Product has been added to the basket

Information for Authors - Special Publications

ScopeKey points | Submission | Page format | Colour charges | Open Access | Citation data for Special Publications | Refereeing and editing | Discussions | Production | What do authors receive? | Keep in touch

Scope of the series

Special Publications represent a state-of-the-art treatment of their subject matter. They cover all branches of the Earth sciences except engineering geology.

Key points to consider before you submit 

Preparing your paper

Guidelines for preparing text and illustrations can be found in the box to the right of this page. Those apply to all GSL publications. Details of page size, colour and Open Access costs (which are specific to this book series) are below.


We welcome papers from authors in all countries, but if you are not fluent in English please seek assistance before submission. There are resources to help ESL authors, some of which are written in other languages.


We expect all authors, reviewers and editors to comply with the Society’s Code of Publishing Ethics. Please ensure that you have read, understood and complied with this, particularly the sections on authors and sample collection. You will be asked to confirm this when you submit your paper.

The Society now runs automatic plagiarism checks on submissions to all journals and those books using online submission. The checks will occur upon submission of a new manuscript.

Submission or publication elsewhere is not acceptable while your paper is under consideration for the Special Publication. Dual submission and publication are serious breaches of widely accepted publishing ethics.

The Society is now gathering information on the role of each author on submitted papers. We are using the CRediT taxonomy developed by CASRAI. This information appears in our published articles and is sent to CrossRef.

Data availability statements are necessary for all Geological Society of London publications arising from publicly-funded research, and are a requirement of many funders' data policies and the RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy. For more information, please read our guidance on text.

Read the Society’s policy on corrections and retractions.  

Declaration of interest statements

During the submission process, authors will be asked to reveal to the editor any potential conflict of interest that might be affected by publication of the results contained in a manuscript. To ensure transparency and allow readers to form their own judgements of any potential bias, authors should consider including a declaration of interest statement.

For example:

Conflict of interest: The authors declare no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication.

Conflict of interest: [Author A] has received research grants from [Company X], [Author B] is a member of [Committee Y], [Author C] has received an honorarium for speaking at [Symposium Y] and [Author D] is consultant to [Company Z]. [Author E] declares no known conflict of interest.

Publishing agreement and terms of use

As part of the submission process, you (or your employer) will be asked to grant the Society an exclusive licence to publish and accept the terms and conditions for use of your final PDF. If the manuscript is not accepted by the Geological Society of London or withdrawn prior to acceptance by the Geological Society of London, this agreement will be null and void.

  • You can reuse your figures and data without permission
  • You can post your original version at any time
  • You can post the refereed manuscript version 12 months after publication
  • You can pay to make your paper Open Access (see below)
  • You cannot post the final PDF or proofs at any time unless you have paid for Open Access

More information on the licence can be found in the Copyright Policy.

More information on reusing your material can be found on the permissions page.


If you have not already done so, we encourage you to register for an ORCID iD. You can use your iD to log into our submission system and many others.

From 1 April 2020 corresponding authors will be required to provide an authenticated ORCID identifier as part of the manuscript submission process.

More information is available on the ORCID website.


All Special Publications use online submission via Editorial Manager. You need an invitation from the editor in order to submit. If you have any queries during submission, please contact the Editorial Office at

Before submitting a manuscript, it is recommended that you have the following to hand:

  • All authors' first, middle names/initials and last names
  • Corresponding author ORCID identifier
  • All authors' email addresses
  • The role of each contributor in preparing the paper (see the CRediT taxonomy)
  • The names and links to any repositories where data used in your research is held. For more information, please see the 'What to include in your Data Access Statement' section in the author guidelines document
  • Text file in Word or RTF formats (Latex is acceptable in new, but not old site)
  • Tables in XLS (or XLS compatible)
  • Figures/images no greater than 10MB in PDF format (TIFF, EPS or JPG formats are acceptable; see note below)
  • Supplementary data files
  • Covering letter (which the referees will see)
  • Abstracts of any related papers that you have in press or in review

Please have the text file as a separate file. You may put all other files in one folder. You can upload a ZIP file to the system and it will be automatically unpacked.

We recommend that images are initially submitted as PDF files because these provide optimum reproduction for the merged PDF for the review process. EPS, TIFF or JPG files are also acceptable, but those images sometimes appear less clear in the merged PDF. 

Note that there is a file size limit of 10MB in the new system to keep the merged PDFs manageable for editing and review. If your files are bigger, please make smaller versions for review and we will request the high-resolution files off-system when your paper is accepted.

The submission package will guide you through the processes for submitting your files and confirmation/approval. The final stage can be slow, so please be prepared to save and revisit.

Papers should be arranged as follows:

  • Title: brief and specific; followed by name(s) and address(es) of authors (including email address of corresponding author)
  • Abstract: this must be intelligible without reference to the paper, and should not exceed 200 words. Figures are not allowed in the Abstract
  • Main body of paper: subdivided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd order headings; omit heading 'Introduction'
  • Acknowledgements 
  • Funding
  • Appendices: see Supplementary Data
  • References: in full; authors' names must be keyed as capitals and lower case
  • Tables
  • Figure captions
  • Figures (10MB maximum for new system) in separate files

Please be prepared to upload a single text file (.doc or .doc compatible) containing your manuscript. You can upload a ZIP file with your table, figures and supplementary data and the system will automatically unpack it.

Page format

Special Publication papers look very much like journal articles. The authors are listed at the start of the paper; they have abstracts and a reference list at the end of each chapter. The main text is in double column format. Final printed page size: 248 mm deep by 172 mm wide. Maximum final size of illustrations: 204 mm deep by 135 mm wide. Single column width: 65 mm. Number of words per page: 800. It is not possible with this page size to have captions at the side of figures.

Colour charges

From SP465 onwards there will be no charges for colour figures in Special Publications.

Open Access publishing

The Geological Society has partnered with OaMetrix for APC processing of all our open access articles. When your paper is accepted for publication, you will receive an additional email from OaMetrix ( If you do not want to publish your article under an Open Access license, no action is needed. If you would like to publish your article with an Open Access license the email from OaMetrix will provide details on the APC as well what needs to be done to create an invoice. Further instructions on how to prepare an invoice in OaMetrix can be found on our author instruction page.

Authors may choose to make their article fully Open Access (sometimes called ‘Gold Open Access’) on payment of an Article Processing Charge.

  • 2021 APC price: £2,150/$4,300 (+VAT as applicable as the time of invoicing and subject to change).
    2022 APC price: £2,200/$4,400 (+VAT as applicable as the time of invoicing and subject to change).
  • Articles where the corresponding author or at least half the authors are Fellows of the Geological Society are entitled to a 25% discount.
  • Corresponding authors at institutions that have signed a read and publish agreement with the Geological Society of London may qualify for an APC discount. The list of qualifying institutions can be found on our Open Access page.
  • There is a 50% discount for articles where all the authors are at a research institution in a developing country.

More information on the Society’s policy can be found on our Open Access page.

You can select Open Access when you submit your article online. You do not need to pay until after your article is accepted. There will be a link to the payment authorisation form in the acceptance letter.

If you require Open Access but cannot pay the APC, the Geological Society also supports ‘Green Open Access’, where you can post your final post-refereed version of the article to a website or repository 12 months after the online publication date.

Authors must not post a typeset proof or final version to any website or repository unless the article is fully Open Access.

Citation data for Special Publications

GSL Special Publications and most other books published by the Society from 2008 onwards (with incomplete coverage from 2005) will be included in the Thomson Reuters Book Citation Index or the Conference Proceedings Citation Index, which are components of Web of Science.

Citation counts for individual articles will be available, and the counts will be included in an author’s h-index. TMS and IAVCEI Special Publications are also eligible for the BkCI. GSL Special Publications are also included in Elsevier's Scopus and citation counts can also be found through Google Scholar.

Refereeing and editing

The volume editors will send your paper to at least two referees. The volume editors will handle the papers through the reviewing and scientific editing procedure. A Single Blind Peer Review process is used.

We expect the reviewing and editing procedure to take about five to six months - but this is dependent upon referees and schedules of the scientific editors. 

GSL supports co-reviewing across its portfolio of publications. In co-review, invited reviewers have the option to involve a co-reviewer (often a junior colleague, for training purposes) in completing their report. All peer reviewers for GSL publications are expected to follow the Society’s ethical guidelines, including confidentiality of peer review.


Discussions on papers in GSL books can be submitted to an appropriate GSL journal. The editorial board of the journal will be responsible for review and acceptance. Discussions should add something to the debate and not be just an additional observation.


Once the first batch of papers is finalised and the Commissioning Editor considers the book ready to start production, a Production Editor will be assigned. The Production Editor will write to the authors notifying them of when proofs are due and if there are any problems or costs to be incurred. The paper will be copyedited and then sent to an external typesetter.

You will be instructed on how to access your proofs. We do not generally send revised proofs to authors. When all the papers for the book have been published online, we will paginate them and they will move to the main part of the Special Publications Lyell site. We will also print them as a hardback book.

What do authors receive?

Corresponding authors receive a free internet-quality PDF, which they can forward to their co-author.

Shortly after publication, all authors of each paper will receive a special order form allowing them to buy up to two copies of the print book at a heavily discounted price, usually 75% off the full list price. Further copies can be purchased at the GSL Fellows’ rate, usually half the full list price – although please note there will be no extra discount for authors that are GSL members.

We are not able to provide free books for authors in these volumes, because of the considerable costs involved and also due to the number of authors involved in each book. We strive to keep our production costs as low as possible, so that we can make the books available to individuals at reasonable prices.

Keep in touch

We produce a regular author newsletter. If you would like to receive this, please visit our subscriptions page or email our marketing team ( You do not have to be a published author to sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time.

SP Series Metrics

  • Cites per doc 2 yr: 1.561
  • Cites per doc 4 yr: 1.581
  • SJR: 0.85
  • h5-index: 33

Information on Metrics