Submission Guidelines

General Submission Requirements

A manuscript submitted to the Journal of Extension (JOE) must be the sole, original work of the author(s) listed, must not have been previously published, and must have been submitted only to JOE. If any submission contains copyright-protected material, the author must also provide documentation to verify that the appropriate permissions have been granted. It is the expectation that authors who submit manuscripts to JOE adhere to procedural and ethical rules required by their institutions (e.g., the approval of an institutional review board). For more details about these and other publishing requirements, please review JOE's publication policies.

File Format and Presentation

A submission to JOE should be a single Microsoft Word file. To more easily facilitate double-blind peer review, please anonymize (or "mask") your submission by removing identifying information for all authors. This includes names, home institutions, recognizable citations that you address in the text ("in my previous project called X..."), and any other material that may reveal your identity to a reviewer.

A manuscript should follow current American Psychological Association (APA) style guidelines (https://apastyle.apa.org). The document should contain only the title, manuscript text, references, and any necessary figures or tables. Do not include a cover page.

Please also prepare a running head, abstract, author information, and keywords. You will input these into the manuscript tracking system during the submission process alongside your manuscript. Should your manuscript be accepted, they will be included on the final, typeset article.

Title: A manuscript's title should be attention getting, succinct, and reflective of the content. It should compel JOE readers to read the article.

Abstract: A manuscript's abstract should be in paragraph form and describe in 100 words or fewer (a) the article topic (in one sentence, if possible); (b) the purpose, thesis, or organizing concept of the article and the scope of the article; (c) the sources of data used, if appropriate; and (d) conclusions, recommendations, and implications. Like the title, the abstract should motivate readers to read the article. Do not include information in an abstract that is not included in the body of the manuscript. Do not include references in an abstract.

Keywords: Provide five keywords for the article. Keywords should be suggestive of the article's content (the search terms a reader might use to locate the article).

Body: The body of a manuscript should be organized in sections designated by headings and, as needed, subheadings. The heading "Introduction" is permitted. For headings applied to items in a vertical list, each heading should be run in and bold, and title-case capitalization style should be used.

The submission should include a conclusion section; it is permissible to use the header Conclusion or Conclusions.

The submission should conclude with a References list, formatted in APA 7th edition style.


Figures, which include graphs, charts, maps, drawings, and photographs, should have a material impact on the content of an article and should not be used for decorative purposes.

Figures that involve color should be legible and understandable if printed in grayscale.

It is the responsibility of authors to provide files for figures suitable for publication (generally 300+ ppi). The editorial team will not convert figures to other formats or perform other adjustments, such as cropping, resizing, or applying filters. Graphs, charts, maps, and drawings should be provided in PNG format. Photographs should be in JPEG format. No background graphics are acceptable.

The number and title for a figure should be placed above and outside the figure.


For the purposes of internal and peer review, tables and figures should appear at an appropriate point in the manuscript file (positioned between paragraphs, not within a paragraph) and should not be submitted as separate files. A table may cross page breaks and may be set in landscape format, as applicable. No extra lines of space should precede or follow a table or a figure.

Tables should be constructed using the Tables function in Microsoft Word and should not be embedded images or objects. They should not contain unnecessary spaces, hard returns, columns, or rows. Indentation, if included, should be achieved by setting appropriate margins, not by adding spaces.

Data or other content included in a table or a figure must be accurate and consistent with material presented elsewhere in the manuscript. Textual content in a table should align with rules of grammar, mechanics, and the journal's style.

The number and title for a table should be placed above and outside the table. The number of tables should be kept to a necessary minimum, and tables should not be excessively large, particularly horizontally.

Article Categories

JOE accepts submissions in five article categories: Feature Article, Research in Brief, Ideas at Work, Tools of the Trade, and Commentary. Regardless of category, however, all articles must explicitly convey implications for U.S. Extension professionals and other outreach educators. Authors should carefully consider the descriptions of and differences among the article categories when determining the appropriate category for a submission.

Feature Article (reviewed by an associate editor and two external readers): Feature articles discuss concepts, research findings (original findings or extant findings synthesized with innovative thinking on a topic in a literature review or meta-analysis), and implications (a) of broad interest to U.S. Extension professionals and broad significance to U.S. Extension's knowledge base, methodology, effective practice, or organization or (b) of broad interest/significance to U.S. Extension professionals working within one of U.S. Extension's general program areas (i.e., 4-H/youth development, agriculture and natural resources, community and economic development, family and consumer sciences). Maximum length: 5,000 words (excluding title, author information, running head, abstract, keywords, tables, figures, equations, references, and appendixes).

Research in Brief (reviewed by an associate editor and two external readers): Research in Brief articles summarize research findings (original findings or extant findings synthesized with innovative thinking on a topic in a literature review or meta-analysis) of importance to U.S. Extension professionals. They emphasize implications for particular segments of U.S. Extension. Whereas a Feature Article focuses on the implications of the concepts and research presented for a wide audience of U.S. Extension professionals, a Research in Brief article focuses more on the data presented and the methods used to gather the data and addresses implications particular to a certain discipline or region. A Feature Article is broader in scope and implication. A Research in Brief article is more specific or localized. Maximum length: 3,000 words (excluding title, author information, running head, abstract, keywords, tables, figures, equations, references, and appendixes).

Ideas at Work (reviewed by an associate editor and two external readers): Ideas at Work articles identify and describe novel ideas, innovative programs, and new methods that are of interest to and can be adapted by U.S. Extension professionals. They include evidence that the "ideas at work" have been used successfully and provide suggestions for replicating, adapting, or otherwise applying them. Maximum length: 2,000 words (excluding title, author information, running head, abstract, keywords, tables, figures, equations, references, and appendixes).

Tools of the Trade (reviewed by an associate editor): Tools of the Trade articles identify and describe specific materials, books, techniques, and technologies useful to U.S. Extension professionals. They explain how the tools are useful specifically for U.S. Extension professionals. Whereas an Ideas at Work article focuses on what is novel, a Tools of the Trade article focuses on what is useful. An Ideas at Work article addresses an idea. A Tools of the Trade article addresses a thing. JOE publishes reviews of books that have direct relevance for a broad Extension audience as Tools of the Trade articles. However, JOE neither accepts books for review directly from publishers nor does it solicit book reviewers. Maximum length: 1,250 words (excluding title, author information, running head, abstract, keywords, tables, figures, equations, references, and appendixes).

Commentary (reviewed by an associate editor): Commentary articles offer challenges or present thought-provoking opinions on issues of concern to U.S. Extension by expressing positions that are clear, specific, and rational. They initiate relevant discussion or debate and are accompanied by discussion forums that remain open through two issues of the journal. Although some Commentary submissions are invited, most are not. Rather, JOE encourages Commentary submissions from all who have opinions to share about important Extension topics and issues. Maximum length: 1,500 words (excluding title, author information, running head, abstract, keywords, tables, figures, equations, references, and appendixes).

Submission Procedure

Before submitting manuscripts to JOE, all authors must apply the JOE Manuscript Submission Checklist (https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/joe_submission_checklist.pdf) to their work. This checklist is intended to help prospective authors prepare their manuscripts for submission. Application of the checklist increases the likelihood that a manuscript will meet the technical criteria during the internal review and progress to the Associate Editors.

JOE accepts submissions in electronic format only, via the manuscript-submission portal on the journal's homepage. A first-time user of the submission platform must create an account on the submission portal and follow system prompts. Once registered in the system, authors have the ability to submit multiple articles and view the status of each submission. Registered users will also receive regular reports containing valuable metrics pertaining to their publications, including download locations and numbers, citation counts, and media mentions.

Manuscript Review Process

JOE is a refereed journal.

All submissions undergo an initial review by the JOE Senior Editor. The internal review will determine whether the submission aligns with the purpose and scope of JOE. The Senior Editor will also review the manuscript for adherence to technical specifications related to manuscript preparation; article categorization and associated word count; organization, cohesion, and consistency in development of the topic; clarity and precision of the writing; consistency and accuracy in presentations and discussions of data; accuracy in citations and references; proper grammar, mechanics, and style; and avoidance of errors (e.g., typos, repeated words). Prior to submitting to JOE, authors should take care to ensure that the article conforms to the journal's style (https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/styleguide.html). The Senior Editor may reject the manuscript if its subject falls outside the purpose and scope of JOE or when the submission falls significantly short of the aforementioned technical requirements.

If advanced to the next stage, the submission is reviewed by an Associate Editor, a specialist in the relevant subject area of Extension education. At the recommendation of an Associate Editor, submissions in the following categories undergo double-anonymous peer review: Feature Articles, Research in Brief, and Ideas at Work. Submissions in each category are reviewed by at least two external reviewers. The Associate Editor will then consider the referee reports and make a publication decision in consultation with the Senior Editor. Submissions in the following categories are not externally reviewed but are instead reviewed solely by the appropriate Associate or Section Editor: Commentary and Tools of the Trade.

Editorial Turnaround Times

The turnaround times for editorial reviews vary and are dependent on the current rate of submissions and the conditions of manuscripts submitted. Authors can do their part to decrease editorial review turnaround times by following the JOE style guide.

Feature Articles, Research in Brief, and Ideas that Work submissions are all sent to external readers. JOE relies on a pool of expert reviewers, who generally report back on a submission within 5 weeks of receiving an invitation to review. The editorial team follows up regularly with peer reviewers to ensure as expeditious a turnaround as possible.

Author Deadlines

If an author agrees to undertake revisions recommended by an associate editor and by external reviewers (as applicable), JOE asks that authors resubmit the revised manuscript within 6 months. This deadline primarily exists to ensure that articles in the journal remain current. If an author has concerns about meeting a deadline, they should contact the editorial team () to request an extension.

JOE's Commitment to Author Development

JOE's mission differs slightly from that of most academic journals in that JOE is committed to nurturing emerging scholars and new authors and encouraging professional development (including in the area of scholarly writing) among those working in university outreach and engagement. Therefore, when rejecting a manuscript, the JOE editorial team provides detailed feedback about the problems in the manuscript and directs the corresponding author to resources that can help those hoping to publish in JOE or other academic journals improve their manuscript development skills. Therefore, an article rejected during the internal review or on the recommendation of an associate editor's review may be substantially revised and resubmitted to the journal. Allowing authors to submit new versions of manuscripts that were rejected during the editorial review serves two purposes: (a) JOE benefits from opportunities to publish content that makes an important scientific contribution even if a previous version of a manuscript lacked technical appropriateness and (b) prospective JOE authors are not prevented from publishing important work merely because they needed improvement in the area of scholarly writing.