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Preparing JAIC Articles and Notes

JAIC's editors have gathered tips and notes to assist authors in preparing their articles, review articles, short communications, and technical notes. Some of these instructions were first published in the AIC News, AIC's member newsletter. These tips are shared below.

Publisher Resources

New! Taylor and Francis (T&F), JAIC's publisher, has a website devoted to helping authors turn research into publications.

Scholarly Writing Session at Annual Meetings

JAIC editorial staff, together with the publisher's managing editor, have presented sessions on scholarly writing for annual meeting attendees in 2017 (Chicago) and 2018 (Houston), and 2019 (New England).

Presenting in 2018 were Julio del Hoyo-Meléndez, JAIC's editor in chief and conservation scientist at National Museum in Krakow; George Cooper, Taylor & Francis/Routledge Managing Editor, Journals; Robin Hanson, JAIC Associate Editor and Textiles Conservator, Cleveland Museum of Art; and Bonnie Naugle, JAIC managing editor and AIC Communications Director. Topics included a journal overview, essential parts of an article, importance of an abstract, and turning a postprint into a peer-reviewed publication.

Short Articles in JAIC

By Julio M. del Hoyo-Meléndez, Editor-in-Chief
Short communications are typically used by scientific journals as a way of rapidly disseminating very significant findings that are of broad interest to the research community. Since scientific research moves at such a fast pace and the work of researchers from different institutions might overlap, short communications offer the possibility of reporting first on a specific topic. Short communications provide a brief description of a very significant scientific development and usually do not include detailed background information or extensive presentations of results and discussion. The work reported must be technically rigorous, innovative, and unique. Although less frequent, short papers are found in the scientific, human, and social sciences literature where they introduce significant new results of small investigations or new creative models or methods. Short communications are often related to technical notes. The latter primarily deal with a technique or procedure, or may describe a significant modification made to existing equipment or a particular method.

As in any other discipline, short communications submitted to JAIC must meet the high standards required by the conservation field. For example, they can be used to report on a novel technique or method that exceptionally constitutes an important and stimulating contribution to modern conservation. These papers may also present new data that support a novel and exceptional conservation treatment. The characterization of an unusual material in a cultural heritage object or its unexpected aging behavior could also qualify as a substantial contribution for a short communication.

However, short communications should not be misinterpreted as a method for publishing preliminary results. They can be considered for publication only if the results are of outstanding interest and are particularly relevant for the conservation community. The most common problems found when reviewing a short communication include: lengthy manuscripts, too many irrelevant details, excessive references, and most importantly, lack of evident advancement of the field of conservation. It is essential that an author evaluate the content, structure, and impact of a submission before making a proposal for its consideration as either a technical note or short communication.

The structure of a short communication is similar to that of an original article. Submissions should include a short abstract, a brief introduction, a materials and methods section, and a brief results and discussion part. The submission should contain no more than 3000 words including abstract, captions, and references. In addition, the number of figures and tables altogether should be limited to 4, and no more than 10 references need be included. If necessary, exceptions can be made after an initial evaluation of a particular submission. Authors will be contacted if their paper does not conform to the proposed guidelines, and will be asked to summarize further or reclassify the submission as a full-length research paper. Please feel free to contact us if you believe that a very important and time-sensitive aspect of your research can be presented as a short article in JAIC.

—Published in AIC News, Vol. 40.6, November 2015, p. 10

The Mechanics of Writing for JAIC, Part I:

Transitioning a Paper from a Specialty Group Postprint to JAIC

By Robin Hanson, JAIC Associate Editor for Textiles

Publishing in a peer reviewed publication can be hard work, but also very rewarding. As JAIC associate editor for textiles, I’ll use the TSG postprints as my guide.

You’ve undertaken interesting research or completed a compelling treatment project. Because you have already done the work to prepare a specialty group postprint paper for publication, much of your basic work is complete. I’d suggest using a treatment or research paper in JAIC or Studies in Conservation that you found to be compelling as a guide to structure your paper. Make sure your introduction fully describes why you’ve done what you’ve done and how you got to the starting point of your project. Then outline, in detail, exactly what you did, how you did it, glitches along the way, and successes or failures. Craft your paper from the standpoint of someone who knows nothing about what you’ve done or why. Have you included everything that person needs to know to be able to replicate your project? If not, fill in those details.

Your conclusion might talk about next steps, further research that should be undertaken on this subject, how you’d do things differently, or what you’d tweak if you began this project today. Get a friend or colleague to read your paper. Someone with no knowledge of your work may serve as a good barometer. If they understand it all and have no questions, then you are probably ready to submit. If that person has questions or does not understand aspects of your paper, then augment or clarify those sections.

Make sure you credit those who came before and whose work you built on for your project. This can be done both in the acknowledgements section by calling out specific names, and in the body of your paper by citing the work of others in your text and including that citation in your references section. Even unpublished work should be included. Very few of us are actually reinventing the wheel, so credit those who have helped, influenced, or guided.

  • TSG postprints have a word and illustration count limit; however, those same limits need not be considered for JAIC. If compelling, even a very long paper would be considered for JAIC; it might simply be split into two parts as was the case with Susanne Gänsicke et al.’s 2003 article, Vol. 42(2) on the Egyptian collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others.

I have heard from many authors that constructive comments from peer reviewers strengthened their submissions immeasurably. As an associate editor I work hard to choose appropriate peer reviewers who will, through their comments, raise unanswered questions, suggest reorganization of material to clarify, or offer additions that ultimately strengthen a paper.

The JAIC submission process is online, accomplished through our publisher, Taylor & Francis ( If you click on the green button in the upper left “submit an article,” you will automatically be directed to the online submission process and Editorial Manager. You need to register, and the website walks you through how to submit your work. Do not worry about which category—original research paper, short communication, or technical note—your paper falls into. You will not have a paper rejected simply because you picked the wrong category. For specifics on style guide, visit AIC’s webpage: For details on how to format your paper, here’s a link to those specifics on Taylor & Francis’ website:

All of us associate editors are willing to answer questions or help you get a paper JAIC-ready, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Published in AIC News, Vol. 43.4, July 2018, p. 15-16

The Mechanics of Writing for JAIC, Part II

Robin Hanson, JAIC Associate Editor for Textiles
Writing journal articles is never easy. But as professionals, we are obliged to document our methods and discoveries. Because our articles are passed down to future generations as an archive of our current technology, it is critical that we write as clearly and completely as possible. Regardless of the type of paper you are writing for JAIC, or its length, there are required elements.

The steps in writing a paper are difficult and can lead to frustration. It may help to break your paper into smaller sections, each with a specific focus. Here are some general guidelines.

  • The title provides the basis on which a prospective reader decides his or her interest in your article. It should be informative but concise and contain as many index words as possible. After the title comes the author(s) name(s). The decision as to which names to include and in what order requires fair-mindedness and objectivity (see Judith Bishoff’s article in AIC News Vol. 25, No. 3, May 2000).
  • The abstract provides your reader with a complete summary of your paper by clearly delineating its purpose, scope, results, and major conclusions. It should be a stand-alone document. Remember, an abstract is a sales tool. If a potential reader does not find your abstract compelling, they may not read any further. The abstract also is your paper’s only component translated (into French, Spanish, and Portuguese) and available to a non-English speaking audience.
  • The introduction supplements the title and abstract without duplicating them. It first orients your reader and connects your work with current practice in the field. Providing a literature review with sufficient references to place your work in the continuum of relevant past work is a good way to do this. The introduction then states your article’s purpose and provides a rationale for its existence.
  • The body of your paper contains its substance along with the data crucial to validating your paper’s premise. For a technical study, the body includes a description of your research methods followed by your results. It must have enough detail, so your reader can duplicate your procedure. For non-methodology articles, the body can be divided into subsections based on time periods, materials, practices, problems, substrates, or other categories. Each subsection will have a specific focus with a well-defined beginning, middle, and end, and should flow logically.
  • Illustrations help maintain your reader’s involvement, provide focal points, organize data sets, and make comparisons. Examples include images, tables, charts, diagrams, drawings, and graphs. All illustrations need complete captions with appropriate credits.
  • The discussion section presents a critical examination of your paper, research, and concept. The discussion section compares and contrasts your data, ideas, and procedures. It can consider the pros and cons, describe limitations, discuss the effects of various parameters or conditions, and/or specify areas for further study. Questions like "What mistakes were made and how can they be avoided?" and "Could other techniques have worked as well or even better?" can be introduced at this point.
  • The conclusions summarize your paper’s purpose and significant findings. General truths or concepts that have been determined from your study are profiled and placed into the context of their benefits or applications to conservation.
  • The references and suppliers sections complete your article. We cannot add new information to the profession without first documenting what already exists. Even though it may seem tedious to check citations and obtain phone numbers, the contents of these two sections are important as they provide the threads that tie your paper into the fabric of conservation literature.

Remember, the research and ideas presented in your article only become important when they are transferred to practice, thereby allowing your reader to learn from your experience as author. When this happens, your article becomes an essential factor in professional development and growth.

Let’s look at some of the most frequent problems encountered in journal submissions. Problems may distract reviewers and editors from recognizing an article’s merit.

  • Articles in professional journals must be written in the third person. I, me, mine, we, us, and ours indicates the writer is presenting a personal experience. While personal tense is appropriate in essays, prose, presentations, letters, and emails, it is never appropriate in a professional publication. The purpose of a professional publication is to allow the author to step back and objectively present his or her topic.
  • Citations should be included as needed, using the correct format. As a general rule, all ideas or facts you present that you did not produce need to have an associated citation. Because next issue’s JAIC News column will focus on citations, we won’t get into the specifics of citation formatting in this column.
  • Tables and figures must contain sufficient explanatory information. They are an excellent means of presenting and/or comparing materials and results. It is critical, however, that they include sufficient information for your reader to understand them without having to refer to the text. Units must be supplied for all numbers. Explanatory notes can be added to explain abbreviations or give sources for your data. In a figure, axes must be labeled and all symbols identified in a key. Dimensions must be provided for photographs and micrographs.
  • Details must be provided for all work mentioned in your article. Your paper must contain enough information for your work to be reproduced by others. For example, a sentence like “a replacement part was made and installed” should be followed with explanatory steps such as material selection, method of construction, shaping, adhesion, and visual reintegration. Optimally, a photograph should also be included. Likewise, a statement like “FTIR was used to determine the sample contained protein” needs an accompanying paragraph stating sample selection and preparation methodology, analysis technique, instrument type, and all selectable parameters. A second paragraph discussing the analytical results and degree of certainty in the identification should also be included. In many cases this requires a figure showing the spectra for the sample compared to a known reference material.
  • Numbers must accurately represent any measurement errors. Every number obtained by a measurement, as opposed to counting, should be written to reflect the error in the measurement where the right-most digit contains the uncertainty. More sensitive equipment will produce numbers with greater accuracy. For example, a pH measurement taken with indicator paper may be written as 6 (1 significant figure) while the pH of the same solution obtained with an electrode may be accurately written as 6.37 (3 significant figures). All calculations must reflect the error of the least accurate measurement. For further explanation see the following website:
  • Submissions must follow JAIC Guidelines and Style Guide. All submitted articles will be checked against these guidelines and authors will be asked to correct deviations.

The author is indebted to former JAIC editor-in-chief Michele Derrick, Schorr Family Associate Research Scientist at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, who wrote a series of columns for AIC News a decade or more ago about the peer-review process, publishing in a peer-reviewed journal, and other related topics. She graciously agreed to allow reuse of that information; much of what appears in this article has been excerpted and updated from her original columns.

—Published in AIC News, Vol. 43.5, September 2018

The Mechanics of Writing for JAIC, Part III: Citations

Robin Hanson, JAIC Associate Editor for Textiles
There are two aspects to the use of citations in a scholarly work: why they are necessary in the context of a peer-reviewed paper and how to format them.

Why Citations

As a general rule, all ideas or facts you present in your article that you did not produce need to have an associated citation, and their use validates your work as based on that which precedes you. It is important to give credit to those whose work you consulted, built on, or modified. And you, as the author, do this through the list included in the references section of your paper and noted in your text. When citing others’ (or your own) previous work, please ensure you clearly mark with quotation marks text that you quote verbatim from another source, then:

  • Attribute and reference the source of the quotation within your text and in your references section
  • Obtain permission from the original publisher and rights holder when using previously published figures or tables

The references section of your paper completes the attribution. We cannot add new information to the profession without first documenting what already exists. Even though it may seem tedious to check citations, the contents of this section tie your paper into the fabric of conservation literature.

JAIC uses Crossref to screen papers for unoriginal material. By submitting your paper to JAIC you are agreeing to originality checks during the peer-review and production processes. You also are agreeing to obtain the necessary written permission to include material in your article that is owned and held in copyright by a third party (you should also acknowledge and attribute the third party in your article). This content might include proprietary text, an illustration or table, or other material such as data, audio, video, film stills, screenshots, or a musical notation. Even when content is not copyrighted (when it is held in the public domain), you must still attribute it properly.

You will need to allow several weeks or even months for permission requests, so it is advisable to begin this process as early as possible. When asking permission to reproduce third-party material from rights holders, please request the following:

  • Non-exclusive rights to reproduce the item within your article in JAIC, as targeted at a specialist academic readership with a defined circulation
  • Print and electronic rights for the full term of copyright and any extensions of copyright to facilitate repro­duction of the material in JAIC’s print and online editions—third-party material using a time-limited license cannot be published
  • Worldwide English-language distribution rights
  • For images, 300 dpi minimum resolution

It is the custom and practice in academic publishing that the reproduction of short extracts of text and some other types of material may be permitted on a limited basis for the purposes of criticism and review without securing formal permission, on the basis that:

  • The purpose of quotation or use is objective and evidenced scholarly criticism or review (not merely illustration)
  • A quotation is reproduced accurately, either within quotation marks or as displayed text
  • Full attribution is given

If you are not sure if permission is needed, contact the AIC staff, JAIC associate editors, or Taylor & Francis. We are all here to help you get published.

When citing online material, it is important to include the article’s Digital Object Identifier (DOI), if assigned. According to Wikipedia and the International DOI Foundation, the DOI is a unique alphanumeric identifier applied to a specific piece of intellectual property, particularly one presented in an online environment—be that object a book, scientific paper, song, image, or something else. Unlike a conventional web address, or URL, a DOI specifies not the location of an online object but rather its content; a DOI is thus a “persistent” identifier, and remains associated with an object irrespective of changes in the object’s web address. Referring to an online document by its DOI provides a more stable linking than by simply using its URL. If an article is assigned a DOI, it can most often be found at the top of the article’s HTML version. DOIs also form a key component of certain reference-linking systems such as Crossref.

How to Format Citations

When formatting your paper, it is important to follow the specific style guideline rules for JAIC. Submissions must follow the JAIC Guidelines and Style Guide; guidance can be found on the AIC website: Here you will find a link to a downloadable PDF containing the JAIC style guide, as well as links to useful resources on the Taylor & Francis (T&F) website If you click on the T&F link, and scroll down, you will find along the left side of the page links to “Instructions for authors.” AIC Communications & Membership Director Bonnie Naugle has created extensive content on the AIC website at the link above that includes useful tips on writing for JAIC.

All submitted articles will be checked against these guidelines and authors will be asked to correct deviations. JAIC has recently adopted the “Author-Date” system outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style. The primary change you as an author will notice from previous iterations of the JAIC Style Guide is that in your references section, you will list author’s full name(s), not simply the first initial and last name.

You will submit your paper online through Editorial Manager at: In the center of the page is a blue band. If you click on the tab “Instructions for Authors,” you will be directed to that section of the T&F website and will find much useful information.


I would argue that citations take two forms:

  • Text that refers to specific articles, books, and people you have consulted in order to undertake your work; and
  • Images that illustrate and enhance your text.

Please don’t forget to cite your illustrations! They also need to be credited, and not doing your homework here and obtaining the proper permissions is costly. AIC gets fined if permissions are not properly obtained, and I’m sure none of us wants our membership dues being spent on fines AIC must pay in these circumstances. So authors, please secure proper permissions for your images. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Find this graphic at The Author Services website has a lot of useful information for authors at every stage of writing.


In summary, citations show that you are building upon the work of your peers, allow others to repro­duce your work (if applicable), and prevent accusations of plagiarism. A paper with insufficient citations will be flagged during peer review and the references themselves are cross-checked by the publisher whenever possible. If others’ work is used but not cited in a published paper, the assumption is that it is the author’s own work, which may lead to retractions, addendums, and fines after publication – and a poor reputation (for the author and the publication itself).

Much of the information in this column is taken directly from the “Instructions for authors” section of the Taylor & Francis website. The author is also indebted to former JAIC editor-in-chief Michele Derrick, Schorr Family Associate Research Scientist at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, who wrote a series of col­umns for AIC News a decade or more ago about the peer-review process, publishing in a peer-reviewed journal, and other related topics. She graciously agreed to allow reuse of that information; much of what has been excerpted and updated for this column originally appeared in her columns.

—Published in AIC News, Vol. 43.6, November 2018