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Instructions for authors


Submissions must not exceed 8,000 words, including all tables and the bibliography.

Titles should be short, literal and include one or two of your keywords within the first 65 characters.

Abstracts should be up to 150 words, summarising your research clearly and concisely. Abstracts should contain your essential findings and 3-6 of your keywords in the first two sentences.

Keywords should be up to 8 words or phrases that other scholars will use as search terms to find articles on your topic. Ensure that they are consistent with terminology used in your field, and if you’re unsure, check what keywords other articles on the topic use. Use your keywords throughout your article, but only where they flow naturally with the text.

All submissions will be subject to anonymous peer-review processes (unless stated otherwise) 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; most papers can be published online via FastTrack ahead of print publication. The final decision on publication rests with the editors.

Those submissions most likely to be accepted for publication are ones which:

  • Advance academic debate by offering a clear and explicit contribution to knowledge;
  • Anticipate and analytically frame those topical and important trends which are likely to shape governance and policy over the next decade or more at an international, national and local level; 
  • Investigate and compare public sector institutions, services, cultures and goods, including in relation to other sectors (markets, civil society and so on); 
  • Offer a comparative analysis which is historical and/or geographical and designed to draw lessons, e.g. About policy transfer and cross-national influences, for an international audience; 
  • Achieve a high degree of theoretical sophistication and innovation, especially in relation to empirical data, methods and methodologies; 
  • Provide an analysis of the social, economic and political impacts (including public attitudes and effects on service users) of key social and public policies; 
  • Helpfully summarise and reflect on a comprehensive body of literature and knowledge in the form of review articles; 
  • Propose arguments which are potentially controversial while still achieving a high level of rigor and professionalism in scope, research and presentation; 
  • Extend or critique previously published material, articles and debates in Policy & Politics.


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How to Submit 

All submissions should be made online at the Policy & Politics Editorial Manager website: http://www.editorialmanager.com/policypol/default.aspx

If you are interested in public policy and adjacent subjects, such as politics and social policy, we encourage you to either register at, or log in to, the Editorial Manager site and specify your areas of interest so that you can be invited to support the journal by reviewing articles relevant to your expertise.

Editorial Manager

Manuscripts must be 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.

Preparing your anonymised manuscript

Your initial submission must consist of the following separate files:

    1. A cover page including: the article title, author name(s) and affiliations (institution affiliation and country only, no department details required), the article abstract (up to 150 words), up to 8 key words/short phrases and the article word count including references. A cover page template is available to download here.

    2. A fully anonymized manuscript which does not include any of the information included in the cover page. It should not include any author or study names, 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]".  A reasonable level of self-citations that substantiate your argument are acceptable; however they should not enable reviewers to identify you as the author. Consequently you should not use phrases which could undermine your anonymity such as 'as I argued previously.' Please note that submissions that have not been sufficiently anonymised will be returned.

    3. 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

    1. A cover page including: the article title, author name(s) and affiliations (institution affiliation and country only, no department details required), the article abstract (up to 150 words), up to 8 key words and the word count.

Your non-anonymised manuscript should include:

    1. 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]."

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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 dave.j.worth@bristol.ac.uk.

    5. 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.


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Copyright & Permissions

Articles are considered for publication on the understanding that on acceptance the entire copyright shall pass to Policy Press as publisher of Policy & Politics. 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.

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

Please also read our Journals Editorial Policies.

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  • 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.
  • A reasonable level of self-citations that substantiate your argument are acceptable; however they should not enable reviewers to identify you as the author. Consequently you should not use phrases which could undermine your anonymity such as 'as I argued previously.'
  • 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).


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Download the Endnote output style for Bristol University Press and Policy Press Journals.

Bristol University Press and Policy Press use a custom version of the Harvard system of referencing:

  • In-text citations: give the author’s surname followed by year of publication in brackets
  • List all references in full at the end of the article and remove any references not cited in the text
  • Book and journal titles should be in italics
  • Website details should be placed at the end of the reference
  • 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:
Warin, P. (2012) 'Non-demand for Social Rights: A new challenge for social action in France', Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 20(1): 41-53.

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/.

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Editorial review process

The practice of editorial review is at the heart of good scholarly publishing and is carried out on all reputable journals. To maintain high standards of academic rigour, Policy & Politics employs double anonymous review, where both the referee and the author remain anonymous throughout the process, and all submissions are handled according to the procedure below:

Initial manuscript evaluation

All new submissions are screened for completeness and adherence to our house style and word limit as well as for fit with our editorial statement. Those that pass are then assigned to a Co-editor for consideration for sending for peer review.
Co-Editor evaluation

The assigned Co-editor reads the paper and makes a recommendation to either send the paper for peer review or to reject without review. This recommendation is second checked by at least one other Co-editor who also reads the paper. All decisions are discussed and agreed collectively. Those manuscripts deemed suitable for peer review are passed to at least 2 expert referees for review. If the decision is taken to reject the paper without review, authors are given feedback to explain this.

Reviewer selection

Reviewers are sought according to their expertise. We welcome suggestions for reviewers from authors, though these recommendations may or may not be used.

Reviewer reports

Reviewers are asked to evaluate the manuscript and provide constructive anonymised comments for the author. Reviewers are not expected to correct or copy edit manuscripts.

Duration of review

Typically the manuscript will be reviewed within 45 days from the date it was sent out, although this can vary significantly depending on the availability of reviewers for the particular subject. Should the reviewers' reports contradict one another or a report is unduly delayed, a further expert opinion will be sought. If necessary, revised manuscripts may be returned to the initial reviewers. Co-Editors may request more than one revision of a manuscript, and alternative reviewers may also be invited to review the manuscript at any time.


As a result of the peer review process, the possible decisions are (i) reject (ii) request major revisions (iii) request minor revisions (iv) conditionally accept subject to minor amends (v) accept. Please note that the requesting of major or minor revisions does not guarantee that a revised paper will be automatically accepted.Once again, all decisions are collectively agreed by the Co-Editors. This decision is sent to the author along with any recommendations made by the referees.The above process ensures that all submissions are considered transparently, fairly and on merit. The Co-Editors’ decisions are therefore final.

Time to publication

On acceptance, after receipt of the final version of the manuscript, it takes, on average, 4-5 weeks for the final citable article to be published online via Fast Track. Subsequently this is compiled into an online and printed issue which can take up to several months.

Special Issues

Special Issues have different peer review procedures involving, for example, Guest Editors and/or Advisory Editors. Authors contributing to these projects may receive full details of the peer review process on request from the editorial office at pp-pp@bristol.ac.uk

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