Write for CDJ

General instructions for writing in the Community Development Journal can be found on our journal website.

Q&A: Essential Guidelines for Prospective Authors

  • What kind of peer-reviewed articles does the Community Development Journal publish?

We publish peer-reviewed articles that provide a critical, analytical, and informed commentary on issues related to community development. In addition to articles that address existing debates, we welcome innovative articles that challenge orthodoxies and seek to shed new light on relevant issues. We are particularly keen that articles engage explicitly with cutting edge international literature, theory and concepts. In instances where survey material, geographically specific case-studies or programme and project evaluations are under consideration, it is essential that authors actively and comprehensively engage with wider critical and theoretical debates that are of interest to a broad audience of practitioners and academics in the field.

  • How is community development understood by the journal?

Community development is a contested concept and practice. It is this inherent tension that demands practitioners and theorists be reflexive, acknowledging competing claims and approaches. We are therefore open to multiple understandings of community development, from contributors both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the field.  For peer-reviewed articles, authors are expected to convey a strong sense of what they understand community development to mean and to ensure that articles are made meaningful to the CDJ’s international readership. It is not sufficient for articles to be based on research that is done with, in or about communities; they must clearly signpost issues, tensions or new forms of learning for community development.

  • Do I have to be an academic to write for the Community Development Journal?

In short: no. Whilst CDJ is ultimately an academic publication, and we expect peer-reviewed articles to engage with previously published theory and/or research, we do welcome submissions from outside of the academy.

  • What are the standards for an appropriate article?

Your article must speak to themes relevant to the field of community development, as explained in points 1) and 2) above, and it must take an explicitly analytic approach.  Purely descriptive case studies, evaluations or reports on specific projects/programmes will not be considered for peer-review or publication. Articles must be no longer than 7000 words in length: this is to include the bibliography, author contact details, and a short author biography. Articles are to be submitted in English and written to a publishable academic standard.

  • What happens after I submit my article?

The Editors will decide whether the submitted article is potentially relevant and appropriate for publication in the journal and if it is to be sent for peer review.  If your article is deemed relevant and appropriate, but it is too long or inappropriately formatted, you will be asked to make changes and resubmit.

If your article meets the Editors’ criteria, it will be sent out for peer review to a minimum of two reviewers, who will read and comment on it. The reviewers will recommend to the Editors that the article is either revised, rejected, or (in very rare instances) immediately accepted. If you are asked to make revisions, you are expected to carefully consider and actively respond to the reviewers’ feedback in any future resubmission.  You are also required to include a cover note where you detail the specific revisions made to the text in light of the reviewer feedback.  The resubmitted article will typically be returned to the reviewers for further consideration, and another recommendation will be made.

  • Who undertakes peer review for the Community Development Journal?

The journal has a wide pool of peer reviewers. We strive to ensure that all articles are reviewed both by experts familiar with the specific geographic context and/or topic area addressed by the article, and by those who can comment on the wider international relevance of the work. Your article may be reviewed by a member of the Editorial Board and/or the International Advisory Board; it is also likely to be reviewed by authors who have previously been published in the journal.

  • Are authors and reviewers anonymous?

We operate a ‘double blind’ peer review system. This means that the reviewers do not see who the authors of an article are, and authors do not see who is reviewing their article. It is for this reason that we ask authors to submit two versions of their article: a ‘non-anonymous’ version that includes their name, biography and contact details, and an ‘anonymous’ version in which all identifying features (including self-citation, where relevant) are removed from the text.

  • How long will it take to publish my article?

This can vary considerably, depending on the progress of the editorial process. There are numerous factors that might impact upon this, including the time taken to find appropriate reviewers, the turnaround time for reviewers, the time you take to amend your article if revisions are requested, and the number of times you are asked to make further changes. Please bear in mind that this process will therefore take a number of months, particularly as we aim to prioritise seeking high quality feedback for articles that go to review. However, we are committed to undertaking it as efficiently as possible.

  • What proportion of articles are published?

At present approximately 20% of articles submitted to the Community Development Journal are ultimately published. This ensures the high quality of the journal. However, we encourage the submission of all relevant, thought-provoking and original articles. If your article is accepted for review, you will receive valuable feedback.

  • What countries are articles accepted from?

We accept and publish relevant articles from and about every part of the world. The CDJ seeks to be a truly international journal in terms of the breadth of its content.

  • What disciplines are articles accepted from?

CDJ is an interdisciplinary journal. By the very nature of community development, it draws upon a wide range of fields and perspectives, and this is represented in the journal. We welcome submissions from a wide range of contexts, disciplines and backgrounds, be they activist, practitioner or academic.   As an interdisciplinary journal, the CDJ has published articles from the fields of geography, sociology, women’s studies, anthropology, political science, social policy, social movement studies, cultural and media studies, planning, development and organisational studies, among others.  The important element is that articles raise critical issues for community development that are relevant to our readership.

  • What happens if my article is accepted?

If your article is accepted, it will be processed by OUP before appearing on the Advanced Access page of the journal website. Advance Access is itself a recognised form of publication: it means that your article will be available to journal subscribers, and that it can be found through academic databases. It will take longer for the article to appear in a print edition of the journal. When articles are published in print they are removed from Advanced Access and instead become available in the relevant issue on the website.


Further suggestions

Professor Mick Carpenter, Editor of the Community Development Journal, participated with other CDJ Board members in the successful International Association for Community Development (IACD) conference ‘Community is the Answer’, at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, from 9-11 June, 2014.

Mick ran two very successful workshops on Writing for CDJ and other Publications, in order to encourage more practitioners to write for the journal and ‘academic’ publications generally.

The Powerpoint slides for his presentation can be downloaded here:
Writing for the Community Development Journal

Formal information for authors can be found on the main Community Development website here.