This week’s blog makes me feel a little like a broken record. Some of this blog was the topic of two previous blog posts, but it is information that bears repeating. The rest of this blog will be related, as the whole blog post is concerned with author guidelines.
Ensure you meet the scope of the journal!
Our first blog post discussed checking the aims and scope of any journal to ensure that you meet requirements. In that blog I explained the process for the IAFOR Journal of Education: “At the IAFOR Journal of Education, we only have submissions open for one issue at a time. You need to wait until the appropriate issue is open for submissions, not submit out of scope and hope that it will be let through.
Why am I repeating this now?
In this last week there have been 33 submissions for the Technology in Education issue. Our webpage clearly states that this is the only topic accepting submissions and this is repeated at the top of the submissions form. Despite this, 15 of the 33 submissions have been out of scope: just over 45% of the total submissions! These papers are immediately rejected no matter how good a paper they might be. Please check the scope of the issue that you are submitting to! The next issue is Undergraduate Education and we will not be accepting papers on anything else. The order of issues after that is Studies in Education, Inclusive Education, the special issue on COVID-19 and Education, then in 2021 submissions start again for Language Learning in Education, with the other issues following on.
Check our policy on plagiarism
Our journal is very clear that articles containing plagiarism will not be accepted. The first thing I do when I receive a new submission is put it through iThenticate, a program designed for publishers to check similarity scores. Again, as with papers that are out of scope, papers with plagiarism are immediately rejected. Unfortunately, despite a blog post explaining what constitutes plagiarism (https://iafor.org/avoiding-plagiarism/) and the start of the submission process listing what constitutes plagiarism and having authors click on a button to state that their paper is clear of this (https://iafor.org/journal/iafor-journal-of-education/manuscript-submission-form/), there are still a high proportion of papers containing plagiarism. We recognise that the pressure to publish is enormous, but taking shortcuts will only lead to rejection, not publication, and our policy, clearly stated on the website, is that “Once an article has been rejected, an author cannot resubmit either an amendment to this article or another article for this issue of the journal”.
Follow the author guidelines
Most journals will supply a template to be followed for formatting your paper. Often, there will also be a list of style requirements on the website (font, word length, title length, page layout, reference style, etc.). There may also be suggestions about the preferred structure of the paper. For the IAFOR Journal of Education these can all be found here: https://iafor.org/journal/iafor-journal-of-education/author-guidelines/.
It is important that you follow the guidelines as these are designed to provide you with information that will strengthen your article, thus providing you with a higher likelihood of your paper moving to the full review process. For example, our word length is 4,000 – 7,000 words, excluding the title and abstract, but including the references. Papers below this limit are lacking in the details required from an academic paper, usually this being a lack of literature review and/or only a brief outline of methodology and ethical considerations. Longer papers usually bring in extraneous information and are written more like PhDs or book chapters.
One aspect of our author guidelines that is frequently not followed is our referencing style. Our journal issues all use APA referencing, both in-text and for the reference list. This is such an important feature that it will be the topic of the next blog.
We hope that this blog post has been useful either as a learning tool or as a reminder about adhering to the best practices of academic writing and we look forward to receiving your submissions in the future,
Dr Yvonne Masters
IAFOR Journal of Education