Orbis Style Guide

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A publisher’s reputation depends in large part on the care with which its publications are edited for consistency in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, forms of citation, and so forth. FPRI rigorously edits its publications for the maximum reasonable consistency in editorial style.

Orbis uses the University of Chicago Press’s Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., as its principal guide. The authoritative source for spelling and hyphenation is the unabridged Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language. Authors are encouraged to use these references as they prepare their manuscripts. The following is intended only as a supplement, to address the particular matters encountered by foreign policy journals.


Direct quotations should cite the original source from which they were taken (see forms of citations below); if the quotation was taken from printed text, indicate the page number(s). Direct quotations should reproduce exactly the original source-in wording, capitalization, and punctuation, with the following exceptions:

  • If a quotation is used as an essential syntactical part of a sentence, lowercase the first word, even if the original is capitalized. No punctuation is needed to introduce a run-in quotation. However, a quotation with a remote syntactical relation to the sentence should begin with a capital letter, even if the original is lowercase, and be introduced by the appropriate punctuation:

    Thomas Jefferson declared that “the sum of good government” consists of “a wise and frugal Government …”

    Thomas Jefferson declared, “The sum of good government” consists of a “wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”

  • When quotations are run into the text, the final mark of punctuation can be changed to conform to the grammar of the entire sentence.

Author interpolations should be enclosed in brackets [ ].

Quotations of four unindented lines or less should be run into the text; longer quotations should be indented left and right. Block quotations are not enclosed in quotation marks.

Ellipses (three dots, each separated by one space:“ … ”) should be used to indicate omissions in a quoted passage. When the omitted section includes the end of a sentence that closes with a period, indicate the ellipses by four dots with no space before the first (standard typographical practice treats the first dot as a period). Other final punctuation should precede or follow the ellipses points according to where the omission occurs.

Identification of Persons, Organizations, and Publications

The first and last name should be given for each individual on first introduction in the text and footnotes. Titles and/or affiliations should be used on the first reference. First references to U.S. senators and congressman should include abbreviated names of the legislator’s party and state: Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.).

A foreign political organization or party should be referred to in English with its foreign language name and the acronym (if it is widely known by its acronym) following in parentheses: Confederation for Independent Poland (Konsederacja Polski Niepobleglej-KPN).

Titles of books, journals, and periodicals are italicized. When referring to periodicals, do not include an opening definite article within the italicized name: the New York Times.


See chapter 7 (pp. 233-92) of the Manual of Style for detailed rules on capitalization. The following rules are particularly relevant:

  • Civil, military, religious, and professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name as part of the name: President George W. Bush; Premier Lionel Jospin; Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. BUT,
    • When such titles are in apposition to a name, they are not part of the title and so are lowercased: U.S. president Bush; Jordan’s king, Abdullah II; former prime minister Ehud Barak.
    • Titles following a personal name or used alone in place of a name are lowercased: the president of the United States; the congressman; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • Certain nouns and some adjectives designating parts of the world or regions of a continent or a country are generally capitalized: Middle East; the Western world; western France (direction or locality); the Continent (Europe only); East-Central Europe.
  • Full names of legislative, deliberative, administrative, and judicial bodies, departments, bureaus, and offices are usually capitalized. Adjectives derived from them are lowercased: Congress, congressional; Parliament, parliamentary; State Department, the department; the Supreme Court, the Court (only in reference to the U.S. Supreme Court).
  • Not capitalized are: the George H. W. Bush administration; federal government; the Yeltsin government; ministry; monarchy.
  • Names of national and international organizations, movements, alliances, and members of political parties are capitalized: Republican Party, Progressive Movement. The editors of Orbis have adapted this rule as follows: “communist” is capitalized only in reference to a party with the word “communist” in its official name: the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; the Communist Party in the former Soviet Union; the Communists under Stalin; Bolsheviks; the Communists in China. But: the communists in Romania; the North Korean communists.

Political groupings other than parties are usually lowercased: independents; right wing; leftist. But: the Right, the Left.

  • Nouns and adjectives designating political and economic systems of thought are lowercased, unless derived from a proper noun: communism, fascism, socialism. But: Marxism-Leninism, Nazism.
  • A numerical designation of a period is lowercased unless it is part of a proper name: eighteenth century, the nineties. Some names applied to historical or cultural periods are capitalized, either by tradition or to avoid ambiguity: Middle Ages, Enlightenment, Gilded Age. But: colonial period (U.S.); romantic period; fin de siècle.
  • Appellations of historical, quasi-historical, political, economic, and cultural events, plans, and so forth are generally capitalized: Industrial Revolution; New Deal. But: civil rights movement. Also, the Second World War, or World War II; the two world wars; the Cold War.
  • Full formal or accepted titles of pacts, plans, policies, treaties, acts, laws, and similar documents or agreements, together with names of programs resulting from them, are usually capitalized and set in roman type without quotation marks: thus, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or the Non-Proliferation Treaty; U.S. Constitution; the Constitution (only when referring to the United States).
  • Descriptive references to pending legislation are lowercased.

Foreign Languages

Only unfamiliar foreign words and expressions are italicized and accented as in their original language; familiar ones remain in roman type and are unaccented (e.g., quid pro quo, a priori, weltanschauung, perestroika, intifada, coup d’etat, cliché, jihad, vis-à-vis) according to English-language usage. Latin words and abbreviations such as ibid. and et al. also remain in roman type.

The hamza and ayn are not used in Arabic transliterations (e.g., Shiite, not Shi’ite).

Japanese names are given first-name first: Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.


Prefixes are generally set solid (one word without a hyphen) and compound words are open (two separate words). For detailed rules for hyphenation and compound words, see the Manual of Style, pp. 219–31.

Some common prefixes set solid are: postwar; socioeconomic; preempt; progovernment; anticlerical; counterterrorism. Prefixes are followed by hyphens or en dashes, however, when the second word is capitalized or a figure, or to distinguish homonyms: pre-Enlightenment; post-September 11; re-cover. But: transatlantic. The prefixes “self” and “half” are usually hyphenated.

Temporary adjectives are usually hyphenated before a noun. They are not hyphenated when used as permanent open compounds or when the first word is an adverb ending in “-ly”: eighteenth-century printers; printers of the eighteenth century; a well-known plan; the plan was well known; policy-making body; problems in policy making; a highly acclaimed book.


Please consult chapter 8 (pp. 293-315) of the Manual of Style for detailed rules on the presentation of numbers in text. Generally, whole numbers from one to ninety-nine are spelled out (as are their multiples with “hundred,” “thousand,” “million,” etc.), while other numbers are expressed in figures. There are exceptions, such as some decimal numbers, some terms of currency, and mixed cases: 2.3 million years old; $25 billion; from 200 to 250 pages; 2 percent. Some other common rules:

  • Spell out numbers that are the first words of a sentence.
  • Express years and numbers referring to parts of a book in figures: the year 1920 (except as the first word of a sentence, “Nineteen-twenty was…”); chapter 7; table 2.
  • Use the general rules for spelling out numbers for references to amounts of money. If the number is spelled out, so is the unit of currency, and if figures are used, the monetary symbol precedes them:

    The duty was four pounds.

    The committee raised $325.

    The military establishment was to receive $7.3 billion over the previous year’s appropriation.

  • Dates are styled as in this example: “On January 1, 2002, the …” References to a decade are spelled out if the century is implicit: the sixties. If the century is mentioned, the reference is given in figures and written in the form of a plural, not a possessive: “the 1980s,” not “the 1980’s.” If reference is made to a span of years within a decade, the figures designating the century may be dropped for the second term: the war of 1914-18. If the span lies within two decades, the century should be repeated: the presidential term of 1988-1992; likewise millennia: 1990-2000, not 1990-00.

Inclusive numbers (continued numbers) are separated by an en dash (–). Please see the Manual of Style, p. 311, for specific principles. Some examples are: 3–10; 100–104; 107–8; 321–25; 2787–2816.

Special Usage Matters

Acronyms should be kept to a minimum and should be spelled out in full on first usage, with the acronym following in parentheses.

“U.S.” and “UN” are used only as adjectives; the nouns are spelled out: “the United States” and “the United Nations.”

A government should not be identified with the country: not “Russia responded” but “Moscow responded” or “the Kremlin responded.”

’Fundamentalist Christians” and “fundamentalist Islam,” not “Christian fundamentalists” or “Islam fundamentalist.”


Footnote citations serve two vital functions: to give proper credit for ideas, facts, arguments, and words presented elsewhere; and to enable an interested reader to examine the same sources. The editors’ principal concerns are to ensure accuracy and completeness, but without needlessly cluttering the footnotes with unessential data.

Orbis strives to keep both the number and length of footnotes to a minimum. Most articles require fewer than thirty notes.

Footnotes are for citing sources-of quotations, little-known facts, and controversial data and should not involve substantive discussions or the author’s debates with other scholars. References to one’s own writings should be minimal.

Where possible, provide the names or some identifying context for cited authors in the text itself; i.e., not “As one author has noted …” but “As Jane T. Jones has noted …” or “As Middle East analyst Jane Jones has noted.”

To minimize the number of footnotes, please combine short citations into one composite note. Whenever possible, place footnote numbers at the end of sentences, or at least at the end of clauses.

All months except May – July should be abbreviated: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Orbis generally follows the Manual of Style but with some modification. In particular, we do not give a page range for a chapter or article, since this is less relevant in the electronic age and in any event is not essential to the reader’s locating the article or chapter. Pages only need to be given to direct attention to specific quotations or passages.:

  • Full citation format for books:

    William B. Quandt, Saudia Arabia in the 1980s: Foreign Policy, Security and Oil (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1981), pp. 43-45.

  • Later references to the same work can use the short form: “Quandt, Saudia Arabia, p. 50.”
  • For journal articles, include the name of the author(s), title of the article in quotation marks, full title of the journal in italics, and full date-no volume or issue number is needed unless the date is not available:

    James Kurth, “Humanitarian Intervention After Iraq,” Orbis, Fall 2005.

    L. Klepatskii, “Russia’s Foreign Policy Landmarks,” International Affairs (Moscow), vol. 45, no. 2 (1999).

(Note that an author’s first name is only abbreviated if it appears that way in the original.)

  • A short reference to a journal article would include the name of the author(s), short title, and page number(s).

    Crocker, “Ethnic Conflict,” p. 617.

  • Citations of newspaper articles need not include page numbers, but should include authors when provided. For example:

    Katherine Shrader, “CIA Panel: 9/11 Failure Warrants Action,” Washington Post, Aug. 26, 2005.

  • “Ibid.” replaces only that part of the previous reference that has not changed. NOTE: Orbis does not use the abbreviation op. cit. The abbreviation “ibid.” is only used to refer to that part of the immediately preceding note that has not changed. It is not italicized. If the preceding note refers to more than one source, “ibid.” should be avoided.
  • Add “quoted in” to the reference if a quotation comes not from the author but from someone the author cites. Thus: “Harold Linder, quoted in Nicholas Eberstadt, Foreign Aid and American Purpose …However, this is not necessary when the source is a newspaper article.
  • Book and article titles should be in the original language, transliterated where necessary, and then translated. Authors are asked to take extra care to ensure that foreign-language references are spelled correctly.
  • The citation for an article or chapter in an edited volume includes the author’s name, article title, the name(s) of the editor(s), and then the book title.:

    MacGregor Knox, “Continuity and Revolution in Strategy,” in Williamson Murray and MacGregor Knox, eds., The Making of Strategy, Rulers, States, and War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

  • The ephemeral nature of electronic sources raises a number of issues. Among others, documents can disappear or be altered at any time, making verifiability or further research impossible. Clearly, however, references to electronic media are of great importance, and they potentially provide others far simpler access to information. Orbishas therefore adopted the following guidelines. A complete citation includes as much of the following information as is available: the author’s name, the title of the source, the common name of the site (this may be an organization’s name), the date of publication or revision, and the site address (URL). URLs should be as specific as possible, rather than citing a generic homepage. For example:

    Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project, Henry L. Stimson Center, 1998 (https://www.stimson.org/cwc/bwagent.htm).

    Col. Larry M. Wortzel, “OpEd: The Danger of No Theater Missile Defenses,” Strategic Studies Institute Newsletter, Feb. 1999 (https://carlisle-www.army.mil/usassi/ssioutp/newsletter.htm).

  • URLs are not needed for common journals such as New York Times even if you did read it electronically— the journal and date will do.