Guidelines for Reviewers

Content | Formatting | Editorial process | Self-archiving policy

Your review or response should be no more than 2000 words (including text and footnotes, excluding bibliographic information and table of contents).

Please send your review within four months after the book was assigned to you.

Once we’ve received your review, it should be published within three months; if it is not, ask us why. See below for a note on our editorial process.

Graduate students who have received books for review after nomination by a PhD thesis supervisor should note that the supervisor must read and approve the review before submission. Graduate students must inform us when submitting their reviews that they have received approval, and must copy their adviser.

Clifford Ando and Camilla MacKay

The content of the review

We ask that reviews observe two principles above all:

  • Reviews should provide a strong, sympathetic account of the book’s aspirations. This obligation exists above and beyond any critique
  • BMCR reviews books, not authors

In detail, we expect that reviews will have:

  • a brief summary of the book’s content and purpose, indicating its major sections
  • an assessment of the argument and the use of evidence
  • a discussion of its place in current scholarship, i.e., aspects of the book which the reviewer thinks are important and innovative or of doubtful success or value
  • notice of factual errors and their gravity (presentation or appearance should generally be ascribed to the press, and content to the author).

We expect that reviews will not have:

    • ad hominem arguments
    • longwindedness or excessive detail (you’re judging the author’s case, not re-making it)
    • excessive quotation, either of the book or of primary sources
    • attacks for not being the book you would have written

For collections of essays, since it will often be impossible within the assigned word limit to discuss all contributions one by one, we recommend beginning with an overview of the book with a summary evaluation, and then discussing some interesting, outstanding, or problematic contributions (and, as requested above, a discussion of its place in current scholarship).

For discussion of unprovenanced antiquities in a review (that is, where an object has no provenance before 1970 or no proof that it was legally exported from its country of origin), the reviewer should include the following information “This object was acquired after 14 November, 1970; there is no evidence of its documentation before that date or its legal export from the country of origin.” This is the minimum required and does not preclude the reviewer from further discussion. Please ask the editors if you have any questions about this policy.


BMCR accepts any American or European style for references and punctuation. However, we do ask that you italicize all book and journal titles both in your text and notes, and please follow the more specific instructions below.

  • In the heading, please include the citation from our email commissioning your review (don’t worry about formatting; this is only to identify your review)
  • Please give YOUR name, institution, and email address
  • Please check Google Books for a Preview or Full View of the book (we do not include Google Books pages with no preview). If a preview or full view exists, insert a link in the review: Preview
  • For volumes of collected studies, please include the full table of contents (indicate this with “Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review” at the top of your review, and include the contents at the end). The contents should be included whether or not there is a Google Books link. Including the authors and chapter titles in the review itself will help in discoverability of the review online
  • Links to publishers’ websites with tables of contents or previews may be used in exceptional cases, but are less desirable than Google previews because the URLs may not be stable and, because we do not consistently provide such links, they may be perceived as advertisements for the publisher
  • Please include any links to open access books

The simpler your document is, the easier it is for us. Your text should be a MS Word document with a single line break after each paragraph. You may use formatting for desired font styles (italics, bold, superscript, etc.), but refrain from using paragraph and document formatting or styles.

  • Use any American or European style for references and punctuation, but italicize all book and journal titles both in your text and notes
  • Please do not abbreviate names of authors
  • Please use one paragraph break between paragraphs, and do not use tabs to indent paragraphs
  • Use embedded footnotes in Word (the “insert footnote” option)
  • Hyperlinks can be inserted anywhere in your text (highlight the text you’ll link to, and insert a hyperlink using Word)
  • Reviews need not contain only text. We are able to allow a limited number of illustrations. If you would like to include an image or a table, please let us know
  • Please do not include page number ranges for chapters or sections unless including that information is important to the review (for example, calling out a particularly long section)

Editorial Process

When your review is submitted, it will be read by two or three editors (usually an associate editor, a member of the editorial board with expertise in the subject, and a senior editor). The editors read reviews for content and for grammar, spelling, and typos. Reviews that require minimal correction (typos or spelling) are not returned to the reviewers before publication. Reviews are returned to reviewers only if substantive changes are needed. While every effort is made to work with reviewers to improve problematic reviews, reviews are occasionally rejected on the recommendation of the associate editor, with the agreement of the senior editors. Reviews are normally published within one to two months of receipt, but please allow three months before contacting us (and at that point, please do contact us if your review has not been published or if you have not heard from us).

Self-Archiving Policy

Authors retain copyright in their reviews, and are welcome to archive copies of their reviews on their own or institutional websites or repositories. We prefer that authors archive the final version of the review (the review we published), and include the link for the review on this website.

Publication Ethics

Please read our statement of publication ethics here.