On Style: Adopting the APA System

CSP CoverYou may have noticed that Contemporary Security Policy is undergoing a number of changes. Some of these have to do with the new editorship. Others are unrelated.

Starting with the April 2016 issue, we changed the layout of our articles. This is part of a wider drive by the publisher (Routledge / Taylor and Francis) to make journal articles fit for on-screen reading and more interactive (read more here). You will find similar article layouts in other journals by the publisher.

We have also redesigned the jacket of the journal. The colour scheme has remained the same, but the new design is more appropriate for the Internet age. Elements from the new cover design are also used on this editor’s website and the Twitter account of the journal. As such there is uniformity in terms of design. The August 2016 issue will be the first issue with the new cover.

We are also changing the style of the journal and the formatting of the references. In short, we are moving from an endnote Chicago type system to in-text citation (APA). There are a number of reasons for this. First, we have experienced problems in the past with the indexing of endnotes (for example by Google Scholar). In this electronic day and age, it is important that scholarly resources are electronically linked to one another. Second, because many readers now read the articles on-screen, and since it is a hassle to scroll back-and-forward to the endnotes, it seems better that readers immediately see the source through in-text referencing. Finally, while part of the discipline of international relations and international security has a strong background in history (which traditionally prefers notes), the current reality is that most CSP articles are from the social sciences. Indeed, few recent CSP articles actually use archival sources.

We will therefore switch to APA. Most, if not all, authors are familiar with this style. It is a consistent style and it is available for EndNote. In the interest of harmonisation, we will be following the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition) to the letter. This also implies that we will be switching from Oxford English to American English (Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition).

The new stylesheet will be implemented only from volume 38 (2017). This implies, however, a degree of planning. To minimise work on the side of the authors (i.e. the need to change style), we recommend that all newly submitted papers after 15 April 2016 follow the new stylesheet. Authors with a revise-and-resubmit decision should follow the old stylesheet unless they have been informed otherwise. In case of doubt, please contact me.

You will find the new style guide and information on the formatting of the reference list on this Editor’s website. Information on the “old” style is also still listed on these pages (scroll down).

Hylke Dijkstra