KGS Publishing Policy and Guidelines

The Kansas Geological Survey, established in 1889, operates under Kansas statute "…to make as far as possible a complete geological survey of the state of Kansas, giving special attention to any and all natural products of economic importance, in order to determine the character, location and amount of such products, and to prepare reports on the same. . . ." Throughout its history, the Survey has published a variety of books and maps on geology, minerals, and geohydrology pertaining to the state of Kansas.

Current KGS publications include, but are not limited to Bulletins — extensive research works, historical documentation, reference works with a long shelf life, or bibliographies; Technical Series — timely technical publications on research in subsurface geology, groundwater studies, energy resources, geology, geophysics, petrophysics, chemical analysis, and spatial analysis; and Educational Series — nontechnical publications in the earth sciences. The KGS also publishes educational pamphlets, public information circulars, catalogs, maps, and databases.

An additional KGS publication is Midcontinent Geoscience, a timely, online-only publication. MG is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research on a broad array of geoscience topics, with an emphasis on the midcontinent region of the United States, including the Great Plains and Central Lowland provinces. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work’s authorship and initial publication in MG.

All other KGS publications are public domain and therefore can be reproduced without permission. Source credit is requested.


  • Acceptability of manuscripts depends on their scientific quality and significance. Manuscripts are expected to be of high quality and will be peer reviewed.
  • Electronic copies of manuscripts for publication in the Bulletin, Technical, or Educational series should be submitted by email to the KGS editor at
  • Submit to Midcontinent Geoscience online.
  • Manuscripts should be submitted in Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or RTF document file format.
  • The manuscript must be complete and in final form when submitted and should include (1) title page, (2) abstract, (3) text, (4) references, (5) tables, (6) figure captions, (7) figures, and (8) acknowledgments. Figures should be submitted as separate high-resolution graphics files, not embedded in the text document. Acceptable graphics formats: eps, jpg, tiff, pdf, or png.

Title page

  • The title page includes the title, authors, and author affiliations (the complete mailing addresses and email addresses of authors).
  • If authors have different affiliations, each name should be followed by a footnote (superscript number) to indicate the author’s affiliation. If more than one author is at the same institution, you only need one footnote number and one footnote for that institution.


Robert S. Sawin1, Greg A. Ludvigson1, and Ronald R. West2
1 Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66047
2 Emeritus Professor, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, 66506


  • The abstract should be concise and include brief statements about the paper’s intent, materials and methods, results, and significance of findings. An informative abstract summarizes the main facts, ideas, and conclusions. An indicative abstract (statements such as "is being described" or "conclusions are being made") is merely a form of contents and is not acceptable.
  • Do not use references in the abstract.
  • Do not use abbreviations in the abstract.


  • First-, second-, and third-level headings will be edited to conform to KGS style. In the manuscript, authors may use any style as long as different levels of headings are distinguished from one another.
  • Do not justify margins.
  • Do not italicize common Latin words or phrases (e.g., i.e., et al., in situ, etc.).
  • Cite each figure and table in the text in numerical order (i.e., don’t cite fig. 2 before fig. 1).
  • Use “Figure” only to start a sentence; otherwise, use “fig.” if singular or “figs.” if plural (e.g., fig. 2, figs. 2 and 3, figs. 4–7).
  • For in-text reference citations, give the author(s) surname and year of publication (e.g., Jones, 1978; Smith and Jones, 1967). For a work by more than two authors, use "et al." (e.g., Smith et al., 1980). Note: Include all authors’ names in the References section.
  • For manuscripts accepted for publication but not yet published, follow the same format but specify in the References section that material is in press. Example: Jones, A., 1992, Kansas rivers; Journal of Geology (in press).
  • Use a semicolon to separate citations of different authors: (Jones, 1989, 1991; Smith, 1991).
  • Written communications, personal communications, and unpublished data taken from sources such as field notes should be cited in the text only and not in the list of references. In these cases, the communicator's initials should be used (e.g., D. W. Jones, personal communication, 1979; R. J. Smith, written communication, 1981; P. J. Davidson, unpublished data, 1947).
  • If U.S. (Customary) or British (Imperial) measurement units are used, they should be accompanied by their international metric equivalents. Always list the units in which the measurements were actually taken first.
  • Do not use footnotes. If footnotes are submitted as part of the manuscript, they either will be incorporated into the text or consecutively numbered and inserted as a separate section between the end of the text and the references.


  • The word “Table” should be followed by an Arabic number and a period.
  • Capitalize the first word and all proper names in the table title.
  • Indicate notes to the table by superscript letters (a, b, c, etc.); do not uses asterisks, daggers, etc.
  • Place a zero in front of decimal points (0.23, not .23).
  • Table format will be edited to conform to KGS style.

Figure captions

  • The word “Figure” should be followed by an Arabic number and a period.
  • Type captions in paragraph format at the end of the manuscript.
  • If a figure contains more than one part, use lowercase letters in parentheses to indicate each one. For example: Figure 1. Arch (a) before collapse and (b) after collapse.
  • Try to make the figure legend part of the caption rather than placing the legend in the figure: Figure 1. Rainfall in Kansas in 1992. Expected values (solid line) and observed values (dashed line).


  • Each reference cited in the text must be listed in the References section, and vice versa. Double-check for spelling and details of publication.
  • List references alphabetically by surname and chronologically.
  • Do not abbreviate journal names.
  • For more information about KGS reference style, please refer to the KGS Style Manual and Word Usage Guide.

Preparation of illustrations

  • Digital photographs and figures created using graphics software are preferred. Color is acceptable.
  • Figures should be saved as high-resolution graphics files. Acceptable formats: eps, jpg, tiff, pdf, or png. Minimum resolution:
    • Digital photographs: 300 dpi.
    • Combined photo/line art: 600 dpi.
    • Line art: 600 dpi; 1,200 dpi for art containing very fine line detail. Recommended format: eps or tiff.
    • The editor may request higher resolution graphics, if needed.
  • Each illustration should be submitted as a separate file, not integrated into the text document.
  • In the case of material that you cannot create on a computer, use a scanner to convert the materials into high-resolution electronic files in eps, jpg, tiff, pdf, or png format.
  • All figure files should be numbered in the order of their appearance in the article: fig1.eps, fig2.tif, and so on. Do not include captions as part of the graphics files. Captions should be typed in paragraph form at the end of the manuscript.
  • If several photographs are grouped together in one illustration, make sure they have the same orientation (e.g., the up-direction of strata or photomicrographs should be the same).
  • Scale bars should be part of the figure. State the length of the scale bar in the figure caption.
  • If figures have more than one part, each part must have its own lowercase letter and that letter must appear in the figure caption with the explanation.

Geologic names

  • Geologic names must conform to the requirements of the North American Stratigraphic Code.
  • All informal terms and names must be clearly distinguished as such (see p. 1,560 of the Stratigraphic Code).

Geographic Names

  • Geographic names must conform to the requirements of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, U.S. Geological Survey. In all cases, formal geographic names are preferred. For information about correct spelling, capitalization, and usage of formal geographic names, please refer to the "National Gazetteer of the United States of America," in its published or digital form or at the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database.  If these sources are unavailable to you, the editor will make the necessary changes in the nomenclature.

Editorial Procedures

All manuscripts are subject to at least two colleague reviews. Manuscripts by Kansas Geological Survey authors will be subject to external review. The only manuscripts exempt from this review process will be production reports, data lists, nonscientific articles, and the like; however, these reports may be subject to review at the discretion of the editor. Authors may suggest potential reviewers, or manuscripts may be reviewed before submission by persons of the author's choice. In the latter case, the reviewers' comments and all pertinent correspondence must accompany the manuscript if the author wishes for such review to serve as the colleague review of the manuscript (i.e., the reviewers already contacted are the best or only qualified reviewers). The names of such reviewers should appear in the acknowledgments. The editor reserves the right to request additional opinions from reviewers of the editor's choice.

After review, authors are generally expected to address reviewers' concerns and comments. Upon receipt of the revised manuscript, copy editing and organization are done in the editorial office. The author may receive a copy of the edited manuscript to review before the text is laid out. However, we request that authors keep their alterations to a minimum. If co-authors are involved, the senior author is responsible for sending them proofs and compiling their corrections.

The review process for maps is the same as that for manuscripts.

Map Authorship

Map authorship is predicated on the policy that the initial field work and geologic decisions made in mapping determine authorship. Although a map may have been published many years ago and revision has taken place, the map is still essentially the work of the initial author. Such a map should include a clear explanation of further compilations, revisions, etc., in addition to the authorship, but these should not displace the original author. If a substantial (50%) revision of the depiction of geology has been made through field work, etc., then the map may be considered a new publication by a new author.

An example is the map M-28, Surficial Geology of Finney County, Kansas. When the decision was made to produce a new map with revisions resulting from additional field work, the authorship remained the same with a note of explanation of the revisions.

The reference for this map:

Johnson, W. C., and Arbogast, A. F. [1993] 2010, Surficial Geology of Finney County, Kansas, revised by W. C. Johnson and T. L. Woodburn: Kansas Geological Survey, Map M-28, scale 1:50,000.

The map title:

Surficial Geology of Finney County, Kansas
Original geology by William C. Johnson and Alan F. Arbogast (1993)
Playa deposits and Arkansas River terrace deposits by
William C. Johnson and Terri L. Woodburn

Credit should be clearly stated on the map for revisions and cartography. Such credit should include the names and areas of responsibility of those revising and preparing the map. The language denoting such credit should be developed in consultation with, and should have the approval of, the KGS editor.

Publication Release

Once the publication process is completed, finished printed publications will be mailed out to interested persons and organizations by way of selected mailing lists. Authors receive five (5) complimentary copies of the released publication (senior author only in the case of multiple authors). A 20% discount on additional purchases of the publication may be arranged with the KGS publications/sales office. Electronic publications are available online or a copy may be printed on demand for the senior author if so requested. Arrangements should be made before printing if an author wants extra reprint copies of an article that appeared in a printed KGS publication.

Open-File Reports

The Kansas Geological Survey's library maintains a collection of unpublished reports and maps that represent research findings conducted in the state. Included in the collection of open-file materials are graduate theses, unpublished reports, maps, and data.

Materials for open file are submitted to the KGS editor, who will review them and work with authors on any necessary revision. If there are scientific issues with a report, the KGS director or other appropriate scientist will review the materials. This will not be the full-fledged peer review process that a formal KGS publication goes through; it will be a quick, internal review (if necessary), similar to what many staff already request from their colleagues. Once any necessary editorial and/or content revisions are addressed, the editor will consult with the KGS librarian to assign an open-file number and will forward the final report to the librarian and to the KGS webmaster for posting online, if appropriate.

Guidelines on Writing and Reviewing Scientific Manuscripts

Critical review is essential for maintaining quality; it is also important in evaluating and monitoring effectiveness of research programs.

No manuscript should be submitted for formal critical review until the authors consider it complete. Peer discussion is different and informal; however, critical appraisal cannot be made on the basis of an incomplete manuscript.

Critical reviewers are not "ghost writers," and no author should expect a rewrite from a reviewer.

The best method is for the editor to send the manuscript out for review; the editor can ensure that the manuscript is in final draft form, including clear illustrations, no ambiguity, and other essentials.

It is the responsibility of the authors to see that the factual information is presented clearly and concisely in such a way that the reader has no doubt as to its accuracy and authenticity. There may be disagreement on conclusions drawn from the data, but there should be no disagreement on the factual information itself.

If data lend themselves to more than one interpretation, the authors should present such alternatives. Authors are entitled to state their preference among the options, but they must be able to back up that preference.

Critical reviewers have the responsibility to point out alternative points of view where warranted but should not try to convert the authors to their way of thinking.

Reviewers should consider (and authors should remember) the following:

  • Do the results warrant publication in the form proposed or would another format or publication be more suitable?
  • Does the report have any significant advances or is it merely confirming data? Is it worth formal publication?
  • Are all tables and figures essential? Can some be combined or dropped? Oversize items to be inserted in back pockets are to be avoided if at all possible.
  • Has full credit been given for use of material presented elsewhere?
  • Is the report too long? padded? Should some of the data be in an appendix? on a disk or on a website rather than printed?
  • Does the scientific terminology meet accepted standards?
  • Should some sections be reviewed by someone else?

In writing a report, the main aim is the transfer of information. To accomplish this, conciseness and clarity are important above all. Just as reviewers have an important responsibility in performing critical reviews, authors have an even greater responsibility in making sure that manuscripts are concise, clear, and complete before submission for review or publication.

Additional information may be found in the KGS Style Manual and Word Usage Guide.

KGS Publications Program

KGS Online Bibliography of Geology

The KGS maintains an online bibliography of publications on topics related to Kansas geology, including KGS publications. You may search the bibliography by topic, keyword, author, and more.

KGS Online Bibliography of Geology