Profgrrrl got a bunch of us diverted by calculating our manuscripts' readability statistics earlier today. Along the way I glanced at the word count for my paper in review: 8200 words not counting refs and figure captions. This comes out to ~30 pages double spaced + 12 figures, tables, and an auxillary dataset. And it feels like a monster. One of my reviews even commented about its length (as in, publish it even though its long).
But just now I got curious and did the word count for the paper I am currently writing: 3700 words and I need to add to the introduction, and write discussions and conclusions. So I can see it getting quite a bit longer before its done. Of course, this is the first draft and it will undoubtedly get tighter as I go through the editing process. So let's estimate that in the end it will be about 6000 words and 5(?) figures.
I went to my professional society web site and looked at all the instructions for authors, but I couldn't find anything about how long a manuscript should (or shouldn't) be. And I'm not going to sit down and count someone's published article.
What is a typical manuscript length in your field?