Guide for Authors

  • Mission statement

    Quaternary Research is devoted to original interdisciplinary articles dealing with the Quaternary Period. Articles must be of broad interest, have basic significance to more than one discipline, and constitute a significant contribution to Quaternary science.

    Preconditions for peer review

    Manuscripts that satisfy the mission statement of Quaternary Research will be accepted for 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 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 (see also

    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 Elsevier Global 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 are asked to seek the help of colleagues in the preparation and review of manuscripts prior to submission, or to seek help from the Publisher ( is no obligation to use the services recommended by Elsevier and other commercial editing services are available.

    Article types

    Quaternary Research publishes research articles, reviews, Forum contributions, and Letters.

    Research articles

    Quaternary Research favors articles of <7500 words, measured from the beginning of the Abstract to the end of the Acknowledgments. They normally may include up to five tables and ten figures. Longer articles, particularly those with strong interdisciplinary elements, will also be considered.

    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 a review article should consult with an editor.

    Contributions to the QR Forum

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

    Letters to the Editor

    These are restricted to comments on a paper previously published in Quaternary Research, and the author(s) of that paper will be given the opportunity to reply. Length should not exceed 1000 words and a figure or table. Normally, both the Letter to the Editor 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. Only the first letter and proper nouns should be capitalized. Titles containing phrases set off by colons, semicolons, or dashes must be avoided. When appropriate, the geographic area of the research should appear as part of the title. Names should be in Western format, with family names last. Given 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. Translations of the abstract in one or more other languages may be included at the discretion of the editor. After the abstract a list of up to 10 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. Each section is demarcated by an informative heading. Do not include figures or tables within the text.


    These 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.

    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. If articles are accepted for publication but not yet in press, 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. Highest-level headings should be in bold font. Only the first letter and proper nouns should be capitalized. Second-order headings should be in regular font, but italicized. Third-order headings should be indented but not italicized.


    Dates (except radiocarbon dates) should be expressed using the abbreviation "ka" and "Ma" for thousands or millions of years before present. Dates <1000 yr should be given in full. If preferred, yr may also be used for dates younger than 1 Ma (e.g., 150,000 yr). Historical 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 dates are preferred to uncalibrated ('raw') dates. Raw 14C dates should be expressed as 14C yr BP (or 14C ka BP). "BP" ("before present") should only be used in reporting 14C dates, 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 dates with a standard error between 50 and 1000 yr, or >1000 yr, should be rounded, respectively, to the nearest 10 and 100 yr. High-precision dates with a standard error <50 yr should be rounded to the nearest yr. Calibrated 14C dates should be reported as "cal" and given as 2&sgr; ranges (e.g., 2450-2270 cal yr BP). In citing calibrated dates, always report the original radiocarbon dates plus standard error also, and reference the calibration curve (or computer program) used for the derivation of the calibrated date. The material actually dated should be indicated.

    Other radiometric (e.g., K/Ar, thermoluminescence) dates should also include the standard error. For all dates, any laboratory number(s) that has been assigned should be given in parentheses following the date [e.g., 2.43 ± 0.10 Ma (QLK-10)].

    For cosmic ray exposure dates, the 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.

    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).

    Geographic locations: Latitude and longitude should be given in degrees and decimal minutes, with no spaces ((e.g., 122°14.35'W). 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 1983 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 (not 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" and "stade" stratigraphic terms are not formally recognized by the 1983 Code and so are not capitalized.

    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 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 in any case 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. Acceptable file formats for all figures are EPS, TIFF, PDF, JPEG or MS office, but do not prepare line drawings using a .jpg format at any stage in their rendering.

    Color artwork

    Color figures will appear in color on the Web (e.g., ScienceDirect and other sites) regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in color in the printed version. For color reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from Elsevier after receipt of your accepted article. Please indicate your preference for color in the printed paper or in the Web version only. For further information on artwork preparation, please see


    Number tables consecutively with Arabic numerals in order of appearance in the text. Type should be double-spaced, with any essential footnotes below. 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. See recent issues of the journal for examples.

    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 in Elsevier Web products, including ScienceDirect (, 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."

    For more detailed instructions, please visit, click on "Artwork instructions," and then click on "Multimedia files."

    Video data

    Video or animation files can be included in your article. For detailed instructions please visit our video instruction pages at Because video and animation cannot be embedded in the print version of the journal, please provide text for both the electronic and the print version for the portions of the article that refer to this content.

    Data at PANGAEA

    Electronic archiving of supplementary data can 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. Data supplements and the article will be automatically linked. Please use PANGAEA's web interface to submit your data (external link

    Google Maps and KML files

    Keyhole Markup Language (KML) files can be uploaded in our online submission system. KML is an XML schema for expressing geographic annotation and visualization within Internet-based Earth browsers. Elsevier will generate Google Maps from the submitted KML files and include these in the article when published online. Submitted KML files will also be available for downloading from your online article on ScienceDirect. For more information see

    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 mission statement. Note the type of paper (Research, Review, Forum, Letter) 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.

    Electronic submission

    QR uses a Web-based online manuscript submission and review system. Please visit to submit your manuscript electronically. The Web site guides authors stepwise through the creation and uploading of the various files. Original source files (.doc or .docx are best), not PDF files, are required. Figures should be submitted as separate files; tables may be included at the end of the main text document or submitted as 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.

    Review process

    All manuscripts will be reviewed by at least two referees, an Associate Editor, and one or both Senior Editors. 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 lead author, together with the referees' comments and evaluations as soon as the file is complete.

    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, at no cost, will be provided with a personalized link that can be used for sharing via email and social networks providing 50 days free access to the final published version of the article on ScienceDirect or, alternatively, 25 free paper offprints.

    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 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 or EPS format. Digital images must be large enough to be at least 300 dpi when enlarged to the size of the cover (or about 2000 x 1500 pixels). Photographs related to a specific article should be submitted only after word of acceptance of a manuscript has been received. A brief, informative caption (up to 75 words) 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.

    Additional information

    Retention of author rights:
    Archiving requirements:
    Ethical guidelines: and
    You can track your submitted article at You can track your accepted article at You are also welcome to contact Customer Support via


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