LRTS Editor Offers Guidance about Submitting Articles

John Budd, LRTS Editor

John can be reached at or at his mailing address: School of Information Science and Learning Technologies, University of Missouri-Columbia, 303 Townsend Hall, Columbia, MO 65211; (573) 882-3258; fax: (573) 884-4944.

Focus of the Journal

Library Resources and Technical Services (LRTS) has been the official ALCTS journal for several decades. Its purpose is to communicate thoughtful reflection on practice as well as research. Any contribution will be considered that takes a critical approach to the questions and problems facing libraries with regard to:

  • collections (physical and electronic);
  • preservation (including digitization);
  • acquisitions (including economic elements of acquisition and licensing);
  • serials (in all media); and
  • cataloging and classification (of all types of objects).

LRTS is intended to be the primary communication tool of all librarians, information professionals, and educators interested in these areas. We encourage the submission of papers that deal with any related topic. All submissions will be rigorously reviewed to ensure that all published articles are of high quality. The editor and members of the editorial board will work with authors whose work is promising in order to improve method, analysis, or presentation. For the profession to thrive, beginning professionals, as well as experienced librarians, should address the most pressing issues we face. While the review process LRTS suits anyone who is in a tenure-track position, the goal of the journal is to present reflective practice. Articles on operations in libraries will be considered, as long as they communicate an evaluative approach to practice and a serious examination of the work’s impact on libraries in general. We do not limit the journal’s content to a narrow definition of research that limits method or perspective.

An interested author should contact the editor with an idea or to submit a paper. A prospective author may have questions about preparing and submitting an article to LRTS. The following is an attempt to anticipate some of those questions and to provide some brief answers.

When I have an idea, what should I do first?

Based on challenges faced in your own library or more broadly in the profession, talk to colleagues about the idea. It may well be that this issue is on their minds as well, and they may be able to suggest ways to examine the issue so that you and others can understand it better or can address it practically. In this early stage, you also should review the recent literature on the issue. Perhaps others who have written about their approach to solving problems have already addressed the challenge. If there is little or no literature on the topic, this may be an indication that the time is ripe for a serious approach to the challenge. Even if there are some publications on the topic, a critical review of those items may reveal that important aspects of the challenge remain to be addressed. At this stage, you may contact the editor about your idea for suggestions or guidance.

Once I have done the work to tackle a challenge, how do I prepare a manuscript for LRTS ?

The instructions to authors are available at the LRTS Web site. Following the instructions will make a favorable impression on the referees who will read and comment on your paper; look at recent issues of the journal for a clear understanding of the format, arrangement, presentation (including tables and figures), and bibliographic style. It may be useful to ask a colleague to read your manuscript, as that person may be able to suggest either stylistic or substantive changes that can lead to preparation of a better paper. When the paper is in a final form, mail three copies of it to the editor or send it to the editor as an e-mail attachment (formatted preferably in MS Word).

What happens to the manuscript after I've submitted it to the editor?

The editor examines the paper to ensure that it fits within the scope of LRTS and to gain a basic understanding of the issue being addressed. The editor then contacts potential referees to ask them to read and comment on the paper. The referees are usually practicing professionals (or sometimes library and information science educators) who have demonstrated knowledge and expertise of the area addressed by the paper. The referees are sent copies of the paper and are given approximately five weeks to review it. The referees assess the importance of the topic to readers of LRTS, the originality of the approach, the secondary sources used, and the quality of the presentation (writing style, use of supporting graphic, etc.). They then make a recommendation to the editor such as declining to publish the paper; urging the author to revise the paper substantially and resubmit it; publishing with minor revisions; or publishing it as is. The editor and editorial board are committed to assisting authors to produce publishable papers. If a paper shows promise but needs more work, the editor will attempt to pair the author with someone (possibly a member of the editorial board) who can help the author with revisions.

How long does the review process take?

In general the initial review is completed in two to three months. If a paper is accepted with minor revisions or as is, production can begin soon after the completion of the process. If more substantive revisions and a second review are required, the process depends on the author’s completion of a revised manuscript.

If my paper is accepted for publication, what happens next?

When a paper is accepted, the next step is production. ALCTS staff work with the editor and the author to typeset the paper and prepare it for publication in LRTS. At this stage the author may be asked to clarify some parts of the paper and to make sure there are no grammatical or typographical errors. Appearance in the journal depends on the backlog of accepted manuscripts. If there is little or no backlog, the paper may appear in the next issue of LRTS; if there is a backlog, it will appear in a successive issue.

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