SABR’s publications are written by SABR members showcasing the latest baseball research and advancement of our knowledge of the sport. Cutting across a wide range of interests and scholarly disciplines, SABR publications encompass history, statistical analysis, sociology, psychology, physiology, physics, geography, architecture, botany, and much more, as befits the society’s mission to advance baseball knowledge.
We’re interested in hearing from any member who wants to share a piece of research on any baseball topic that would interest a portion of the membership. (Note: You must be a SABR member to be considered for inclusion in a SABR journal or publication. If you are not a member, click here to join.)
If you’re interested in writing a story for a SABR publication, here’s some information that should help:
SABR members have many opportunities to publish their research.
The Baseball Research Journal (BRJ) is SABR’s flagship publication, published twice a year (spring and fall). Established in 1972, BRJ was created so that members could publish and share their research with like-minded students of baseball. Today, BRJ provides a unique mix of cutting-edge baseball research and historical and biographical articles. Click here to learn more about submitting an article for the Baseball Research Journal.
The National Pastime is SABR’s convention-focused journal. Published annually, this journal provides in-depth articles on all aspects of baseball history related to the region in which that year’s convention is being held.
Articles may also be considered for online publication at SABR.org, especially if they are more timely in nature or they do not fit the theme of an upcoming journal as chosen by the editors. You can also check out our list of research committees, which publish regular newsletters that include member articles. Some, like the Baseball Cards Committee or the Baseball Landmarks Committee, also run their own websites/blogs and are always looking for articles on those subjects.
- Submit an article to the Baseball Research Journal
- Submit an article for the SABR Baseball Biography Project
- Submit an article for the SABR Games Project
- Get involved: Click here to learn more about our upcoming book projects and how you can contribute as a writer, editor, or fact-checker
- New web or book projects: Click here to learn more about submitting a new web or book project proposal to the SABR Editorial Board
1) Query first
If you’re unsure if your topic would be suitable for submission, please feel free to query first by emailing a short synopsis of the article and expected word length. Email queries to PubDir@sabr.org. A good query includes not only a paragraph that is a brief but detailed encapsulation of the project, but also why you are interested in it or qualified to research it. Be specific about the sources you plan to use and what of your research is original. If you can estimate the length of the finished article, that is good, too. Typical BRJ articles are about the size of a midterm paper, not a masters thesis. Articles should typically be between 2000 and 7500 words in length. For pieces outside this size range, please query by email to PubDir@sabr.org. Once you query, the editor will give you an idea of whether the idea sounds like a fit.
All articles must meet academic standards of quality and conform to the Chicago Manual of Style. For more details, see below.
2) Proper preparation of a manuscript
The document should have your name removed from the byline and be anonymized. Do not include a bio as part of the main document and be sure your digital signature has been wiped from the document “Properties.” Also do not include your name in the filename.
Academic standards of quality does not mean the paper should be written in “academic language.” It does mean the paper should be free of hyperbole, unsupported opinion, and plagiarism, and all facts and assertions should be include endnote citations. A personal touch is acceptable, but research should not rely heavily on personal reminiscence except in rare exceptions.
All submissions should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style standards of punctuation, grammar, and citation. We expect the paper to include endnote citations in Chicago style. More details below but let us stress up front that proper citation and endnotes are very important. Please note that “Ibid.” and “Op. Cit.” are no longer the standard for repeated citations AND WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
Before submission make sure you have used spell-check on the document and also that you have given it a basic fact-checking pass. At minimum that means double-checking the spelling of every proper noun, name, or place, and every date, and every number. (Please note that sometimes the date of reporting for a historical newspaper will be the same date as an occurrence, while other times the date of an article is the day after the occurrence.)
Submissions should be made as MS Word (.doc or .docx) or OpenOffice (.odt) documents attachments. Please use Times New Roman 12 point for the text of the document, and if you prefer, any sans serif or monospace font for tables and charts (Arial, Helvetica, Courier, etc.) PDF submissions are acceptable for peer review purposes but a Word or .odt version will be needed if the paper is approved for publication. If you are using LaTeX to produce your manuscript, you will need to convert it to MS Word if it is accepted.
Upon initial submission, graphics such as photos, pie charts, plots, and large mathematical equations should be embedded in the main document. If necessary, they may also be submitted separately as JPG, PNG, TIF, or PDF format. All graphics should be the creation of the author, be in the public domain, or bear permission to reprint from the rightsholder of the image. (Some exceptions may apply. Please inquire with the editor if you are unsure.) Captions and copyright credits should be included alongside the images within the main document.
Note: Do not submit anything that you do not hold the rights to reproduce (such as charts or graphs pulled off the Internet or photocopied out of books, photos downloaded from the Internet, or other graphics you did not create or which you cannot prove are in the public domain).
- Is your manuscript document anonymized? (your name and identifying elements removed)
- Are your endnote citations numbered sequentially throughout the document?
- Have you used a short form of citation when sources are repeated (and NOT ibid or op.cit.)?
- Have you avoided using Wikipedia as a source? (Wikipedia is not accepted as a source.)
- Is your SABR membership up to date?
More details on the above checklist is in the FAQ below.
3) HOW TO SUBMIT
Submissions should be made by submitting to our online submission portal: sabrjournals.moksha.io
Any supplementary material (additional photos, large scans & graphics, supplementary spreadsheets, etc) should be submitted via email to JournalSubs@sabr.org.
You’ll receive an acknowledgement email from the Moksha system denoting your place in the queue. In a separate email, you’ll also receive a copy of the permission form that SABR will need signed in order for us to have your permission to print the paper if it is accepted. Please sign and return the form according to the instructions you receive.
4) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is peer review?
All manuscripts that are formally submitted go through anonymous peer review. (The peer reviewers will not know the name of the author, nor vice versa.) The peer review process includes the recruiting of reviewers with expertise in relevant areas of knowledge, the soliciting of their specific feedback, and the collation of the feedback among two, or possibly three reviewers. This process may take anywhere from several weeks to 6-9 months, depending.
Each paper must have two peers recommend a paper for publication for it to pass review. If one recommends it and the other does not, it goes to a “tie-breaker” third reviewer.
Peer reviewers, even when they recommend a paper for publication, may have cogent suggestions for rewrite, clarification, or expansion of the original paper. They may also be able to provide leads or sources that the researcher lacked.
The majority of papers, even when enthusiastically endorsed for publication, will still require revision after review.
Others are rejected by the peer reviewers and sent back to the drawing board to start over completely.
How long does it take to get published in the BRJ?
The short answer is that it really depends. The average time to publication is 4-8 months, with 1 in 5 papers taking 8-12 months, and the occasional paper taking over one year to appear. (Note: in 2020 and 2021 submission volume ballooned and so did turnaround time, with several articles still in queue over one year later, but we hope to return to a normal schedule by 2023.)
Because the typical process for a paper takes longer than 6 months, there is typically no set deadline for an upcoming issue of the BRJ.
What happens if a paper is accepted? What’s the process?
If the peer reviewers agree a paper is a go, the author typically makes one last pass at revision based on their suggestions before the final version is submitted to editing. The rewritten draft should again be prepared in conformity with the same prep guidelines as before. (If the paper includes incorrectly used footnotes, failed to use proper citation form, etc… the paper will be returned to the author for revision again.)
The revised paper is then sent to the editor along with the high resolution versions of any graphics (300 dpi at 3.5 inches wide, at least), all captions and photo credits, and the author’s up to date bio (one for each contributor if there are multiple authors on a paper).
The paper will then go through one to two editing passes in-house at SABR. If that pass is light enough, it will also go through a fact-checking pass. After fact-checking and editing, the paper is then typically returned to the author to address any final queries.
Once a paper passes through copyediting and fact-checking, the next stage is layout and typesetting. A PDF version of the page proofs will be sent to the author for one more look as well as be professionally proofread before going to press. (We may come back to you for yet one more round of corrections if the proofreader finds problems.)
What should I write in my contributor bio?
Each paper when it is published is accompanied by a 50-100 word contributors note or bio that we may print with the piece. This note should be in the third person, i.e. “Barry Winters has been a SABR member since 1989.” and not in first person (i.e. do NOT write your note as “I have been in SABR since 1989.”) Typically a bio briefly mentions any previous publications, academic or institutional affiliations, and sometimes research interests, regional interest, and may also include contact information such as an email address if desired.
What is “Chicago Style”? (Can’t I use MLA or APA instead?)
Any publication has a style guide. At SABR we have our own, known as the SABR Style Guide, for all things relating to baseball terminology and statistical style, but in all other matters we conform the the Chicago Manual Of Style. This means no, you cannot use MLA, APA, or AP style instead, unless there is a really good reason why your discipline requires a different style. The SABR Style Guide is available online. The Chicago Manual of Style has many free online resources, including a citation guide.
What’s the difference between footnotes and endnotes?
We use endnotes and not footnotes, but the difference between them is that footnotes appear on every page, whereas endnotes all appear at the end of each article.
How do I do endnotes?
Use the built-in function of your word processor to insert notes, but use “end notes” instead of “footnotes.” (If you started with footnotes there is a setting in MS Word/Open Office to convert them to endnotes with the click of a button… just be consistent with whether you enter them as one or the other) Use the built-in function of MS Word (or OpenOffice) to automatically number the notes as they are inserted. This way of you move text around as you revise, the numbers will automatically re-number if you cut or rearrange the text in such a way as to require it.
You should be citing ALL your sources except when “common knowledge.” Tacking on a “Sources” list or “Bibliography” at the end is not sufficient in most cases. In fact, if your “Sources” list merely duplicates information that is contained in your end notes, do not include a Sources list. A Sources list should be included if it lists sources that would be vital to further research on your paper’s subject but which are NOT already cited in the notes.
A good online guide to when to put in a reference note is found at Johns Hopkins University: http://jhussi.org/308788
PLEASE NOTE: If you are adding your end notes by hand instead of using the built-in numbering function of your word processor: Each Numeral Can Only Be Used ONCE, and they must be used IN NUMERICAL ORDER. First note must be #1. Second must be #2. If the third citation is from the same source as #1 DO NOT “RE-USE” THE NUMERAL ONE. Third note must be #3 and either reiterate the entire citation or an abbreviated form on additional uses such as Last Name, Date, #.
ALSO NOTE: We do NOT use Ibid. or Op. Cit. anymore—please use a short version of a citation when a source is repeated.
What are the most important things to do to conform to Chicago Style?
Here’s a little checklist:
1) Endnotes should be numbered. Each number can be used only ONCE and they must be in numerical order in the text.
2) Be sure to italicize book titles, major newspapers, and journals/magazines in both the body of your manuscript and in your citations.
3) We use American date style. So Month Day, Year (i.e. April 17, 1967). No ordinals like “nd” or “th” on dates in either the article text nor in notes. Example: “Opening Day was on April 4 at the big ballpark.” not “April 4th”
4) End each note with a period.
5) Proper name format for citation notes is “First Last” not “Last, First.” (Bibliography style uses Last, First. These are end notes, though, and NOT a bibliography. Bibliography style is different.)
You might try using an online citation tool like Citation Machine which is free. To use it you visit the website http://www.citationmachine.net/ and select CHICAGO as the style, then search for the source you wish to cite. Copypaste the citation in and voila.
Examples of correct reference format:
David Halberstam, October 1964 (New York: Villard Books, 1994).
If referencing specific pages:
David Halberstam, October 1964 (New York: Villard Books, 1994), 84, 87, 101-102.
Mark Feinsand, “A-Rod to Skip HR Derby,” New York Daily News, June 30, 2008, D5.
if not bylined:
“Selig Announces Format Change,” Washington Post, May 30, 1996, 10.
If page number is unknown in a newspaper reference, simple leave it out. If it is from a newspaper website, style as above and include the access date and full URL of access:
Mark Feinsand, “A-Rod to Skip HR Derby,” New York Daily News, June 30, 2008. Accessed December 10, 2010: http://dailynews.com/sports/arod-to-skip.html.
Joe Torre, telephone interview, May 8, 2007.
Articles from journals
Trent McCotter, “Hitting Streaks Don’t Obey Your Rules,” The Baseball Research Journal 37 (2008): 62-70.
When possible cite as if from a newspaper or magazine, but include the full URL to the article. Include the “Date accessed.”
Many more examples and details are available at the Chicago Manual of Style website, on their Notes and Bibliography style Quick reference page, which is FREE to access: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html
(make sure you’re looking at NOTES style and not bibliography)
What are the most common mistakes people make that break SABR style?
- Use the plural RBIs (not RBI, and not R.B.I.)
- Home run is two words.
- Center field, center fielder, two words.
- Spell out all months (October, not Oct.).
- No periods in most abbreviations (USA, MLB, RBI)
- Use full four-digit years when possible (1947) and do not abbreviate as ’47 unless necessary for style (i.e in a direct quote or brand name style etc).
- Spell out, i.e. “baseball in the fifties” and NOT “baseball in the ’50s.”
- Plural of a decade has no apostrophe (“baseball in the 1950s”).
- When the decade is used as an adjective, then a possessive s is needed (“a 1950’s style of uniform”).
- State names should be spelled out and be separated by two commas, i.e. “He was born in Wrentham, Massachusetts, and grew up in Boston.” and not “He was born in Wrentham, MA” nor “Wrentham, Mass.”
How do I prepare my graphics and charts? Are they good enough?
Electronic copies are preferred in JPEG or TIFF format at a minimum of 300 dpi with at least one side a minimum of 3.5 inches long for print publication. If you don’t know if your graphics are high resolution or low resolution, email a sample to JournalSub@sabr.org and we will let you know. We will have to reject low resolution images if they won’t reproduce well.
Interior graphics in our print journals are black and white. If your graphs have colored lines, they will be printing as gray. If you have both black and white and color versions of something, please send both as the color version can be used for the website. INCLUDE A CAPTION FOR EVERY GRAPHIC YOU SEND. Tables and charts should have titles.
Where can I find historical photos to illustrate my article?
If you have come across images in your research that would be apt illustrations, please note where they come from and research their availability. Photos published prior to 1926 are in the public domain. The Library of Congress has many public domain photos available for download and free use. Some other libraries have collections that can be used for a small fee (Brooklyn Public Library, University of Texas Library). SABR also controls The Rucker Archive of historical photos and we have partnerships with the Baseball Hall of Fame and some other providers.
If you are providing photos, be sure to provide whatever copyright and credit is necessary for all photos or artwork. If a photo comes from a library or book it needs to be credited and often permission to use it is necessary. Before you secure any permissions or pay any permissions fees, please check with SABR first.
Do I have to be a SABR member to submit?
It is longstanding SABR policy that only the work of SABR members is published in our journals. If you are not a member yet, you can wait until the results of your peer review are received before you register or renew. If you have multiple authors on your paper, only one needs to be a SABR member. You can register or renew your membership online at SABR.org/about/members-info (Also make sure we have your correct address in your member record, so you can receive your copy of the journal.)
I can’t get my tables to line up, nicely. What do I do?
If you have a table or a list that has more than two columns, the easiest way to make sure everything “lines up” properly is to do it in a spreadsheet like MS Excel. But within MS Word you can also do it by putting a SINGLE tab between each item in a row. No extra spaces or extra tabs, just one SINGLE tab between column items in a row, and we can typeset it smoothly. Do not try to make it all “line up” by hitting the space bar multiple times. That will mess everything up in layout. Word also has a “Table” function you can use. Once you have just a single tab between each item, Convert Text to Table, and Word (or OpenOffice) will align everything in cells like a spreadsheet.
Any other formatting instructions I should know?
Thanks for asking! Once your manuscript is all ready to go, make a final pass for these formatting issues:
a) only place ONE space after a period at the end of a sentence, not TWO.
b) do not put a tab or multiple smacks of the space bar at the beginning of each paragraph. (Instead use the ‘indent’ function of your word processor to create the indent for ease of readability.)
c) do not put spaces after an open parenthesis nor before a close parenthesis. (Like a period, the parenthesis should butt right against the words and other punctuation.)
d) when using an em dash or double-dash, do not put spaces before and after it.
e) do not place a blank line between each paragraph.
If we accept your article, we will send you a Contributor’s Release Form, which will make a few points clear. The two main ones are these: (1) you retain copyright, (2) you grant us First Serial Rights and the right to use the article on the SABR website and in any future SABR compendiums.