is written by three or more authors, the first name only should be given with et al. added. A group of references within the text should be date ordered, the earliest first.

A complete list of references cited, arranged alphabetically by author's surname, should be typed single-spaced at the end of the article. The style adopted for particular types of publication should be as follows:

Akmajian, A. & Lehrer, A. 1976. NP-like quantifiers and the problem of determining the head of an NP. Linguistic Analysis 2: 295-313.

Huddleston, R. 1984. Introduction to the Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McCord, M. C. 1990. Slot grammar: a system for simpler construction of practical natural language grammars. In Studer, R. (ed.), Natural Language and Logic: International Scientific Symposium. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Berlin: Springer Verlag, pp. 118-45.

Salton, G., Zhao, Z. & Buckley, C. 1990. A simple syntactic approach for the generation of indexing phrases. Technical Report 90-1137. Department of Computer Science, Cornell University.


Subheadings should be typed with prefatory numbers indicating the level of importance, 1, 1.1, 1.1.1. No more than three levels of subheading should normally be used.

Quotations Single inverted commas should be used except for quotations within quotations, which should have double inverted commas. Longer quotations of more than 60 words, or quotations which are of particular importance or the focus of your discussion, should be set off from the text with an extra line of space above and below, and typed without inverted commas.

Hyphenation should be kept to a minimum: lifetime, cooperation, subheading.

Numbers should be written out up to 100, except where they refer to precise measurements. Above 100, use a comma rather than a space where four or more digits are involved (2,000 not 2 000). The words 'per cent' should be written out rather than abbreviated to %. Centuries too should be written out in full ('the nineteenth century' rather than 'the 19th century'). Make all journal numbers Arabic.

Abbreviations Do not use pp. before page numbers if the volume number is also given. Use Zip code form (MA, IL) for US state names. Elide page numbers to the shortest pronounceable form: 56-7, 281-3, but 215-16. Contractions and acronyms should have no full points (Dr, NATO), but abbreviations and their plurals should retain them (vol., vols., ed., eds.).

Note also:

  • Make the titles of published works italic (not bold) by underlining or using an appropriate word processor font.
  • Do not use inverted commas around chapter titles in edited books, journal articles, and the titles of unpublished dissertations.
  • Use minimum capitalisation, that is proper names and the first word of the title only capitalised (French, Spanish, Italian citations follow this rule, but German nouns retain capitals in the normal way)
  • Anglicise places of publication: Brunswick, The Hague, Florence, rather than Braunschweig, 's-Gravenhage, Firenze


Tables should be numbered consecutively and designed to fit a printed page of 247 x 174mm. Vertical lines should not be used and horizontal lines should be used only at the top and bottom of the table and below column headings. Totals and percentages should be labelled and units identified.

Illustrations should be provided on separate pages, numbered consecutively in a single sequence whether they are line figures or photographs. Captions should be typed on a separate sheet, single spaced. Indicate in the margin of the typescript approximately where in the text tables and figures should fall.

Figures On acceptance, authors will be asked to provide artwork of a professional standard suitable for direct reproduction. Line drawings, good photo prints and sharp copy are acceptable. If you request colour figures in the printed version, you will be contacted by CCC-Rightslink who are acting on our behalf to collect Author Charges. Please follow their instructions in order to avoid any delay in the publication of your article.

Photographs should be provided with a resolution of 300 dpi, numbered sequentially with any other illustrations (Fig. 4, Fig. 5, not Plate I, Plate II).

English Language Editing Services 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.


First proofs may be read and corrected by contributors provided that they can guarantee to return the corrected proofs within two working days. Contributors should correct printers' errors but not introduce new or different material at this stage. The publisher reserves the right to charge authors for correction of non-typographical errors.


Contributors will not be sent paper offprints but will instead receive a PDF version upon publication online.

Open Access Policies

Please visit for information on our open access policies, compliance with major funding bodies, and guidelines on depositing your manuscript in an institutional repository.

Last updated March 2022