A lot of journals use APA style for journal article submissions. In 2009 APA released the 6th edition with several changes to the 5th edition.

  • What's a good summary of the important changes in the 6th edition?
  • Or, alternatively, what is a good online resource listing these changes?
  • $\begingroup$ As this is the first question about publication process rather than substantive content, I've asked the question on meta about whether people see such questions as in scope for the site: meta.cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/152 $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2012 at 5:49
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    $\begingroup$ I would not introduce the apa-style tag... do we want cogsci to become an apa-style reference site? It is okay to ask about research practice (and to have a tag for that) but creating subtags for very specific parts of research-practice (like apa-style) seems dangerous. $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2012 at 6:47
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @ArtemKaznatcheev, while this question is on topic I'd hate to start getting "Is this okay under APA style" questions. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Brocka
    Feb 8, 2012 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, I've removed the tag. I agree we don't want a whole pile of simple questions related to APA style (e.g., "where do I put the comma" type questions) $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2012 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ @ArtemKaznatcheev The 6th edition is fairly new. Some journals are still using the 5th. Some templates are still stuck in the 5th. People may know the 5th, but there will always be a first time for the 6th. For something as important as a journal submission, you may want to get it right. Of course reading the actual 6th edition is a good idea, but a reasonable online overview of the changes would presumably be helpful. $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2012 at 23:29

1 Answer 1


If you're going to be submitting articles to APA journals you should have access to the APA Publication Manual 6th edition. And it is useful to use a template (see here for discussion of 6th edition LaTeX packages) and a citation system that supports the rules.

There are changes that permit new things (e.g., longer abstracts, bullet lists, and keywords are permitted, single-spaced tables) and there are new suggestions (e.g., stronger encouragement to report confidence intervals; you can say "subjects" if you want; "I" and "we" are recommended over "the researchers"). However, if you already know the 5th edition, then changes of particular interest are those where compliance with the 5th edition would actually lead to violation of 6th edition rules.

Changes that stood out to me:

  • Provide two spaces at the end of sentences (but this doesn't make much sense if you use LaTeX)
  • Formatting of headings have changed and are simplified so that five-heading papers have the same first four headings as four-heading papers
  • Figure captions are now placed on the same page as the figure below the figure.
  • Tables and figures now appear before appendices
  • Footnotes are now placed on the same page that they are referenced.
  • Report p-values to two or three decimal places exactly and those less than .001 as p<.001.

References changes that stood out to me:

  • Include city and state for book publishers even if city is well known
  • Provide DOI with any references that have a DOI

General summaries of changes from 5th to 6th edition

Of course there are lots of little changes, check out some of these references for some other reviews of changes and resources:


  • Hughes, G., Onwuegbuzie, A., Daniel, L., and Slate, J. (2010). Editorial: Apa publication manual changes: Impacts on research reporting in the social sciences. Research in the Schools, 17(1). PDF

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