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Formatting and Style Guidelines

Guidelines for formatting proposals and full manuscripts
Published onJan 26, 2021
Formatting and Style Guidelines

Below are the formatting and style guidelines for authors submitting work to HDSR. All content accepted for publication also undergoes copyediting and proofreading prior to publishing.1


APA Style

HDSR follows the guidelines in the most current edition of the APA Style, available from the American Psychological Association. As of right now, the most recent version is the seventh edition. Up-to-date APA guidelines are available on their official website, here:

In addition to these formatting guidelines, please note the following exceptions and addenda.


Spelling and Grammar

  • Please use American English spellings and grammatical conventions.

  • We encourage active voice whenever possible.

ACTIVE Example: Data scientists achieve many things.

PASSIVE Example: Many things are achieved by data scientists.



 When referring to “data science” or “data scientist,” no capitalization is necessary. If referring to a department or official title (i.e., “Harvard Data Science Initiative,” “Chief Data Scientist”), please capitalize accordingly.



  • Please put commas inside of quotation marks when quoting.

  • Double quotation marks should indicate direct quotations only. If quotation marks indicate hypotheticals, ironies, or colloquialisms, please use single quotation marks around the first instance; later uses of this term do not require quotation marks.

  • Please use one space between sentences.

  • If emphasizing language within quotations, please use italics and include “[emphasis added]” in brackets.

  • Please use the Oxford comma before “and” in groups of three or more.

Example: “We bought apples, orangesand grapes.”



When using abbreviations, please spell out the full name or title at first use with the abbreviation in parentheses. For all subsequent uses, use the abbreviation.


English Language

Please note that HDSR is reviewed, edited, and published in American English. Therefore, American English language spelling, grammar, and readability are important components of our review and decision process. Authors who feel that their English-language writing skills could use polishing are encouraged to consider seeking the assistance of an outside language editing service. HDSR reserves the right to use professional writers to edit any piece before publication, should the editors deem it necessary.



There is no minimum or maximum length requirement for submissions to HDSR. However, content must justify length, and the writing must be concise and engaging.



Authors may use up to two levels of headings. These headings should be numbered with Arabic numbers.


  1. Section Title

    1.1. Subsection Title

    1.2. Subsection Title

  2. Section Title


Citations and Endnotes

  •  Please use in-line citations for references, following APA guidelines. Citations should be formatted as (Author Last Name, Year). When authors are named outside of the quotation, please include only the year in the citation.


“This is how to cite a quotation in HDSR” (Blue, 2018).

According to Red (2019), “You might also quote this way.”

  • If citing data visualization, please follow APA guidelines for citing infographics. In-line citations should appear as standard.

  • Endnotes of up to one paragraph length are acceptable for additional or supplementary commentary, notes, or further reading.


Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) and Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) provides a persistent link to digital content online. DOIs do not change over time. The DOI can typically be located at the top of an article’s first page. DOIs are formatted as

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) provides a specific location for digital information online. URLs may change over time. The URL can be found in the address bar of your internet browser.

  • Per APA style, provide a DOI for all works that have a DOI, whether you used the digital or print version. If a work has both a DOI and a URL, only provide the DOI.

  • Present both DOIs and URLs as hyperlinks in the reference list.

  • Do not add a period after DOIs or URLs.


Visual Media


  • Tables should not be formatted as image files or embedded images. We prefer tables in editable forms such as Word docs.

  • Tables should include call-outs in the manuscript for placement, as well as legends. Legends should include short titles/headings and a brief description.

  • Please label all tables clearly and use Arabic numbers when labeling figures (Table 1, Table 2).

  • If tables have multiple parts, please label each segment in consecutive order using Arabic numbers and lower-case letters (Table 3a, Table 3b).


Figures and Illustrations

  • Images should include call-outs in the manuscript for placement, as well as legends.

  • Please label all images clearly and use Arabic numbers when labeling figures (Figure 1, Figure 2).

  • If figures have multiple parts, please label each segment in consecutive order using Arabic numbers and lower-case letters (Figure 3a, Figure 3b).

  • For the review process, the only requirement for figures and illustrations is legibility. For accepted manuscripts, figures and illustrations must be submitted in production-ready quality.


Please note the following guidelines for production-ready images:

  • Figures and images must be submitted as separate files from the main document.

  • For best quality figures in the digital version, image files should be submitted at a minimum of 300 dpi resolution. They may be any common image file type (JPEG, PNG, etc.). They may not be embedded in documents or PDF files.

  • For best quality figures in print, image files should be submitted at a minimum of 300 dpi resolution, with a minimum width of 12.5 cm/5 in. They should be in TIF/TIFF or EPS format.


Edited Images

Excepting privacy alterations (such as a black bar over eyes) or adjustments of brightness, contrast, and color balance, photography should not undergo digital manipulation without explicit mention. If photographic manipulation is intentional for the purpose of the paper, authors should include a disclaimer in the photo caption explaining what was changed, how, and why. In the interest of maintaining scientific integrity and allowing for reproducibility, instances of intentional manipulation of photography or misrepresentation of photographic data may result in paper rejection.


Photographs of People

HDSR adheres to current HIPAA guidelines protecting patient/subject privacy. Any images or photographs of patients in which an individual is identifiable, including images with minor alterations (i.e., black bars over eyes), requires the individual’s written permission to publish. HDSR does not collect consent forms regarding adherence to patient confidentiality and privacy policies, but should a query arise, the author must be able to present a signed consent form authorizing their use of the image(s).


Data Visualizations

Data visualizations are interactive media beyond static figures, images, or tables. For examples of visualizations that HDSR has published, see the series of music players in “(A) Data in the Life: Authorship Attribution in Lennon-McCartney Songs” or Figure 12 in “Machine Learning with Statistical Imputation for Predicting Drug Approvals.”

  • Data visualizations may be created in a number of programs. HDSR incorporates them into our site using iFrame


  • Creators of data visualization must be credited per the CRediT Taxonomy.



Videos may be embedded into the online platform in two ways:

  • File submitted as .mp4 or .webm file

  • Video uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and embedded via link

Authors must have permission to publish videos in their work. There is no length restriction, but the content must be relevant to authors’ work and deemed appropriate by HDSR.


Visual Media in Appendices and Supplementary Files

Please label tables, figures, etc. with either an “A” or “S” as appropriate. For example, a figure appearing in the Appendix should be labeled “Figure A1”; if this figure has multiple parts, it should be labeled “Figure A1a,” Figure A1b,” etc.


Errata and Addenda

If authors must submit corrections or updates to published work, they should contact the editorial office. Errata and addenda appear at the end of the work, immediately preceding the references, and are labeled and dated.


Corrections will be made and noted in the text, and the authors should write a short statement to be included at the end of the article.


Authors should write a short follow-up statement to be included at the end of the article. For updates that do not require author corrections, no changes to the text are necessary.

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