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portal: Libraries and the Academy
Author Guidelines


portal: Libraries and the Academy, an international refereed quarterly journal, publishes articles that focus on all aspects of librarianship, knowledge management, and information services and studies within higher education. portal articles are intended for an audience that is interested in the broad role and impact of libraries within the academy. The journal welcomes submission of inquiries and proposals for topics that authors have under development and will provide guidance on the suitability for publication in portal.

portal explores how technology is affecting librarianship and scholarship, as well as the role of libraries and librarians in meeting institutional missions. The information revolution presents numerous challenges to librarians, faculty, and administrators in areas including archiving, copyright, and technology-enhanced learning. portal covers these and many other topics as they relate to the rapidly changing needs of academics and the roles of libraries and librarians. portal provides an unbiased outlet for issues that have not been addressed in other venues. Work that is collaborative between librarians and those engaged in discipline-based studies is of particular interest.

Each issue includes peer-reviewed articles on subjects such as library administration, information technology, new forms of support for research and teaching, and information policy. Reviews of newly published books in areas of librarianship and higher education, as well as reviews of computer and database resources, are featured. Other continuing features address technological issues, research, standards, and policy and strategic planning.

portal is available in the Project MUSE collection and as a paper publication.

Research and Scholarship Defined for portal: Libraries and the Academy

Librarianship, the discipline we practice, arises from the professional training and the resultant work we do in specific institutional settings. At its base, librarianship is responsible for supplying the lifeblood of the rest of the academy—access to information for the advancement of knowledge, invention, and teaching. Since good librarianship is vital to the academic enterprise, it follows that advancing the field of librarianship is vital to maintaining our ability to do so. It is important for portal referees to appreciate that what constitutes scholarship often arises from the context and experience of the work librarians do as individuals. Above all, librarianship is a practiced discipline.

The main categories of scholarship that are the framework for our definition are the scholarship of discovery, integration, application, and teaching. A significant part of scholarly and creative activity in librarianship may not be easy to assess, particularly if it is applied. This means that the articles we publish will have several important characteristics present, and their absence is a measure of inadequacy. Finally, portal reviews must be rigorous. The scholarship:

  • must be unique, standing apart from other similar work as a new contribution that advances the knowledge of the field or provides a unique service or product
  • must be needed—in demand in individual institutions or broadly required elsewhere by other libraries—having intrinsic value and utility
  • must be used locally, and likely elsewhere, as an illustration of the value to the field of librarianship
  • in short, must not be trivial

The brief guidance provided here for potential authors is more completely elaborated in the full editorial essay appearing in portal volume 4, no.4. The feature is available at


Major journals in most disciplines pride themselves on their high rejection rates, rationalizing that a high rejection rate signifies a strong commitment to and compelling evidence of quality. Nothing could be more wasteful of the scarce resources for library research than to replicate a system that encourages authors to create a finished product that is judged and summarily rejected.

The portal board understands that authors, particularly new authors, need mentoring from the moment they decide to engage in research through revisions to meet referees’ critiques. We encourage authors, particularly new authors, to seek out experienced colleagues to give them guidance in their early efforts. Such colleague-mentors are the most appropriate for consultation about topic identification and selection, about issues surrounding statistical sampling and survey design, and about crafting the article itself, including the organizational structure as well as the professional tone and style. We believe that it is critical for the library profession to engage an international audience; we welcome submissions from authors in other countries; and, where relevant, we encourage those authors to seek detailed review by a professional colleague who is a native speaker of English. We believe that this early intervention enables aspiring authors to complete strong projects acceptable for publication after review by an independent set of referees for portal or other journals.

All submissions to portal are subjected to the double-blind review process, and referees are explicitly asked to indicate when a manuscript is worthy but needs more detailed guidance to be fully acceptable for publication in portal. When a recommendation is made to find a mentor for a manuscript, the authors are asked if they wish to undertake such an effort, understanding that the process is up to them to carry forward. Once revisions have been made, incorporating the guidance and critic of the original referees, the new manuscript is again submitted to the double-blind review process but to different referees. In this way the integrity of the refereeing process is preserved, and the authors receive a new hearing for the revised work. Over time, we have seen this process produce very successful, even prize-winning, results.

Manuscript Requirements

The preferred method for submitting manuscripts to portal is as a word-processed attachment in e-mail. Microsoft Word™ is the preferred application for submissions. Author’s full name, affiliation, mailing address, e-mail, fax, and phone must accompany any manuscript submission. We will acknowledge receipt of all materials submitted. Once accepted, manuscripts must be prepared in Microsoft™ applications for purposes of submission to the Press.

Article manuscripts should be no more than 25 to 30 pages double-spaced. We ask authors to work within this page limit and to consult with the editor should a topic require more space. The manuscript must be neither previously published nor submitted elsewhere simultaneously without specific prior consent from the Editor.

  • Include an abstract of no more than 100 words highlighting the scope, methodology, and conclusions of the paper. These are vital because they provide the keywords for searching the full text of the articles.
  • Scrupulously prepare references as endnotes, in the Chicago Manual of Style humanities style (see below).
  • Include headings and subheadings to make your paper more readable.
  • Avoid overuse of the passive voice.
  • Use standard United States spelling.
  • Spell out acronyms and abbreviations when first used in the text.
  • The author is responsible for obtaining copyright permission for all materials from other works to be reproduced in portal.

Tables, Figures, and Illustrations

  • All graphics should be coherent in gray scale, as the paper version of portal does not include color.
  • Submit tables and similar material in Microsoft Word using the table function or using tabs to distinguish space between columns. Do not use Excel.
  • Submit all figures and charts in tif, gif, or Adobe Photoshop with a minimum of 266 dpi. If this is not possible, submit a clean hard copy for scanning of the figure. All graphics should fit within an 8 ½ X 11 image area.
  • Submit all tables and similar material as individual files, separate from the article manuscript.
  • Number tables in sequence, using Arabic numerals.
  • Clearly identify each table, figure, or similar item with a caption.
  • Indicate in the text approximately where each table or figure should be placed.


  • Endnotes in the Chicago Manual of Style humanities style are required. For example:
  • John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid, The Social Life of Information (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2000), 45.
  • Gloriana St. Clair, “Through portal,” portal: Libraries and the Academy 1, 1 (January 2001): v-vii.
  • Brinley Franklin and Danuta Nitecki, ARL New Measures: User Satisfaction White Paper (April 6, 1999), accessed December 23, 2002, geninfo/usersatisfaction.pdf.
  • Prepare endnotes according to the Chicago Manual of Style, published by the University of Chicago Press (16th edition, 2010).
  • To cite electronic sources, see the Columbia Guide to Online Style:
    Preparing the Bibliographic Material and the Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition, 2010).
  • Place note numbers at the end of a sentence, if possible, or at the end of a clause.
  • Avoid using more than one note number in a single location.
  • Avoid creating long strings of ibids in the Notes section. Effective use of paraphrases is encouraged to achieve this goal.

Manuscript Submission

To accelerate review and publication processes, we prefer electronic submission of manuscripts as described above.

Article Manuscripts

Submit article manuscripts and related communications to Marianne Ryan, with a copy of submissions to Sara Dreyfuss,

Feature Manuscripts

Features rotate on an irregular basis. Feature columns are edited but generally not peer-reviewed. Send proposals or questions about features to the appropriate feature editor with copies sent to Marianne Ryan and Sara Dreyfus. Submit feature column manuscripts and related communications to individual editors, by topic, again with cc to Marianne Ryan and Sara Dreyfuss.


Reviews of new books and other professional materials are included regularly in portal. A variety of formats and subjects relevant to the mission of portal are considered for review. Send ideas or sample copies to the Reviews editor, Fred Rowland,

Manuscript Review and Revision

portal uses a double-blind peer review process for article manuscripts. We will notify you of the referees’ comments and editor’s decision by e-mail, usually within four to eight weeks of the receipt of your manuscript. We do not decline manuscripts without offering suggestions to solve identified problems or to place an article more appropriately. An accepted article will be scheduled for a particular future issue and published following your submission of an acceptable final manuscript.

Manuscript Posting

Johns Hopkins University Press allows authors to post manuscripts on the open Web. This access is defined by the copyright agreement between the press and the author, which is executed at the time the manuscript is sent to the press for publication. Authors should not post prior to signing this agreement.

Articles accepted for publication and copy edited for the upcoming issue of portal are posted on a preprint server hosted by the Journals Division of the Johns Hopkins University Press. There is a link to these articles on the portal homepage. The preprints are also defined by the publishing agreement between the author and the press. Once the issue of the journal is published, these articles move to an archive.

Often in the referee and editorial process decisions are made to delete portions of a manuscript for reasons of space. Such materials as appendices, survey instruments, and so on that are not vital to understanding may be excluded. However, portal can provide links to such materials in the Muse database. Authors are provided information on how to accomplish this during manuscript revision for publication.

Editorial Practices

Editing and publishing a peer-reviewed journal is a cooperative venture. Manuscripts may progress quickly or slowly depending on many factors, including the overall flow of incoming manuscripts and the variable time constraints of everyone involved. The editors and editorial board of portal have endorsed the principles and practices in the document “Ethics & Best Practices: A Statement of Ethics and Guide to Best Practices for Editors of Library and Information Science Journals,” issued in July 2009 and posted at We encourage authors, reviewers, and other editors and publishers to seek to follow these standards for integrity, access, timeliness, and reliability.

We sincerely hope that you will enjoy the authoring and publication experience.

Marianne Ryan,, Editor.

portal: Libraries and the Academy

Volume: 16 (2016)
Frequency: Quarterly
Print ISSN: 1531-2542
Online ISSN: 1530-7131