For Prospective Authors

Research articles

These are scholarly articles that make an original contribution to knowledge in South Asian studies. Articles will be evaluated based on the following factors:

  • Significance. Articles should either directly address questions in the field or introduce new questions for researchers to consider.
  • Originality. Articles must present new arguments, new materials, or new methods. Authors must demonstrate an awareness of existing research on their topic and explain how their contributions represent an advance upon earlier contributions.
  • Cogency. The claims presented in a research article must be compelling. Different disciplines have different modes of presentation, argumentation, and persuasion, but in all cases the authors' claims must withstand criticism and counterevidence.
  • Clarity. The evidence and argumentation should be presented in a clear and accessible manner. This applies both to the writing and the use, where appropriate, of images and figures. Please try to avoid scholarly jargon.
  • Orientation. Although outstanding contributions to knowledge about South Asia will be welcomed, articles are, in general, expected to address issues outside of South Asian studies. That engagement may be more or less deep, and more or less explicit, but we strongly encourage authors to frame their interventions in terms that invite conversation with scholars in other fields.

The suggested length for research articles is around 5000–10000 words, although longer or shorter submissions may be accepted at the discretion of the editor or issue editors. The language of contributions will be English.

Articles that have already been published, in whole or in part, as well as articles that are under review elsewhere will not be considered for publication. Authors may refer to previous publications, but “self-plagiarism” will not be accepted. Authors must disclose any conflicts of interest prior to initiating the review process.

Research articles are first reviewed by the editorial staff to ensure that they accord with the journal's scope. At this stage they may be returned to authors for revision or rejected. If accepted by the editorial staff, submissions will be anonymized and sent to two external reviewers for double-blind peer review. If the reviewers are in conflict, the editors will decide whether to publish the contribution. If accepted for publication, the author will be responsible for making any requested revisions and submitting a final version of the article for production (see below).

Research briefs

These are shorter contributions that serve to notify the scholarly community of developments in the field. These could include:

  • reports of newly-discovered manuscripts, inscriptions, or artefacts;
  • updates about ongoing projects or excavations;
  • new information about the places or dates of authors or works (in the style of, e.g., P. K. Gode);
  • constructive responses to recently-published research;
  • research articles that are shorter than 5,000 words.

Research briefs will be reviewed by the editorial staff at the journal and may be sent out to external reviewers for comment.


NESAR will publish translations into English of important contributions to South Asian studies in other languages (Hindi, Tamil, Bangla, Kannada, Urdu, Sinhala, Telugu, etc.). These translations will usually be no longer than the research articles in a volume (ca. 5000–10000 words), and they may be much shorter. We especially encourage editors of themed issues to think about translations of scholarly essays that might be included.

If you are interested in translating a contribution, please get in touch with the editorial team with a proposal, including a brief description and small sample of the translation. If the editorial team accepts the proposal, we will pay an agreed-upon per-word rate for the translation.


Authors may wish to publish editions of previously-unpublished texts, or reeditions of texts based on new manuscript material, in NESAR. These editions may accompany a research article. In all cases the edition must be accompanied by a translation. Please get in touch with the editorial team if you would like to propose an edition, because the review and production processes for editions is different than for research articles.

Books reviews

NESAR will publish reviews of recently-published books in South Asian studies. Please contact the editorial team if you are interested in reviewing a book for NESAR. We particularly encourage reviews in English of books published in South Asian languages.


As an online journal NESAR has no limits on the type and quantity of media that can accompany a contribution. If it can be hosted on the internet, it can be included in an article, brief, or review. We therefore encourage authors to be creative in their selection and inclusion of supplementary media, including images, video, and audio. Media will be published under the same license as the contributions they accompany. Hence authors will be responsible for obtaining all relevant permissions and licenses.


If your research makes use of data (e.g., processed texts, survey data, geographic data, etc.) you are encouraged to publish it along with your contribution. In such cases the data will be hosted on a third-party website (such as Zenodo) and linked from the published article. If you think you will be publishing your data, please let us know when you submit your research article or research brief.


In general we follow the guidelines of the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. Please refer to this manual for matters of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and abbreviation.

Primary text references

References to primary texts should always be accompanied by a quotation of the text (either in a block quote or footnote) and a translation. References to primary texts should include a “canonical” citation (e.g., chapter and verse numbers) if one exists, as well as a way of locating the passage in a printed edition (e.g., page number) or online edition.

Source references

NESAR uses the author-date format for references described in Chapter 15 of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.). In-text references should be put in parentheses in the text (not in a footnote).

Every contribution must have a reference list that includes all of the sources referred to in the text. The references should follow the Chicago Manual of Style. Works published in non-Latin scripts should be presented in scientific transliteration (see below). For example:

  • Chevillard, Jean-Luc. 2007. “Syntactic Duality in Classical Tamil Poems.” In Colin P. Masica (ed.), Old and New Perspectives on South Asian Languages: Grammar and Semantics (Papers Growing Out of the Fifth International Conference on South Asian Linguistics (ICOSAL-5), Held at Moscow, Russia, in July 2003), pp. 177–210. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
  • Falk, Harry. 2013. “The Ashes of the Buddha.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 27: 43-75.
  • Freschi, Elisa. 2015. “The Reuse of Texts in Indian Philosophy.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 43: 85–108. DOI 10.1007/s10781-014-9232-9.
  • Pollock, Sheldon. 2006. The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Siṁha, Nāmavara. (1952) 2002. Hindī kē Vikāsa mēṁ Apabhraṁśa kā Yōga. Ilāhābād [Prayagraj]: Lōkabhāratī Prakāśana. Reprint of second edition (1971).

For all references that are available online, authors will be asked to provide a DOI, if available, for the convenience of readers, as in the above example.

We encourage (but do not require) authors to preface their reference list with a list of primary sources, which will include the translated title of the work, the original title in transliteration, the author (if applicable), and a reference to the editions (or manuscripts) consulted. Editions should also appear in the list of references.

  • The Way of the Poet-King (Kavirājamārgaṃ) of Śrīvijaya:
  • MS. K125 (“A”) of the Kuvempu Institute, University of Mysore, Mysore. (49 folios, palm leaf.)
  • Pathak (1898).


Titles of works in South Asian languages should be translated, if possible, with the original title given in transliteration on its first occurrence (see below). After the first occurrence authors should refer to works by their English names. NESAR strongly discourages the use of abbreviations (KP, IPVV, MBh, etc.).

Note that titles that are taken from names of characters (e.g., Kādambarī, Ratnāvalī) should not be translated.

Why translate titles? In South Asian studies the prevailing practice is not to translate titles of works in South Asian languages. But in most other fields, the prevailing practice is to translate titles. This makes it easier for non-specialist readers (and specialist readers who happen not to know the language) to follow the discussion and to understand the title's significance. Although we are a journal of South Asian studies, we want to encourage non-South Asianist readers to engage with our scholarship, which we believe requires the translation of titles that are not proper names. South Asianists may not be used to seeing translated titles, and may take issue with the translations (involving, as they often do, untranslatable words like mañjarī, near-synonyms like ṭīkā, vārttikam, vyākhyā, ṭippaṇī, etc., and technical terms like pramāṇam), but we hope that a convention for translating titles will emerge over time. Ask yourself: would you be able to recognize and understand references to works like Dalālat al-ḥā'irīn, Tàishǐgōng shū, or rw nw prt m hrw? (As a counterargument, you might say that works like the Muqaddimah or the Popol Vuh are generally untranslated. Well, if you think a text belongs in that category, let us know.) And also ask yourself: are translated titles really that much more difficult to understand and keep track of than abbreviations like KPrS-M?


Names of persons, places, and works should be presented in scientific transliteration if they are in South Asian languages. Authors, however, have the option of using a form of the name without diacritics, so long as the form with diacritics is given on its first occurrence:

Mammata (Mammaṭa) was a twelfth-century literary theorist. Mammata wrote the Light on Literature (Kāvyaprakāśa) …

We prefer, however, for names to be given in scientific transliteration throughout the contribution.

Personal names, when transliterated, should appear in the stem form (Mammaṭa), whereas titles of works can appear either in the stem form or in the nominative/direct case (Kāvyaprakāśaḥ or Kāvyaprakāśa). Names in Dravidian languages can appear either with or without the gender suffix (Śrīvijaya or Śrīvijayan).

By scientific transliteration is meant a system of unambiguously representing the signs of a non-Latin script in the Latin script. In general, we recommend the use of the ISO-15919 system of transliteration (hence nēsaṟ, dēva, tamiḻ, saṁśayaḥ, niṅ rāt, vis̤āl, etc.). For Sanskrit, IAST can also be used. For Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, the Library of Congress Romanization system can also be used. Original-language terms and quotations should be clearly marked. They will be displayed using an automatic transliteration tool on the NESAR website.


All content published in NESAR will be free to anyone in the world, but authors must choose a license under which their work will be published. The license sets the terms under which the work can be reproduced. In the humanities, Creative Commons (CC) licenses are popular, despite the fact that they were not originally intended for academic work. We recommend the CC-BY license, which requires anyone who uses your work in the future to credit you. If you so choose, you can add additional restrictions (see the CC site for details).

Submission format

For review

Contributions should be submitted to NESAR for review as PDF documents with embedded fonts. If the document was prepared in a word processor, please include the word processor file (.DOCX) as well. If the document was prepared with LaTeX, the PDF alone is sufficient for the review stage. The document should be prepared according to the style guidelines above. Images and figures should be submitted separately with call-outs in the text of the document.

For production

If you have prepared your contribution in a word processor, please submit a .DOCX file.

If you have prepared your contribution in LaTeX, please submit the LaTeX source (.tex) as well, along with a bibliography file (.bib). Please use a standard package such as natbib for your citations.

Contributions will be converted to a standard interchange format (TEI-XML), from which HTML and PDF (via XeLaTeX) versions will be produced automatically. See the stylesheets repository on GitHub.

For Prospective Special Issue Editors

NESAR publishes themed issues on specific topics in the study of South Asian art, literature, history, and philosophy. If you are interested in editing a themed issue of NESAR, please write a 2–3 page proposal and send it to us. The proposal should mention:

  • the theme of the issue;
  • a justification of the theme (i.e., why research on this theme is important or relevant to the field);
  • a description of the specific questions that will be addressed in the issue, with relevant bibliography;
  • a list of potential contributors and article topics (we suggest at least 4 articles per issue, but there is considerable flexibility regarding the upper limit).