Policy Press

Publishing with a Purpose

Instructions for authors

 

What are we looking for?

Four types of papers are accepted in Evidence & Policy, all of which should address the relationship between evidence and policy, as described below. Contributions are not restricted to specific disciplines or policy areas, but should offer new insights or describe research or practice that develops the field. Papers that solely present evidence to inform policy will not be considered.

  1. Research articles describe an original piece of research (primary or secondary) that has relevance to the relationship between evidence and policy or to methodological issues in this field. All research articles are expected to contribute to the field of evidence and policy, advancing theoretical or methodological debates, or otherwise making novel contributions. Shorter papers of up to 5000 words are encouraged, but the maximum limit is 8000. This includes the references and tables, but not the abstract, key words or key messages. Each research article must include the following sections:
  • Up to four keywords.
  • ‘Key messages’: summarising the main messages from the paper in up to four bullet points. The contribution made by the paper to the field should be clear from these key messages. Each bullet point must be less than 100 characters.
  • Abstract: a structured abstract (up to 250 words), which covers briefly the background, aims and objectives, methods, findings, discussion and conclusions.
  • Background: explaining the nature and importance of the research question being addressed and usually including a detailed literature review, and outlining any relevant theoretical or epistemological stances.
  • Methods: this should include enough information on methods of data collection and analysis for readers to understand exactly what was done and why. The choice of methods should be justified.
  • Findings: the results should be presented clearly, with visualisations where required. Quotes should be edited consistently and properly referenced.
  • Discussion: should describe the key findings, the strengths and weaknesses of the work, and how the key findings relate to other relevant studies. It should also include any policy, practice or research implications and/or recommendations.

  1. Debate articles are opinion pieces on an issue relevant to the relationship between evidence and policy. Such articles analyse the state of the field in a particular area, and/or critically discuss new evidence-related initiatives, fields or burning issues. Typically, debate articles take a point of controversy about evidence use or related issues, in academia, policy or practice, and construct a supporting argument. For example, they could focus on the use of a particular methodology, bring in concepts from new fields to the evidence/policy debate, or discuss the implications of a change in policy on evidence generation, funding or use. Shorter papers of up to 3,000 words are encouraged, but the maximum limit is 5,000. This includes the references and tables, but not the abstract, key words or key messages. All articles must have the following sections:

  • Up to four keywords.
  • ‘Key messages’: summarising the main messages from the paper in up to four bullet points. The contribution made by the paper to the field should be clear from these key messages. Each bullet point must be less than 100 characters.
  • Abstract: a structured abstract (up to 250 words), reporting the background, key points for discussion, conclusions and implications
  • Background: explaining the nature and importance of the issue being addressed and describing previous work in the area (if any), with relevant references
  • Discussion, conclusions and implications of the piece.

  1. Practice papers are a description and critique of a project or process by which evidence was or could be applied to policy and practice, from the point of view of a practitioner, decision maker or researcher. This might include: a description and critique of the means by which existing evidence was or could be determined and assessed in order to inform policy or practice; a description and critique of a means by which evidence was or could be disseminated to policy makers or practitioners; a description and critique of an initiative in which policy makers or practitioners are informed about research evidence or encouraged to use it; a description and critique of ways in which policy makers or practitioners have used (or developed) evidence in their work; or a description or critique of efforts to improve systems, processes and relationships around evidence within an organisation. Practice papers are especially welcome that provide accounts by policy makers and practitioners of their work; researchers may wish to share experiences of knowledge translation or collaboration with practitioners or policy makers. Ideally, practice papers set the work in the context of current debates around evidence and policy.

    Shorter papers of up to 3,000 words are encouraged, but the maximum limit is 5,000. This includes the references and tables, but not the abstract, key words or key messages. All articles must have the following sections:

  • Up to four keywords.
  • ‘Key messages’: summarising the main messages from the paper, in up to four bullet points. The contribution made by the paper to the field should be clear from these key messages. Each bullet point must be less than 100 characters.
  • Abstract: a structured abstract (up to 250 words), which reports on the background, aims and objectives and key conclusions of the paper.
  • Background: explaining the nature and importance of the issue being addressed and the policy or practice context, and showing awareness of key relevant literature, theories or models. The relationship of the authors(s) to the project, programme or strategy should be clearly explained.
  • One of the following:
    • An assessment or critique: this should include: a) sufficient information about the current situation for the critique to be understandable; b) discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the current programme, project or strategy, including reference to any previous evaluations (if any); c) recommendations, and their implications. This should not be presented as formal research, which should be submitted a research paper.
    • A description of good practice: this should include: a) relevant aims and objectives of the practice; b) a description of what it includes; c) how this achieves the aims and objectives and (if relevant) how it improves on previous practice; d) a reflection of the strengths and weaknesses of the practice and whether further improvements could be made.

  1. Sources and Resources are bibliographic references with brief abstract, or short pieces of up to 2500 words in length. Submissions for Sources & Resources:
  • may provide details of recent publications or other work relating to the processes of research, dissemination or implementation of evidence-based policy and practice for inclusion in the section Lessons from the Literature (although it is not possible to acknowledge in print the person who provides this information).
  • may be short reports of completed research studies that the journal is not able to publish in full. These short research reports summarise the authorship, aims, methods and outcomes of a study and its contribution to the advancement of the relationship between evidence and policy. These may be refereed at the discretion of the Managing Editor.
  • may be short report on a relevant conference, or a book review, but this should be agreed with the Managing Editors before beginning.

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How to Submit

All submissions should be made online at the Evidence & Policy Editorial Manager website: http://evidpol.edmgr.com/, in Word or Rich Text Format (not pdf). New users should first create an account, specify their areas of interest and provide full contact details.

During the submission process, there are separate sections for preliminary details, such as title, author, affiliations, abstract, key messages and keywords, and these should not be included in the main text of the submission; this must also be completely anonymised. Please note: submissions that, in the opinion of the editors, have not been sufficiently anonymised for review will be returned to authors.

All submissions (except short reports for Sources & Resources) will be subject to anonymous peer-review processes by referees currently working in the appropriate field. The editors aim to provide quick decisions and to ensure that submission to publication takes the minimum possible time. The final decision on publication rests with the managing editors. Accepted papers will be fast-tracked online after copy editing and typesetting; all papers will appear in hard copy issues, but the timing of publication is at the discretion of the editors.

When papers are accepted for publication, authors are encouraged to submit a lay or non-technical summary of their piece for publication in the Policy Press blog. For more information, please contact pp-marketing@bristol.ac.uk.

For help submitting an article via Editorial Manager, please view our online tutorial.

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Copyright and Permissions

Articles are considered for publication on the understanding that on acceptance the entire copyright shall pass to Policy Press as publisher of Evidence & Policy. Authors will be asked to sign a copyright agreement to this effect. All authors should agree to the copyright assignment. For jointly authored articles, the corresponding author may sign on behalf of co-authors provided that s/he has obtained their consent for copyright assignment. When submitting online, the copyright assignment agreement is considered to be signed when the corresponding author checks the relevant box. The copyright assignment agreement can be read here.

Where copyright is not owned by the author(s), the corresponding author is responsible for obtaining the consent of the copyright holder. This includes figures, tables, and excerpts. Evidence of this permission should be provided to Policy Press.

General information on rights and permissions can be found here: http://bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/rights-and-permissions.

To request permission to reproduce any part of articles published in Evidence & Policy please email Policy Press: pp-info@bristol.ac.uk

Gold Open Access publishing (making articles freely available to the reader under a variety of CC-BY licences) is also available upon payment of an Article Processing Charge, and authors are encouraged to consider this where possible. The Open Access status of an article in no way influences its chance of acceptance or review, and payment should only be made after acceptance.  See our Open Access page for further details.

Please also read our Journals Editorial Policies and Ethics Guidelines.

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Style

  • British English spelling and punctuation is preferred.
  • Non-discriminatory language is mandatory.
  • Explanatory notes should be kept to a minimum. If it is necessary to use them, they must be numbered consecutively in the text and listed at the end of the article. Please do not embed notes in the text.
  • Please do not embed bibliographic references in the text, footnotes, live links or macros; the final submitted file should be clear of track changes and ready for print.
  • Tables and charts should be separated from the text and submitted in a Word or Excel file, with their placement in the text clearly indicated by inserting: ‘Table X here’. Please provide numbers, titles and sources (where appropriate).
  • Figures, diagrams and maps should be separated from the text and, ideally, submitted in an Encapsulated PostScript (.eps) file. Figures created in Word or Excel are acceptable in those file formats. If the figures, diagrams and maps are in other formats (i.e. have been pasted into a Word file rather than created in it) please contact dave.j.worth@bristol.ac.uk for advice. Please indicate where figures should be placed in the text, by inserting: ‘Figure X here’ and provide numbers, titles and sources (where appropriate).

Further guidance may be found in the Policy Press editorial guidelines

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References

A custom version of the Harvard system of referencing is used:

  • In-text citations: give the author’s surname followed by year of publication in brackets, e.g. (Smith 1999) or (Smith et al. 1999)
  • List all references in full at the end of the article and remove any references not cited in the text
  • All authors should be listed
  • Book and journal titles should be in italics
  • Website details should be placed at the end of the reference. Do not include dates of access to websites
  • Spell out all acronyms in the first instance.


Example of book reference
Dorling, D, 2010, Injustice: Why social inequality persists, Bristol: Policy Press

Example of journal reference
Guckert, M, Mastropieri, MA, Scruggs, TE, 2016, Personalizing research: Special educators’ awareness of evidence-based practice, Exceptionality 24, 2, 63-78

Example of chapter within edited / multi-authored publication 

Levitas, R, 2011, Utopia calling: Eradicating child poverty in the United Kingdom and beyond, in A. Minujin and S. Nandy (eds) Global child poverty and well-being: Measurement, concepts, policy and action, Bristol: Policy Press, 449–73

Example of website reference
House of Commons Debates, 2010, Work and pensions (CSR), Hansard, 4 November, col 337WH, www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm101104/halltext/101104h0001.htm

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English Language Editing Service

Policy Press collaborates with Enago to provide Academic English editing and translation services to help authors get their manuscript submission-ready. A special 20% discount is available to all Policy Press authors. Find out more at: https://www.enago.com/policypress.

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Integration and Implementation Insights Blog

Evidence and Policy encourages you to blog about your paper. If your paper is about a research implementation concept or method, you may receive an invitation to contribute to the I2Insights blog (http://I2Insights.org) and you should also feel free to approach them to contribute. When your blog post is published, Evidence and Policy will make your paper free to access for one month (if it is not already available in open-access). To contact the blog editor, Gabriele Bammer, please email: Gabriele.Bammer@anu.edu.au.

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