Publishing Policy and Guidelines

The Kansas Geological Survey, established in 1889, operates under State of Kansas statute ". . . to make as far as possible a complete geological survey of the state of Kansas, giving special attention to any and all natural products of economic importance, in order to determine the character, location and amount of such products, and to prepare reports on the same. . . ." Throughout its history, the Survey has published a variety of books and maps on geology, minerals, and geohydrology pertaining to the state of Kansas.

Current Survey publications include, but are not limited to: (1) Bulletins-extensive research works, historical documentation, reference works with a long shelf life, or bibliographies; (2) Technical Series-timely technical publications on research in subsurface geology, ground-water studies, energy resources, geology, geophysics, petrophysics, chemical analysis, and spatial analysis; (3) Guidebooks; and (4) Educational Series-nontechnical publications in the earth sciences. Educational pamphlets, public information circulars, catalogues, maps, data bases, and a newsletter also are published by the Survey.

An additional Survey publication in the Bulletin series is Current Research in Earth Science, a timely, online-only publication found at Current Research is a peer-reviewed series of technical articles in the earth sciences, preferably in Kansas or the midcontinent, that are annually collected under one Bulletin number designation and then archived electronically.

All Survey publications are public domain and therefore can be reproduced without permission. Source credit is requested.

Printed bulletins and series publications are printed in two columns, 5/16 inch (8 mm) apart and 3 1/16 x 8 13/16 inches (76 x 223 mm) each, on pages measuring 8 1/2 x 11 inches (216 x 279 mm). These measurements should be kept in mind when designing figures and tables.


Acceptability of manuscripts depends on their scientific quality and significance. An original and two copies for printed publication as well as a disk containing electronic copy should be submitted to the Editor, Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Avenue, Campus West, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66047. Electronic submission of manuscripts for Current Research can be made at

Printed publications at the Survey are produced using desktop publishing on Macintosh microcomputers; software employed includes Microsoft Word, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe PageMaker. The editing office also can transfer MS-DOS files to Macintosh. If at all possible, authors should also include a computer disk of the manuscript when submitted; Macintosh or MS-DOS disks (3 1/2 inch) may be submitted. Contact the editor or assistant editor at for further information on electronic submission of manuscripts.

Both electronic and hard copy of the manuscript must be complete and in final form when submitted. All parts of the manuscript should be double-spaced (including abstract, references, and captions); the pages should be numbered. The manuscript should contain a title page, a preface or acknowledgments section, contents (including a list of illustrations and a list of tables), an informative abstract of 250 words or less, text, references, a list of figure captions or cutlines, tables, and the appropriate graphic material.

An informative abstract summarizes the main facts, ideas, and conclusions. An indicative abstract (statements such as "is being described" or "conclusions are being made") is merely a form of contents and is not acceptable. K. K. Landes' "A scrutiny of the abstract," Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v. 50, no. 9, 8 p., is a good source on writing abstracts.

If U.S. (Customary) or British (Imperial) measurement units are used, they should be accompanied by their international metric equivalents. Always list the units in which the measurements were actually taken first.

Tables must be concise and printed on separate sheets. Foldouts cannot be accepted, but some tables and figures can be reproduced to cover facing pages. If oversize maps accompany the book, they may be included in a back pocket or sold separately.

Footnotes are discouraged. If submitted, they either will be incorporated into the text or consecutively numbered and inserted as a separate section between the end of the text and the references.

In-text reference citations should be given as author(s) surname and year of publication (e.g., Jones, 1978; Smith, 1967). For a work by more than two authors, use "et al." (e.g., Smith et al., 1980). Written communications, personal communications, and unpublished data taken from sources such as field notes should be cited in the text only and not in the list of references. In these cases the communicator's initials should be used (e.g., D. W. Jones, personal communication, 1979; R. J. Smith, written communication, 1981; P. J. Davidson, unpublished data, 1947).

The list of references should be limited to and inclusive of all references cited in the text. References should be listed alphabetically by surname and chronologically. Names of journals must be spelled out in full. For example (examples are fictitious):

Davidson, P. J., 1943, Water sources of Kansas; in, Howell, J. F. (ed.), Water Resources of the Midwestern United States: Macmillan and Company, Inc., p. 43-67
Smith, R. J., and Jones, D. W., 1972, Geology and water resources of southern Kansas: Geological Society of America, Bulletin, v. 14, no. 3, p. 52-54

For further reference questions, please refer to p. 234-241 of Suggestions to Authors of Reports of the United States Geological Survey, revised and edited by Wallace R. Hansen, 1991, 7th ed., U.S. Government Printing Service, Washington, D.C.

Geologic names must conform to the requirements of the Code of Stratigraphic Nomenclature. All informal terms and names must be clearly distinguished as such. In the matter of capitalization of the initial letters of formal geologic names, please refer to p. 43-49 of Suggestions to Authors of Reports of the United States Geological Survey, revised and edited by Wallace R. Hansen, 1991, 7th ed., U.S. Government Printing Service, Washington, D.C. If these sources are unavailable to you, the editor will make the necessary changes in the nomenclature. These sources are available for perusal in the editor's office.

Geographic names must conform to the requirements of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, U.S. Geological Survey. In all cases, formal geographic names are preferred. For information on correct spelling, capitalization, and usage of formal geographic names, please refer to the "National Gazetteer of the United States of America," in its published or digital form or at the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database at If these sources are unavailable to you, the editor will make the necessary changes in the nomenclature. The printed gazetteer is available for perusal in the editor's office.

All illustrations are referred to as figures. Line drawings must be inked and clearly labeled, or figures may be created using graphics software and submitted on disk as well as hard copy. Save computer graphics in EPS format. Check with the editor or graphic designer before submitting computer-drawn figures. Halftones should be clear, sharp, and of high contrast. They may be submitted as slides or glossy prints. Slides are preferred, especially for color printing. If prints are submitted, they should be printed on glossy paper and under no circumstances should they have any writing on them. Photographs may be labeled on the back and mylar or onionskin paper overlays may be attached to show necessary linework. Photographs taken with a digital camera are discouraged unless resolution is 300 dots per inch. The complexity of an illustration is inversely related to the percentage of reduction possible. As a rule, no more than 50% reduction for relatively simple figures and 30-35% for the more complex ones can be achieved without substantially reducing legibility. For any single publication care should be taken to make all figures at 100% publication size or at a consistent size for reduction. Thus, if a one-column figure is 30% larger than publication size, a full-page figure for the same report should be 30% larger than publication size. This consistency in proportional size of figures is important in keeping the cost of the publication down. Listing of magnifications/reductions in the captions is unacceptable; illustrations whose scale is of consequence must include scale bars. Although figures may be submitted by authors in what they consider final format, the editor reserves the right to have figures redrafted at the Survey to conform with Survey publications.

Requirements for maps vary from case to case. Therefore the author should communicate map-related questions to the editor or the graphic designer.

Editorial Procedures

All manuscripts are subject to at least two colleague reviews. Manuscripts by Kansas Geological Survey authors will be subject to external review. The only manuscripts exempt from this review process will be production reports, data lists, nonscientific articles, and the like; however, these reports may be subject to review at the discretion of the editor. Authors may suggest potential reviewers, or manuscripts may be reviewed before submission by persons of the author's choice. In the latter case, the reviewers' comments and all pertinent correspondence must accompany the manuscript if the author wishes for such review to serve as the colleague review of the manuscript (i.e. the reviewers already contacted are the best or only qualified reviewers). The names of such reviewers should appear in the acknowledgments. The editor reserves the right to request additional opinions from reviewers of the editor's choice.

Following review, authors are generally expected to address reviewers' concerns and comments. Upon receipt of the revised manuscript, copy editing and organization are done in the editorial office. The author may receive a copy of the edited manuscript to review before the text is laid out. The KGS uses a desktop-publishing system to produce camera-ready copy of publications. The author reviews the pages thus produced (camera-ready copy, not page proofs or bluelines) and may correct any errors at this stage. However, we request that authors keep their alterations to a minimum. If coauthors are involved, the senior author is responsible for sending them proofs and compiling their corrections.

The review process for maps is the same as that for manuscripts.

Map Authorship

Map authorship is predicated on the policy that the initial field work and geologic decisions made in mapping determine authorship. Although a map may have been published many years ago and revision has taken place, the map is still essentially the work of the initial author. Such a map should include a clear explanation of further compilations, revisions, etc. in addition to the authorship, but these should not displace the original author. If a substantial (50%) revision of the depiction of geology has been made through field work, etc., then the map may be considered a new publication by a new author.

An example is the map M-55, Geologic Map, Jefferson County, Kansas. This map originally appeared as a plate in Bulletin 202, part 4, in 1972, by J. D. Winslow. When the decision was made to produce this as a new electronically plotted map with revisions resulting from a compilation of data from subsequent publications, etc., the authorship should remain the same with a note of explanation of the revisions.

The reference for this map should be:

Winslow, J. D. [1972] 1998, Geologic Map, Jefferson County, Kansas, revised by E. C. Crouse, D. R. Collins, and J. A. Ross: Kansas Geological Survey, Map M-55, scale 1:50,000; revised from Bulletin 202, part 4, plate 1.

The map would be titled:

Geologic Map, Jefferson County, Kansas
by J. D. Winslow, 1972
Revised by E. C. Crouse, D. R. Collins, and J. A. Ross, 1998

Credit should be clearly stated on the map for revisions and cartography. Such credit should include the names and areas of responsibility of those revising and preparing the map. The language denoting such credit should be developed in consultation with, and should have the approval of, the Survey's editor.

Publication Release

Once the publication process is completed, finished printed publications will be mailed out to interested persons and organizations by way of selected mailing lists. Authors receive five (5) complimentary copies of the released publication (senior author only in the case of multiple authors). A 20% discount on additional purchases of the publication may be arranged with the Survey publications/sales office. Electronic publications are available online or a copy may be printed on-demand for the senior author if so requested. Arrangements should be made before printing if an author wants extra reprint copies of an article appearing in a printed Survey publication. Illustrations can be returned if requested.

Open-file Reports

The Kansas Geological Survey's library maintains a collection of unpublished reports and maps representing research findings conducted in the state. Included in the collection of open-file materials are graduate theses, unpublished reports, maps, and data.

Materials for open file are submitted to the Survey Librarian, who forwards them to the Associate Director for Public Outreach for review. If editorial review is necessary, the report also will go to the Survey Editor, who will review it and work with authors on any necessary revision. If there are scientific issues with a report, it will go to the Deputy Director for the appropriate review. This will not be the full-fledged peer review process that a formal Survey publication goes through; it will be a quick, internal review (if necessary), similar to what many staff already request from their colleagues. Once any necessary editorial and/or content revisions are addressed, the report will be assigned an open-file number.

Guidelines on Writing and Reviewing Scientific Manuscripts

Critical review is essential for maintaining quality; it is also important in evaluating and monitoring effectiveness of research programs.

No manuscript should be submitted for formal critical review until the authors consider it complete. Peer discussion is different and informal; however, critical appraisal cannot be made on the basis of an incomplete manuscript.

Critical reviewers are not "ghost writers," and no author should expect a rewrite from a reviewer.

The best method is for the editor to send the manuscript out for review; the editor can ensure that the manuscript is in final draft form, including clear illustrations, no ambiguity, and other essentials.

It is the responsibility of the authors to see that the factual information is presented clearly and concisely in such a way that the reader has no doubt as to the accuracy and authenticity. There may be disagreement on conclusions drawn from the data, but there should be no disagreement on the factual information itself.

If data lend to more than one interpretation, the authors should present such alternatives. Authors are entitled to state their preference among the options, but they must be able to back up that preference.

Critical reviewers have the responsibility to point out alternative points of view where warranted but should not try to convert the authors to their way of thinking.

Reviewers should consider (and authors should remember) the following:

  • Do the results warrant publication in the form proposed or would another format or publication be more suitable?
  • Does the report have any significant advances or is it merely confirming data? Is it worth formal publication?
  • Are all tables and figures essential? Can some be combined or dropped? Oversize items to be inserted in back pockets are to be avoided if at all possible.
  • Has full credit been given for use of material presented elsewhere?
  • Is the report too long? padded? Should some of the data be in an appendix? on a disk or on a web site rather than printed?
  • Does the scientific terminology meet accepted standards?
  • Should some sections be reviewed by someone else?

In writing a report, the main aim is the transfer of information. To accomplish this, conciseness and clarity are important above all. Just as reviewers have an important responsibility in performing critical reviews, authors have an even greater responsibility in making sure that manuscripts are concise, clear, and complete before submission for review or publication.

Additional information may be found in the KGS Style Manual and Word Usage Guide.