Refereed Articles


ISTL publishes substantive material of interest to science and technology librarians and information specialists. It serves as a vehicle to share details of successful programs, background information, and opinions on topics of current interest, to publish research and bibliographies on issues relevant to science and technology libraries, and to communicate in more depth than the STS-L mailing list.

Manuscripts submitted to the peer-reviewed Refereed Articles section should fully report the results of substantive research relevant to topics within the scope of ISTL. They should include a clearly stated research question(s), hypothesis/es, a succinct and current literature review, method description, presentation of results and data, discussion, and a conclusion. Submissions that are primarily descriptive (including local case studies), preliminary, expository, advisory, or bibliographic in nature may be referred instead to other sections of ISTL.


  • Microsoft Word is the preferred format for electronic submissions. We do not accept hardcopy submissions.
  • Submissions may be made at any time. Since the review process can be open-ended, ISTL cannot guarantee publication of an accepted article in a specific issue. It will be published in the next issue scheduled after the review and editing process is complete.


  • The RA Editor manages the review process, including acknowledgement of receipt and notification of the outcome.
  • The RA Editor may reject without formal review manuscripts that are out of scope, poorly written, or otherwise unsuitable for peer review.
  • For submissions suitable for peer review, the RA Editor selects at least two referees who are competent and willing to assess the manuscript.
  • Referees will evaluate the manuscript based on ISTL's Review Criteria.
  • Author names and affiliations are deleted before the manuscript is sent to reviewers. Please make sure that author and institutional affiliations are blinded in the text of the manuscript when you submit it, including in any references to your prior work.
  • Referee comments must be returned to the editor within a specified time, generally not longer than 30 days.
  • All reviews are double blind: the authors will not know the identity of the reviewers and the reviewers will not know the identity of the authors.
  • ISTL policy requires that referees treat the contents of manuscripts under review as privileged information not to be disclosed to others before publication.
  • The RA Editor decides on the suitability for publication. In some cases, the Editor in Chief and Editorial Board members may be consulted as well. The final decision rests with the RA Editor.
  • Referee comments (anonymous) will be returned to the corresponding author along with the decision notification.
  • Referees may recommend 1) accepting the article for publication with minor changes and edits; 2) requiring significant revision followed by re-evaluation; or 3) rejection. Authors will have the referees' comments and feedback to work from, and may contact the RA Editor for clarification.
  • The editing process is iterative. When major changes are requested, the RA editor reviews the revised manuscript and decides whether to accept it, recommend further revision, seek further feedback from different referees, or reject it.
  • There is no fixed deadline for authors to return revised manuscripts.
  • The RA Editor will make appropriate copy edits prior to publication for style, grammar, and clarity. (Authors are responsible for formatting references in the correct style.) The final version of the accepted manuscript will be shared with the authors and made available for preview before publication.


  • Organization:
    • Title
    • Author(s) and Affiliation(s)
    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Literature Review
    • Methods
    • Results and Discussion
    • Conclusion
    • References
  • Authors should strive for brevity rather than lengthy exposition in all sections, particularly Literature Review and Discussion.
  • Avoid repeated use of the passive voice. First-person style is acceptable.
  • Figures and Tables:
    • Figures and Tables should be clearly numbered and captioned. Caption text should not repeat text in the body of the article.
    • Bar and line charts should be accessible to visually-impaired readers. Avoid colors with poor contrast, and use patterns and shapes where possible.
    • Avoid the use of "word cloud" diagrams.
    • Submit figures as separate JPG or PNG files, but these can be inserted into Word document for purposes of review. Images should be sized no larger than 700 pixels wide.
    • Alt-text should be added for all images.
  • Spell out numbers ten and under; numbers 11 and higher should be numerals except when the first word of a sentence.
  • Round percentages to an appropriate number of significant digits: tenths of percent is usually the maximum precision required for large data sets, and round small sample sets to whole percentages.
  • ISTL uses U.S. English spelling conventions.
  • Submissions should be double- or 1.5-spaced.
  • References:
    • ISTL now uses APA Style. See the Submission Guidlines page for details.
    • Inline references should come at the end of a sentence, before the period. Avoid repeating the same inline reference in one section of text.
    • Page numbers are not used in inline references.
    • Include DOIs (preferred) or URLs in the References list wherever possible.


David Hubbard,