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Recommendations for authors

If you are thinking of writing a review for Lectures for the first time, or if you have just asked Lectures for a review copy of a book with a view to reviewing it and are wondering how you should organise your review in terms of structure, typography and the presentation of bibliographical references, then we hope you will find all the relevant answers in the following pages.

If you still have questions after reading the following recommendations, please do not hesitate to contact the editors of Lectures. We will be more than happy to reply to all queries and to update our guidelines in the light of your queries and comments.

How can I find relevant publications for review in my field of study?

There are several ways in which you can identify publications relevant to your fields of interest among the many review copies received by Lectures. The simplest is to regularly consult the constantly updated list of available review copies which you will find here.

If you have a more precise idea of the fields which interest you, Lectures also indexes available titles by discipline, subject and location. Thus, for example, you can find titles on education, the environment, or Russia. Publications with the mention ‘Proposer un compte rendu’ are available for review. If the title interests you, just click on the link and follow the instructions.

You can also subscribe to Lecture’s Twitter account or RSS feed which will keep you informed of the arrival of new titles for review.

How should I go about writing a review for Lectures?

Once you have identified a publication which is available and for which you would like to write a review, simply click on the ‘Proposer un compte rendu’ button beside the title in the listing.

Please note that before making your choice you should read carefully the Lectures charter (La charte de Lectures) in order to be sure that you are not in contradiction with any of the rules outlined in the code of conduct which might render you ineligible as a reviewer of the title in question.

You should then follow the instructions and recommendations for authors which the Lectures team will send you by email before sending you the review copy by post. Your review should be sent to the editors of Lectures by email as an attached file within a month of receiving your review copy.

Are there guidelines for writing a review for Lectures?

We would suggest that before writing your review you should read, or re-read, the recommendations which are given in the following pages. They contain important information which will help you when writing your review.

Please note that the Lectures editorial team reserves the right to format reviews and to make minor changes before publication without informing the reviewers.

How long should my review be?

Your review should be between 5,000 and 10,000 characters, including spaces. Longer reviews will be refused.

You can determine the length of your review using the ʻWord countʼ function provided by your word processing programme. In the case of Word 2007 and more recent versions, for example, it is to be found in the ʻProofingʼ group under the ʻReviewʼ tab. In older versions, and in OpenOffice, you will find it in the “Tools” section.

What should my review say?

Your review should give a clear outline of publication's content and the original ideas which it develops. A typical presentation in the field of social sciences would describe the problematic (the questions which it is dealing with), and place it within the broader scientific context (discipline, field of research, current debates or controversies, social issues, etc.). It should describe the methodology used to approach the questions, the arguments which are developed, and the principal research results. Because one of the main aims of Lectures is to spread information as widely as possible, your review should be written in a language which is accessible to anyone interested in the social sciences, including readers who do not have specialist knowledge in the specific field covered by the publication. So it is important to avoid using excessively conceptual or abstract language, to explain complex concepts, and to provide concrete examples whenever possible.

How should I begin my review?

Avoid including the title of the publication in the opening lines of your review as it will already be present in the header which precedes your article. The first lines of your review often appear on other websites such as the home page of Liens Socio and those of booksellers. The first lines of your review thus act as a catch-line and should clearly situate the publication in question, its context and the issues with which it is dealing. You should also avoid adopting a critical or polemical tone in the opening lines, in favour of a description of the publication's content.

Can I say what I think about the publication?

Your description of the publication should be impartial: which is not to say that you should avoid being critical or forego a certain freedom of tone. Once you have described the content of the publication you can freely give your own point of view along with the necessary arguments to back it up.

Your review should never be reduced to a simple résumé of the publication destined to act as a substitute for reading the work itself. Your aim should be to provide visitors to the Lectures website with an overview of the content of the publication and an evaluation of its pertinence to issues of interest to the potential reader (who may or may not be interested in your own personal judgement of the work in question).

How should I review a collective work or an issue of a journal on a specific theme?

Collective works are not always as well structured as they might be, with the result they can sometimes raise problems for reviewers.

Is it necessary to summarise each contribution individually, at the risk of a certain tediousness? The answer to that question obviously depends on the structure of the publication and the number of contributions. Without being overly rigid, we would suggest two possible approaches when reviewing collective works and thematic issues of journals:

– if the publication is made up of several sections, each with several contributions, it might be appropriate to follow the plan and if you think it would be overly fastidious to deal with all of the contributions, to discuss only the contributions which you consider to be most significant,

– alternatively, if the publication is not structured, you might want to consider regrouping the contributions by subject, approach, etc., again putting the emphasis on the contributions which you consider to be most significant.

Whichever approach you adopt, you should not limit yourself to simply summarizing the contributions. It is important to highlight the main ideas developed by the contributors and the relations which may exist among them (do they back each other up, are they complementary, or are they in opposition?).

Reviewing journals with a diversity of content

There is no hard and fast rule but, generally speaking, you should avoid summarizing each contribution individually in an attempt to be exhaustive. It is usually preferable to concentrate on several articles (or even a single contribution) which, from your point of view, seem most worthy of review.

Bibliographical details of the publication

It is not necessary to give the full bibliographical details of the publication in the body of your review or as a footnote. Lectures automatically includes this information at the head of your review.

If you are reviewing a journal or a collective work, you can quote the titles of articles or contributions (within single quotation marks), so long as it does not unnecessarily complicate the reader's task. Quoting the title of an article should not be considered a means of resuming the author's arguments, which should be formulated in your own words rather than by using a quote.

It is essential to give the full name of any authors whose contributions you refer to.

Can extracts from the publication be quoted in the review?

Extracts can of course be quoted, so long as they are short, pertinent, and fully integrated within your argument and, above all, that there are not too many of them. Quotations should not be used to replace the reformulation and synthesis of the author's arguments. They should be considered, rather, as a complement. When quoting longer extracts (sparingly!) the numbers of the pages on which they appear should be indicated (between brackets and not as a footnote). Shorter, more general extracts, such as specific terms used by the author do not necessarily require page numbers.

For example:

– ʻChange [though] not attached to a “thing”, is not intangible for all that. It has to be examined as an element relating individual perception and collectively produced representations’ (p. 109).

– The author considers these traces to be metonymic signs of the institution.

Can I mention or quote other publications?

Yes. Mention of other publications is even recommended, so long as proper usage is respected: quotations should be strictly accurate, short and properly attributed.

In addition, being an electronic publication, Lectures strongly encourages the use of hyperlinks as a means of cross-referencing to other Lectures articles as well to all forms of digital content which you consider useful for your argument. As a general rule we would encourage you to systematically check whether any publication you choose to quote has already be reviewed by Lectures. It is quite probable that you will find a review or at the very least a bibliographical entry concerning works published after 2004.

How can I find existing reviews and other references on the Lectures website?

You can use the search engine which is to be found in the top left-hand corner of all pages on the website. Please note however that it only searches existing reviews and so will not return publications for which only a bibliographical notice has been published on the site.

The content of Lectures can be searched more systematically using the author index which is to be found in the ‘browse’ menu in the left hand column of each page and which gives easy access to all authors, by alphabetical order.

Can I include footnotes?

Footnotes can be used... sparingly.

They should be included in your typescript as footnotes – not as endnotes – using the footnote function provided by your word processing programme.

Footnotes should be used for information which you consider to be complementary to your main text. They should never include information essential for a full understanding of your discussion. They can be used, for example, to provide a bibliographical reference, a definition of an important concept used in the review, the original-language version of a quote which you have translated, etc. In the case of bibliographical references they should be complete and correctly formatted (see the section on Bibliography  in the A to Z below).

But remember, footnotes should not be used to reference quotations taken directly from the publication being reviewed. Likewise, footnotes are not ʻa text within the textʼ or a means of exceeding the maximum number of characters imposed by Lectures.

How should I present my review?

The page layout of your review should be as simple as possible and should avoid special formatting effects. Paragraphs should be roughly the same length. Avoid opening a new paragraph with each sentence or writing the whole review in a single paragraph.

More specifically you should also avoid using subheadings, lists with dashes or bullets, tables and illustrations. Reviews which do not respect these rules will be returned to be corrected. The number of reviews which we have to process is such that we are unfortunately unable to reformat them all individually.

What file format should I use?

Reviews should be sent in the form of a Word file with a .doc extension.

We would suggest that you use the document template (see the section on Style Sheet in the A to Z below), which you can download here:

How to use the template?

– Open the file using Word or OpenOffice and save it immediately as a new .doc document (rather than .docx, .odt or other), preferably with the following name structure: CR Author_publi Year Reviewer.doc. (For information the ʻCRʼ refers to ‘compte rendu’ in the Lectures file management system.)

Example : CR_Schneider_2015_Ridley.doc.

– Replace the default text which comes with the template with the text of your review using the paragraph styles which are present in the template which has been designed to facilitate the transfer of the reviews onto the website.

– Prior to sending your review to Lectures, please consider checking spelling and grammar with the appropriate ‘proofing’ functions provided by your word processing programme.

What information should appear at the head of my review?

The following information should appear at the head of the review:

Forename and surname of the author, Title of the publication in italics (*)

Forename and surname of the reviewer

Short biography of the reviewer

Date of the review in the format dd/mm/yyyy

(*) the content of the title line will depend on the type of publication. If there are several authors, simply separate the names by a comma (and not and or &).

Title line for a monograph:

Forename(s) and surname(s) of the author(s), Title of the publication


Jan Plamper, The History of Emotions. An Introduction

Chris Brundson, Lex Comber, An Introduction to R for Spatial Analysis & Mapping

– Title line for a collective work

Forename(s) and surname(s) of the editor(s), Title of the publication


Nilüfer Göle (ed), Islam and Public Controversy in Europe

Simon Susen, Bryan S. Turner (eds), The Spirit of Luc Boltanski

– Title line for an issue of a journal on a specific theme:

Forename and surname of the guest editor of the issue (ed.), ʻTheme titleʼ, Journal title, n°, year.

Example :

Edited by Sam Friedman, Mike Savage, Laurie Hanquinet and Andrew Miles (ed.), “Cultural sociology and new forms of distinction”, Poetics, vol. 53, 2015.

– Title line for a film

Forename and surname of the director, Title of the film

Specific instructions for writing ‘commentaries’

Who can write a ‘commentary’?

Contributors of ‘commentaries’ are chosen by the editorial committee. They are generally specialists in the field covered by the publication.

What kinds of publication are singled out for commentary?

Commentaries are usually reserved for publications which the Lectures editorial team consider to be of particular importance for one or more disciplines. It may have been written by an authority in the field, whose work is regularly reviewed and discussed, or it may have been the object of widespread interest and debate. Or it may simply be considered important by the Lectures editorial committee.

What is the difference between a review and a commentary?

A commentary is longer than an ordinary review and explores the arguments in more detail. As a result it necessarily exceeds the maximum of 10,000 characters allowed for an ordinary review. In contrast to the majority of reviews which offer a presentation of the content of the publication and the ideas which the author develops, a commentary adopts a more fully discursive approach concerning the originality of the publication with respect to other work in the field.

A to Z of the editorial and typographical rules applied to Lectures reviews


On its first use, an acronym should be given in brackets (and without punctuation) after its full development.

Example : Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA).


See also : Quotations.

Complete bibliographical references for works mentioned in the review should be included as footnotes only, rather than as a bibliography at the end of the article.

Bibliographical references in footnotes should be presented as follows:

For single author works:

Author's surname, forename, Title, Place of publication, Publisher, Series title, Year of publication.

Example: Clark Gregory, The Son Also Rises. Surnames and the History of Social Mobility, Princeton University Press, 2014.

For collective works:

Editor's surname, forename (ed.), Title, Place of publication, Publisher, Series title, Year of publication.

For articles:

Author's surname, forename, ʻTitle of the articleʼ, Journal title, number, Year of publication, p. Pagination.

Example: Granovetter Mark S., ‘The Strength of Weak Ties’, American Journal of Sociology, 78, 1973, pp. 1360-1380.

For contributions to collective works:

Author's surname, forename, ʻTitle of the contributionʼ, in Editor's surname, forename (ed.), Title of the publication, Place of publication, Publisher, Year, p. Pagination.


White Howard D., ‘Scientific and Scholarly Networks’, in John Scott and Peter J. Carrington (ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Network Analysis, London, Sage, 2011, p. 271-285.

Please note that if you use a specialised programme to manage your bibliography (such as EndNote, Zotero, RefWorks. etc), you should delete the tags delimiting the fields in the references you are using before sending the review to Lectures.

Capital letters

Capital letters should be used sparingly at all times: to begin a sentence, for proper names and for specific situations (for example the Prime Minister takes capitals, a prime minister does not. Never put a whole word in capitals. Book titles in a bibliographical reference require a capital letter for the first word and for proper names only. Do not capitalise the first letter in order to emphasize a word. Similarly, it not necessary capitalise the words in a name for which the acronym is giver in capitals.

Example : NEA (National Endowment for the Arts).


Dashes (– or Alt+0336) with a space on either side should be used when it is necessary to clarify a complex sentence or to mark a verbal interruption in a more abrupt manner than with commas or parentheses.


Within some hot-metal typefaces – Caslon and Walbaum are examples – there may be a distinct difference of appearance between large and small sizes.


References to dates should be given as follows:

– years and decades are written in figures: 1968, the 1820s, the 1970s.

– centuries are written as follows: 20th century.


Footnotes (sparingly used) should be linked to their corresponding note number in the text using the ‘footnoteʼ (and not ‘endnoteʼ) function in your word processing programme. The note number should be in Arab figures (1, 2, 3, etc.) and in superscript and should follow any punctuation.

Footnotes can be used to indicate sources of quotes in works other than that being reviewed. The note numbers should be placed immediately after the closing quotation mark and after the full stop if it falls at the end of the sentence.


Italics should only be used to designate the title of a book, film or journal, or to compose text in a foreign language.

In book and journal titles capitals should only be used for the first letter of the title or for proper names.

Examples :

The presentation of self in everyday Life.

American journal of sociology.

– The concept of sens pratique.

In all other circumstances the use of italics should be avoided. More specifically, they should never be used to emphasize a word or group of words (likewise for bold and underlining). If you feel the need to emphasize certain ideas or sections of an argument, do it with words: by the use of adverbs, adjectives, etc.


Do not add a line of white space between paragraphs. A single carriage return is enough to mark the change of paragraph.

Care should be taken not to break up the text into paragraphs too often (which can give the reader an impression that the argumentation is fragmentary), or too rarely (which can make the text seem excessively dense).

Quotation marks

See also: Quotations.

Quotations should be identified in the body of the text using single quotation marks (ʻaaʼ and not “aa”). If you need to use quotation marks within a quotation they should be double (“aa” and not ‘aa’)

Real quotation marks – as opposed to minute (ʹ) and second (ʺ) signs – should be automatic if your text is identified as being in English. In the event that this is not the case you can insert them as “special characters”

Quotation marks



English double opening: “

Alt + 0147

Alt + [

English double closing: ”

Alt + 0148

Alt + Maj + [

English single opening: ʻ

Alt + 0145

Alt + ]

English single closing: ʼ

Alt + 0146

Alt + Shift + ]


See also: Bibliography, Quotation marks.

Quotations from the work being reviewed should be used sparingly.

As a general rule, quotations from the publication under review or from other works should not exceed the limits of fair use, roughly ten lines per book. They should be included in the body of the text, in the same type style without italics, and should not constitute a separate paragraph. They should be accurate and should be placed between single quotation marks (ʻaaʼ, not “aa”), and in the case of complete sentences, they should be followed by the page number in brackets. Any cuts in the quote should take account of punctuation and be indicated by an ellipsis (...). Any additions (for grammatical reasons for example) should be placed between square brackets.


– ʻThe author considers these traces as “metonymic signs” of the institutionʼ.

– ‘Through these superimpositions, Aristotle manages (…) to inscribe the desire for knowledge in nature’.

– ʻChange [though] not attached to a “thing”, is not intangible for all that. It has to be examined as an element relating individual perception and collectively produced representations.ʼ (p. 109).

Style sheet (template)

Please use the styles provided by the Lectures template which you can download here:

– Open the file using Word or OpenOffice and save it immediately as a new .doc document (rather than .docx, .odt or other), preferably with the following name structure: CR Author_publi Year Reviewer.doc. (For information the ʻCRʼ refers to ‘compte rendu’ in the Lectures file management system.)

Example : CR_Schneider_2015_Ridley.doc.

– Replace the default text which comes with the template with the text of your review using the paragraph styles which are present in the template which has been designed to facilitate the transfer of the reviews onto the website.

– Prior to sending your review to Lectures, please consider checking spelling and grammar with the appropriate ‘proofing’ functions provided by your word processing programme.


Subheadings should not be used in reviews.

They can be used in longer commentaries, in which case they should be formatted using Title 1 style.


The body of the text should be composed in the Normal style provided by the Lecture.doc template (Times New Roman, 12 point, with no extra interlinear space).


Quotations in foreign languages should be translated into English, and the original version of the quotation given in a corresponding footnote.

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