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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in ASCII, HTML, Microsoft Word, RTF, Open Doc format or PDF. NOTE: If submitting your manuscript as a PDF file, upload another copy of the manuscript as plain or ASCII text with all of the figures attached as separate, clearly labeled .GIF or .JPG files.
  • All URL addresses in the text (e.g., are activated and ready to click.
  • The text is double-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed at the end, consistent with APA style.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines, which is found in About the Journal.
  • First Monday does not use a double-blind peer review process; it uses a single blind process, i.e. the reviewer identity is not known, but the author identity is known to the reviewers. Therefore submitters may ignore instructions from the software about removing author identity from submissions.

Author Guidelines

First Monday has never charged a fee to authors and their institutions for manuscripts. There are absolutely no fees assessed to authors for their papers to be considered for review or publication. First Monday is completely fee-less and untainted by advertisements in any form. No article publishing charges, no subscriptions fees, no advertisements, no walls.


Purpose of guidelines Audience profile Editorial policy & process Copyright & privacy
Writing tips Style guidelines Citation format Reference format
Abstract format Submission format Final checklist

Purpose of guidelines

To streamline the editorial process and ensure that all papers meet the needs of a diverse international audience, the editors of First Monday have developed Guidelines for authors to assist you with the preparation of your submissions. Although nearly all contributors are skilled writers, your attention to the Guidelines for authors will help First Monday’s volunteer staff members spend less time editing your work and help you ensure that your message is communicated clearly to readers. The Guidelines for authorsprovide you with tips that emphasize the following:

  • The electronic medium. Shorter sentences and paragraphs are best suited to digital publications. Readers need text that is concise and useful rather than wordy and general. Therefore, writing to express rather than impress will best promote your ideas. (Refer to Writing tips for further information.)
  • The First Monday audience. Since the First Monday audience is both diverse and international, readers will better understand your message through simple explanations and less complex sentences. (Refer to Audience profile for further information.)
  • Consistency in style and format. The specified guidelines for style as well as abstract, citation, reference, and submission formats create a smoother editorial process for First Monday staff. Consistency in these elements also minimizes readers’ confusion about the treatment of various elements. (Refer to Style guidelines, Citation format, Reference format, Abstract format, and Submission format for further information.)

First Monday’s Guidelines for authors are not absolute and certainly subject to variation. However, keeping them in mind assists your editors, and more importantly, helps your readers.

Audience profile

First Mondayattracts a diverse international readership from over 180 countries. When preparing documents for submission, consider the following:

  • English is not the first language for many First Monday readers.
  • A large percentage of First Monday readers are not a part of academia.
  • Cultures, educational backgrounds, and fields of study vary greatly among First Monday readers.

The demographics of First Monday’s audience suggest that more readers will better understand your message through simple explanations and less complex sentences. Even an expert in your own field of study would prefer to glean your meaning without sorting through overly complex writing. Refer to the Writing tipssection for further information on creating concise text for a diverse international audience.

Editorial policy & process

First Mondaypublishes articles on all aspects of research related to the Internet, including studies on trends and standards, technical issues, political and social implications of the Internet, and educational uses. Its focus is simply on interesting and novel ideas related to the history, current use, and future of the Internet. The flow of a typical article, from author to publication:

  • An author is contacted by an editor to write a manuscript, or
  • An author submits an article to an editor by electronic mail. The paper is forwarded by electronic mail to the editorial office.
  • The editorial office starts the peer review process by forwarding the manuscript to First Monday’s editors and reviewers by electronic mail.
  • Comments on the manuscripts are received in the editorial office and the author is asked to complete a revision.
  • The revised paper is reviewed and accepted for publication.
  • A proof version of an upcoming issue is prepared; authors and editors review the contents and make minor corrections as necessary.
  • The issue is released to the public on the first Monday of each month.

Copyright & privacy

Copyright. Authors submitting a paper to First Monday automatically agree to confer a limited license to First Monday if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication. This license allows First Monday to publish a manuscript in a given issue. Authors have a choice of:

  1. Dedicating the article to the public domain. This allows anyone to make any use of the article at any time, including commercial use.
  2. Retaining some rights while allowing some use. For example, authors may decide to disallow commercial use without permission. Authors may also decide whether to allow users to make modifications (e.g., translations, adaptations) without permission. A good way to make these choices is to use a Creative Commons license.
  3. Go to
  4. Choose and select a license.
  5. You can then e–mail the license html code to yourself. Do this, and then forward that e–mail to First Monday’s chief editor. Put your name in the subject line of the e–mail with your name and article title in the e–mail.
  6. Retaining full rights, including translation and reproduction rights. Authors may use the statement: © Author 2016 All Rights Reserved. Authors may choose to use their own wording to reserve copyright.

Authors submitting a paper to First Monday do so in the understanding that Internet publishing is both an opportunity and challenge. In this environment, authors and publishers do not always have the means to protect against unauthorized copying or editing of copyright–protected works.

First Monday is a copyrighted compilation, © 1996–2016, and all rights are reserved worldwide. Permissions to reprint or use content from First Monday should be directed to Edward Valauskas, chief editor, ejv [at] uic [dot] edu.

Privacy. First Monday respects the privacy of its readers and contributors. To that end, First Monday does not collect in its logs or other server tools the exact identities of its readers. First Monday does not require its readers to sign in or to secure a unique ID or password. First Monday does not use cookies.

First Monday collects general information in its logs on the origins of users at the highest domain levels. Usage patterns are tracked in First Monday to assist editors in making decisions about future content for the journal. In addition, this information is used for research into the journal’s usage patterns to improve First Monday over time.

As monthly service to subscribers, First Monday maintains a listserv that provides tables of contents of new issues as they appear. E–mail addresses of the subscribers to this service are not disclosed to third parties.

Please direct any questions about First Monday’s privacy policy to Edward Valauskas, chief editor, ejv [at] uic [dot] edu.

Writing tips

Consider the following tips for creating concise text:

  • Be specific. Be specific about all references to time, quantity, etc. Instead of using currently or recently, specify last month. Often when now and currently are implied, these words can be deleted without loss of meaning. Instead of saying several units were added, give a number or a rough estimate, such as almost 100.
  • Use shorter words. Choose short, familiar words whenever possible. When more than 15 percent of your words (except verbs and proper nouns) are three or more syllables, readers work with difficulty to understand your message. To reduce larger words, consider these tips: a) Use about instead of approximately; use rather than utilize; b) Convert nouns ending in –ion into verbs. Use “We considered ...” instead of “We took into consideration ...”; c) Replace endeavor with try, aggregate with total, and optimum with best.
  • Delete extra words. Make your point without extraneous words. It will help readers clearly understand your message. Evaluate every that in your text. Often that can be deleted without loss of meaning. Avoid starting sentences with “In order to ...” By deleting the words “in order,” you lose no meaning. Rarely is the word very needed. Consider deleting it or choosing another word. Very good can be excellent, and very important can be key.
  • Use shorter sentences. Keep at least 75 percent of your sentences an average length of 10–20 words. If a sentence is longer than three typed lines, consider shortening it. Think of your sentence lengths as music: quick, quick, slow becomes short, short, longer. Pleasing variations help your readers pay attention.
  • Use shorter paragraphs. Keep at least 75 percent of your paragraphs one to three sentences long. If a paragraph is more than five typed lines, consider shortening it.
  • Avoid cliches & jargon. Choose original ways of writing your message, avoiding well–known phrases such as, When push comes to shove and By the same token. These cliches and well–worn phrases will bore your readers. Avoid the use of jargon whenever possible. It will serve only to confuse readers.
  • Watch the use of it. Avoid starting a sentence or clause with It unless the pronoun has a clear antecedent.
  • Watch the use of there. Avoid starting sentences with There to prevent the use of “empty” introductory language.
  • Use strong verbs. Use “strong” verbs whenever possible. Forms of the verb to be (e.g., am, is, are, was, were) do not maintain readers’ interest. Instead of saying, “The meeting was productive,” consider, “The meeting generated good ideas for ...”
  • Favor the active voice. Favor the active voice over the passive voice to avoid vagueness unless the action is more important than the doer of the action. Use of the imperative is a good technique for attracting readers and minimizing the use of passive voice constructions.
  • Ask So what? After you’ve written your text, evaluate every sentence by asking yourself, Why is this particular piece of information important to my readers? If you cannot answer the question adequately about a sentence, consider deleting it.

Style guidelines

For general Internet writing style and usage, authors are encouraged to consult Wired style: Principles of English usage in the digital age, edited by Constance Hale (San Francisco: HardWired, 1996). For First Monday’s editorial purposes, please adhere to these style guidelines when referencing the following:

  • Acronyms. Explain each and every first occurrence. For example, state World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), allowing the use of WIPO later in the manuscript.
  • Dates. Dates should appear in date–month–year format, as in “The first issue of First Monday appeared on Monday, 6 May 1996.”
  • Electronic mail. Refer to electronic mail as e–mail or E–mail but not email or Email.
  • Internet. The Internet should be called the Internet, not the internet, the net, the Net, or the ’Net.
  • Numbers. The numbers zero through nine should be spelled out except when referring to data or measurements, such as “The figure measures 3 pixels by 2 pixels ...” All whole numbers above nine should appear as Arabic numerals, such as 10, 11, 12, ... Ordinal numbers should be spelled out, as in twentieth. A number at the start of a sentence should be spelled out, as in “Fourteen search engines were examined ... ”
  • Percentages. Write percent, not %.
  • Person. Favor the use of the second–person pronoun, you, over the indefinite third–person singular pronoun, one. Do not assume that the pronoun for a third–person singular noun is him or he. To avoid awkward constructions like he/she, revise sentences.
  • Tables & figures. Capitalize all references to your own tables and figures, such as “see Figure 1” or “see Table 2 below”. Always spell out the words Figure or Table in reference to illustrations in the course of your manuscript. Use lower case for references to figures or tables in cited literature, such as (Kokomo, 1999, figure 8) or (Dolton, 1968, table 5).
  • Verb tense. Choose a verb tense and maintain its use throughout the document. Carefully consider use of the future tense, as often it is unnecessary. In literature reviews, use the past tense, as in “Valauskas (1990) remarked that ... ”
  • World Wide Web. Use the Web or the World Wide Web but not the web.

Citation format

Citations in the course of the manuscript should appear in the following ways:

General format. The last name of the author of cited work should appear in the paper, followed by the year of publication of the book, paper, report, or document, as in (Jones, 1990).

If there are several references to authors with the same surname, initials should be used to differentiate between the authors, as in (C. Jones, 1990; D. Jones, 1985).

Two authors. For references containing two authors, list the authors in order of their appearance in the original publication, followed by date of publication, as in (Smith and Jones, 1986).

Three or more authors. If a reference contains three or more authors, the citation should appear as (Rogers et al., 1980).

Publications in press. Cite publications in press (i.e., those manuscripts accepted for publication but not yet published) as (Rivers, in press).

Direct quotations. Cite direct quotations as (Merrell, 1994, p. 98) and move the reference to an endnote in the manuscript.

Indirect quotations. A citation can refer to text written by one author embedded in the text of a book or paper written by another author, such as (Ransmayr in Rothenberg, 1995).

Multiple quotations. Multiple citations can appear in whatever order the author deems relevant, such as (Shane and Cushing, 1991; Chalmers, 1990; Kendall and Wells, 1992).

All citations in the course of the paper should be completely described in the Reference Format section. Papers listed in the References section that are not cited in the course of the paper will be removed. Citations to papers not found in References will be removed.

Reference format

References should take the following formats:

Papers in journals. Examples: David R. Bentley, 1996. “Genomic sequence information should be released immediately and rreely in the public domain,” Science, volume 274, number 5287 (25 October), pp. 533–534. Kuldeep Kumar and Han G. van Dissel, 1996. “Sustainable collaboration: Managing conflict and cooperation in interorganizational systems,” MIS Quarterly, volume 20, number 3, pp. 279–300. Steven Bachrach, R. Stephen Berry, Martin Blume, Thomas von Foerster, Alexander Fowler, Paul Ginsparg, Stephen Heller, Neil Kestner, Andrew Odlyzko, Ann Okerson, Ron Wigington, and Anne Moffat, 1998. “Who should own scientific papers?” Science, volume 281, number 5382 (4 September), pp. 1,459–1,460.

Papers in press. Examples: Suzanne de Castell, Mary Bryson, and Jennifer Jenson, in press. “Object lessons: Critical visions of educational technology,” First Monday.

Papers in edited volumes. Examples: J.C.R. Licklider, 1960. “Quasi–linear operator models in the study of manual tracking,” In: R. Duncan Luce (editor). Developments in mathematical psychology: Information, learning, and tracking. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, pp. 167–279.

Papers in conference proceedings. Examples: V. Bellotti and A. Sellen, 1993. “Design for privacy in ubiquitous computing environments,” In: G.D. Michelis, C. Simone, and K. Schmidt (editors). Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work — ECSCW ’93, pp. 77–92. M.D. Byrne, B.E. John, N.S. Wehrle, and D.C. Crow, 1999. “The tangled Web we wove: A taxonomy of WWW use,” Proceedings of Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 99). New York: ACM Press, pp. 544–551.

Papers in journals on the World Wide Web. Examples: Richard Einer Peterson, 1997. “Eight Internet search engines compared,” First Monday, volume 2, number 2, at, accessed 14 December 2001. Clifford Lynch, 1997. “Searching the Internet,” Scientific American, volume 276, pp. 50–56, and at, accessed 4 December 2001.

World Wide Web sites. Examples: Google at, accessed 14 December 2001. M. Naor and B. Pinkas, “Oblivious polynomial evaluation,” at, accessed 1 December 2001.

Book by one author. Examples: J.C.R. Licklider, 1965. Libraries of the future. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. E.Scumas Rory, 1969. Dancing worm of Turkana. Gurnee, Ill.: Vanishing Press.

Books by more than one author. Examples: James Gillies and Robert Cailliau, 2000. How the Web was born: The story of the World Wide Web. New York: Oxford University Press. Kenneth O. Emery, Joshua I. Tracey, Jr., and Harry S. Ladd, 1954. Geology of Bikini and nearby atolls. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Abstract format

All papers submitted to First Monday for consideration must include an abstract, a brief summary of a paper’s fundamental findings and conclusions. A well–written abstract will pique the interest of readers by succintly presenting that facts and ideas that build a paper. Consider the following guidelines for creating effective, elegant abstracts that express main ideas and engage readers:

  • Place the abstract before the formal contents of the paper and after the title and author statements.
  • Limit the abstract to between three and five sentences and one paragraph.
  • State the main ideas of the paper only, avoiding unnecessary details and explanations that are addressed in the body of the paper.
  • Do not include references or notes in the abstract.
  • Use proper grammar, punctuation, and English language conventions.

Submission format

Each manuscript should contain the following elements:

  • A title;
  • Names of authors and institution affiliations with electronic mail addresses;
  • An abstract;
  • Clearly labeled contents that include an introduction, discussion, and conclusion;
  • Internal citations;
  • Brief biographical statement identified with the heading “About the author”;
  • Acknowledgments;
  • Notes (if any); and,
  • References.

Title and author(s) Place the title of the paper at the top of the first page of the manuscript. Follow the title by the full name of all authors, with their institutional affiliations and electronic mail addresses. If one author should function as the point of contact for questions or comments, please indicate so with the phrase “direct comments to” followed by the author’s e–mail address.

Illustrations, figures & tables. All illustrations should be sent as separate .GIF or .JPG files, clearly labeled simply as figure1.gif, figure2.gif, etc. with their location marked in the manuscript in this fashion: Insert figure1.gif Here, Caption (for example) = This is the first figure in my paper. Figures and tables should appear in consecutive order in the text and be cited in the document consecutively. Additional data, illustrations, commentary, and complicated or long tables should be placed in consecutively numbered appendices at the end of the manuscript.

Notes. Notes in the manuscript should be consecutively numbered, and collected at the end of the paper after the conclusion and before the References section.

Word processed submissions. All tables and figures should be imbedded in the manuscript in their logical locations for reference. The entire document should be double-spaced, including abstract, text, references, tables, figure captions, and appendices. All pages should be numbered, starting with the title page. Use only a basic, widely available font like Courier 12 point. Do not justify or break words at the right margin.

PDF submissions. If submitting your manuscript as a PDF file, send another copy of the manuscript as plain or ASCII text with all of the figures attached as separate, clearly labeled .GIF or .JPG files.

HTML submissions. If submitting your manuscript in HTML format, please examine the source code of any published contribution to First Monday for a basic understanding of the organization of the manuscript’s contents.

Final checklist

Use the following checklist to ensure that your text is ready for submission to First Monday:

My introductory text quickly engages readers’ interest because it does one of the following:

  • Tells a short tale that leads to the main point;
  • Immediately surprises readers with new information; or,
  • Presents about three short ideas or examples, then summarizes their significance in one sentence.

I have made my text as concise as possible while maintaining its logic and completeness. Each word I have included is essential. (Refer to Writing tipsfor further information.)

I have formatted the text according to First Monday’s stated requirements. (Refer to Submission format for further information.)

I have avoided dull language by using lively verbs where appropriate and specific examples with clear references to time, size, etc. (Refer to Writing tipsfor further information.)

My entire document effectively meets the needs of First Monday’s diverse international audience. (Refer to Audience profile for further information.)

My entire document is consistent with First Monday’s stated style guidelines. (Refer to Style guidelines for further information.)

All of my references, bibliographic notes, endnotes, and/or footnotes are consistent throughout the document and meet First Monday’s stated requirements. (Refer to Citation format and Reference format for further information.)

I have included a succint abstract that clearly states my paper’s fundamental findings and conclusions. The abstract meets First Monday’s stated requirements. (Refer to Abstract format for further information.)

My text has been proofread carefully more than once to eliminate all inaccuracies in fact, word choice, spelling, and grammar. (Refer to Writing tips for further information.)

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For site management, information is collected for statistical purposes. First Monday uses software programs to create summary statistics for such purposes as assessing what information is of most and least interest or identifying system performance or problem areas. The following is the type of information collected about your visit to the Web site: the name of the Internet domain from which you access the First Monday Web site (for example, "" if you are connecting from America Online) and the date and time you access our site and what files you viewed. If you choose to provide us with personal information in an e-mail message, we use it only to respond to your e-mail. For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, our host uses software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986. Information also may be used for authorized law enforcement investigations. Except for the above purposes, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.