Revised Instruction to Authors--January 2014

The AFTE Editor will consider all manuscripts that have been prepared using the following guidelines. Each submission will be assigned to an Editorial Review Panel Member who will serve as the primary contact for that submission. Once this primary review is complete, a secondary review will be completed by the Editor and one or more Assistant Editors. This is to insure the best possible product for publication.

November 2016 - Updated AFTE Letter to the Editor Policy

The Editor uses Adobe InDesign to publish the Journal which can handle MS Word or WordPerfect Documents. 

Manuscripts should include the following:

  • Title - Please title your paper briefly and professionally. Titles not reflective of the manuscript’s content may be changed by the editor.
  • Author(s) - Name, agency, city, state and country
  • Key Words-- Listed in alphabetical order, the keywords should be words that one would search to find your specific paper.
  • Abstract - The purpose of the abstract is to give an overview of what the article is about. It should be brief and to the point. It should state the problem, give the most important findings and results and briefly describe the conclusions. The abstract should be no longer than 200 words. The length of most abstracts should be similar to this sample. Manuscripts without an abstract may not be published. The editor reserves the right to write an abstract on behalf of the author if none is submitted.
  • Body - The body of the manuscript should be broken up under appropriate headings when applicable (eg. Introduction, Literature Review, Materials & Methods, Results and Conclusion). The Editor reserves the right to separate text under headings when applicable.

  • Footnotes/References-- Appropriate footnotes and references should be cited if applicable.

Authors are asked to utilize the following guidelines when using references or footnotes in the context of their submission. References are to be cited in text by number, in order of mention. Use Arabic numerals with brackets, eg. [1], on line and not as superscripts. The reference list should be double spaced. Some sample references are given below.

  • Book: Smith, A.B., Jones, C.D., and Johnson, E.F., An Introduction to Forensic Sciences, General Publications, New York, 1999.
  • Article: Smith, A.B., Jones, C.D., and Johnson, E.F., “Crime Scenes,” AFTE Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2, Jan. 1999, pp. 19-23.
  • Report: Smith, A.B., Jones, C.D., and Johnson, E.F., “Crime Scenes,” Report 3579, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, 1999.
  • Presentation: Smith, A.B., Jones, C.D., and Johnson, E.F., “Crime Scenes,” Presented at the 33rd AFTE Training Seminar, Chicago, IL, May, 1999.
  • Personal communication: Smith, A.B. Personal Communication, March 13, 2009.
  • Website: “[CBE] Council of Biology Editors”. 1999 Oct 5. CBE home page. <http://www.councilscienceeditors.org>. Accessed 1999 Oct 7.
  • Court Decision: Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993)
  • For those not familiar with the legal citations:
    • Case Name - Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
    • Volume Number - 509
    • Name of Reporter - U.S.
    • Page Number - 579
    • Year of Decision - (1993)

An ideal submission would contain:

  1. An Author Publication Checklist - The Author Publication Checklist must be submitted with your materials.
  2. One or more Manuscript Review Forms - Pre-submission manuscript reviews are required. Submitted articles that have previously been reviewed by a peer typically have fewer corrections to be made by Editorial Panel Staff. Fewer corrections typically translate into less time in review.
  3. A Word or Wordperfect file containing the text of the article and figure captions.
  4. Excel file(s) containing tables and/or graphs.
  5. A medium to high resolution JPG of each image to be used in the article (500k to 1 MB size works well).

These material can be submitted by email or compact disk. If submitting via email, please limit your submissions to 20MB.  If submitting more than 10MB, please separate your submission into two emails (10MB is the maximum to be attached to a single email). Submissions over 20MB should be mailed on CD.

If you have any questions regarding the AFTE Journal, please contact the Journal Editor.

Cole Goater, AFTE Journal Editor
Contact Cole Goater


Tables should be submitted in an MS Excel Spreadsheet. Please note that if tables are submitted in the manuscript text file, they must be converted to a MS Excel file by the Editor prior to importing it into the formatting program. This can be done, but creates additional work for the Editor.

Images and Photos

Images and Photos should be submitted as separate files. Please note that Images/Photos with arrows or text embedded with Photoshop or other imaging software may not be clearly read once placed in the formatting program. It is for this reason that the editor requests that BOTH altered and unaltered photos submitted. If an unaltered photo is submitted, text and/or arrows on an image can be recreated by the editor if the author’s alterations do not appear clearly once imported into the formatting program.

As a courtesy to all AFTE Members, it is recommended that the documentation of weights and measures be denoted in both Imperial Units and Metric Units. This serves to benefit those who are unfamiliar with one of the two methods.

  • DO NOT try to duplicate the Journal formatting as it exists in the journal. All formatting within an article will be reformatted by the Editor prior to publication.
  • Excessive formatting of articles is discouraged. This includes bold, italics and underlined text. While this may make your article look good for submission, most advanced formatting does not transfer to InDesign and must be recreated by the Editor.
  • Please keep pictures and charts separate from the body of the text whether as separate items or files on disc. The Editor will place all pictures and charts in a logical location.
  • Please format mathematical formulas and characters appropriately. Mathematical formulas or complicated symbols must be saved as a complete image. If the article contains unusual formatted objects it is unlikely that they will properly translate into the Journal.
  • You must submit any images, tables or charts appropriately labeled as separate files. Images embedded into a MS Word file will print with poor resolution when formatted for the Journal.
  • Use of passive voice and avoidance of personal pronouns is not strictly required but is generally encouraged.

Any manuscript that provides an in-depth discussion of a specific topic or subject matter that relates directly to the science of firearms and toolmark identification and/or its application. Articles will present the author’s own observations and research to support any conclusions drawn, events reported, or opinions given.

Case Report
Any manuscript that covers the details of an unusual case or any case that warrants discussion in the AFTE Journal. Case reports, however, may be published as an article if the editor feels that the author has adequately extended the case report into a topic discussion that meets the criteria for an article, or if the case report is used as an example of a point in the author’s article.

Technical Report
Any discussion, report, or brief that presents a particular product or technique for the benefit of AFTE members.

Letters to the Editor
Reply or rebuttal to items printed in the AFTE Journal will be published in the next scheduled journal when possible. To be considered for publication, these replies should reference the original article and be composed with cordial and professional demeanor.

AFTE Letter to the Editor Policy

Copies of articles submitted to the editor for consideration to reprint in the AFTE Journal should be accompanied by the name and address of the original publisher as well as a reference to exactly where the article first appeared. The original publisher will be contacted by the author, and must submit with the reprint request, their authorization prior to reprinting any material. This includes technical information, advertisements, schematic drawings, etc.