The Independent Scholar (TIS)


Aims and scope The Independent Scholar (TIS) is the open access, interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS), which serves the ever-growing community of independent scholars. TIS seeks an engagement between scholars working across a range of disciplinary fields, both in the humanities and STEM, and includes peer-reviewed papers, reprints (with permission) of award-winning essays, and book reviews. It is published at least once a year, and usually every 9-12 months.

Eligibility All members of NCIS and their affiliate organizations are eligible to submit manuscripts, which are subjected to a robust peer review process.

Management and Funding TIS is managed and produced by the National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS), a 501c(3) not-for-profit organization staffed entirely by volunteers. TIS receives no outside support, financial or otherwise, although it may draw on peer reviewers from outside the membership if the relevant expertise is unavailable among the members. TIS does not accept advertising revenue, and has a strict policy of ensuring that there is no conflict of interest.

Open Access and Copyright Statement The Independent Scholar (TIS) is committed to genuine and immediate open access for academic work:

  • All TIS articles and reviews are free to access immediately upon publication. There are no author charges (commonly known as APCs) prior to publication, and no charge for any reader to download articles and reviews for their own scholarly use. 
  • TIS is free to all at any time and in perpetuity. To facilitate this TIS depends upon the goodwill of its editorial team, and the continuing support of its network of peer reviewers. 
  • Copyright of the content of all articles and reviews remains with the designated author of the article or review. Copyright of the layout and design of TIS articles and reviews remains with the The Independent Scholar and cannot be used in other publications. All authors publishing with the TIS accept these as the terms of publication.

The Independent Scholar is published under a CC-BY Creative Commons License which allows for the reproduction of articles, free of charge, for non-commercial use only and with the appropriate citation information.

Digital Archiving Policy

TIS uses a PMC digital archiving policy 


Each article and book review published in TIS has a stable URL and should be cited in the following format: 


Colt, Monica. "Identity redefinition through the overcoming of the cultural boundaries in M.G. Vassanji’s The Magic of Saida." The Independent Scholar Vol. 3 (July 2017): 3-12.

Book review:

Newman, Serena. [Review of The First American Founder: Roger Williams and Freedom of Conscience, by Alan E Johnson.] The Independent Scholar Vol. 3 (July 2017): 70-71.


INSTRUCTIONS FOR AUTHORS  Submission and review guidelines.

Submitting an Abstract

Please use the Abstract Submission Form. You may copy and paste the form in a Word document and email the completed form to

The abstract is expected to include brief statement of your hypothesis, a discussion of the theoretical background, description of your methodology, summation of the findings or argument to be discussed in the paper, and an explanation of how your work contributes to the field. (Here is a helpful guide for writing an effective abstract.)
Remember that an abstract is not something to be dashed off as a formality. It is the only evidence of your ability to organize your thoughts, state your premise convincingly, and show that you will deliver an interesting paper: an unsatisfactory abstract will most often lead to a summary rejection. Your abstract should therefore reflect the qualities expected in your paper. 
Remember: A concise and precise abstract is more likely to be accepted than a wordy and rambling submission.

Submitting a Full Manuscript

If your abstract is accepted, you will be asked to submit a full manuscript (3000 - 7000 words is a normal length, but as we are flexible within reason). This should be submitted as a Word document (.doc) to

The Filename should include your personal details, according to the following format: NAME_BRIEF TITLE_TIS_MS.  For example:  SMITH_THE MEANING OF LIFE_TIS_MS.


Your paper should include a bibliography of ‘Works Cited.’ You may add an additional list of non-cited sources under ‘Further Reading’ if you wish.

We will accept any logical style guide and referencing system (MLA, Harvard, Chicago etc.) so long as it is internally consistent within your own document. Referencing must be full and consistent.

If you use referencing software, please ensure that your in-text references and/or footnotes, and your list of works cited, are complete, and that you have converted your in-text bibliography to static text before sending.


Please ensure that you have permissions in place for any images which are integral to your paper and which you would like to include. Do NOT assume that anything downloaded from the Internet is free of copyright!  Images must be fully referenced, with copyright declaration and permissions cited, e.g. " © XXX date. Reproduced with permission".

Statement of authorship

All authors of manuscripts accepted for publication will be required to sign a Statement of Authorship.  This is a statement to the effect that:

- this article is entirely the work of the named author(s)

- the article has not been published elsewhere

- the article has not been submitted for publication elsewhere.

Conflict of Interest

To prevent ambiguity, authors are also required to state whether there is, or is not, a conflict of interest. Conflict of interest exists when an author has financial or personal relationships that could inappropriately bias or compromise their actions.


Publication in TIS does not preclude submission of similar material to a field-specific professional journal. Any work rewritten for a specialist publication will necessarily have a different approach, and the editors expect that the resulting paper will be substantially different from that which will appear in the interdisciplinary medium of TIS.


Please ensure you observe all deadlines, to ensure timely publication. Reviewers are likewise committed to sending their comments on schedule, and it is important that you respond quickly with any revisions.

 If you have any queries, do feel free to contact the Editor at

Antiplagiarism Statement

By submitting a manuscript for peer review with TIS, all authors of that paper are declaring that:

Authors are fully aware that plagiarism is illegal & wrong and authors know that plagiarism is the use of another person’s idea or published work and to pretend that it is one’s own.

Authors declare that each contribution to their article or project have been acknowledged and source of information from other peoples’ published or unpublished works have been cited referenced.

Author(s) certify that they are solely responsible for text of the article and work included in the article along with any incomplete reference.


PEER REVIEW PROCESS All submissions are subjected to a rigorous double-blind peer review involving at least two independent reviewers with expertise in the relevant field. All reviews are then processed, and in the case of substantially differing reviews a further review stage will be initiated by the TIS editorial team. Although the editors consider it neither possible - nor indeed desirable - to apply a one-size-fits-all set of criteria in this multidisciplinary environment, reviewers use certain criteria to determine whether each submitted manuscript demonstrates the scholarly rigor required by NCIS. These can be summarized as soundness, significance and originality. Below you will find the criteria set out for the benefit of authors and for reviewers.

Responding to peer review Authors are expected to respond promptly to the reviewers' reports, which will be forwarded to you by your editor. Peer review is a time-consuming process, and reviewers give their time freely in the interests of improving the quality of your paper. On receiving their reports, you should respond to the editor giving a realistic time frame for attending to any revisions; if you decide to withdraw your paper rather than attend to the revisions, it is courteous to advise the editor of this, especially as the editorial board may be counting on your revised paper for a themed issue.


1) Soundness

Clarity of argument The reviewers will be looking for a clear argument, so you should state the aim of the research, outline the seminal issues involved, and offer valid conclusions. SUGGESTIONS: The writing should be scholarly rather than popular in tone, yet clarity achieved by intelligibility without being overly burdened by academic buzzwords and clichés. Many scholars outside of your discipline will be interested in your writing.

Scholarly methodology Your paper should include the theoretical background where relevant, and any ethical considerations in data collection. Researcher reflexivity (the ways in which your own background, ethnicity, etc. may affect your primary data – e.g. information provided by people you use as research subjects – or your own interpretation of the data) should also be recognized and acknowledged. For papers in disciplines which do not necessarily support this format (e.g. curating) manuscripts will be judged on a case-by-case basis, but it is expected that these will still demonstrate high standards of professionalism.

2) Significance

You will need to show the intellectual significance of your paper, by including a brief overview of the field, or a concise literature review, so that your research can be situated by non-specialists in your field. You should also spell out the contribution made to the field by your paper.

3) Originality

It is expected that your work will be original rather than derivative. It will of course draw on existing literature and refer to work in the same field, but it should make an original contribution to the existing body of scholarship.  This original contribution should be made evident.



1) Soundness

  • Is the manuscript well organized, with clear aims, argument and conclusions?
  • Is the paper well written in terms of the quality of English and academic style?
  • Are the sources appropriate?
  • Are the conclusions justified?

2) Significance

  • Does this manuscript have appeal to a multi-disciplinary audience?
  • Does its scope and importance justify its publication in the TIS rather than in a specialized journal?

3) Originality

  • How original is the manuscript’s contribution to its field? In what way(s) is it original?

General Instructions: Reviewers are reminded that their comments should at all times be objective, respectful and polite. Reviews should be submitted promptly. At the end of the review, classify the manuscript under one of the following four categories:

  • Accept
  • Accept with minor revisions
  • Accept with major revisions
  • Reject


PAST ISSUES (PDF files available for downloading)


Volume 3

'Identity and Transition' (Vol. 3, Summer 2017) <Download PDF>
Volume 3 (June 2017) is a themed issue on 'Identity and Transition' and features peer-reviewed papers which take us to Canada, Africa, India, Israel, France and Poland for an exploration of personal, religious and ethnic identity. This issue also contains six book reviews, another interesting article selected from the TISQ archives by General Editor Shelby Shapiro, and a reprint of the winning essays in the strongly contested 2016 Eisenstein Prize.

Volume 2

General Issue (Vol. 2, September 2016) <Download PDF>
Volume 2 (Sept. 2016) is a general issue featuring a wide-ranging set of peer-reviewed papers: Joan Cunningham and Paul Lewis describe the use of therapeutic massage to treat complications following breast cancer surgery; Amanda Haste discusses translation issues in academic work; Serena Newman explores the role of fishermen in 17C Puritan society; and Boria Sax looks at the Cold War and the repercussions of having a spy in the family. These essays are complemented by four reviews of books written by independent scholars and/or funded by NCIS-administered grants; a reprint of an essay which first appeared in The Independent Scholar Quarterly (TISQ); an obituary of Professor Elizabeth Eisenstein who was very supportive of independent scholarship; and the announcement of the 2016 winners of the Eisenstein Prize for a peer-reviewed article or book chapter published by an NCIS member.

Volume 1 (Special Conference Issue)

'Traditions and Transitions' (Vol. 1, December 2015)  <Download PDF>
Volume 1 (Dec. 2015) featured papers developed from those presented at the NCIS 25th Anniversary Conference held at Yale University in June 2015, with the theme of 'Traditions and Transitions: Independent Scholars and the Digital Landscape.' The authors engage with the conference theme in several disciplines and across eras: Barbara Williams Ellertson and Janet Seiz examine the overlooked imagery of the book in Renaissance Art; Toni Vogel Carey examines town-gown relations in the Scottish Enlightenment; Piri Halasz gives a unique insight into 'Swinging London' of the 1960s; and Yvonne Groseil takes a look at the growing adjunct activism in the 21C. All these papers are informed by digital media and resources which were not available to previous generations of scholars. As well as these four critical essays, TIS1 contains four reviews of scholarly books.


Book Reviews

Reviews of books, which may be authored or reviewed by independent scholars, are published on line once the review has been approved by the editors. They are then published in the next edition of The Independent Scholar. Suggestions for suitable books should be sent to the Book Review Editor (BRE) on 


Editorial Board

General Editor

Shelby Shapiro, Ph.D., M.A.

Humanities Editor

Amanda Haste, Ph.D., M.A., B.Mus (Hons), LGSM, ALCM, Dip. Trans. IoLET, FISM, MCIL.

STEM Editor

Joan Cunningham, Ph.D.,M.Sc.


Tula Connell, Ph.D.

Dorothy J. Della Noce, Ph.D., J.D.

Laurie Schiller, Ph.D.

Tim Woolley, Ph.D.



The Independent Scholar Quarterly (TISQ) Archives