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Instructions to Authors

To submit to Social Work, please visit the journal submission portal at and click on the "Author Instructions" tab for more comprehensive submission instructions. To prepare your manuscript in the proper format for submission, view NASW Press Author Guidelines.


OUP offers pre-submission language editing through Oxford Language Editing, a service for researchers all over the world. Language editing, particularly if English is not your first language, can be used to ensure that the academic content of your paper is fully understood by the journal editors and reviewers. Visit to find out more about the freelance editors available and the different services offered. Please note that edited manuscripts will still need to undergo peer-review by the journal.


Social Work, established in 1956, is the top-rated social science journal in the world, ranked first in its category by the Information Sciences Institute (ISI). It is provided to all NASW members as a membership benefit. In addition, individual nonmembers, libraries, and institutions subscribe to Social Work. It is a professional journal dedicated to improving practice and advancing knowledge in social work and social welfare. The editorial board welcomes manuscripts that expand and evaluate knowledge of social work practice, social issues, and the social work profession.

Manuscripts are selected on specific topics from the pool of accepted articles. On rare occasions, a call for papers may be issued on topics of major importance to the profession.

Topics of Interest

  • research on social problems
  • evaluation of social work practice
  • advancement of developmental and practice theory
  • culture and ethnicity
  • social policy, advocacy, and administration


Manuscripts for full-length articles may not exceed 20 pages, including all references and tables. The entire review process is anonymous. At least three reviewers critique each manuscript; after which the editor-in-chief makes a decision, taking those reviews into account.


Practice Update presents perspectives, innovations, reports, and updates related to social work practice. The purpose is to inform practitioners of methods to expand upon existing practice. Case vignettes are welcomed; however, the major emphases should be placed on analysis of practice and the evidence of effectiveness. Manuscripts may be more descriptive than analytical and do not require the depth of documentation necessary for full-length articles. Manuscripts are reviewed anonymously in the same process used for articles. The maximum length for Practice Update submissions is seven pages.

Commentary offers writers an opportunity to present their critical observation on current professional issues, social problems, or policy matters. Submissions are expected to build on existing literature in the topic area. The editor-in-chief reviews manuscripts anonymously. The maximum length for Commentary submissions is six pages.

Points & Viewpoints provides readers an opportunity to respond substantively to an article previously published in the journal and to challenge the premises, results, or intellectual positions in that article. It was created to stimulate dialogue within the profession. The editor-in-chief reviews all manuscripts anonymously. If a manuscript is accepted, the author of the original article will be asked to respond to the viewpoints expressed in it. If the original author declines to respond, a manuscript may be shortened and included as a Letter to the Editor. The maximum length for Points & Viewpoints submissions is seven pages.

Letters to the Editor. Readers are encouraged to send comments on articles published in the journal or other points of interest to the profession. Although we acknowledge and read all letters, not all can be published, nor can we notify authors of the decision. Selected letters may be shortened to fit the space available. The maximum length for Letters to the Editor submissions is two pages.


Permission to reproduce copyright material, for print and online publication in perpetuity, must be cleared and if necessary paid for by the author; this includes applications and payments to DACS, ARS, and similar licensing agencies where appropriate. Evidence in writing that such permissions have been secured from the rights-holder must be made available to the editors. It is also the author's responsibility to include acknowledgements as stipulated by the particular institutions. Oxford Journals can offer information and documentation to assist authors in securing print and online permissions: please see the Guidelines for Authors section. Information on permissions contacts for a number of main galleries and museums can also be provided. Should you require copies of this, please contact the editorial office of the journal in question or the Oxford Journals Rights department.


Social Work offers publishing authors a free and permanent URL link to their article. URL links are distributed upon online publication.


For information about this journal's policy, please visit our Author Self-Archiving policy page.


Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford Journals authors will be invited to complete an online copyright licence to publish form.

Please note that by submitting an article for publication you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. You agree to notify OUP immediately if your details change. If your article is accepted for publication OUP will contact you using the email address you have used in the registration process. Please note that OUP does not retain copies of rejected articles.

After your manuscript is accepted the corresponding author will be required to accept a mandatory licence to publish agreement.