Editorial Guidelines

The review Humanitarian Alternatives operates on calls for contributions or on order. In the latter case, Humanitarian Alternatives’ editorial team (Chief Editor and Editorial Board) will contact authors and participants who are likely to contribute to a topic that will be previously defined both for the “Focus” Section and the other entries (Perspectives, Transitions, Innovation, etc.). Humanitarian Alternatives also welcomes any other spontaneous article proposal but reserves the possibility to reject it.

All manuscripts are submitted to the editorial team. Once the team conducts its evaluation a notification of the acceptance, rejection or need for revision of the manuscript is given.

Unless it is expressly specified otherwise, the author agrees that his/her article (or oral contribution) is published on the review’s website (https://alternatives-humanitaires.org) and on any other external media of the review’s partners (press and internet).

To be accepted, we ask all English-speaking authors to follow IMPERATIVELY the following principles for the layout of their articles:

I. Presentation instructions


The text, medium size, must be around 2400 words. A particular agreement can be established according to the projects.


The text should be submitted in Word using the following format:

  • Times New Roman 12 for the plain text and Times New Roman 10 for footnotes.
  • Justified at both ends.
  • Single-spaced text, no withdrawal of paragraphs.
  • No paragraph break within parts.
  • No highlighting (bold, italics, underlined) should be used within the text body, except for italics for book titles and foreign language terms. Foreign or international organisations should not be set in italics.


Headings should space the text and cut it into recognizable sections. Please avoid exceeding 2 levels of headings.


All references (for books, articles) have to be inserted as footnotes, by using the automatic system of Word. By convention, we never use footnotes on the titles. See further for details.

Authors’ presentation

All manuscripts should be accompanied by:

  • A short biography describing his/her current function and affiliation and professional career. Please do not exceed 150 words.
  • A picture (portrait) in colour and high definition (min. 472×472 pixels).


A few keywords should be identified for easy web search and referencing.

II. Style


  • Please use British English spelling.
  • Please use the spellings found at oxforddictionaries.com (use the main spelling rather than any spelling listed as ‘alternative’).


  • No hard spaces before punctuation marks (;?,!,:).
  • Double inverted commas (“…”) should be used throughout. Single inverted commas should be reserved for quotations within quotations.
  • If the quotation forms a full sentence, the closing full stop should be inside the quotation mark.
  • Uppercase must be accented.


Capitals should be used when:

  • A specific reference is intended (e.g. the Parliament).
  • “State” is always written with a capital S.
  • Capitals for official titles and when followed with the person’s name. Otherwise lower case.
  • No capitals in tiles and subtitles.


  • Acronyms (Unesco) and initials (UN) must be developed out the first time they appear.
  • Abbreviations are generally (Doc., Vol., No., Q.C.), except in the cases of acronyms (EU, USA, ECHR, UN) and after functions or titles (Mr and Dr, not Mr. and Dr.).
  • Abbreviations within footnotes and parentheses are permissible, followed by a full stop (ex.: etc., i.e., , doc., vol.2, n°4).


Use the following style: 1 February 1989.


Numerals below 100 should be spelt out, except for ages, which should always been given in digits. Please note: 10,000, not 10.000. Percentages should always be given in figures (7%).

Tables, graphs, and maps

They should all have a brief descriptive title and a source. The author will have made sure in advance that their publication is authorized.


Please indicate in a footnote, between brackets, when the translation is yours “(our translation)”.

III. Footnotes and bibliographical references

Footnotes should not exceed 75 words and should be indicated in the text with a superscript number without parentheses. The number should be placed after the last word of the portion of the text the note references, and before any punctuation mark (comma, full stop, ellipsis, etc.) that follows it. 

Bibliographical references shouldn’t be in the main text but as a footnote. Unless stated otherwise, the text shouldn’t include a final bibliography.

We will use the below-mentionned rules for the first references of books, book chapters and articles in English.

References in a foreign language shall be listed using the language and the norms of this language (see “Recommandations aux auteurs” for references in French). Therefore, in a text written in English, a reference to an article in French will be listed using French quotation marks (« … »).

For books:

Conor Foley, The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism went to War, Verso, 2010, p.17-18.

  • Use et al. only if there are more than three authors.
  • Page number: use “p.” for page(s) (even when a group of pages is concerned)
  • Page ranges should be indicated as follows: p.8-12.

For book chapters:

D.J.B. Trim, “Conclusion: Humanitarian intervention in historical perspective”, in Brendan Simms and D.J.B. Trim (eds.), Humanitarian Intervention: A History, Cambridge University Press, 2011, p.381-387.

For articles:

William Brown, “Sovereignty Matters: Africa, Donors, and the Aid Relationship”, African Affairs, 112/447, 11 February 2013, p.262-282.

The repeated references will be noted:

  • For books: Conor Foley, The Thin Blue Line…, op. cit., p.20-24.
  • For book chapters: D.J.B. Trim, “Conclusion: Humanitarian intervention…”, art. cit., p.92.
  • For articles: William Brown, “Sovereignty Matters…”, art. cit., p.42.

Internet References

The existence of an Internet address for the referenced document does not exempt from quoting the document in accordance with the preceding indications (in other words: no internet references alone).

IV. How to treat editorial comments

Once the author receives his or her draft article from the editorial team with editing notes and comments, it is important that the author goes through these edits and comments as soon as practicable to send the revised draft back to the editorial team.


It is important that all changes to the draft be implemented using the “track changes” function, to enable the editorial teamworking on the article to easily identify the differences from the previous version.

Areas of disagreement

Should the author disagree with an edit or a comment and he or she does not wish to implement the change in the revised draft, the author should include a comment bubble giving, in one or two sentences, a brief reason for this disagreement and lack of implementation.