Author Guidelines

Short author guidelines

Article templates are available in LaTeX, odt, and docx formats. Templates are not required for initial submission (see the Submission and formatting checklist below).

Seismica’s scope includes a wide range of topics in seismological and earthquake sciences. Below we provide a non-exhaustive list of topics that fall within the scope of Seismica. Although Seismica recognizes that such a discipline-based classification might not be the best way to represent the full breadth of Seismica’s scientific scope, this broad list does provide an initial framework for potential authors to ascertain whether Seismica might be a suitable venue for publishing their work. Whether or not the topic of a submitted manuscript falls within the scope of Seismica may be left to the discretion of the handling editor. Demand for publishing articles in areas not covered by existing editors may provide impetus to expand the editorial scope to include additional subjects.

Fault-slip and earthquake source phenomena: Earthquake source seismology, transient/aseismic slip phenomena (e.g. slow slip events), rupture dynamics, fault geometry and architecture, induced and triggered seismicity, earthquake geodesy and remote sensing, fault mechanics, fault zone characterization and friction, earthquake reports, statistical seismology, earthquake early warning.

Earthquake records: archeo- and paleoseismology, historical and contemporary earthquake accounts, felt reports, fault geomorphology, seismotectonics, earthquake source processes from active and exhumed faults and laboratory experiments, geochronology of faults.

Imaging the Earth: seismic tomography and structure, receiver functions, seismic anisotropy, active/passive source seismology, seismic noise imaging, urban and shallow subsurface seismology, volcano-seismology.

Theoretical and computational seismology: advances in seismology driven by numerical modeling including high-performance computing, by forward and inverse theories, uncertainty analysis and machine learning.

Beyond Earth-tectonic applications: cryoseismology, urban and environmental seismology, tsunami nucleation and propagation, ionosphere seismology, planetary and helioseismology, seismo-acoustics, infrasound, forensic seismology, nuclear test ban treaty monitoring, landslide monitoring.

Techniques and instrumentation: seismometry, field deployment reports, seismic networks and arrays, ground motion instrumentation (accelerometers, rotational sensors, GNSS), rotational seismology, fiber-optic technologies (Distributed Acoustic Sensing), seismic signal processing techniques.

Earthquake engineering and engineering seismology: seismic hazard and risk evaluation, strong motion characterization, site response analysis, geotechnical earthquake engineering, ground motion simulation, seismic response of structures and infrastructure, earthquake scenarios, seismic design codes, seismic protection.

Community engagement, communication and outreach: societal awareness and disaster preparedness, seismology education, citizen and participatory science, hazard and risk communication, publicly accessible datasets, data analysis tools.

Please note that this list is non-exhaustive. If you are unsure whether your article is appropriate for submission in Seismica, we recommend contacting Seismica’s Community Editor.

Seismica publishes three types of manuscripts:

Research articles, which present advances in scientific knowledge or understanding. These are typically from 3,000 to 10,000 words in length (excluding references and figure captions), and can address any aspect of seismology and earthquake science within the journal’s scope (see above). Authors who have long articles of over 10,000 words that cannot be shortened should contact the Executive Editor for Production ahead of submission to see if this can be accommodated.

Reports, which contribute peer-reviewed useful information to the public sphere but may not represent a substantive advance in understanding in themselves. Reports include:

  • Null results / failed experiments: While null results are often ignored in the scientific literature, they can be useful in advancing science, for instance through highlighting difficulties in reproducing published results or by documenting the circumstances in which particular methods or approaches may be unsuccessful. Due to the lack of editorial interest and the difficulty in defining the value of negative results, very few journals offer the possibility for such publications.  Seismica is willing to consider publications of null results where they are illuminating or instructive in the context of previous published studies. Null-result manuscripts should include sections on: the background to the study, methods, details of the null results, discussion of the null results in the context of previous work, and scientific and/or technical insights drawn from the null results. This last element is essential for a good null-result report  – the insights presented there should serve as a ‘take-home message’ for other researchers in that field.

  • Fast Reports: Fast Reports are high quality, short, and time-sensitive manuscripts. A key focus will be the first report of a recent earthquake, swarm, or other event (typically submitted within 3-4 weeks after its occurrence or of data collection from that event). An earthquake report may include: original observations and ground motion recordings, source inversions, felt reports and impacts on the built environment, or secondary hazard assessments (e.g., tsunami, landslides). However, submissions offering little more than information routinely provided by earthquake monitoring agencies (e.g. USGS, Geoscope, EMSC) will not be considered. Fast Reports will also consider other studies of a time-sensitive nature, including reanalysis or review of a previous study or lesser known event, proof of concept studies, application of models/techniques, hypothesis validation, and new and/or revised models within the scope of Seismica.  Fast Reports also welcomes articles that could be perceived critical and urgent for science strategy, policies or standards (e.g., building codes) and topics that could be of interest to the seismology community. Fast Reports go through an accelerated review process.

  • Software Reports: The goals of Software Reports in Seismica are to document new codes, to facilitate community use of them, and to ensure reproducibility of their outputs. Software Reports should include a main paper, plus a user manual and source code that should be uploaded to a public domain repository. The main paper should describe the scientific context, the methods employed, and detail aspects such as test case simulations, model verification, evaluation and performance. Including the examples and test cases mentioned in the main paper as tutorials within the repository is strongly recommended. All code repositories must be privately accessible by the editors and reviewers upon submission, publicly accessible upon acceptance, and the codes included are subject to peer review. See  Availability of data, materials, and code for more information.

  • Instrument Deployment and Field Campaign Reports: Instrument Deployment Reports and Field Campaign Reports allow seismological and other field data collection (e.g., logging a paleoseismic trench or collecting photogrammetric data) to be documented via a citable and peer-reviewed reference that describes the data collected, the experiment design, and relevant collaborators. Ideally these manuscripts should be submitted as soon as possible – i.e., after the instruments and/or data are recovered, and initial data quality assurance (e.g., noise analysis) is completed. Datasets must be publicly available or be made available within two years via a public domain data repository such as the IRIS Data Management Center or Zenodo. If the data are embargoed, then the end date of the embargo and the repository for the data must be stated in the article. Reports are constructed given a specific structure: Scientific background and motivation; Description of the instrument deployment or field experiment (including technical details of the instrumentation, such as instrument response, make and model, etc.); Description of obtained data (including repository details), Preliminary observations and interpretations. For rapid, temporary deployments or experiments, the Editorial process will follow that of Fast Reports.

Opinion articles and reviews, which are invited papers about a scientific idea, controversial topics and/or innovative concepts. Authors may contact the Editorial Board with ideas of subjects for editorial articles.

The following section outlines the baseline requirements for submitting a manuscript to Seismica, for both research integrity and formatting.

  1. Originality. Material submitted to Seismica must be original and not published or concurrently submitted for publication elsewhere in any language. Plagiarism or duplicate submission will result in the immediate rejection of any manuscript, or, if detected post-publication, in retraction. Please see the policy on originality for more details.

  2. Integrity, Ethics, and Conduct. The authors must confirm that they have read, understood, and agree with Seismica’s Editorial Policies and the Singapore Statement on Research Integrity, which Seismica will follow. They must also state that they agree with Seismica’s Code of Conduct.

  3. Conflicts of interest. The authors declare no competing or conflicts of interest, or the existence of an actual, potential, or perceived conflict. See Editorial Guidelines for more details. Authors should not recommend reviewers with a known conflict of interest. A short statement noting any conflicts or competing interests should be included in the “comments to the editor box” in the submission form. Personal conflicts will remain confidential; funding disclosures will be published in the named section of the article (see article template). If any conflict exists or the authors are unsure, they must communicate with the handling editor.

  4. Submission formatting. PDF files are required for initial submission for peer review. The manuscript does not need to conform to a template for initial submission. However, if an article is accepted, it will then need to be formatted using a Seismica template (docx, odt, or tex; see below) by the author before publication; the publication process post-acceptance will proceed faster for articles that are initially formatted with a Seismica template. The minimum formatting requirements for a submitted PDF are:  line numbers, and a minimum font size of 11.  Figures and tables should appear within the text at the appropriate points rather than as separate files.

    Corresponding Authors of published papers must provide their Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID); co-authors are encouraged to provide ORCIDs. These should be included in the text of the submission.

    Seismica’s style guide provides some guidance on preferred formats for dates and times, units, and abbreviations. Please follow these guidelines to the best of your ability.

    After an article is accepted, the manuscript should be prepared and uploaded using one of Seismica’s templates in Microsoft Word, OpenOffice or LaTeX format. These templates can be found on the Templates page. Please note that Seismica’s submission system does not directly interface with Overleaf, although the Seismica LaTeX submission template is available in the Overleaf gallery.  After acceptance, figures must be uploaded separately for article production.

  5. Figures and tables. Figures should be sized so that their text is readable at a full (or half) A4 page width (i.e., 180 or 86 mm width). The maximum figure height is 200 mm. Authors should provide figures at a minimum of 300 dpi resolution. Tables can be created in Word's table environment and embedded in the manuscript or uploaded as a separate document (e.g.,  .xls file). Since Seismica is relying on volunteers from the community to typeset the articles, any table that is included in Supplementary Material instead of in the main text will be greatly appreciated.

  6. Abstract. The English-language abstract should be no more than 200 words, and should not include references within the text

  7. Additional language abstract. Authors are encouraged to include, in addition to the English version of the abstract, up to two additional language translations of the abstract to be included in the typeset paper, also with a maximum of 200 words each.  Please note that the additional-language abstract may undergo a technical review at the discretion of the Handling Editor.  Seismica does not guarantee reviews of additional language abstracts, so it is the responsibility of the authors to ensure correct translation. Please contact Seismica editors if more than two translated abstracts are desired.

  8. Non-technical summary. To make your research accessible for everyone, Seismica encourages the inclusion of a non-technical summary with the initial manuscript. In principle, a non-technical summary should explain the essential methods and results of your article so that someone unfamiliar with your field of research can understand. The target audience may include journalists, government staff, other researchers, people involved in civil protection and disaster management, and the public in general. Your non-technical summary should be one or two paragraphs (about 200 words total), covering the following main points:

    • What is the current issue or problem that your research addresses, and why are you researching it? Try to consider why this topic is vital to the larger community.

    • Without excessive use of jargon, how did you go about collecting and analyzing the data and results?

    • What are the main conclusions of your study? Ultimately, what will the impact of your research be? What societal benefits may be realized?

  1. References. Where relevant, URLs or DOIs for the references cited must be provided. Seismica requires references and citations in the  APA reference style.

    Example in-text citation:
    (Gutenberg and Richter, 1944)
    Example reference:
    Gutenberg, B. and Richter, C.F. Frequency of earthquakes in California, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 34(4), pp. 185–188, 1944. doi:10.1785/BSSA0340040185.

    Seismica strongly suggests that authors consider ensuring that their citations are inclusive and conscientious.  Citation Diversity Statements are not required, but efforts should be made to cite widely, such as citing non-English works, non-academic, policy documents.

    The reference list should contain all references cited in the main text, and should not contain anything that is not referenced in the main text. Post-acceptance, if authors choose to submit their article as a .tex file, the corresponding .bib file should also contain only the references that are cited in the main text. The aux2bib tool in bibtools can be used to ensure that a bib file exactly matches a tex file.

  2. Author contributions statement. The manuscript should contain a short statement stating who did what using the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT). Please see policies on authorship for more details.

  3. Data & code availability and reproducibility. Scientific results must be reproducible. Authors are requested to make data and codes freely available wherever possible. Links to repositories for both data and code can be shared during submission, and made public post-acceptance. The manuscript must include a "data availability" statement. Statements along the lines of “please contact the authors for data access” are not acceptable for data which could be distributed digitally. If the data are not available, the data availability statement should explain why.

    Authors should archive data and code in public repositories when appropriate forums exist. Physical samples should be adequately cataloged with curation to insure access for the long-term. Where the study has used data from a seismic network, the full FDSN citation should be given if it exists. Examples of open-access, DOI citable repositories for data and code include Figshare, Zenodo, Dryad, GFZ Data Services, and the ISC Dataset Repository. Code repositories like GitHub do not guarantee long-term archiving, nor do they directly assign DOIs to a given version of the content; this may cause problems when authors make changes to the repository that are not documented in the publication. Fortunately, it is easy to archive a GitHub repository in Zenodo for a DOI-citable version.

    ​​Authors must document the theory, methods and procedures used and explain the source for data and codes to generate the results. Documentation may include: (1) What each script does; (2) In which order the scripts should be run; (3) What the software/system dependencies are.

    Licenses: A license allows another person to use data under certain conditions set by the rights holder. A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. Authors might also consider applying open source licenses to their software  that comply with the Open Source Definition. These licenses allow software to be freely used, modified, and shared.

    Please see policies on availability of data, materials, and codes for more details. Questions about data and code sharing should be asked in advance of submission or posed in the Comments to the Editor.

  4. Supplementary material. Supplemental pdf files containing text and figures should be uploaded into the journal submission system. All other supplementary files (e.g., data tables - in, e.g., .csv format) should be uploaded to a relevant separate repository. Seismica recommends the Seismica community repository in Zenodo

  5. Spelling and grammar. Authors must run a complete spelling and grammatical check before submission (e.g., using (free) online tools such as Grammarly). Seismica has no preference for British vs American spellings, as long as manuscripts are self-consistent throughout. If the level of writing in a submission is such that it cannot be understood by the editor, then the editor at their discretion may return to the authors for correction before the manuscript is sent out for peer review.

  6. Submitting a manuscript for double-anonymous review. Authors may elect not to share their identities with reviewers during the review process by requesting double-anonymous review in the “Comments to the Editor” during submission. Note that remaining completely anonymous may not be possible since authors may be publicly linked to datasets they collected, or may have previously presented preliminary work at conferences with published abstracts. For double-anonymous review, it is the authors’ responsibility to anonymize their submitted manuscript file to the best of their ability; identifying data will be collected during manuscript submission but will not be passed on to reviewers with the manuscript file. The submitted manuscript PDF should not include author names and affiliations, an author contributions statement, a data and code availability statement, or acknowledgements. However, a statement on data/code availability should be included in a cover letter or Comments to the Editor. This information will be used to confirm that the work is in compliance with Seismica’s policies on open data, but will not be shared with reviewers. If the article is accepted, author names and affiliations, author contributions, a data and code availability statement, and acknowledgements are required in the post-acceptance formatted files submitted for typesetting. If authors choose to use the Seismica LaTeX submission template, it has an “anonymous” option which will produce a pdf without author names, affiliations, and contributions.

To save time for authors and peer-reviewers, only those papers that seem likely to meet our editorial criteria should be sent for formal review. Papers may be judged by the handling editor(s) (whilst seeking advice from other editorial board members, if required) to be rejected promptly without external review for any of the following reasons:

  • of insufficient interest

  • outside the scope of the journal

  • not original (see policies on originality)

  • written with grammatical or other errors sufficiently severe as to prevent meaningful scientific review;

  • non-compliance with data requirements;

  • or otherwise inappropriate

If a paper is rejected without external review as per the reasons above, it is Seismica’s policy to provide clear reasons for this decision and constructive guidance on whether further work (e.g. with the language) can potentially improve the paper to the expected standard of a submitted manuscript. Guidance may also be given on whether the manuscript may be submitted as a different publication type.

At the author’s request, manuscripts can instead be subjected to anonymous (i.e., double-anonymous) peer review. Moreover, the reviewers can decide whether or not to reveal their identity in their review. If you wish to have your manuscript reviewed anonymously, please state this in the “Comments to the Editor” box. Note that the responsibility is with the author to ensure they have appropriately blinded their manuscript such that it is free from identifying metadata (see Submission and formatting checklist). Research has shown that double-anonymous review may decrease reviewer bias which preferentially impacts authors from under-represented groups and early career authors.  However, some work has suggested that reviewers may be biased against authors due to their selection of double-anonymous review mode. Seismica’s authors and reviewers are asked to be aware of this potential for bias, and consider selecting double-anonymous review as a means to familiarize the research community with the potential positive benefits of this review mode.

Manuscripts judged to be of potential interest to our readership are sent for formal review, typically to 2 reviewers, although additional reviewers may be sought if found necessary by the handling editor(s).

The authors should suggest potential peer reviewers in the Comments to Editor box in the online submission form. Where appropriate, list reviewers who should not be contacted due to conflicts of interest, etc. Authors can help the journal improve the diversity of Seismica’s reviewer pool by including women, young scientists, and members of other underrepresented groups in their lists of suggested reviewers. Authors should suggest recommended reviewers in the relevant subject area. Where a submission focuses on a specific geographical location, we recommend that the authors offer at least one reviewer based in that region (assuming that the reviewer has a reasonable degree of expertise in the subject area). This effort ensures a broader diversity of reviewers and increases the impact of the scientific work.

Authors should expect to receive a decision from editors on their initial submission within eight weeks. Seismica will normally expect a revised version of the manuscript, together with a rebuttal letter, to be submitted within 6 months of receiving the peer review comments.

Peer review reports and rebuttal letters will be published online alongside the published paper if the manuscript is accepted. If a manuscript is rejected, the process remains confidential. Reviewers’ reports and authors’ answers are not published.

For details on the peer review process for Fast Reports, please see the Fast Reports Role & Scope document.

Authors should ensure that revisions to manuscripts are more than sufficient to answer the level of recommended changes to prevent multiple rounds of review/reviewer fatigue. The response letter should fully represent changes made to the manuscript. The response letter should not be terse or vague, even if the recommendation is “Major Revisions”.

Authors should ensure that their response is respectful. Any personal or abusive attacks are unacceptable and will be escalated to an independent appeals committee and will be grounds for outright rejection by the editor. Politely pointing out that the reviewer is mistaken is, of course, okay. Please consult the Code of Conduct for more guidance.

Authors should be cautious of any implicitly biasing and racially/gender-specific coded language. To avoid misaddressing the reviewers and editors, we strongly recommend writing in a passive, gender-neutral style (e.g. “the reviewer says ...” rather than “he/she says”), especially if pronouns have not been provided.

Authors should respond to reviewer comments by making edits to the manuscript, and use the response letter to guide the editor to the changes or explain the rationale for a response to reviewer comments. Avoid duplication as much as possible to keep the response letter more streamlined.

Once an article has been accepted, Seismica will only publish the typeset, formatted version of the paper – not the pre-typeset postprint. We recommend that authors instead use repositories such as EarthArXiv for sharing unformatted accepted post-prints. The authors are free (and encouraged) to share the typeset version of records on platforms like ResearchGate, institutional repositories, and personal websites. After acceptance, the corresponding author is responsible for the accuracy of all content in the proof, including co-authors’ names, addresses, and affiliations.

Seismica considers for publication manuscripts that have been hosted elsewhere as preprints. A preprint is an author’s original version of a research manuscript prior to formal peer review at a journal, which is deposited on a public server. Seismica encourages posting of preprints on any channel of the authors’ choice, including preprint servers, authors’ personal websites, or institutional websites. 

Preprints may be posted and shared at any time during the peer-review process. However, authors should disclose details of preprint posting, including DOI and licensing terms, upon submission of the manuscript or at any other point during consideration at Seismica (by email to the handling editor if post-submission).

Authors may use any license of their choice for the preprint, but we recommend a Creative Commons CC-BY license. Before selecting a license, consult the terms of any grant or funding  related to the publication, as some programs enforce specific licenses for preprints.

Once the manuscript is published, the author’s responsibility is to ensure that the preprint record is updated with a publication reference, including the DOI and a URL link to the published version of the article on the journal website. This will ensure that citations of the preprint and published article are linked.

Seismica also permits the archiving of postprints – accepted manuscripts, which include modifications based on referees’ suggestions before copyediting and proof correction, or final published and copy-edited manuscripts – on any channel of the authors’ choice. If uploading an accepted manuscript, once the manuscript is published, the authors should update the archived accepted version with a publication reference, including the DOI and a URL link to the published version of the article on the journal website.

Please see the policies on preprints, self-archiving, and conference proceedings for more details.