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Guide for authors

Aims and Scope

Quaternary Research is an international journal devoted to the advancement of the interdisciplinary understanding of the Quaternary Period. We aim to publish articles of broad interest with relevance to more than one discipline, and that constitute a significant new contribution to Quaternary science. The journal’s scope is global, building on its nearly 50-year history in advancing the understanding of earth and human history through interdisciplinary study of the last 2.6 million years.

Preconditions for peer review

Manuscripts that satisfy the aims and scope of Quaternary Research will be considered for peer review with the understanding that the same or closely similar work has not been published and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Submission for publication must be approved by all of the authors and, if required, by the institution where the work was carried out; and that any person cited as a source of a personal communication has approved such citation. Written authorization may be required at the editor's discretion.

All authors are requested to disclose in their manuscript any actual or potential conflict of interest including any financial, personal or other relationships with other people or organizations within three years of beginning the submitted work that could inappropriately influence, or be perceived to influence, their work. Please see Cambridge’s listing of ethical standards here:

If material from other copyrighted works is included, the authors must have obtained written permission from the copyright owners and credited the sources in the article. The publisher has preprinted forms for use by authors in these cases: contact Cambridge University Press Rights Department at

Writing in English

Manuscripts must be written in clear and concise English and should conform to the general style of the journal. Manuscripts that are not so prepared will be returned to the authors, since it is not feasible for the editors to revise or rewrite manuscripts (and poorly written submissions reviews are generally reviewed much more negatively). Contributors who are unfamiliar with technical English usage should seek the help of colleagues in the preparation and review of manuscripts prior to submission, or seek help from a commercial editing service.

Article types

Quaternary Research publishes Research Articles, Reviews, Forum contributions, and Comments and Replies.

Research articles

Quaternary Research primarily publishes articles that present the findings of original research, and which explore their implications for the Quaternary sciences. Articles with strong interdisciplinary elements are particularly welcomed. Articles concerning technique development are also encouraged if they clearly align with the journal's aims and scope.

Review articles

Review articles provide a broad, comprehensive overview or synthesis of rapidly evolving fields that are of interest or utility in research across disciplines. Authors interested in writing an unsolicited review article are encouraged to consult with an editor prior to submission.

Contributions to the QR Forum

Forum articles are intended to cast light on important new research directions or significant but under-emphasized aspects of a field that have broad implications. They differ from research or review articles in that they are intended to provoke discussion about a controversial topic. Authors interested in writing a Forum article are encouraged to consult with an editor prior to submission.

Comments and Replies

These are restricted to comments on a paper previously published in Quaternary Research; the author(s) of the original paper will be given the opportunity to prepare a Reply. Length should not exceed 1000 words and a figure or table. Normally, both the Comment and the Reply will be published in the same issue.

Manuscript organization

Research articles in Quaternary Research are generally organized into seven sections. Authors should be especially careful not to mix methods or approach with results.

Title Page (p.1)

The title page contains the article title, authors' names and complete affiliations. The title should be concise, informative, and suitable for indexing. Compound titles containing phrases set off by colons, semicolons, or dashes must be avoided. Only the first letter and proper nouns should be capitalized. If appropriate, the geographic area of the research should appear as part of the title.

Author names should be in Western format, with family names (surnames) last. Given first names, rather than initials, are required. The correspondence author and address, including e-mail address and telephone, should be identified.

Abstract (p.2)

The abstract must not be longer than 200 words in a single paragraph that summarizes the main findings of the paper. Descriptions of the paper, with phrases such as "are described" or "are discussed," should be avoided; instead, present the key findings themselves. After the abstract a list of up to ten keywords that will be useful for indexing or searching should be included.


The main body of the article is generally organized into an introduction, a section on methods, the results, discussion, and conclusions. Alternative organizational structures can be used but must achieve equivalent clarity for the reader. Each section is demarcated by an informative heading. Do not include figures or tables within the text, nor placement information (such as “Place Figure 1 here”). The entire text should have continuous line numbering.


Acknowledgments should be brief and precede the references. They should identify who provided financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article, including grant number if applicable.

References cited

All references cited in the text, figures, or tables must be included in a list of references. All articles used as reference material must be at least in press and accessible by readers via a DOI number. If such articles are accepted for publication but not yet available, this should be mentioned in the cover letter to the editors and a pdf should be available for use by the reviewers.

List of tables

Include table numbers and captions. Note that the tables themselves must be submitted as separate, individual files (see below).

List of figures

Include figure numbers and captions at the end of the text document (i.e., separate from the figure files themselves). All figures are submitted as separate files (see below).

Style Guide

Manuscripts should be double-spaced and left-justified throughout; text lines should be numbered consecutively. Submit the file in its native word-processing format (.doc or docx is best).


Headings should be unnumbered, and no more than three orders of headings should be used. First level headings should be in all caps and bold font. Only the first letter and proper nouns should be capitalized in second and third level headings. Second level headings should be in bold font and third level headings should be in regular font, but italicized. Set off all headings by blank lines.


Measured ages (except radiocarbon ages) should be expressed using the abbreviation "ka" and "Ma" for thousands or millions of years before present. Ages <1000 yr should be given in full. If preferred, yr may also be used for ages younger than 1 Ma (e.g., 150,000 yr). Historical ages or dates should be expressed as years BC or AD (e.g., AD 1850; 2030 BC). Periods are not used in any of these abbreviations.

Intervals of time should also be expressed with the abbreviations "yr," "ka," or "Ma". In accordance with the recommendation of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), other abbreviations (e.g., a, kyr, ky, Myr, etc.) should not be used.

Calibrated ('calendar') radiocarbon ages are preferred to uncalibrated ('raw') ages. Raw 14C ages should be expressed as 14C yr BP (or 14C ka BP). "BP" ("before present") should only be used in reporting 14C ages, for which "present" refers to AD 1950. The standard error, as well as laboratory number, should be included [e.g., 14,730 ± 150 14C yr BP (Y-661)]. Radiocarbon ages with a standard error between 50 and 1000 yr, or >1000 yr, should be rounded to the nearest 10 and 100 yr, respectively. High-precision ages with a standard error <50 yr should be rounded to the nearest year. Calibrated 14C ages should be reported as "cal" and given as 2σ ranges (e.g., 2450–2270 cal yr BP). In citing calibrated ages, always report the original radiocarbon ages plus standard error also, and reference the calibration curve (or computer program) used for the derivation of the calibrated age. The material actually dated should be indicated.

Other radiometric (e.g., K/Ar, luminescence) ages should also include the standard error, with an explicitly stated zero age datum if appropriate. For all ages, any laboratory number(s) that has been assigned should be given in parentheses following the age [e.g., 2.43 ± 0.10 Ma (QLK-10)].

For reporting luminescence ages, authors should make it clear which datum year is used for their ages. This could include the year of measurement, or expressed to AD 2000, or corrected to AD 1950 for comparison with radiocarbon ages (for further explanation see Duller, GAT, 2011, What date is it? Should there be an agreed datum for luminescence ages. Ancient TL, 29, 1-3 at

For cosmic ray exposure ages, the zero-age datum and production rates used must be stated clearly in the manuscript, and the source of these production rates cited. The measured isotope concentrations should be tabulated. See Frankel et al. (2010, EOS 91: 31–32) for a complete list of parameters to report for the calculation of ages.

Notation and nomenclature

Chemical: International notation should be employed in all cases (e.g., 18O, 14C, 40K).

Temperature: degrees Celsius (C) (e.g., 67°C) or Kelvins (K).


Follow internationally accepted rules and conventions: use the international system of units (SI). If other units are mentioned, include in parentheses following their SI equivalent.

Geographic locations: Latitude and longitude should be used consistently throughout the manuscript, preferably in degrees and decimal minutes and with no spaces (e.g., 122°14.35'W). The datum used (e.g., WGS 84) should be specified. Formally defined geographic locations should be capitalized (e.g., "the Great Lakes"), but informal descriptors (e.g., "the northern Ural Mountains") should not.

Stratigraphic nomenclature: Follow standard practice and procedures as detailed in the 2005 update to the North American Stratigraphic Code ( Authors dealing with stratigraphic nomenclature of archaeological sites are referred to the Guide to Archaeostratigraphic Classification and Terminology (Gasche, H., Tunca, O., 1983. Journal of Field Archaeology 10, 325-335).

Glacial-geologic and geologic-climate nomenclature: Use grammatically appropriate noun and adjective forms for glacial/interglacial ages: e.g., the Würm glaciation (not Würm glacial), the last glaciation or last glacial period (not the last glacial), the Würm glacial age and last interglacial age (where glacial and interglacial are used as modifying adjectives). Comparable noun and adjective forms should be used for stadial/interstadial subages (e.g., the Younger Dryas stade, Allerød interstade, Younger Dryas stadial deposits). Formally defined or widely used and well-understood stratigraphic names should be capitalized (e.g., Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage 2, abbreviated "MIS 2"). Note that "glaciation," "stade," and "last glacial maximum" are not stratigraphic terms formally recognized by the 2005 Code and so are not capitalized. Avoid exclusive reference to local or regional stratigraphic terms (e.g., the Eemian interglacial period) unless the corresponding global terminology (e.g., MIS 5e) is also included for interpretation by an international readership.

Biological names: Scientific names of plants and animals must be italicized. Common names of species or plants and animals may be used only if they are accompanied by scientific names upon first usage (e.g., "quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides"). The second and subsequent appearance of a name can use its shortened form (e.g., P. tremuloides).

Figure and table citations

All illustrations and tables must be cited somewhere in the body of the paper and in sequence [e.g., "... as illustrated in Figure 5"; " that region (Fig. 5)"; " Alaska and California (Figs. 4 and 5)"; "The values in Table 6 are taken from ..."; "the data obtained in this study (Table 6)...").


In the text

These should be cited in the text by the author's surname and date. Grouped citations should be separated by semicolons and given in chronological order: e.g., (Smith, 1964; Anderson and Muller, 1975; Anshari et al., 2001, 2004).

Only articles that have been published or are in press can be included in the references. Unpublished results or personal communications should be avoided if possible; if critical and otherwise unavailable for inclusion in the manuscript, they may be cited as such in the text and should include the surname and initials of the source as well as the year of communication, e.g., (Smith, L.G., personal communication, 2006).

Except for well-maintained databases, references to Web sites should be made parenthetically in the text or in footnotes and should include the date last accessed. Authors are referred to the Geoscience Information Society Web site at for information on citing unpublished databases and collections.

In References Cited

The reference section should be arranged alphabetically according to the author's surname. Journal names should be spelled out in full. Digital object identifiers may be given for those journals that use this form. List all the authors, but if there are more than ten you may use 'et al.' instead.

Bradley, R.S., 1999. Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary. Academic Press, San Diego.

Jibson, R.W., 1996. Using landslides for paleoseismic analysis. In: McCalpin, J.P. (Ed.), Paleoseismology. Academic Press, San Diego, pp. 397-438.

Kettles, I.M., Garneau, M., Jetté, H., 2000. Macrofossil, pollen, and geochemical records of peatlands in the Kinosheo Lake and Detour Lake areas, northern Ontario. Bulletin 606. Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa.

Porter, S.C., 2000. High-resolution paleoclimatic information from Chinese eolian sediments based on grayscale intensity profiles. Quaternary Research 53, 70-77.


Figures should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals. Label all axes. Minimize differences in font size, and aim for a font size of 7 or 8 points at publication scale. Use a sans serif font, such as Helvetica, Geneva, or Arial, for legibility after reduction. All maps should have longitude and latitude coordinates indicated, as well as a bar scale in metric units. Figures should not include images of identifiable persons. Recommended file formats for all figures are EPS, TIFF, and PDF. Non-preferred but usable formats also include JPEG, PPT, or images created in MS Word, but do not prepare line drawings using a .jpg format at any stage in their rendering. Halftone images must be saved at 300 dpi (dots per inch) at approximately the final publication size. Line drawings should be saved at 1000 dpi, or 1200 dpi if very fine line weights have been used. Combination figures must be saved at a minimum of 600 dpi.

Color artwork

Color figures will appear in color on the Web regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in color in the printed version. If grayscale figures only will be shown in the print version, make sure that the main information will still be apparent. If you desire color reproduction in print, you must indicate this when submitting your accepted article and then will receive information regarding the costs after receipt of your accepted article.

For further information on artwork preparation, please see


Number tables consecutively with Arabic numerals in order of appearance in the text. Each table should be submitted as a separate file in .doc or .docx format. Units should be clearly indicated for each of the column entries in a table. In formatting tables do not use grids or vertical lines. Format the table to fit on a page in normal (portrait) orientation if at all possible (maximum width 171 mm or 6.75 inches). Landscape-oriented tables are best utilized only if they will fill the entire page.

Supplementary material

Supplementary files offer additional possibilities for archiving supporting text and applications, movies, animation sequences, high-resolution images, background datasets, sound clips, and more. They will be published online alongside the electronic version of your article, but will not appear in the printed journal. Supply a concise and descriptive caption for each supplementary table or figure. Reference in the text should be to "Supplementary Table 1" or "Supplementary Figure 1."

Supplementary materials are normally not reviewed or proofed, and they are not copyedited or typeset‑-they are posted online in the exact format provided by the author.

Data Archives

The Neotoma Paleoecology Database ( is a recommended data resource and repository for all paleoecological and paleoenvironmental data included or referenced by articles published in Quaternary Research. Please see this article for more information on the types of suitable data and the process for their archiving. Any type of supplementary data can also be deposited in the data library PANGAEA (external link After processing, the author receives an identifier (DOI) linking to the supplements for checking, and for citation; these data supplements and the article will be automatically linked. 

The Dryad Consortium provides another permanent data repository that authors might like to use ( for diverse data types.

Manuscript submission

Cover letter

A cover letter should accompany the submitted article. This letter should briefly explain the main point of the paper, the significance of the findings and how they satisfy the QR Aims and Scope. Note the type of paper (Research, Review, Forum, Comment, Reply) and explain its relation to previously published work on the same or similar topic, including other papers by the same author(s) or prior manuscripts that were not accepted for publication. It should address any other unusual or extenuating circumstances surrounding the article and its submission, including its past submission/review history. Papers in press that provide data or interpretations critical to the submitted manuscript, or that could raise a question regarding duplicative publications, should be appended in full to the cover letter to avoid misunderstandings by editors or reviewers.

Electronic submission

QR uses a Web-based online manuscript submission and review system. Please submit your manuscript electronically. The Web site guides authors stepwise through the creation and uploading of the various files. Original text source files are required (.doc or .docx are best), not PDF files. Figures should be submitted as separate files; tables should also be submitted separately. Once the submission files are uploaded, the system automatically generates an electronic (PDF) proof, which is then used for reviewing. All correspondence, including the editor's decision and request for revisions, will be by e-mail.

Copyright transfer

Authors submitting a manuscript do so on the understanding that if it is accepted for publication, copyright of the article, including the right to reproduce the article in all forms and media, shall be assigned exclusively to the University of Washington. The Copyright Transfer Agreement should be signed by the appropriate person(s). The University will not refuse any reasonable request by the author(s) for permission to reproduce any contributions to the journal.


All manuscripts will be reviewed by at least two referees, an Associate Editor, and one Senior Editor. They will be evaluated for whether they are interdisciplinary in content and of broad interest, are scientifically sound, and present evidence that is sufficient to support the conclusions. They are also evaluated for organization, clarity, and conciseness. The editors' decision is sent to the corresponding author, together with the referees' comments and evaluations as soon as the file is complete. More than one round of review and revision is typical for most manuscripts; the average duration from first submission to final decision for the journal in 2016 was 14 weeks.

Galley proofs

PDF proofs will be sent by e-mail to the corresponding author. It is the responsibility of the authors to read the proofs carefully and to note all errors. Only necessary changes should be made and corrections should be returned promptly.


The corresponding author will be provided with a link to a freely accessible pdf of the published article. Authors will also be able to order reprints or offprints of their article or a printed copy of the issue by visiting the Cambridge University Reprint Order Center online at:

Cover photograph

Each cover of Quaternary Research displays a color photograph pertaining to a Quaternary topic. Cover photographs represent various disciplines and geographic areas and have included close-up, landscape, aerial, and satellite images. 

Authors of accepted articles are invited to submit one or more color photographs for consideration. These should be of very high quality (correctly exposed, very sharp focus) and suitable for cropping to the dimensions of the photograph on the cover of the issue (1:1.42 aspect ratio). Photographs should not include identifiable persons. Digital files should be submitted in TIFF, EPS or jpg format. Digital images must be large enough to be at least 300 dpi when enlarged to the size of the cover (or about 1500 × 2000 pixels). A brief, informative caption should be submitted with each photograph. The name of the photographer should be indicated when appropriate, and written permission to use the image for publication should be supplied.