Publishing with a purpose
Instructions for authors
What are we looking for?
Three types of papers are accepted in Evidence & Policy, all of which should address the relationship between evidence and policy or practice. Contributions are not restricted to specific disciplines or policy areas, but should offer new insights or describe research or practice that develops the transdisciplinary field of knowledge about the relationship between evidence, policy and practice. Papers that solely present evidence to inform policy will not be considered.
We particularly encourage empirical submissions that explicitly move beyond disciplinary boundaries and policy silos, for example research that: (i) takes an interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary approach to mapping what is known about the relationship between evidence, policy and practice; (ii) presents findings from research designed to provide insights into how knowledge is used in policy and practice through comparison between cases (whether naturally occurring or experimentally ‘created’); or (iii) uses a defined method to review concepts of knowledge use, or the impact of knowledge exchange initiatives. Regardless of field of study or knowledge use hue (knowledge transfer/translation/exchange/mobilisation; implementation science; research impact), we encourage authors to clearly state how their work contributes to the existing transdisciplinary field of knowledge about the relationship between evidence, policy and practice.
All submitted papers should include:
- 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: up to 250 words.
Shorter papers are preferred, and authors are advised to avoid submitting papers which reach the maximum word limit. It is normal for reviewers to request modifications, and these generally require extra text. Word limits are listed below under each category of paper.
- Research articles describe an original piece of research (primary or secondary) that has relevance to the relationship between evidence and policy or practice, or to methodological issues in the field. Shorter papers of up to 5000 words are encouraged, but the maximum limit of 8000 is available for papers incorporating substantial qualitative data or which provide a strong case (in the submission process) for a higher word count. This includes the references and tables, but not the abstract, key words or key messages. Each research article must include the following sections:
- Abstract: 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 summary of what is known about the issue already (via a concise literature review or references to published literature reviews on the topic), 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.
- Discussion and conclusions: should describe the key findings, the strengths and weaknesses of the work, how the key findings relate to other relevant studies, and the contribution made to the transdisciplinary field of knowledge about the relationship between evidence, policy and practice. It should also include any policy, practice or research implications and/or recommendations.
Authors should give serious consideration to the use of reporting guidelines (see https://www.equator-network.org/). If there are relevant guidelines which have not been used, please explain why in the comments to the editor during the submission process.
- Debate articles are opinion pieces on an issue relevant to the relationship between evidence and policy or practice. 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:
- Abstract: 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.
- 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:
- how existing evidence was or could be determined and assessed in order to inform policy or practice
- how evidence was or could be disseminated to policy makers or practitioners
- an initiative in which policy makers or practitioners are informed about research evidence or encouraged to use it
- ways in which policy makers or practitioners have used (or developed) evidence in their work
- 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. As with research papers, practice papers must set the work in the context of current debates around evidence, policy and practice (so they should be clear on how the paper develops existing knowledge).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:
- Abstract: 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.
- 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.
How to submit an article
All submissions should be made online at the Evidence & Policy Editorial Manager website: http://www.editorialmanager.com/evidpol/default.aspx, 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.
In the course of your online submission you will be asked to provide a plain language summary of the paper (optional) which will be transmitted to Kudos on article acceptance. Kudos is an online platform dedicated to helping authors maximise the impact of their research. You can find out more about how it works in our guide to Kudos.
Preparing your anonymised manuscript
Your initial submission must consist of the following separate files:
- A cover page including: the article title, author name(s) and affiliations, the article abstract (up to 250 words), up to 4 key words/short phrases and the article word count including references. A cover page template is available to download here.
- A fully anonymized manuscript which does not include any of the information included in the cover page. It should not include any acknowledgments, funding details, or conflicts of interest that would identify the author(s). References to the authors' own work should be anonymised as follows: "Author's own, [year]". Please note that submissions that have not been sufficiently anonymised will be returned.
- If you have any Figures and Tables please upload them as separate files at the end of the manuscript. Please indicate where these should be placed in the text by inserting: ‘Figure X here’ and provide numbers, titles and sources where appropriate.
All authors should comply with the Bristol University Press/ Policy Press ethical guidelines.
For help submitting an article via Editorial Manager, please view our online tutorial.
Once a submission has been conditionally accepted, you will be invited to submit a final, non-anonymised version.
Checklist: what to include in your final, accepted non-anonymised manuscript
- A cover page including: the article title, author name(s) and affiliations, the article abstract (up to 250 words), up to 4 key words and the word count.
- Funding details: list any funding including the grant numbers you have received for the research covered in your article as follows: "This work was supported by the [Funding Agency] under Grant [number xxxx]."
- Conflict of interest statement: please declare any possible conflicts of interest, or state "The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest" if there are none. Find out more about declaring conflicts of interest in the Bristol Universty Press/ Policy Press Ethical Guidelines.
- Acknowledgements: acknowledge those who have provided you with any substantial assistance or advice with collecting data, developing your ideas, editing or any other comments to develop your argument or text.
- Figures and Tables: should be included as separate files at the end of the manuscript. Please indicate where these should be placed in the text by inserting: ‘Figure X here’ and provide numbers, titles and sources where appropriate. For advice about less common file formats please contact email@example.com.
- Supplemental data: We recommend that any supplemental data are hosted in a data repository (such as figshare) for maximum exposure, and are cited as a reference in the article.
Editorial Review Process
All submissions (except for the occasional short report or book review) 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 Editors in Chief. 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 see our blog guidelines.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- 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 email@example.com 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.
Download the Endnote output style for Bristol University Press and Policy Press Journals.
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, M.A., Scruggs, T.E. (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. pp 449–73.
Example of website reference:
Womensaid (2016) What is domestic abuse?, https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/what-is-domestic-abuse/.
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.