Submission Guidelines

Participations publishes twice a year, in May and November. We welcome submissions at any point in the year. These can be of many kinds, including: reports of empirical research; debates around existing work or developments; theoretical or conceptual explorations and arguments; interviews (where relevant to the broad field of audience and reception studies); book reviews – or indeed reviews of significant articles, reports, or the like. We do not in general carry Conference reviews, unless the events are of substantial significance. We are interested in carrying ‘lost works’ – key works in our field that many have heard of, but which are now effectively unavailable; or previously unpublished work (for instance, commercial reports that are otherwise unavailable to outsiders, or reports to funding councils detailing the outcomes of a project) that deserve the light of day. If in doubt, please ask by emailing the Editors at <>.

Participations is an English language Journal. We are happy to publish an additional Abstract in another language, where this will be of assistance to authors and expected audiences. We recognise that writing in English can be a challenge for authors who are not native English speakers. Editors will help, where they can, with details of English expression, but we retain the right either to copyedit submissions for language issues before confirming acceptance of a submission, or to ask authors to arrange for this to be done by a native speaker through their own connections.

Participations has developed a strong tradition of publishing Themed Sections. A good number of these are now planned and developed by members of our Editorial Board. But we do also welcome proposals from others. A full set of Guidelines on these is published on a separate page.

Submissions to the Journal may be of any length. As an online Journal, we are pleased to be able to work without the restrictions inevitably imposed on print Journals. We are willing to entertain submissions which go beyond the usual 6-8,000 limit that other Journals have to impose – providing that the additional space is used to make accessible such things as: the contexts within the research is set; the methodologies used (and their limits); the evidential base; and the implications for other related bodies of work/fields.

Submissions should be emailed to the Editor at <>. We prefer to receive Word documents. Any Tables, Graphs, and Images should be sent both in their intended place in the submission, and separately (since transfer into the Journal’s template can lead to awkward splits or page-breaks).

All submissions should contain the following, along with the main text:

  • Title;
  • Names of Authors, along with their institutional location and country;
  • Abstract (usually one paragraph/up to 200-words long);
  • Keywords;
  • Biographical note for each author – giving (a) current job title and institution; (b) a sentence or two about ongoing research interests; and (c) a contact Email address. This should be placed immediately after the main text of the essay.

Referencing and bibliographical systems may follow any of the recognised formats (eg, Harvard, Chicago, MLA) providing that they are clear, consistent and complete.

Participations articles have a distinctive ‘look’, and it helps considerably if authors take this broadly into consideration when they prepare submissions. It may be worth particularly noting the following:

  • paragraphs can be indented, or separated by additional spaces;
  • titles of books and journals, films etc. should be given in italics, including in the Bibliography;
  • quotations of less than 40 words should be included in the text with single inverted commas, and double inverted commas for quotes within quotes. Quotations of more than 40 words should be indented, without being placed in quote-marks;
  • low numbers (eg, three, twelve, or twenty-eight) should usually be spelt out rather than presented as numerals. Numbers over 100, percentages and dates should be presented in numeric form;
  • submissions which include materials from interviews must ensure either that people have been sufficiently anonymised, or that interviewees have given their permission to be quoted. We also recommend that, unless you have particular reasons not to do so, as a courtesy to those whom you quote from emails, questionnaires and the like, any accidental errors are corrected (and not drawn attention to by the use of a bracketed [‘sic’]);
  • Endnotes (not Footnotes) can be used – please use the Endnoting system in Word;
  • do not use unusual line-spacing options – simple line-returns to separate elements make it much easier for us to format articles for final publication.

Editorial consideration

Participations is proud to have pioneered a distinctive, very open way of refereeing the submissions it receives – and one which has regularly received praise and thanks from our authors, who appreciate its openness.

Wherever possible, each submission is first read by one of the Editors, with two considerations in mind: (1) does the submission fit within the broad purposes of the Journal?; (2) are there any issues which can best be addressed before we take the time of referees? The Editor will communicate her or his thoughts on this to the author(s), giving an opportunity for them to address the matters raised, before proceeding to the stage of full editorial consideration. At the conclusion of this stage, the Editor will seek out two topic-appropriate referees. This will be done on an open basis, with names of authors known to referees, and – once reviews are completed – the names of referees communicated to author(s). We have found this to work very effectively, encouraging critical-supportive dialogue leading to strengthening of submissions. [Please note: a separate system of refereeing for Themed Sections is detailed in our document on this.]

Following receipt of the two referees’ reports, the Editor will digest their outcomes, decide on the appropriate outcome, and forward this and the Reports to the author(s). Where (as is often the case) revisions are required, decisions on their satisfactoriness will be generally made by the concerned Editor, without returning to referees.

Because of rising pressures on the time of referees, we cannot give an exact timetable for how long these processes may take. However Participations is committed, wherever possible, to publishing articles which have completed their editorial processes in the next available issue of the Journal.

Authors will be sent a ‘proof copy’ of their article shortly before publication. Aside from final page-numbering, this will be what appears in the Journal. Final corrections must be made at this point, and only in very exceptional circumstances can they be made thereafter.

Copyright will always remain with authors, who are free to republish submissions, providing only that a proper acknowledgement of prior publication in Participations (with issue number, date and page numbers) is included. We are happy for work to be placed in institutional repositories or individuals’ websites on the same basis of acknowledgement.