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If I publish a 22,000 word article in a journal, can I call it a monograph in my CV? It seems too long to call it an article.

3 Answers 3

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No. Journal articles are journal articles. Monographs are books.

Here's an example of a monograph. Note it comes with:

  • A summary/blurb
  • Front matter
  • Different chapters
  • A book cover
  • An ISBN

And other things besides. None of these things are in journal articles.

If you call your journal article a monograph and I notice it, I'm likely to interpret it as misrepresentation, and the rest of your CV becomes suspect.

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  • The answer I was looking for. Isn’t there a name for articles this long??
    – user354948
    Nov 9 at 12:55
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    @user354948 not that I'm aware of, unless your article is a review, which is usually longer than research articles.
    – Allure
    Nov 10 at 5:45
  • 1
    Some journal papers have all the above features (except maybe ISBN, which is replaced with the journal's ISSN). FnT is an example. Even if officially these are journal articles, they are published as "books"; the FnT website says "monograph-style journal". I would definitely accept these as monographs, and present them as such.
    – Ran G.
    Nov 10 at 15:05
  • 1
    Looking at the FnT again, the articles' printed version also have ISBN. Still, note that they are journal articles with volume number and issue number, etc.
    – Ran G.
    Nov 10 at 15:09
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You can call it whatever you want in your CV, but if it is in a journal with other articles, it would not usually be called a monograph, but an article. If you include page numbers, then people will recognize its length, anyway.

You do not tell us for what purpose you are crafting your CV. If it is for purposes in academia, people in general will be more impressed by peer-reviewed publications than by books that are not peer-reviewed. If you do it for getting a job in industry (outside of research labs), publications are only important in order to validate your Ph.D., or to support a claim that you can do research. Thus, I do not see why calling it a monograph would give you a benefit. (No, to be honest, things are different in for example history where an academic is supposed to write books. Then calling a very lengthy article a monograph might be a good idea, unless it appears that you are not familiar with customs in your field.)

In my field (CS Systems), calling a lengthy article (a bit more than twice the normal Springer journal length) a monograph would be a little bit out of the normal.

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  • Yes, it’s history. The CV is for all academic purposes, at this time mostly getting a job in academia. Thank you for your well meditated answer.
    – user354948
    Nov 9 at 1:26
  • Perhaps you meant "purposes in the sciences," not "academia." Nov 9 at 1:33
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It is up to the journal's policy if there is a strict threshold how many words are permitted, or not. Depending on the type of publication for a scientific journal, 22k words may be acceptable (e.g., review articles).

  • Let's assume there is a strict limit set.

    With a start in 1999, Organic Letters by the American Chemical Society for example has a limit of four pages per publication. To keep the contributions short (i.e., like a letter) their author guidelines explicitly state:

    «A manuscript may not exceed 2,200 words at submission. This word count includes the title, abstract, main text, and titles/footnotes of typically five graphics (one of which is the TOC graphic). Tables and graphics count toward the word-count limit at the rate of 20 words per vertical centimeter for one-column items and 50 words per vertical centimeter for wider items up to two columns. Large graphics or additional graphics will require a reduced amount of text. Authors are reminded that any graphics that are reduced in size to help adhere to the length limits need to be fully legible when the page is printed at 100% scale.

    The goal for these length requirements is for manuscripts to fit within four pages, end matter (Supporting Information, Author Information, Notes, Acknowledgments) and references excluded — end matter and references are not included in the word count, and are the only part of the manuscript that will be allowed to extend beyond the end of the fourth page. Authors of submitted manuscripts that exceed the length requirements will be asked to adjust their manuscript by removing material, which can be placed in the Supporting Information. Note that authors should take care to not allow the length of their manuscript to exceed these requirements when making revisions.»

    At the same publishers, JACS (or, The Journal of the American Chemical Society), the constraint on words is even tighter. Their guideline states:

    «JACS will consider Communications not exceeding 2200 words, including abstract, main text, and the titles/footnotes/captions of graphical elements.»

    So the details shared with the public how the experiments were performed, how intermediates and products where characterized, etc. enter a second .pdf file about the supplementary information for which the authors are responsible compiling and formatting the content. This may be substantially larger, than the communication it self. One freely accessible example is 11-Step Total Synthesis of (−)-Maoecrystal V by the Baran group, with the brief .pdf of main article (barely 4 pages) and the larger pdf of the SI (112 pages) to summarize e.g., 1000+ experiments of optimization.

  • Or, there is no strict word limit.

    Then, your publication likely is a literature review to summarize primary literature. Maybe review is in the title of the publication (or journal), maybe it is in line of annual report, or recent progress to survey only the most recent advances in a field. For this, the editors of a journal may compile multiple publications for a thematic issue, too. The editors either may get in touch with you because you are an already known reference in the field, or you reply to their invite to all readers of their journal. Or, you write a convincing proposal a literature review were for the benefit of the journal (and hopefully, equally for the community); both approaches (usually) take into consideration writing a review may take months.

    Let's pick Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) and Their Applications in Chemical Reviews because there is no paywall for this publication. Its .pdf may be burst into individual pages (e.g., pdftk), converted into a text file (e.g., pdftotext) for a word count. As pointed out by a commenter, wc -w may be misleading if the intermediate .txt wasn't linted in regard of numbers, punctuation, single characters enclosed by white space, etc e.g., by character substitution:

sed -e 's/-*\.*[0-9]*\-*\.*//g' \
  -e 's/[,:;?!−%()]//g' \
  -e 's/ [b-zB-Z] / /' \
  -e '/^$/d' \
  -e '/^[+-=:]$/d' < text.txt > text_edit.txt

As the diagram illustrates, this preprocessing may have a significant on the word count per page, as well as for the total (22398 [unprocessed], 20373 [processed by above]):

enter image description here

especially when the pages are dominated by the bibliographic references. The diagram equally contains a dotted, and a chain thin line about the average word count (raw, and processed, respectively) of pages 1-18 for comparison against all 23 pages of the publication.


The data underlying the diagram:

|------------+-------------+----------|
|       page |       wc -w |    wc -w |
|            | (raw count) | (edited) |
|------------+-------------+----------|
|          1 |         626 |      537 |
|          2 |         961 |      938 |
|          3 |        1044 |     1006 |
|          4 |         652 |      503 |
|          5 |        1030 |      969 |
|          6 |         817 |      783 |
|          7 |        1149 |     1119 |
|          8 |        1169 |     1161 |
|          9 |         994 |      976 |
|         10 |         818 |      802 |
|         11 |         270 |      248 |
|         12 |        1125 |     1110 |
|         13 |         972 |      963 |
|         14 |         943 |      916 |
|         15 |         979 |      969 |
|         16 |        1059 |     1022 |
|         17 |         933 |      921 |
|         18 |         998 |      971 |
|------------+-------------+----------|
|         19 |         942 |      920 |
|         20 |         986 |      752 |
|         21 |        1264 |      893 |
|         22 |        1365 |      964 |
|         23 |        1302 |      930 |
|------------+-------------+----------|
|   sum (18) |       16539 |    15914 |
|   sum (23) |       22398 |    20373 |
|  mean (18) |       918.8 |    884.1 |
|  mean (23) |       973.8 |    885.8 |
| vsdev (18) |       220.3 |    235.9 |
| vsdev (23) |       236.0 |    210.3 |
|------------+-------------+----------|
#+TBLFM: @27$2=vsum(@4$2..@21$2); %.0f
#+TBLFM: @28$2=vsum(@4$2..@26$2); %.0f
#+TBLFM: @29$2=vmean(@4$2..@21$2); %.1f
#+TBLFM: @30$2=vmean(@4$2..@26$2); %.1f
#+TBLFM: @31$2=vsdev(@4$2..@21$2); %.1f
#+TBLFM: @32$2=vsdev(@4$2..@26$2); %.1f
#+TBLFM: @27$3=vsum(@4$3..@21$3); %.0f
#+TBLFM: @28$3=vsum(@4$3..@26$3); %.0f
#+TBLFM: @29$3=vmean(@4$3..@21$3); %.1f
#+TBLFM: @30$3=vmean(@4$3..@26$3); %.1f
#+TBLFM: @31$3=vsdev(@4$3..@21$3); %.1f
#+TBLFM: @32$3=vsdev(@4$3..@26$3); %.1f
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  • I reckon the references list alone produces A LOT of words for wc (as per the POSIX specification, a word is a "non-zero-length string of characters delimited by white space"), and that is not typically counted towards the word limit.
    – Lodinn
    Nov 13 at 6:12
  • @Buttonwood I’m thinking you are trying to answer a different question because that wasn’t my question AT ALL. But I can tell it could have been an amazing answer to some other question.
    – user354948
    Nov 13 at 16:05
  • @Lodinn Thank you for comment. The then initiated a revision proceeds differently and yields a reduction by 9% (given the cleaning) compared the former approach. Independent from this, the authors naturally have an easier way to count the words as this post fact analysis.
    – Buttonwood
    Nov 17 at 18:38
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    @user354948 Your initial question covers two aspects. Namely 1) Is an article in a journal a monograph? There already was the answer to this, no. And 2) Are 22k words for an article too many? This depends on the type of article in preparation, and this second part is what my answer about: For a review, this many can be just fine. And compared to letters, and communications on one, and monographs and books on the other, reviews are between the two e.g., a) by the number of words, b) by the time period and advance in knowledge should they cover.
    – Buttonwood
    Nov 17 at 18:48
  • @Buttonwood I never asked your 2) question. I know it’s not too many, since I asked the editors in chief first and then I submitted it and published it.
    – user354948
    Nov 18 at 20:08

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