Free Inquiry Article Submission Guidelines

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PLEASE NOTE: Due to coronavirus crisis, addresses for postal submissions have temporarily changed. Send to the addresses shown below, not those you may have used before. 

free-inquiry-magsFree Inquiry is published bimonthly by the Center for Inquiry. It publishes articles explaining the principles of secular humanism and supporting those living out its ideals. It explores the contributions of science as they increase our understanding of the world and our ability to improve it. It also examines the damage done by ignorance, intolerance, and superstition. The readership includes scholars, researchers, and lay readers with diverse backgrounds. Free Inquiry also publishes a very limited amount of poetry.

Free Inquiry considers only original articles not published elsewhere in print or electronic form. Exceptions to this policy include book excerpts, articles previously published in foreign publications with small U. S. readership, or by special arrangement with the editors.

Authors must not submit an article to any other publication, printed or electronic, while Free Inquiry is considering it for publication. Multiple submissions (articles submitted to several publications simultaneously) will not be considered. The editors may at their discretion reject a previously-accepted manuscript if they discover it has been published elsewhere. Please note that online publication is considered previous publication.

Free Inquiry protects authors’ privacy. We do not publish or divulge authors’ contact information. Paper or electronic communications addressed to authors in care of the magazine will be forwarded promptly.

Editorial Requirements

Write clearly and simply; assume an intelligent general audience. All submissions are judged on the basis of interest, clarity, significance, relevance, authority, and topicality. As space is limited, there is a maximum of 6,000 words for Articles, 1,600 words for Departments.

Once a manuscript is tentatively scheduled, copy-edited, and typeset, proofs are sent to the author. Corrected proofs should be returned within 5 work days. Make suggested changes only on galleys. Do not retype the submission. Keep changes minimal.

Like most magazines, Free Inquiry cannot guarantee publication of submitted articles. The editors guarantee careful consideration of each article submitted. Unless otherwise agreed, copyright will be transferred to Free Inquiry upon publication.

We maintain a journalistic rather than technical tone, so in-text notes are discouraged. Except for articles published as research reports (rare), numbered in-text notes are not permitted; nor are in-text APA-style parenthetical references. If a few in-text notes are occasionally necessary, one such reference is permitted per finished page, in every case marked with an asterisk pointing to a footnote on that typeset page. In general, authors are encouraged to insert reference information into their text in plain English (“As Smith asserted in her 1990 Title…”). Most references should be placed at the end of the article in a list titled References, Further Reading, or Recommended Reading. Format is Author-surname, Author-given-name. Title [or, if an article, “Title”] (City: Publisher, Year). End-of-article notes may not include page numbers.

Content Warnings. Since Free Inquiry encourages authors to engage in free and untrammeled inquiry, it is understood that any article may contain material some readers or members of the public may find offensive or disturbing. Content warnings (so-called “trigger warnings”) for individual articles (“This article discusses rape,” “This article presumes that the Apostle Paul engaged in conscious fraud when writing his scriptures”) are not permitted, as they would be redundant.

Capitalization of “secular humanism” and “humanism.” It is the policy of the Council for Secular Humanism that the life stance, or eupraxsophy, known as secular humanism is not a religion. For this reason the phrases secular humanism or secular humanist are never set in text with initial capitals (Secular Humanism), but is always set in lower case, subject only to ordinary rules for capitalization at the beginning of a sentence (“Secular humanists maintain that …”; note that only the first word of the phrase is capitalized). This is intended to minimize the likelihood that casual readers might misconstrue a passage to imply that secular humanism is a religion.

The words “humanism” or “humanist” should not be capitalized in text so as to minimize the risk that humanist, even without the modifier secular, will be misconstrued by casual readers as a religious label. This is intended as a countermeasure against false claims by religious activists that humanism, with or without a modifier, is inherently religious. When religious Humanism (that is, humanism as an explicitly religious commitment) is being discussed specifically, the word humanism in that phrase may be capitalized, as shown immediately above. When Humanism is capitalized the complete two-word phrase (“religious Humanism”) must be used in every instance; the word Humanism must never appear capitalized without a modifier.

Capitalization of Racial Identifiers. Adjectives identifying racial groups by color (such as Black and White) should be capitalized.

Mechanical Requirements

Submissions should include the author’s mailing address, daytime phone number, and email address.

Text should be delivered in a word-processor file such as is produced by Microsoft Word or similar programs (.doc, .docx). Word processor files should include text only, with any charts or graphics delivered in one or more separate spreadsheets or graphics files. Word-processor files must not include embedded or anchored text. Text intended for publication as a sidebar or other supplement should be plainly marked and included in the article text. PDF files, HTML files, .ODT files, and files produced by Adobe InDesign, Quark Xpress, or Microsoft Publisher are not acceptable for submission.

Figures and graphs should be in high-quality camera-ready form, or in any common electronic graphics format. Please do not send Adobe InDesign, Quark XPress, or Microsoft Publisher files for use as graphics.

Electronic photos are acceptable if in the editors’ judgment their resolution is sufficient. Hardcopy photos are also acceptable. Photos may be black and white or color.

Poetry Submissions

All submissions for poetry should be submitted to Ted Richer in the preferred format for publication. Only one hard copy of the submission is required, but it is recommended to include a PC-readable electronic media such as a cd-rom or thumb drive. Please mail all poetry submissions to Ted Richer, Literary Editor, c/o Tom FlynnFree Inquiry, 14 Surrey Run, Williamsville NY 14221. Submissions can also be emailed to

Book Reviews

We do not consider unsolicited book reviews. If you wish to write a book review, please contact the editor first ( Books are often assigned for review with long lead times; when you inquire you will be informed whether the book you wish to review has already been assigned to another reviewer.

Letters to the Editor

Free Inquiry publishes selected letters to the editor that are 300 words or less and pertain to previous Free Inquiry articles. Send submissions to Nicole Scott, Letters Editor, c/o Tom Flynn, Free Inquiry, 14 Surrey Run, Williamsville NY 14221. Letters to the editor may also be emailed to, and should include the writer’s city and state of residence (also country if outside the United States). Letters intended for publication must include your name, address (including city and state), and daytime phone number for verification purposes only. Not all letters can be published; letters may be edited for clarity and content.

Submit by Mail:

Articles should be submitted as three sets of 8-½ x 11” hardcopy with double-spaced type. In addition, the hardcopy should be accompanied by PC-readable electronic media such as a cd-rom or thumb drive. We take no responsibility for media readable only by Apple computers. Hardcopy submissions unaccompanied by media will be considered only by advance arrangement with the editors.

FREE INQUIRY c/o Tom Flynn, 14 Surrey Run, Williamsville NY  14221  (716) 636-7571  fax (716) 636-1733

Published by the Center for Inquiry in association with the Council for Secular Humanism