Types of Manuscripts

JAFSCD accepts a wide range of manuscript types. The word counts below are for the body of the paper; they do not include title page information, reference lists, and appendices.

Research Articles (up to 7,500 words; peer-reviewed)

Research articles present important new research results, including the entire contents of a research project. Quantitative studies include statistical analysis of survey or secondary data. Qualitative studies include case studies, focus groups, interviews, and the like. Research articles generally consist of an abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references. Authors of research articles are required to adhere to our policy of accessible scholarship.

Case Studies (up to 7,500 words; peer-reviewed)

A case study is a report of a single case (generally deemed interesting or unusual). These studies usually are generated by the author’s actual experience or objective observations. This is a popular form of manuscript among practitioners. It is critical that the case study be objective and not promotional. The case should feature a new program approach, best practice, or organizational structure. It should present sufficient references to previous studies of the issue the case is focused on to embed (provide context) for this new case study to build on.

Reflective Essays (up to 7,500 words; peer-reviewed)

A reflective essay is a critical reflection on one’s work or the work of one’s organization related to a specific issue or strategy. It is similar to a case study, but it is a more personal slant and subjectivity. This may have a more popular journalistic style, but also has much deeper substance than a trade journal article. It could take the form of a case study, project post-mortem analysis (why a project failed), policy commentary, position paper on a best practice, or even proposal for a new strategy, technique, or approach.

Review Articles (up to 7,500 words; peer-reviewed)

Review articles do not cover original research but rather accumulate the results of many different articles on a particular topic into a coherent narrative about the state of the art in the emerging field food systems and agricultural development. Review articles provide information about the topic and also provide journal references to the original research.

Research Briefs (up to 3,500 words; peer-reviewed)

A research brief is generally an update of ongoing research of national or international significance. It is typically a follow-up to a research paper already submitted, but may also be a paper providing preliminary findings of a new study. Research briefs may be fast-tracked for immediate publication because they are considered very timely.

Policy and Practice Briefs (up to 3,500 words; may be peer-reviewed)

A policy and practice brief is a thorough analysis of a proposed, new, or existing government or organizational policy that focuses on the background of a policy issue, the details of the policy, and its real or predicted impacts on food systems development practice. Like research briefs, policy briefs may be fast-tracked for immediate publication because they are considered very timely.

Reactions (up to 3,500 words; rebutted; not peer-reviewed)

Reaction articles are opinions on content published in the journal. They should describe the most important conclusions of the article they are commenting on; place the paper into context with the current state of the art; highlight controversial issues; when relevant, denote strengths and weaknesses of the article; and review questions that remain to be addressed. If a reaction is found acceptable, a copy will be sent to the author of the original article, if applicable; that author will have an opportunity to provide a rebuttal with new material that will be considered for publication along with the commentary.

Commentaries (up to 1,500 words; rebutted; not peer-reviewed)

Commentaries are intended to present a thoughtful slant on a topic for which opinions in the literature are either controversial or undecided. The hope is that the readership will benefit from a new and unconventional viewpoint on a topic. The commentary manuscript must be concise and bring novel insights into a specific problem. Calls for special topic commentaries may be announced from time to time and include specific instructions. Commentaries do not include an abstract.

Book Reviews (750 to 1,000 words; not peer-reviewed)

JAFSCD publishes reviews of books, reports, training materials, films, and other material related to food systems development work. These publications should relate to one or more components of local or regional food systems and have a community development element. We can also publish a review that compares and contrasts two or more books on the same subject, or by multiple reviewers sharing different perspectives on the same book. See the current list of books for which we are seeking reviewers. Before suggesting an item for review, make sure we haven't already published a review of it.

If you would like to suggest an item for review or to respond to a request for book reviewers, please complete our online book review query form. We can usually have the publisher send a hard copy or e-book link for review directly to you. Questions? Contact JAFSCD Associate Editor for Book Reviews Matthew Hoffman.