Australian Social Policy: guidelines for contributors

Australian Social Policy Journal is currently published annually and features current research and analysis on a broad range of issues topical to Australia’s social policy and its administration. Regular features include major articles, social policy notes and book reviews.

Australian Social Policy Journal is a fully refereed academic journal; all submissions of major articles and social policy notes to the journal are subject to an external blind peer review. The journal is recognised by the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) Ranked Journal List of refereed journals.

Submissions are accepted from academic researchers, government employees and other relevant practitioners. Submissions that contribute to current social policy research issues and debates are particularly encouraged.

Submissions can be forwarded by email to, or posted to:

Publications Unit
Research and Analysis Branch
Australian Government Department Social Services
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610

For more information:

Phone: (02) 6244 5458
Fax: (02) 6133 8387

Content is compiled by the Research and Analysis Branch of the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS).

Copies are available to the public in both printed and electronic format, and can be downloaded from the DSS website.

Writing content

  1. Major articles should be between 4,000 and 8,000 words, social policy notes between 2,500 and 4,000 words and book reviews 1,200 to 1,500 words. Authors should discuss any possible variations to these lengths with the Publications Unit.
  2. All submissions should include an abstract and up to six keywords.
  3. It is understood that submissions have not been published previously, nor are they being considered for publication elsewhere, and that content is original. If author(s) wish to have dual publication considered, they must seek permission from the Publications Unit to reprint. Full acknowledgement of prior publication in Australian Social Policy Journal must be given where applicable.
  4. Authors must make every effort to ensure that, to the best of their knowledge:
    • all information presented in the paper is accurate and appropriately referenced
    • conclusions drawn are appropriately supported by the analysis and/or the evidence presented in the paper
    • correct spelling and grammar is employed consistently throughout the paper.
  5. Content should be written in plain, non-technical English, and must not use:
    • discipline-specific jargon unless necessary, in which case this should be clearly defined within the article
    • acronyms unless preceded by the full title in the first instance
    • language which discriminates on the basis of gender, ethnicity, age and/or disability.
  6. Professional practices regarding the reproduction of copyright material must be followed.
  7. Authors should:
    • use the Harvard system (author–date) for referencing
    • use endnotes rather than footnotes
    • clearly source figures, tables and other data where necessary.

    More information on Commonwealth Style guidelines is available from Snooks & Co. 2002, Style Manual 6th Edition, John Wiley & Sons.

Submitting content

  1. The name, title, affiliation(s) and contact details of the author(s) must be included with the submission.
  2. Submissions must include an electronic copy of the submission emailed to Text should be sent as an attached Microsoft Word Document (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) file. All figures (that is, charts and diagrams) presented in the submission should be sent as Microsoft Excel (.xls) files (or eps files) and must include the data from which the figures were generated. Authors who wish to use alternative word processing, spreadsheet or graphics packages must contact the Publications Unit.
  3. Content, particularly figures and tables, should be presented in greyscale (black and white). Colour is not employed in the Australian Social Policy Journal.
  4. Anyone whose personal details (name, contact details, etc.) are to appear in a publication must provide written approval these details to be printed and/or promoted by electronic media including the internet.

Review process

  1. Submissions will be reviewed by the Research Publications Editor. At this point, the author may be contacted to provide further information or revise content. Authors are requested to respond to these comments in a timely manner.
  2. A decision whether or not to publish a submission will be based on the following criteria:
    • relevance to the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio
    • contribution to current social policy research issues and debates
    • academic quality and readability of the paper
    • blind peer review process
  3. All submissions of major articles or social policy notes to the Australian Social Policy Journal are subject to an external blind peer review. Two referees are engaged to review and comment upon submissions. The identity of the author(s) and referee(s) will not be revealed to the other party.

    Authors will be required to respond to these comments, and revise submissions where necessary, within one month of receiving the referee report.

Publishing process

  1. Submissions will be proofread and style-edited by the Publications Unit and/or a professional editor. Authors will be required to review style changes and respond within two weeks. Content changes are not permitted.
  2. Once content has been cleared and submitted for typesetting, author revisions are not permitted.
  3. The Publications Unit will nominate a release date for the publication. Once the publication is released it will be available to the public in both printed and electronic format, and can be downloaded from the DSS website.
  4. Author(s) will receive two printed copies of the published work.

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