Guidance on technical matters

These instructions often start with an indication of the required length: 'Individual book reviews should be between 800 and 1,200 words in length, depending upon the amount of attention which you feel the book merits'. Indeed, advice about length is sometimes the only advice given.

There may, however, be further advice on layout: 'Reviews should be set justified and double-spaced'. In some journals a good deal of attention is given to how to head the review in the appropriate format for that particular journal (e.g. author - surname first - date of publication, title - in bold, place of publication, publisher, number of pages, ISBN number, price). Similarly, there are sometimes instructions on how to end the review, with the reviewer's name and institutional affiliation, and perhaps a request for some biographical notes.

Much space is devoted in some editorial instructions on to how cite quotations from the book being reviewed, and on how to provide references and/or footnotes. However, some journals explicitly forbid such details: 'Please use references only sparingly, if at all' (The Psychologist). Finally, there are instructions for submitting the finished review: for example 'Please send your review by 6 th August to meet the November deadline.'

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