Information for Authors

The South African Journal of Geology welcomes manuscript submissions that are related directly or indirectly to the geology of Africa, in the fields of Earth science.

Manuscripts, which undergo peer review, are to be submitted to the Scientific Editor. Please refer to the Author Guidelines.

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  Author Guidelines Updated: 2021-August-06

Publication policy

The South African Journal of Geology publishes scientific papers, notes, stratigraphic descriptions and discussions in the broadly defined fields of geoscience that are related directly or indirectly to the geology of Africa. Contributions relevant to former supercontinental entities such as Gondwana and Rodinia are also welcome as are topical studies on any geoscience-related discipline. Review papers are welcome as long as they represent original, new syntheses. Special issues are also encouraged but terms for these must be negotiated with the Editors.


All contributions to S. Afr. J. Geol. are subjected to peer review by geoscientists selected by the Editors and members of the Editorial Board. The principal criteria used to evaluate contributions are:

  • The contribution must present scientific findings that are original;  i.e., they must not have appeared elsewhere and must not be under consideration by any other publication.
  • The contribution must be scientifically constrained; i.e., any interpretations made or conclusions drawn must be based on the objective evaluation of scientific data.
  • There must be effective separation of scientific facts and observations from interpretations and inferences.
  • The article should make a contribution toward our deeper understanding of Earth processes, broadly defined.

Papers are generally limited to 40 double spaced A4 size typed pages including text, references, figures and tables.

Notes are regarded as short papers on topical issues and every attempt will be made to publish them quickly. They should not exceed 4 printed pages including text, references, figures and tables.

Discussions represent a forum in which previously published papers that appeared in S. Afr. J. Geol. can be disputed, clarified and/or discussed. Replies to such discussions will be invited from the original authors. Discussions must be submitted as soon as possible and not longer than six months after publication of the original paper.

Early publication (ahead-of-print)

Early publications in the South African Journal of Geology are peer reviewed articles that are in corrected proof format and published ahead-of-print. Each article is published online when ready using the “continuous publishing” method.


When the article is assigned to a specific issue of S. Afr. J. Geol., it will be allocated page numbers in that issue and replace the early publication version on the GeoScienceWorld platform. The DOI will resolve accordingly. The year an article was first published online will be carried over to the final volume and issue.

Although early publications do not have final bibliographic details (i.e., volume, issue number and page numbers), early publications should be cited using the year of online publication and the DOI. The correct format would include the author(s), year of online publication, title, and DOI.

Copyright / Open access

The South African Journal of Geology is a “hybrid open access” journal — subscription based but open access articles are also published. Except for articles licensed under open access, copyright is vested in the Geological Society of South Africa and all rights are reserved.


For open access articles, copyright is assigned to the author(s) under one of the following licence options:

  • Fully “libre open access” with a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 licence. Authors are expected to pay an APC for Gold OA. (Platinum OA and Diamond OA are APC-free.) This licence allows reuse for commercial purposes and may be required by the funding body or institution. (NB: This is the default open access licence.)
  • Non-commercial “libre open access” with Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC 4.0 or CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Authors are expected to pay an APC for Gold OA. (NB: Distribution of content might be limited with these licences.)

  2021 Article Processing Charge (APC)  for Gold OA = USD$1000

Manuscripts intended to be licensed under open access will go through peer review and production in the same way as other manuscripts. Upon acceptance of the manuscript for publication, the authors will be asked to make payment of the Article Processing Charge (if applicable) to offset the cost of open access. The APC must be cleared before such a manuscript is released for publication. No preferential treatment will be offered other than free access and use of the published open access article.

Authors interested in publishing articles as open access should contact one of the Editors for more information.


S. Afr. J. Geol. supports “self-archival” Green OA in an institutional repository or a disciplinary repository required by a funder. After an embargo period of 12 months, authors are allowed to deposit the post peer reviewed version of the manuscript, which the Editors have approved for publication. This is the Author Accepted Manuscript;  most commonly a Word file, or a PDF created by the authors directly from Word. The DOI of the article in S. Afr. J. Geol. should be included on the archived manuscript.

What should not be archived are the fully laid out PDFs generated by GSSA’s production process — these PDFs represent copy that has gone through layout, final proofing, and exist with the GSSA logo etc.

Articles licensed under open access have no such restrictions on Green OA.

Reasons to publish in S. Afr. J. Geol.
  • Exposure to the global scientific community on GeoScienceWorld, featuring a separate split-screen responsive display for figures, tables (data), references, and citation metadata.
  • Manuscripts are submitted directly to the Scientific Editor with no need to establish an online account and login to manage submissions.
  • Manuscripts undergo a rigorous and constructive peer review process that follows the highest standards for scientific articles.
  • Rapid peer review averages 9 weeks.
  • Prompt editorial processing and production. Acceptance to online availability in less than 4 weeks.
  • Each article is published online when ready. No backlogged manuscripts queued for publication to complete a full issue.
  • Each article is assigned a resolvable DOI — a unique persistent identifier registered with Crossref.
  • Articles are indexed and abstracted in:  Science Citation Index Expanded | Current Contents Physical, Chemical & Earth Sciences | Essential Science Indicators | Zoological Record | Scopus | GEOBASE | Chemical Abstracts | GeoRef | Environment Index | Academic Search (EBSCO).
  • Articles may be “discovered” with a rich set of search tools at GeoScienceWorld and at Academic Search Premier (Ebsco).
  • Support for ORCID IDs — unique persistent identifiers for authors and contributors.
  • Gold OA and other variants of open access are supported. Platinum OA and Diamond OA have no Article Processing Charges. Green OA repository self-archival is allowed.
  • Freely accessible supplementary data repository supports additional relevant digital materials; e.g., plain text, documents, worksheets, imagery, photos, videos; as well as primary data, tables, illustrations, figures, plates, appendices, posters. Supplemental Data
  • S. Afr. J. Geol. is a not-for-profit scientific journal with a long established history, produced and published by a not-for-profit scientific society (Geological Society of South Africa) on a non-profit online platform (GeoScienceWorld). About the Journal
Preparation of manuscripts for review

Manuscripts for peer review shall be submitted double-spaced in the style of the South African Journal of Geology, and authors are requested to consult a recent issue not older than Volume 118, Number 4 for the publication layout (of the PDF and print format).


The title page should include the title of the manuscript, with the initials, surname, affiliation, email address, corresponding address, and (optionally) ORCID of each author. A short summary of the paper should be provided as the abstract. Avoid using deferring phrases such as “…is discussed” and include no references.  Remember that your abstract may be the only part of your paper that is read so it should help readers to become quickly informed about your results and to decide if your paper is relevant to their interests. Abstracts from S. Afr. J. Geol. are circulated by international retrieval systems.

The text or main body of the manuscript should be logically organized into sections but please avoid overuse of subsection constructs. There must be a clear separation of facts and observations from interpretations and inferences. An alphabetical and then chronological list of all references cited should follow the main text.

The format of references must follow that of S. Afr. J. Geol. and can be obtained in any issue not older than Volume 118, Number 4; and the names of journals must be spelled out in full. Papers “in preparation” and “submitted” cannot be used as references. Please make a careful crosscheck of the reference list against citations in the text.

Tables should be compiled on separate sheets and designed to fit across a single or double column width on a single journal page. Use of decimal points, rather than commas, is required for all reported numbers.

Illustrations must be legible and contain only relevant information. Place names and other locations mentioned in the text must appear clearly on maps.


Clear instructions must be provided on how mathematical symbols and equations should be printed. For Greek and non-Roman letters, authors must identify the symbol in words the first time it is used.

Stratigraphic descriptions should conform to criteria defined by the South African Committee for Stratigraphy (SACS).

The language of S. Afr. J. Geol. is English.

Submission of manuscripts

For peer review purposes, manuscripts shall be submitted by email to the Scientific Editor Prof. Marlina Elburg <marlinae@uj.ac.za> and copied to SAJG <sajg@gssa.org.za> as a single PDF file of no more than 5 MB (megabytes).


Submitted manuscripts including references should be typed double space and in 12 font size. All pages should carry the authors’ name and be properly numbered.

Authors are encouraged to include with their submissions the names and email addresses of persons they deem suitable to be referees of their manuscript. At their discretion, the Scientific Editor and members of the Editorial Board may use them.


Submit manuscript

Receipt of manuscript will be acknowledged by email.

Submission of revised manuscripts

Revised manuscripts shall be returned to the Scientific Editor in digital format either as email attachments or via Dropbox or a similar cloud-based file service. In a cover letter, the authors must explain in detail how they dealt with each of the referees’ comments and suggestions.


The text should be in Word format and tables in Excel worksheets. Photos, figures and illustrations must not be embedded in Word files.

Photos, figures and illustrations should be submitted separately as uncompressed TIFF files, which should have minimum resolutions of 300 dpi for colour, 600 dpi for greyscale and 1200 dpi for black and white. Colour in photos, figures and illustrations should be RGB (rather than CMYK), with supporting text to be in one colour, 100% black (and not in RGB or CMYK). There will be no charge for colour photos, figures and illustrations in either the electronic version of the journal at GeoScienceWorld, or in the printed version of the journal.


Authors will receive copies of their articles as high quality PDF files. No physical copy reprints will be provided.

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