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- Platinum Open Access journal, with no APCsAfrica Spectrum is published by the GIGA Institute for African Affairs (IAA) in Hamburg. It is a peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to original research on the politics, societies, and economics of sub-Saharan Africa. As a multidisciplinary journal Africa Spectrum welcomes submissions employing a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. In addition to original research articles, Africa Spectrum also publishes analytical reports and book reviews. Please see the Aims and Scope tab for further information. The journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Visit the Journal’s submission site https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/africaspectrum to upload your manuscript
Open access article processing charge (APC) information
This journal is financially supported by the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and therefore does not charge an article processing charge for open access publication.
Please direct any queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
The standard license for the journal is Creative Commons (CC BY), and it is recommended this is the license which is selected. This allows others to re-use the work without permission as long as the work is properly referenced.
Published since 1966 by the GIGA Institute for African Affairs (IAA) in Hamburg, Africa Spectrum is a peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to promoting scientific knowledge on the politics, societies, and economics of sub-Saharan Africa, including Africa's role within the international system. It aims to publish in-depth analyses that inform theoretical and policy debates in the study of Africa, both in contemporary and historical perspective. The journal is committed to intellectual pluralism, accepting works from across the social sciences and humanities that employ varied theoretical and empirical approaches.
Each issue contains original research articles, analytical reports, and book reviews. Africa Spectrum also publishes special issues. There are no article processing charges payable to publish in the journal. The journal accepts French- and German-language articles during the review process, but accepted articles must be translated into English before publication.
Africa Spectrum is the leading German journal exclusively devoted to the study of sub-Saharan Africa. The independence of the journal and its editorial policy is guaranteed as part of the GIGA Journal Family. Since 2003, the journal has collaborated closely with the African Studies Association in Germany (Vereinigung für Afrikawissenschaften in Deutschland, VAD). Members of the VAD contribute to the journal’s success by serving as authors and referees in the peer-review process.
|Tim Glawion||Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute, Germany|
|Martha Johnson||Mills College at Northeastern University, USA|
|Maxine Rubin||German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Germany|
|Petra Brandt||German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Germany|
|Jigneshkumar Patel||German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Germany|
|Jeffrey Paller||University of San Francisco, USA|
|Amanda Coffie||University of Ghana, Ghana|
|Gordon Crawford||Coventry University, United Kingdom|
|Antje Daniel||University of Vienna, Austria|
|Hye-Sung Kim||Appalachian State University, USA|
|Henrietta Nyamnjoh||University of Cape Town, South Africa|
|Ken Opalo||Georgetown University, USA|
|Alena Thiel||IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Erdmute Alber||Universität Bayreuth, Germany|
|Gehard Anders||University of Edinburgh, UK|
|Kwesi Aning||Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Accra, Ghana|
|Daniel Bach||CEAN, Bordeaux, France|
|Susann Baller||German Historical Institute in Paris, France|
|Catherine Boone||London School of Economics and Political Science, UK|
|Mamadou Diawara||Universität Frankfurt, Germany|
|Kim Dionne||University of California, Riverside, USA|
|Till Förster||Universität Basel, Switzerland|
|Julia Gallagher||SOAS University of London, UK|
|Mamoudou Gazibo||University of Montreal, Canada|
|Peter Geschiere||University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands|
|Toni Haastrup||University of Stirling, Scotland|
|Goran Hyden||University of Florida, USA|
|Rita Kesselring||University of Basel, Switzerland|
|Nauja Kleist||Danish Institute for International Studies, Denmark|
|Evan Lieberman||Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA|
|Elísio Macamo||Universität Basel, Switzerland|
|Roland Marchal||Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales, Paris, France|
|Francis Nyamnjoh||University of Cape Town, South Africa|
|Ian Phimister||University of the Free State, South Africa|
|H. Kwasi Prempeh||Ghana Center for Democratic Development, Ghana|
|Lise Rakner||University of Bergen, Norway|
|Rachel Riedl||Cornell University, USA|
|Walter Schicho||Universität Wien, Austria|
|Roger Southall||University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa|
|Leonard Wantchekon||Princeton University, USA|
Manuscript Submission Guidelines: Africa Spectrum
This Journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.
Please read the guidelines below then visit the Journal’s submission site https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/africaspectrum to upload your manuscript. Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned. Remember you can log in to the submission site at any time to check on the progress of your paper through the peer-review process.
Only manuscripts of sufficient quality that meet the aims and scope of Africa Spectrum will be reviewed.
As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that you are submitting your original work, that you have the rights in the work, that you are submitting the work for first publication in the Journal and that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere and has not already been published elsewhere, and that you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by you.
Africa Spectrum may accept submissions of papers that have been posted on pre-print servers; please alert the editorial office when submitting (contact details are at the end of these guidelines) and include the DOI for the pre-print in the designated field in the manuscript submission system. Authors should not post an updated version of their paper on the pre-print server while it is being peer-reviewed for possible publication in the journal. If the article is accepted for publication, the author may re-use their work according to the journal's author archiving policy. If your paper is accepted, you must include a link on your pre-print to the final version of your paper.
- Open Access
- Article processing charge (APC)
- What do we publish?
3.1 Aims & Scope
3.2 Article types
3.3 Writing your paper
- Editorial policies
4.1 Peer Review Policy
4.5 Declaration of conflicting interests
4.6 Research data
- Publishing policies
5.1 Publication ethics
5.2 Contributor's publishing agreement
- Preparing your manuscript
6.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics
6.3 Supplementary material
6.4 Reference style
6.5 English language editing services
6.7 Biographical note
- Submitting your manuscript
7.1 How to submit your manuscript
7.2 Title, keywords and abstracts
7.3 Information required for completing your submission
- On acceptance and publication
8.1 Sage Production
8.2 Online publication
8.3 Promoting your article
- Further information
- Appealing the publication decision
Africa Spectrum is an Open Access, peer-reviewed journal. Each article accepted by peer review is made freely available online immediately upon publication, is published under a Creative Commons license and will be hosted online in perpetuity. There is no charge for submitting a paper to the journal.
The standard license for the journal is Creative Commons (CC BY), and it is recomended this is the licence which is selected. This allows others to re-use the work without permission as long as the work is properly referenced.
The journal is financially supported by the GIGA Institute for African Affairs, Hamburg, and therefore does not charge an article processing charge for Open Access publication.
Before submitting your manuscript to Africa Spectrum, please ensure you have read the Aims & Scope. For five decades, Africa Spectrum has regularly provided in-depth analyses of current issues in political, social and economic life; culture; and development in sub-Saharan Africa, including historical studies that illuminate current events on the continent.
If authors submit quantitative data and statistical models, they should be presented in forms that are accessible to our multi-disciplinary audience and not in an overly technical manner.
Africa Spectrumis published in English only. The journal also accepts French- and German-language articles during the review process; however, accepted articles will have to be translated into English before publication (either by the author or through the editorial department).
Africa Spectrum accepts Research Articles, Analyses and Reports as well as Book Reviews. The journal also publishes special issues devoted to particular subjects.
The submission file should not exceed 8,500 words including references (Research Articles), 4,500 words (Analyses and Reports, etc.), or 1,000 words (Book Reviews), respectively.
Book reviews should contain the following:
- a short summary of the book's contents
- the main research issues covered in the book and their connection to international scientific discussions;an appraisal of the book’s theoretical framework, methods, formal weaknesses or strengths, and its contribution to the ongoing scientific debate
The review should be headed by the following information: name and first name of the author(s), title, place of publication, publisher, year of publication, ISBN, and number of pages. It should not contain footnotes or bibliographic notes.
The Sage Author Gateway has some general advice and on how to get published, plus links to further resources. Sage Author Services also offers authors a variety of ways to improve and enhance their article including English language editing, plagiarism detection, and video abstract and infographic preparation.
3.3.1 Make your article discoverable
For information and guidance on how to make your article more discoverable, visit our Gateway page on How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online.
The journal’s policy is to have manuscripts reviewed by two expert reviewers. Due to the high number of submissions, we are only able to review one article per author at a time.
Africa Spectrum utilizes a double-anonymize peer review process in which the reviewer and author’s names and information are withheld from the other. All manuscripts are reviewed as rapidly as possible, while maintaining rigor. Reviewers make comments to the author and recommendations to the Editor who then makes the final decision.
As part of the submission process you will be asked to provide the names of two peers who could be called upon to review your manuscript. Recommended reviewers should be experts in their fields and should be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. Please be aware of any conflicts of interest when recommending reviewers. Examples of conflicts of interest include (but are not limited to) the following:
- The reviewer should have no prior knowledge of your submission.
- The reviewer should not have recently collaborated with any of the authors.
- Reviewer nominees from the same institution as any of the authors are not permitted.
You will also be asked to indicate peers who you do not wish to review your manuscript (opposed reviewers).
Please note that the editors are not obliged to invite/reject any recommended/opposed reviewers to assess your manuscript.
The editor or members of the editorial team may not submit research articles to Africa Spectrum . However, they may occasionally submit their own analyses and reports as well as book reviews for possible publication in the journal. In these cases, alternative members of the board will manage the review process, and the submitting editor/team member will have no involvement in the decision-making process.
Africa Spectrum is committed to delivering high-quality, fast peer-review for your paper, and as such has partnered with Publons. Publons is a third-party service that seeks to track, verify, and give credit for peer review. Reviewers for Africa Spectrum can opt in to Publons in order to claim their reviews or have them automatically verified and added to their reviewer profile. Reviewers claiming credit for their review will be associated with the relevant journal, but the article name, reviewer’s decision, and the content of their review is not published on the site. For more information visit the Publons website.
All parties who have made a substantive contribution to the article should be listed as authors. Principal authorship, authorship order, and other publication credits should be based on the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their status. A student is usually listed as principal author on any multiple-authored publication that substantially derives from the student’s dissertation or thesis.
You will be asked to provide contact details and academic affiliations for all co-authors via the submission system and to identify who is to be the corresponding author. These details must match what appears on your manuscript. The affiliation listed on the manuscript should be the institution where the research was conducted. If an author has moved to a new institution since completing the research, the new affiliation can be included in a manuscript note at the end of the paper.
Please note that AI chatbots, for example ChatGPT, should not be listed as authors. For more information see the policy on Use of ChatGPT and generative AI tools.
All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, or a department chair who provided only general support.
Please supply any personal acknowledgements separately to the main text to facilitate anonymous peer review.
4.3.1 Third party submissions
Where an individual who is not listed as an author submits a manuscript on behalf of the author(s), a statement must be included in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript and in the accompanying cover letter. The statements must:
• Disclose this type of editorial assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input
• Identify any entities that paid for this assistance
• Confirm that the listed authors have authorized the submission of their manuscript via third party and approved any statements or declarations, e.g. conflicting interests, funding, etc.
Where appropriate, Sage reserves the right to deny consideration to manuscripts submitted by a third party rather than by the authors themselves.
4.3.2 Writing assistance
Individuals who provided writing assistance, e.g. from a specialist communications company, do not qualify as authors and so should be included in the Acknowledgements section. Authors must disclose any writing assistance – including the individual’s name, company, and level of input – and identify the entity that paid for this assistance. It is not necessary to disclose the use of language-polishing services.
Africa Spectrum recommends all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading. Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements page on the Sage Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding.
Africa Spectrum encourages authors to include a declaration of any conflicting interests and recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the Sage Journal Author Gateway.
The journal is committed to facilitating openness, transparency and reproducibility of research, and has the following research data sharing policy. For more information, including FAQs please visit the Sage Research Data policy pages.
Subject to appropriate ethical and legal considerations, authors are encouraged to:
- share your research data in a relevant public data repository
- include a data availability statement linking to your data. If it is not possible to share your data, we encourage you to consider using the statement to explain why it cannot be shared.
- cite this data in your research
Sage is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. We encourage authors to refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ International Standards for Authors and view the Publication Ethics page on the Sage Author Gateway.
Africa Spectrum and Sage take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article, for example, is found to have plagiarized other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.
5.1.2 Prior publication
If material has been previously published, it is not generally acceptable for publication in a Sage journal. However, there are certain circumstances where previously published material can be considered for publication. Please refer to the guidance on the Sage Author Gateway or if in doubt, contact the Editor at the address given below.
Before publication Sage requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. Africa Spectrum publishes manuscripts under Creative Commons licenses. The standard license for the journal is Creative Commons (CC BY), and it is recomended this is the licence which is selected. This allows others to re-use the work without permission as long as the work is properly referenced. For more information, you are advised to visit Sage's OA licenses page.
Alternative license arrangements are available, for example, to meet particular funder mandates, made at the author’s request
The submission file should not exceed 8,500 words including references (Research Articles), 4,500 words (Analyses and Reports, etc.), or 1,000 words (Book Reviews), respectively.
Send the text as a Word file. Please use a standard font (e.g., Times New Roman, 12 pt.
Do not use justification and syllabication in your text.
Include footnotes for digression or further argumentation sparingly. Use British English throughout text, and please be sure to write clearly and use correct punctuation; we recommend that non-native authors have their contributions proofread.
The preferred format for your manuscript are Word. LaTeX files are also accepted. Word and (La)Tex templates are available on the Manuscript Submission Guidelines page of our Author Gateway.
Tables, diagrams, and images should be used in moderation.
They are to be numbered separately as well as continuously and provided with an individual title and an exact reference; they should be placed within the text at the appropriate points.
Please make sure you are in possession of the appropriate copyright permissions when including images and keep written records of permissions to be produced on request. Authors are solely responsible for obtaining reprint authorisation.
For guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit Sage’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines.
Figures supplied in color will appear in color online but will appear in black and white in print (unless otherwise arranged). Therefore, it is important that you supply images that are comprehensible in black and white as well (i.e. by using colour with a distinctive pattern or dotted lines). The captions should reflect this by not using words indicating colour.
This journal is able to host additional materials online (e.g. datasets, podcasts, videos, images etc) alongside the full-text of the article. For more information please refer to our guidelines on submitting supplementary files.
Please note that for our reviewers' ease, we ask that any supplementary tables of data are submitted to us in PDF, Word, or PNG file formats and not as a LaTex file.
Africa Spectrum adheres to the Sage Havard reference style. View the Sage Harvard guidelines to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style. If you use EndNote to manage references, you can download the Sage Harvard EndNote output file.
Authors seeking assistance with English language editing, translation, or figure and manuscript formatting to fit the journal’s specifications should consider using Sage Language Services. Visit Sage Language Services on our Journal Author Gateway for further information.
Africa Spectrum is published in English only. The journal also accepts French and German-language articles during the review process; however, accepted articles will have to be translated into English before publication (either by the author or through the editorial department).
All authors are asked to provide a biographical note, which should state the following: current occupation, scientific discipline, research fields, and projects (maximum 100 words).
Africa Spectrum is hosted on Sage Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Visit http//mc.manuscriptcentral.com/africaspectrum to login and submit your article online.
IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created. For further guidance on submitting your manuscript online please visit ScholarOne Online Help
Please supply a title, short title, an abstract, and keywords to accompany your article. The abstract should consist of a maximum of 150 words. Please add three to five keywords. If possible, please also translate the abstract and keywords into German. The title, keywords, and abstract are key to ensuring readers find your article online through online search engines such as Google. Please refer to the information and guidance on how best to title your article, write your abstract, and select your keywords by visiting the Sage Journal Author Gateway for guidelines on How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online.
Provide full contact details for the corresponding author including email, mailing address and telephone numbers. Academic affiliations are required for all co-authors. These details should be presented separately to the main text of the article to facilitate anonymous peer review.
You will be asked to provide full contact details and academic affiliations for all co-authors via the submission system and identify who is to be the corresponding author. These details must match what appears on your manuscript. At this stage please ensure you have included all the required statements and declarations and uploaded any additional supplementary files (including reporting guidelines where relevant).
As part of our commitment to ensuring an ethical, transparent and fair peer review process Sage is a supporting member of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes researchers from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between researchers and their professional activities ensuring that their work is recognised.
The collection of ORCID IDs from corresponding authors is now part of the submission process of this journal. If you already have an ORCID ID you will be asked to associate that to your submission during the online submission process. We also strongly encourage all co-authors to link their ORCID ID to their accounts in our online peer-review platforms. It takes seconds to do: click the link when prompted, sign into your ORCID account and our systems are automatically updated. Your ORCID ID will become part of your accepted publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you. Your ORCID ID is published with your article so that fellow researchers reading your work can link to your ORCID profile and from there link to your other publications.
Please also ensure that you have obtained any necessary permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please see the Copyright and Permissions page on the Sage Author Gateway.
If your paper is accepted for publication after peer review, you will first be asked to complete the contributor’s publishing agreement
Your Sage Production Editor will keep you informed as to your article’s progress throughout the production process. Proofs will be made available to the corresponding author via our editing portal Sage Edit, or by email to the corresponding author and should be returned promptly. Please do let the editorial office know of any instances where there may be a delay. Authors are reminded to check their proofs carefully to confirm that all author information, including names, affiliations, sequence and contact details are correct, and that Funding and Conflict of Interest statements, if any, are accurate.
One of the many benefits of publishing your research in an Open Access journal is the speed to publication. With no page count constraints, your article will be published online in a fully citable form with a DOI number as soon as it has completed the production process. At this time it will be completely free to view and download for all.
Publication is not the end of the process! You can help disseminate your paper and ensure it is as widely read and cited as possible. The Sage Author Gateway has numerous resources to help you promote your work. Visit the Promote Your Article page on the Gateway for tips and advice. In addition, Sage is partnered with Kudos, a free service that allows authors to explain, enrich, share, and measure the impact of their article. Find out how to maximise your article’s impact with Kudos.
Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the manuscript submission process should be sent to the Africa Spectrum editorial office as follows:
Editors have very broad discretion in determining whether an article is an appropriate fit for their journal. Many manuscripts are declined with a very general statement of the rejection decision. These decisions are not eligible for formal appeal unless the author believes the decision to reject the manuscript was based on an error in the review of the article, in which case the author may appeal the decision by providing the editor with a detailed written description of the error they believe occurred.
If an author believes the decision regarding their manuscript was affected by a publication ethics breach, the author may contact the publisher with a detailed written description of their concern, and information supporting the concern, at email@example.com