Short Shrift: Word Limit for the BJPS

A while back, we decided to implement a ‘soft’ word limit of 10,000 words and we asked authors who wanted to exceed this limit to write to us with a justification. More than a year later, we’ve found that not one paper submitted that exceeded 10,000 words couldn’t have been pruned and nonetheless retained all that mattered (and, indeed, was and did). So to make things more straightforward for all concerned, the Editors have decided to make the 10,000-word deadline firm. Papers exceeding this length will automatically be returned to authors.

As an aside, paper-bloat can occur for many reasons, but the most common cause we’ve encountered stems from authors recapping the whole literature (appropriate for introductory texts, say, but not for an article written for peers who are broadly as familiar with the literature as the author). Another source of word-count creep results from too many quotations or quotations that are very (and unnecessarily) long. Epigrams and similar don’t do a whole lot for your argument either (they may be cute, but we’re not publishing novels). Happy editing…