Author Guidelines


General Guidelines

CIL does not accept simultaneously submitted or previously published manuscripts. However, CIL welcomes and encourages the submission of papers developed from professional presentations. Manuscripts derived from published conference proceedings must be sufficiently distinct from the original work and include unique content. Questions concerning this policy should be directed to the editors at editors@comminfolit.org.

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Types of Submissions

Research Articles: This section of CIL includes peer-reviewed feature articles that are research-based or theoretical in nature. Literature review papers are generally discouraged, but those including in-depth investigation and noteworthy conclusions will be considered. Please review the Research Articles section policies for a fuller description and send relevant queries to the editors at editors@comminfolit.org.

Innovative Practices: This section of CIL includes peer-reviewed case studies that report on innovative information literacy instruction practices that are relevant to higher education contexts. Please review the Innovative Practices section policies for a fuller description and send relevant queries to the section editors at innovativepractices@comminfolit.org.

Perspectives: This section of CIL consists of provocative and thoughtful essays on various aspects of information literacy in academic libraries. These pieces are not peer-reviewed, but may be further developed or revised in conversation with our section editor.

Perspectives articles typically have a central idea or argument that focuses and drives them. A compelling Perspectives article is thoughtfully developed and clearly connected to library teaching practice. While these articles may have a less formal tone than Research and Innovative Practices articles, they are supported by evidence and analysis, which may be developed through different ways of knowing, including personal or collective experiences, reflective practice, empirical research, theory, or public discourse.

Please see the recent editorial "Perspective-Taking and Perspectival Expansions" to read more of the section editor’s thoughts about and hopes for Perspectives.

Inquiries are welcome. If you are considering such a piece, please contact the section editor, Andrea Baer, at baera@rowan.edu.

Book Reviews: This section includes reviews of books in the area of information literacy theory, research, and practice. Reviews are generally solicited, but interested reviewers are welcome to contact the section editor Please review the Book Reviews section policies for a fuller description and send relevant queries to the editor, Jennifer Joe, at Jennifer.Joe@UToledo.Edu.

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Prior to Submission

Authors are encouraged to seek feedback on their manuscripts from trusted and experienced colleagues prior to submission. Alternatively, authors can contact the Library Writing Cooperative (LWC). The LWC's First Draft Matchmaker is an initiative that connects authors to friendly, knowledgeable, and non-judgmental colleagues who can provide guidance on aspects of manuscripts such as unclear phrasing, continuity issues, or terminology that may need to be clarified.

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Format and Length

Word processing: CIL manuscripts must be submitted electronically as Microsoft Word or RTF documents.

Length: Manuscripts submitted to the Research Articles or Innovative Practices sections are limited to 5000 words of main body text. All other elements (e.g., abstracts, tables, figures, references, or appendices) are excluded from this word limit. The length of manuscripts submitted to the Perspectives and Book Reviews sections is negotiated with the editors of those sections.

Structure: Unless theoretical in nature, the body of Research Articles should be arranged into appropriate headings for social science papers: abstract, keywords, introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, conclusions, and appendices. Headings may vary for Innovative Practices or Perspectives section manuscripts. Other headings may be used as well, as dictated by the needs of the article.

Title pages: Title pages are not necessary. Author information is automatically associated with each manuscript by virtue of metadata captured during the submission process.

Abstracts: Abstracts for the Research Papers, Innovative Practices, and Perspectives sections should not exceed 150 words. Abstracts are not necessary for Book Reviews.

Appendices and supplements: Authors may include auxiliary manuscript information in appendices or supplements. Appendices are materials necessary to understand, evaluate, and replicate research or other processes presented in a manuscript. They are excluded from the recommended word limit, but they are included in the final version of a published article. Supplements are materials that do not affect the reader’s ability to understand the research. Authors may host these externally on institutional or other open repositories. Authors are encouraged to discuss which method is appropriate for their manuscript with the editors. During the review process, editors or reviewers may ask authors to provide additional materials as needed. The editors reserve the final decision on whether to include auxiliary materials as appendices or to ask authors to post as supplements elsewhere.

Land acknowledgements: Land acknowledgements are permitted; however, tokenism is discouraged (please refer to the following Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgement). The placement of land acknowledgements within manuscripts is understood to be contextual and based on the positionality of authors. To see an example of the wording and the placement of previous land acknowledgements in CIL, please refer to page 34 of Hobscheid and Kerbavz's article from volume 16, issue 1 (2022).

Editing: Refer to Revision Checklist below for instructions on fonts, sentences, paragraphs, headings, spacing, margins, headers and footers, figures and tables, and citation style.

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Writing Stylistics

Audience: CIL’s readership is already familiar with the concept of information literacy and its application in library science. There is no need to provide a perfunctory definition of the term or a history of the concept.

Narrative voice: The preferred narrative voice for Research Article submissions is third-person (e.g., “the authors,” “the researchers,” etc.), although allowances are given for limited use of the editorial “we” when appropriate. Third-person is also the preferred narrative voice for Book Reviews (e.g., "the reviewer,” “this reviewer” ). First- or third-person narrative voice may be acceptable for Innovative Practices or Perspectives section submissions, depending on the particular circumstances of those works.


  • Language: CIL endorses gender-inclusive language including the use of a subject’s self-disclosed personal pronouns or, in keeping with APA Style (7th ed.), the singular “they." In cases where pronouns are unknown, authors may also consider rephrasing sentences in order to avoid the use of pronouns.
  • Citation Practices: When authors situate their ideas in relation to those of others, including as they review their selected citations, they are asked to consider if there are voices or perspectives that are central to understanding the topic that have been omitted or that need further acknowledgment in their writing. This might include voices or perspectives that have traditionally received less attention in the literature but that enable deeper inquiry into the topic. This inclusive citation practices guide includes questions and strategies for seeking a wider diversity of sources on a research topic.

Final word: The editors reserve the right to edit manuscripts for style, clarity, and length.

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Authorship and AI Tools

CIL's editors acknowledge the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) and its evolving roles in our lives. This generative AI policy is therefore subject to change.

Authorship is a distinctly human endeavor. As such, authors may not list an AI tool as a co-author. Authors who use these tools to assist with aspects of their research such as content creation, data analysis, image creation, or organizing results are required to describe their processes and list the AI tool used in the methods section of their manuscript. Authors who use AI technology to discover source materials are responsible for verifying and citing those materials as usual. Authors who use AI tools to improve grammar, syntax, style, and overall readability should include a note detailing such use in the cover letter when submitting a manuscript; authors do not need to disclose such detail in the methods section. Authors who use AI tools for aspects of their manuscript that are not explicitly addressed in this policy should query the CIL editors prior to submission: editors@comminfolit.org.

The editors welcome comments and suggestions on this generative AI policy. Please use this form to provide feedback.

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Communicating with Authors

Prior to submission, authors must add the domains of pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu and comminfolit.org as safe senders to prevent their institutional email filters from blocking automated messages.

CIL prefers that all authors use their institutional email accounts for communications. The use of personal email addresses (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) for publishing in CIL is actively discouraged. Authors should contact the editors if they need to use a personal email account.

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Submission Checklist

  • Author(s) have ensured that their manuscript matches the scope of CIL.
  • ALL identifying information has been removed from the manuscript. Author name(s) and institutional affiliations have been removed from the text and all tables, figures, references, appendices, and supplemental materials. Please use bracketed placeholders as the preferred method for blinding submissions for the peer-review process: e.g., [Author name(s)], [Author(s) initials], [Institution name], [Institution initials], etc. In addition, please remove hidden information in Microsoft Word (Detailed procedures provided by Microsoft Support.
  • Field codes from citation management software (Zotero, EndNote, etc.) have been removed from the manuscript.
  • Three to seven keywords have been provided for the metadata (for submissions to the Research, Innovative Practices, and Perspectives sections).
  • Author(s) have consulted with their institutional review board (IRB) office to ensure that their research adheres to institutional expectations and ethical standards.
  • Author(s) have obtained any necessary written permission to use copyrighted material, paid relevant fees, and given appropriate credit in the manuscript.

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Revision Checklist (after peer review)

  • Page size: Letter (8.5x11 inches)
  • Margins: 1 inch on top and bottom, 1.25 inch on left and right
  • Headers and footers: Do not use headers and footers except for page numbers.
  • Font size: Heading 1 = 16 pt, heading 2 = 14 pt, text = 12 pt
  • Headings: Only two levels are permitted. Use Heading 1 and Heading 2 styles.
  • Paragraphs: Left justified with .5 inch indent of first line. Use Paragraph settings in Word, not tab key to indent.
  • Sentences: Separate with single space. Use Find/Replace to remove instances of two spaces.
  • Length: Does not exceed 5,000 words for main body for Research and Innovative Practices articles.
  • Tables:
    • Follow the table formatting guidelines of the APA Publication Manual (7th ed.).
    • Embed tables in text.
    • Call out tables in the text (e.g., see Table 1). Do not indicate the location of the table (e.g., above or below).
    • Place tables exceeding the length of one half a page into an appendix, and note its placement accordingly in text.
  • Figures:
    • Follow the figures formatting guidelines of the APA Publication Manual (7th ed.).
    • Do not include the figure title in the image. Put the figure number and title in bold text before the image.
    • Use a legible sans serif font between 8 and 12 pts for text with in the image (e.g., axis labels).
    • Use graphic creation tools within Word or graphics software.
    • Resolution should be 300 to 600 dpi.
    • Maximum width = 6 inches, maximum height = 4.5 inches.
    • Cite and seek permission to use any image you did not create.
  • References:
    • Follow the references formatting guidelines of the APA Publication Manual (7th ed.).
    • Follow the same manual's in-text formatting guidelines. Use direct quotations minimally; authors are responsible for double-checking all direct quotations for accuracy.
    • Most journal article citations have a DOI in the form https://doi.org/xxxxx/xxxxx. Use CrossRef to find DOIs. If no DOI is assigned, end the citation with [no DOI assigned] to inform the copyeditor.
    • Do not use footnotes. Incorporate footnotes into the body of the text. If a note is absolutely necessary, create a Notes section immediately before the References section.
    • Confirm that all items cited in the Reference list appear in the text and all in-text citations appear in the References list. 6. Remove field codes generated by citation management software (EndNote, Zotero, etc.).
  • Copyediting:
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