GSA Today: Sizing Manuscripts


  • Six print pages: This includes author affiliations, the abstract, text, figures, tables, references, and figure captions. The average science article is about 5,250 words long with four quarter-page figures.
  • Measure the text in the body of the paper: ~6,000 characters (letters and spaces) = one page in print. The text counted as part of the body of the paper includes the title and author names/affiliations.
  • References cited and figure captions are set in smaller type, so for these, ~9,500 characters (letters and spaces) = one page in print.
  • Figures will be calculated into the size of the manuscript (e.g., a figure that takes up about 25% of a page = ~1,500 characters (letters and spaces) that will need to be removed from the text). Figures are sized to be legible in print; some take up as much as half a page to a full page. Your text will need to be adjusted accordingly.
  • Manuscripts that are too long will be returned for shortening before they go through the review process.
  • Supplemental material* may be included in GSA's online supplemental material repository.


  • Two print pages: This is ~1,700 words (including title, author names and affiliations, and references) with no figures or ~1350 words with a 1/5-page (20%) figure and caption, and so forth.
  • The philosophy behind this short format is twofold: (1) keeping an article short can increase the clarity and quality of the writing; and (2) a short article encourages readers to engage and seek more information.

Comments & Replies

  • 1,200 words: This limit includes author names, affiliations, and references.
  • To include a figure in your comment or reply, please reduce the text in proportion to the size of your figure (a 1/4-page figure = minus 25% of your text).
  • Comments & Replies will be posted online; an announcement, including the link, will be printed in GSA Today.

*Supplemental material: Information that supplements and expands on the published article can be posted to GSA's online supplemental material repository. It is generally restricted to data tables and related graphs or figures and/or explanations of methods (when this is not central to the paper). Supplemental information is not to be used to provide additional space to convey the message of the article. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the managing editor.


Need help?
Please contact the managing editor.
We can help at any point in the process, from changing your password to uploading your manuscript files.