Editorial Guidelines & Submission Policies

Journal Mission

This journal encourages rigorous scholarship about disability systems and highlights research and evaluation that demonstrates the value and impact of the Developmental Disabilities network and related disability advocacy and support programs.

Publication Frequency

Our journal is published by Utah State University Libraries two times a year: Spring and Fall.

Accessibility Policy

Our journal strives to be readily accessible to all potential audiences, and thus provides an accessible format. All articles in the journal include a “plain language” summary; figures in the journal are accompanied by written descriptions; the journal is published in a screen-readable format; the language and content of the journal is intended for a general audience; and the journal editor will make the journal available in additional alternative formats upon request.

Open Access Policy

Journals published by Utah State University Libraries provide immediate open access to their content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. In order to lower barriers to publication for authors, our journals do not charge submission or any other form of author fees.

Ethical Standards

All papers that report on data gathered from human participants must have documented approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the author’s institution, or another institution with appropriate authority to review and approve the reported research. Each paper submitted must include a statement identifying the IRB that approved the study, and that the study conforms to recognized human subjects research standards.

Manuscript Submission

Our journal uses a web-based manuscript submission and peer-review system facilitated through Digital Commons. Given that all manuscripts will be reviewed anonymously, the author’s name and other identifying information should appear only on the cover page. Potentially identifying information in the text should be removed prior to submission.

The Editor and Managing Editors oversee manuscript reviews. Once a manuscript is submitted, a Managing Editor is assigned who is responsible for assigning the peer reviewers and tracking the review and correspondence process with the author. The Editor will make the final decision on the disposition of all manuscripts (acceptance, rejection, or requests for revision) based upon the recommendations of the peer reviewers and the Managing Editors.

Papers submitted to this journal are evaluated according to basic scholarly or literary standards including: their relevance to the field, timeliness of the topic, potential to affect policy and/or practice, originality, and clarity of writing. Papers that specifically have the potential to strengthen and promote disability advocacy and the civil rights of people with disabilities are welcomed.

Authors who require assistance in submitting their manuscripts through Digital Commons should contact the editorial office at .

Types of Manuscripts

Our journal publishes the following types of manuscripts:

  • Research Articles: Reports on original quantitative or qualitative research or evaluation. Approximately 5000-7000 words, excluding references, tables, or other figures.
  • Research Briefs: Short summaries of small scale research projects or evaluations that make methodological or conceptual contributions but are too short to merit publication as full research articles. Approximately 1500-2000 words, excluding references, tables, or other figures.
  • Research to Practice Briefs: Brief syntheses of existing research in a format that is easily digestible and that clearly links research with implications for improving practice. Each brief should end with a list of specific recommendations for practice that are based on the research. Approximately 2000-3000 words excluding references, tables, or other figures.
  • Review Articles: Review articles provide a critical analysis of existing published literature often identifying specific gaps or problems and providing recommendations for future research or evaluation. Preference is given to meta-analyses that extend the research under review. Review Articles should be approximately 5000-7000 words excluding references, tables, or other figures.
  • Policy Analyses: Reviews of current federal or state policies that hold relevance for the DD Network or DD Act-related programs. Submissions are judged for thoroughness, fair reporting, and the application or research/evidence to the policy under review. Policy Analyses should be approximately 3000-5000 words excluding references, tables, or other figures.
  • Emerging Scholars Articles: Research conducted by students who are working towards a degree in a disability-related discipline, or who are classified as a trainee in a UCEDD or LEND program. These articles can be formatted like a research article, research to practice brief, review article or policy analysis.
  • Editorials: These are usually commissioned. We are, however, happy to consider and peer review unsolicited editorials that address issues related to the DD Network or DD Act related programs, and which contribute to informed debate on a particular issue. We would specifically welcome editorials by individuals with developmental disabilities that are responsive to current events and/or recent studies published in this journal. Editorials should be approximately 1500-3000 words excluding references, tables, or other figures.

Peer Review Process

All articles and creative works are reviewed by peers who have the appropriate knowledge and expertise. We will include individuals with developmental disabilities and family members in the peer review process, and will strive to have each submission reviewed by at least one content expert and one individual with a disability or a family member of an individual with a developmental disability. Final publication decisions are made by the Editor based on information gathered from the peer reviews.

All original contributions are first reviewed by the editor within 4 weeks of submission. If the work is relevant to the journal’s focus and objectives, authors will be quickly notified and manuscripts sent to two or more external reviewers as part of a fully anonymous peer review process (authors and reviewers are anonymous). These external reviewers are experts in the discipline and field relevant to the content of the manuscript. External reviewers will subject the manuscript to a rigorous review and suggest improvements if required.

This journal strives to communicate openly and quickly with authors to ensure that the review process is timely. The journal strives for a time-line of less than six months from initial submission to publication of an article where feasible, although the process can take longer due to reviewers, or if revisions or permissions are required. If we make an offer of publication subject to revision, we will ask authors to return their articles to us within thirty days. Authors are responsible for ensuring that necessary revisions are carried out in response to reviewer recommendations.

Concurrent Submission Policy

Our journal does not accept submissions of manuscripts that are also under concurrent review by another journal. Authors must verify in their submission notes that their paper has NOT been previously published, and is not being reviewed by another journal for publication consideration.

Formatting Guidelines & Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check their submission's compliance with all of the following guidelines. Submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines may be returned to the author.

  • Formatting and Citation Style: Papers should be formatted according to the 2019 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 7th edition). References must be in APA style.

  • Spacing: All sections of the manuscript (including quotations, references, and tables) should be double-spaced with a 1-inch margin on all sides.

  • Font: All sections of a manuscript should use a 12 point sans serif font like Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, or Calibri. Manuscripts should use italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses).

  • Cover page: All authors of a manuscript should be listed on the cover page including their full name and affiliation on the cover page of the manuscript. Where available, please also include authors’ social media handles (Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn). Authors’ institutional affiliations should be the affiliations where the research was conducted.

  • Funding details: Please supply all details required by your funding and grant-awarding bodies as follows: For single agency grants—“This work was supported by the [Funding Agency] under Grant [number xxxx]”. For multiple agency grants—"This work was supported by the [Funding Agency <] under Grant [number xxxx]; [Funding Agency >] under Grant [number xxxx]; and [Funding Agency &] under Grant [number xxxx]”.

  • Abstract: All articles should include an abstract with a maximum of 350 words.

  • Plain Language Summary: In addition to an abstract, all articles should include a "plain language" summary of no more than 350 words. The plain language summary should have a readability level of 9th-12th grade using the free Hemingway App.

  • Video abstract: You can also opt to include a video abstract with your article. Find out how these can help your work reach a wider audience, and what to think about when filming.

  • Pictures and Figures: All accompanying figures must be submitted as separate files (not embedded in the text) and must be high resolution. Figures should be supplied in one of our preferred file formats: EPS, PS, JPEG, GIF, or Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX). All graphs, tables and images must have alternative text descriptions. It is the authors' responsibility to submit figures or other graphics that meet our technical requirements. All photos and images will be reviewed to ensure that they do not depict stereotypical characteristics of people with disabilities, racial, ethnic, and other cultural groups.

  • Tables: Tables should present new information rather than duplicating what is in the text. Readers should be able to interpret the table without reference to the text.

  • Endnotes: Endnotes should be placed immediately following the references at the end of the manuscript. Footnotes should not be used within the submission.