Journal style guide

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General guidelines

  • Articles must not be under consideration elsewhere, must not have been previously published
  • The JGB accepts US or UK English, but use consistent spelling and punctuation in your submissions (e.g., in US English, periods and commas go inside quotation marks, semicolons and colons go outside)
  • All submissions must arrive to the JGB editors as .doc or .docx Word files
  • If images are included in the submission, please also send each image separately as .jpg file in highest resolution possible


  • Use serial commas
  • 1500s, not 1500’s; 1960s, not sixties or 1960’s
  • Commas after “e.g.” and “i.e.”
  • En dashes between numerals, e.g., 1–3. 1995–2001
  • Em dashes for breaks in sentences (with no spaces before or after them)


  • For parenthetical abbreviations of secondary languages, specify Sanskrit with “Sk.,” Chinese with “Ch.,” Korean with “Kor.,” Japanese with “Jp,” and Tibetan with “Tib.” For others please use either a two- or three-letter abbreviation that identifies the language as clearly as possible.
  • Unpointed abbreviations: PhD, not Ph.D.
  • Where possible, and especially for longer serial or compilation titles used in the body of the text, use abbreviations and specify conventions at the top of the article draft (e.g. using KDZ rather than Kōgyō Daishi zenshū)


  • Write out numbers one to ninety-nine; put numbers 100 and over in numerals (but percentages are exceptions, thus 36 percent)
  • Write out approximations in place of numbers (e.g., around eight hundred)
  • chapter one, chapter two, etc., not chap. 1 or Chapter One or Chapter 1
  • seventh century, not Seventh Century or 7th Century
  • Use BCE, not BC (e.g., 621 BCE)
  • March 5, not March 5th
  • Change fractions to decimals where possible
  • Fully write out numerical sequences. Thus, 232–238, not 232–38; similarly, 1980–1984, not 1980–84

Formatting and Style

  • Each new paragraph is indented, except for the first paragraph of any new section
  • Boldface all sub-headings
  • Space between initials in a name (e.g., J. P. Smith)
  • Put conference titles such as “Buddhism and Human Rights” in quotation marks, not italics
  • Leave titles such as “copy editor” in lower case (unless used in a heading)
  • Footnotes, when used, should only contain substantive information and kept short
  • Provide full names of all authors cited at first mention. Thereafter, use surname only

Foreign languages

  • Italicize all technical terms in Buddhist and other languages, excepting proper names.
  • Use roman type without diacritical marks for terms that have been accepted into English and other western languages (e.g., samsara, Pali). (When in doubt, confer with your editor regarding the Anglicization of technical terms)
  • Use roman type for Buddhist scripture titles if translated (e.g., Lotus Sūtra); use italics whether transliterated or translated (e.g., Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra or Lotus Sūtra)
  • See below for policies on diacritics and CJK characters.

Sanskrit and Pali Transliteration

  • Employ diacritical marks in all non-Anglicized technical terms, including individual and group names (e.g., Sōka Gakkai)
  • With regard to Sanskrit and Pali, follow the transliteration forms in the Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Monier-Williams, the Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary by Edgerton, and the Pali-English Dictionary by Rhys Davids and William Stede.
  • Transliterate following the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration:
    • Long vowels take macrons: ā, ī, ō, ū
    • Consonantal diacritics take points below; thus write retroflex consonants: ṛ, ṭ, ṭh, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ, ṃ, ṣ
    • The visarga takes a dot below: ḥ
    • The palatal n takes a tilde: ñ
    • The two sibilant consonants diverge: ṣ and ś
    • The guttural nasal takes a point above: ṅ, as does the anusvāra nasal: ṁ
    • The danda has its own glyph: ।

Use of CJK Scripts

  • Contributors may supply CJK glyphs for longer translated passages if they wish. In this case, include them as footnotes, not in the inline text. Inline, at least include an English translation and a transliteration of the passage.
  • Provide Chinese characters inline at only the initial mention of a person, place name, or technical term. Thereafter, provide only the romanization
  • Do not provide characters for terms now commonly found in the English lexicon (e.g., ginseng, qi, Shinto, kami) unless they comprise part of a footnoted CJK passage or textual reference
  • Generally, use simplified Chinese characters unless traditional characters are used in the modern context to which the author refers
  • Characters should be used when referencing a name, place, technical term, or the title of a work. For titles of written works, the author need not translate into English unless it is necessary to address a point regarding the title or translation. Otherwise, use only the characters and romanization of written works
  • Characters for names, places, and technical terms should follow the romanization, even when providing an initial English translation. For example, Mount Hiei (Hieizan 比叡山)
  • If you must use a non-unicode script in a manuscript, send it as a separate file along with the manuscript submission

Romanizing CJK Scripts

  • For Chinese, use Pinyin system (without tone marks) for romanization. For Japanese, use the Modified Hepburn system for romanization. For Korean, use the McCune-Reischauer system for romanization. For details on the romanization of other scripts, please refer to ALA-LC specifications
  • For Japanese romanization use macrons for long vowels (e.g., Sōtō, Dōgen)
  • For Japanese syllable divisions use an apostrophe only when necessary to distinguish the n/ん syllables (e.g., Man’yōshū). For compounds, avoid the use of hyphens (e.g., use hōe or hō e, not hō-e)

References and In-text Citations

  • Title the list of cited sources as “References”
  • List all items alphabetically, beginning with author surname
  • Please see the following examples for the general JGB reference style for secondary sources, which follows Chicago style:

Schopen, Gregory. 1997. Bones, Stones, and Buddhist Monks: Collected Papers on the Archaeology, Epigraphy, and Texts of Monastic Buddhism in India. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

[Multi-author volumes]

Zeller, Benjamin E., Marie W. Dallam, Reid L. Neilson, and Nora L. Rubel, eds. 2014. Religion, Food, and Eating in North America. New York: Columbia University Press.

[Chapters from edited volumes]

Hickey, Shannon. 2015. “Two Buddhisms, Three Buddhisms, and Racism.” In Buddhism Beyond Borders, Scott Mitchell and Natalie Quli, eds.: 35–56. Albany: State University of New York Press.


Heller, Natasha. 2014. “Buddha in a Box: The Materiality of Recitation in Contemporary Chinese Buddhism.” Material Religion 10 (3): 294–314.


Maschi, David. 2016. “How Income Varies Among U.S. Religious Groups.” Washington D.C.: Pew Research Center. (Date accessed).


Jun, Guo. 2013. “A Special Transmission: Teachings from the Heart of the Chan Buddhist Tradition.” Tricycle Magazine. Spring Issue. (Date accessed).

  • Place punctuation inside quotation marks in references
  • For repeated authors in references: oldest source first, repeat full name for further references, rather than using “———”
  • In the references section only, please provide CJK romanization for non-Anglicized references, followed by parenthetical English translations. Note that this rule deviates from the general rule above about CJK in prose sections, and this rule stands for both primary and secondary sources. See example below:

Hossoku shū 法則集 (Collection of Ritual Procedures). 1975. Comp. Yūkō 宥皓 (ca. 1671). In Shingonshū shohōe gisoku shūsei 真言宗諸法会儀則集成 (Collected Protocols for Various Dharma Assemblies of the Shingon School), ed. Inaya Yūsen 稲谷裕宣, 153–84. Okayama: Jōrakuji.

  • JGB editors would rather see full names in the references list. You can ask authors to provide them. Sometimes it may be necessary to leave a reference list with just the initials in the interest of getting an article published more quickly. When doing this, the JGB follows Chicago style, e.g., Tolkien, J. R. R. 1947
  • The JGB differs from Chicago style in citing and referencing works by Buddhist clergy by given name, not title. Thus, in-text: (Bodhi 2010), not (Bhikkhu 2010). In references: Bhikkhu Bodhi. 2010. Note that this would be alphabetized by Bodhi, not Bhikkhu, much as The New York Times would be alphabetized under N, not T
  • The JGB makes exceptions to the previous rule for well-known figures. For example: (Dalai Lama 2010); in references: The Dalai Lama. 2010, alphabetized under D
  • Italicize book titles and titles of other similarly large-scale works, enclose article titles and the like in quotation marks.
  • Social media citations may not need inclusion in references; if included, treat as articles and include URLs, but not date of access
For in-text citations, the JGB uses a modified version of Chicago Author-date style for citations with page numbers: While Chicago style would be (Tolkien 1947, 83), we use a colon instead of comma, (Tolkien 1947: 83).
Details on Chicago citation style can be found here:
Download our style guide here (PDF)