How do I subscribe to International Security?
All subscriptions are processed through the journal's publisher, MIT Press. You can subscribe online or purchase back issues or individual articles through MIT Press’s circulation department at email@example.com, or call 617-253-2889.
How can I obtain permission to copy IS articles?
I want to change my mailing address. Do I email you?
No. Please contact MIT Press at firstname.lastname@example.org with all subscription changes, including updates to your mailing address.
What is the relationship between IS, BCSIA, and MIT Press?
The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) at Harvard University is IS’s editorial headquarters. The editorial staff based at BCSIA is responsible for selecting and editing articles. In addition to housing IS, BCSIA runs research programs on international security, the environment, technology, and public policy. BCSIA research fellows often contribute to IS while they are in residence at the Belfer Center, but IS is not a "house journal" for BCSIA. We welcome and encourage submissions from all authors.
As the journal's publisher, MIT Press handles the typesetting, printing, and mailing of the journal, as well as advertising, subscription inquiries, and copyright issues.
Why does IS publish articles with large numbers of footnotes?
IS encourages authors to cite their sources fully and to provide bibliographical footnotes that list references on a particular topic for three reasons.
First, it is standard scholarly practice to provide documentation to indicate the source of information or to credit another writer for having made a particular argument. As a scholarly journal, IS makes every effort to follow such practices.
Second, much of the information in the field of international security studies is subject to dispute. Governments have strong incentives to manipulate information. Militaries and intelligence organizations often believe they need to conceal data. By providing citations to the sources of their information, IS articles allow readers to judge for themselves whether the information is reliable.
Third, footnotes with numerous citations to other articles and books can help readers to pursue further research on a particular topic. IS articles are assigned in many university courses, so we encourage authors to include brief guides to the literature in their footnotes.
What type of article is IS looking for?
Before submitting a manuscript to IS or any other journal, look at recent issues to get a sense of the general type of article that the journal publishes. Whenever editors gather to discuss why they reject manuscripts, they agree that the number one reason is that many submissions are inappropriate for their journals.
IS is not looking for short, undocumented papers that consist primarily of opinion and advocacy. Every year we turn away many submissions that fall into this category. We also rarely consider highly technical articles that are unlikely to be accessible to a broad audience.
We are interested in serious analyses of contemporary security policy issues, theoretical and conceptual issues in security studies, and historical questions related to war and peace. We define “security” broadly to include issues related to the causes, conduct, and consequences of wars. The editors rarely seek articles on a particular topic, although from time to time we may look for articles on topics that have not been addressed in recent issues of the journal.
IS publishes articles that fall into four broad categories.
Policy. Analyses of contemporary security policy issues.
Theory. Articles that propose, test, refine, or apply theories of international relations that are relevant to the use, threat, and control of force.
History. Articles that offer new information on or interpretations of historical events.
Technology. Analyses of the scientific and technological dimensions of international security.
Of course, these categories overlap to some extent, but we try to strike a balance among them in selecting articles for publication.
In general, manuscripts are more likely to receive serious consideration if they offer one or more of the following:
Originality. We strongly prefer articles that reach new and interesting conclusions or that offer new information or evidence.
Challenges to the conventional wisdom. Articles that reiterate well known and popular views are less likely to be published than those that challenge the conventional academic or policy wisdom. As one member of the journal's editorial board put it, "If nobody is going to disagree with an article, there's no reason to publish it."
Coverage of important topics. In general, we prefer articles that address broad topics of major interest. For example, we are more likely to publish an article on the future of U.S.-European relations or the prospects for peace in the twenty-first century than one on civil-military relations in a small country.
Long shelf life. We prefer articles that are not likely to be overtaken by current events and that will be read with interest for perhaps a decade or more.
Accessibility to a wide audience. IS aims to publish articles that can be read by intelligent nonspecialists as well as by academic experts in a particular field.
Of course, not every article in IS meets these criteria, but those that do are more likely to receive positive external reviews and favorable consideration by the editors. For additional information, see "Writing for International Security: A Contributor's Guide," published in the fall 1991 issue of IS.
Do I have to be a "big name" to publish in IS?
Many authors published in IS are prominent in their fields, but the journal publishes articles on the basis of the manuscript's merits, not the author's credentials. Manuscripts are circulated anonymously for external review. Many of the "big names" featured in back issues were graduate students when they first published in IS. Being a "big name" does not guarantee publication in IS. Although it would be unfair to reveal their names, we have rejected numerous articles submitted by prominent scholars.
How long should an IS submission be?
A length of 10,000 to 15,000 words (including footnotes) is appropriate, but the journal will consider and publish longer manuscripts. Authors of manuscripts with more than 20,000 words should consult the journal's editors before submission.
Does IS commission or solicit articles?
IS rarely commissions articles. In some cases, however, IS will solicit replies to particularly controversial articles. For example, when IS accepted John Mearsheimer's winter 1994/95 article, "The False Promise of International Institutions," the editors solicited replies that later appeared in the summer 1995 issue. By organizing such sections, we offer authors an opportunity to defend their work and ensure that the exchange appears in a single issue where readers can examine all of the various arguments.
Does IS publish book reviews?
Yes, IS does occasionally publish review essays. Most of the book review essays are solicited, but we welcome proposals. Contact us via email if you are interested in reviewing a particular book or books.
How does the review process work?
One or more editors read each manuscript that IS receives. If the manuscript appears suitable for the journal, it is sent to two or three external reviewers.
The review process is doubly blind: the author should remove all identifying references from the manuscript before submission, and we provide anonymous comments to the author when the review is returned. Reviews are only sent to authors when they offer useful and constructive comments.
Manuscripts that receive positive external reviews are circulated to all of the journal's editors (Steven Miller, Owen Coté, Sean Lynn-Jones, and Diane McCree), who then select those that will be published from this short list of leading contenders. We repeat this process for each issue; few articles are accepted and then held over as part of a backlog for publication in a future issue. This policy ensures that we accept only the very best of each group of leading contenders and that we have flexibility to publish articles rapidly.
In some cases, we ask an author to revise and resubmit an article without making a commitment to publish it. We often accept such revised manuscripts, but several are rejected each year. On a case-by-case basis, we decide whether to circulate revised submissions to the external reviewers or only to the journal's editors.
Who are the external reviewers for IS?
We select qualified reviewers from across the field of international security studies. We rely particularly heavily on members of the IS editorial board, authors who have published in the journal, and present and former research fellows at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
If you would like to review articles for International Security, please send a current CV to IS@harvard.edu.
What is the acceptance rate for manuscripts submitted to IS?
The acceptance rate varies from year to year, but it is usually 5 to 10 percent. In most years, we receive almost 300 manuscripts and publish 20 to 25 articles.
If I submit an article, do I have to follow the IS style sheet?
No, you can submit a manuscript that conforms to any standard style and citation format. You will need to convert the article to IS style, however, if it is accepted for publication. Please bear in mind that all submissions should be double-spaced, include page numbers, and should not contain any form of identification in the text.
How long does it take for the editors to decide on submissions?
We usually reach a decision in two or three months. When a manuscript is clearly unsuitable for the journal, we often decide much faster. Sometimes, however, it may take longer than three months. In such cases, delays in receiving reports from external reviewers or the fact that the manuscript is one of many strong contenders for publication usually explains the delay.
Does IS object if I simultaneously submit a manuscript to another journal?
No, we have no objections to simultaneous submissions, provided that we are informed. Because we accept only a small proportion of submitted manuscripts and sometimes take several months to decide, we think it is only fair to allow authors the option to submit their work elsewhere.
How long does it take for articles to appear after acceptance?
The lag time between acceptance and publication varies, but it is rarely less than four months. Articles usually appear about six months after they have been submitted.
Will IS publish articles that have appeared elsewhere?
IS occasionally publishes articles that will also appear in books or in different form in another publication. All other things being equal, simultaneous or future publication elsewhere will hurt a manuscript's chances of being accepted at IS. The editors decide on such manuscripts on a case-by-case basis. Publication in IS usually becomes more likely if the manuscript is on an extremely important topic, is of exceptional quality, will not appear elsewhere until long after it has been published in IS, will be published in an obscure or inaccessible book or periodical, or will appear elsewhere in a significantly different form.
If my article is accepted, do I receive a complimentary copy of the IS issue in which it appears?
Yes, authors of articles each receive three complimentary copies, and authors of correspondence receive one complimentary copy. Additional copies can be ordered at http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/order/default.asp?issn=0162-2889.