Submission Guidelines for Collaborations

Collaborations invites you to submit manuscripts for review and possible publication. Manuscripts should be submitted in English using the online system. We accept (3) different types of submissions, each with its own “portal” and rigorous review process. First, traditional reports of action-research and theory of community-university collaborations, including reviews of such collaborations are encouraged. Action-research reports and reviews should explicitly address implications for practice and policy. A second portal, emphasizing university-community collaborations, offers readers a chance to step inside a range of programs. This portal is intended to provide insights into different organizational structures and different ways of thinking about partnerships, as well as ways to overcome key challenges. This may also include voices from the field. It is meant to be a site of dialog and debate where those working in university-community collaborations are asked to speak out about key issues or topics or perhaps to discuss research and programs in progress as they address cutting-edge issues. A final portal is devoted to reflections on experiential learning and experiences with community-based projects, public scholarship, and service and service-learning related coursework

All portals are open to multimedia submissions, including but not limited to still images and video and audio recordings are welcome; these submissions must be accompanied by a written statement. Multimedia materials may also be included as supplemental materials to submissions that are principally text based. We are open to diverse contributions, including book reviews, case studies, personal experience articles, creative works, and pedagogical papers. If you have a manuscript idea that addresses facets of community-based collaboration, but you are uncertain as to its fit with the mission of the Journal or the proper portal for submission, please contact the managing editor, Elizabeth McInerney at eem71@umiami.edu.

Manuscripts will be acknowledged immediately upon receipt. All efforts will be made to complete the review process within 4-6 weeks.

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Scholarly-Research Portal (Scholarly Portal)

This section of the journal aims to publish original scholarly contributions regarding research or theory focused on or produced through university-community collaborations. Submissions to the Scholarly-Research Portal should adhere to rigorous scholarly criteria. They should demonstrate respect for and attention to background research. They also should demonstrate the use of appropriate research methods for the topic and area of inquiry. Manuscripts will be evaluated for appropriateness to the journal’s objectives, originality of research and theory, and clarity of presentation. Submissions of scholarly articles should be no longer than (25) double-spaced pages, including figures and references.

Within the Scholarly-Research portal, the following topics are among those in which contributions are sought:

  • Research on social-ecological change and community development (describing reciprocal effects of change between individuals, family systems, social centers, and the broader ecosystem)
  • The architecture of inclusion (policies, programs, and initiatives that facilitate the provision of opportunity as well as the reverberating effects within adjacent structures of a given network)
  • Service grounded in scholarship (curricular practices and programs demonstrating the important juxtaposition between theory and practice; ways students develop personally and intellectually as a function of these unique educative experiences)
  • The empowerment of disenfranchised groups (grassroots and broader efforts designed to redress the violation of human rights)
  • The phenomenology of inequity (the lived experiences of those who do not have a voice; the multiplicative effects of poverty)
  • Costs and benefits of social welfare (weighing the currency of prevention against the costs of inaction)
  • Individual and collective empowerment (via various advocacy efforts and the provision of community and/or university-based supports)
  • Social and intellectual capital (capturing resources unique to centers of higher education; identifying key leverage points and methods used to ensure sustainability)
  • Institutional and government-based challenges to democracy as well as countervailing forces of change
  • Theoretical arguments for or against specific policies
  • Delivery of university research to the community (issues in implementation, translation; fidelity vs. adaptation; feasibility)
  • Exemplary projects that reflect effective university-community collaborations

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University-Community Collaborations Portal (Community Portal)

This section of the journal aims to publish case studies of university-community collaborations developed by university faculty, students, and/or community partners. Collaborative submissions are encouraged. Submissions of content for this component of the journal should describe what the collaboration entailed, how it was formed, and how it operates, and the foundational values underlying the collaboration’s existence. Submissions should also make clear what each party gives to and receives from their contribution to the partnership. Authors should explain why they chose their particular method of engagement. Submissions for this section should demonstrate background research on similar partnerships, assessments, and the impact of such partnerships’ actions. In this section, we will publish written descriptions of collaborations as well as multimedia submissions that demonstrate the collaboration in action and/or the collaboration’s products. Submissions should be no longer than (25) double-spaced pages. Multimedia submissions should not exceed (30) minutes.

Within this portal, submissions highlighting partnerships that touch upon the values listed above and any topics specific to community-university partnerships, such as: the importance of sustainability; how to ensure reciprocity in partnerships; and shared authority and ownership in establishing roles, are especially welcomed.

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Reflections on Experiental Learning Portal (Student Portal)

Within the Reflections on Experiential Learning portal, the journal aims to publish reflective essays and multimedia submissions that examine the moral, ethical, philosophical, and epistemological questions that confront individuals during the process of experiential learning. Areas of contribution would include the process of learning to work within a partnership; considerations in the creation of products for faculty, scholarly, community, and other audiences resulting from collaborations, and examples of innovative products; and challenges of working within different value systems and cultural contexts. Authors of these submissions should address how the experiential learning process impacted their values, beliefs, and assumptions as well as how the experience enhanced or complicated their understanding of the dynamics and complexities of the issue at hand. For instance, authors could consider how their experiential learning process affected their ideas about knowing, about social justice and inclusion, about diversity and collaboration, and about themselves. Authors also should address what the process taught them about building impactful partnerships and how the partnership did or did not effectively achieve the goals it set out to accomplish. We are particularly interested in submissions by graduate and undergraduate students participating in experiential learning coursework, practica, or internships. In this section, we will publish original reflective essays, videos, audio recordings, and images of artifacts of experiential learning projects and processes. The length of these submissions may vary widely, but no submission should be longer than (15) double-spaced pages or, in the case of multimedia recordings, (20) minutes.

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Research Practices Guidelines

A unifying feature of the Journal is the set of processes by which submissions are developed, i.e., the principles according to which the work was done. How community-based collaboration, action research, and public scholarship are carried out is ultimately as important as the product. Drawing from the Rutgers-New Brunswick Task Force Report and the work of James G. Kelly (“T’aint what you do, it’s the way you do it.” American Journal of Community Psychology, 1979), overriding criteria for submissions may include:

Background Work Honored

As part of the project being presented, it is clear that appropriate sources were consulted to understand prior attempts to address the same issue and incorporate similar or different approaches with a clear rationale.

Mutual Trust and Respect

Trust and respect are critical components of an effective community-university partnership. For a successful collaboration, each partner must trust the other to act in good faith, value both sets of interests equally, and refuse to sacrifice the other’s objectives in favor of one’s own. Mutually respectful relationships begin with the recognition that each party brings valuable knowledge to the partnership: the experiential, local knowledge of community members complements the specialized, academic knowledge of university faculty and students. Therefore, every member of the partnership is both a researcher and a learner, with the research process itself becoming a means of change and growth.

Clear Communication

Successful partnerships depend on clear understanding, yet each partner enters the relationship with a unique culture, language, and terminology. Academics, for example, may use jargon that is familiar within their discipline but excludes—and even alienates—others. To be understood, all participants must communicate clearly, avoiding inaccessible language and working to develop a common discourse that is respectful, inclusive, and meaningful. Meanings should be clarified, assumptions avoided, and expectations expressed. Partners should develop communication practices that respect timelines and schedules, provide indicators of progress and incremental success, and establish a process for feedback.


All projects incur changes; some are unavoidable. No matter the nature of the change, project partners need to remain flexible and keep the channels of communication open. A written document, such as a memorandum of understanding or statement of responsibilities, can help to maintain flexibility by reminding all parties of the project’s goals and steps and their interconnectedness.

Cultural Understanding

The cultures of academe and the community are very different. Work schedules, time constraints, and levels of authority and autonomy differ widely between the two. Faculty and community structures are often complicated and difficult to understand from the outside. It is important to identify the key values, perspectives, and priorities of each partner’s culture. Developing an understanding of and respect for cultural differences is a necessary—and rewarding—part of engaging in research with new partners.

Shared Authority

Responsibilities are rarely equal within a collaboration, nor do they need to be. They should, however, be clearly defined and approached with an attitude of equality and honesty. Authority must be shared. Decisions about responsibilities and leadership roles should be made with an understanding of individual strengths and interests. This is where trust and mutual respect become crucial; each member of the team must be comfortable deferring to others in the interest of improving the project, respecting each other’s commitments, and supporting the wider aims and principles of the project.


Community-based research often brings together partners whose needs and interests diverge. While academics see new knowledge as an end, community members see it as a beginning. Students are focused on understanding processes that they will come to learn and apply in other contexts over the course of their careers. Community organizations are dedicated to creating positive change; they are therefore rightly invested in, first and foremost, research that has lasting benefit for their community. For that reason, community members are unlikely to participate in research they do not understand or value. When designing research projects, it is important to address community goals

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Manuscript Preparation Guidelines

Submission Preparation Checklist

Please be sure to follow the Submission Preparation Checklist. Before submitting, authors should be able to answer “YES” to all of the following:

  1. The manuscript is an original submission not previously published or under consideration at another publication.
  2. The manuscript follows the publication guidelines found in the APA Publication Manual (6th ed).
  3. The research follows the research practice guidelines indicated in the submission guidelines.
  4. The manuscript is no longer than (25) pages, including figures and references.
  5. Author/Authors’ name(s), address(es), position(s), affiliation(s), or other potentially identifying information do not appear anywhere in the text, headers/footers, title, keywords, abstract, document name, or file properties.
  6. References are complete, formatted in APA (6th ed.) style, and include URLs and DOIs (digital object identifiers) for electronic resources as available. Tables, figures, and appendices are embedded in the manuscript. Figures are high-resolution (300 dpi) .jpg, .tif, or .png files.
  7. Manuscript DOES NOT include a title page or abstract. (These will be provided by the system.)
  8. Author had obtained any necessary approvals from their institution and/or other agencies to conduct and publish research involving human subjects.
  9. Author has obtained any necessary copyright permission to reproduce tables, figures, or excerpts.

Style Guide or Formatting Requirements

Please prepare manuscripts according to the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) and review the Submission preparation checklist before submitting your article.

Article Spacing: Double-space entire manuscript.

Article Length: Maximum manuscript length of (25) double-spaced pages, including figures and references.

Abstract: 250 words or less

Key Words: 5-8 for the purpose of database search terms.

Short Title: No more than 45 characters (including spaces).

Page Size: Letter, 8.5 x 11 inches

Margins: 1 inch (all sides), including tables and figures

File Format:Upload the manuscript as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file. The manuscript should include all tables, figures, and appendices.

Paragraphs: Prepare paragraphs according to the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.).

Font Specifications: Tahoma, 12 pt.


  • Prepare references according to the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.)
  • Check citations using the free DOI lookup on CrossRef's website.
  • References should be arranged in alphabetical order of the author's names. Multiple entries by one author are arranged chronologically, with the earliest publication appearing first. When more than one publication by the same author is cited for a year, arrange the citations alphabetically by title and distinguish the citation by lowercase letter: 1991a, 1991b, etc.

Tables and Figures: Submit the manuscript, including tables, figures, and appendices, as a single file.

Media Requirements:Please upload other media files as "Additional Supplemental content":

  • Audio: .aiff, .mp3 (DRM-free), .aac, .wav
  • Video: .mpeg, .qtff
  • Data: .xml, .csv

Human Research: If human subjects were used in original research, please provide a statement in the methods section that notes that the research has been reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or other governing ethics/human rights review body.

In-text Citations: In the text, references should be cited by the name and date system. Both names are cited for a work with two authors. When a work has fewer than six authors, cite all names the first time the reference in the text appears; subsequent citations should only cite the first author's name, followed by “et al.” When a work has six or more authors, cite only the first author's surname, followed by “et al.”

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Open Access Policy

Collaborations provides immediate open access to its 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, Collaborations does not charge submission or any other form of author fees.

By submitting to Collaborations, all authors agree to the following terms of licensing/copyright ownership:

  • First publication rights to original work accepted for publication is granted to Collaborations but authors retain copyright for all work published in the journal.
  • Works published in Collaborations will be distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). By granting a CC-BY license in their work, authors retain copyright ownership of the work, but they give explicit permission for others to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy the work, as long as the original source and author(s) are properly cited (i.e. a complete bibliographic citation and link to the Collaborations website). No permission is required from the author(s) or the publishers for such use. According to the terms of the CC-BY license, any reuse or redistribution must indicate the original CC-BY license terms of the work. Exceptions to the application of the CC-BY license may be granted at the editors’ discretion if reasonable extenuating circumstances exist. Such exceptions must be granted in writing by the editors of the Journal; in the absence of a written exception, the CC-BY license will be applied to all published works.
  • • Authors may enter into separate, additional contractual agreements for the non-exclusive distribution of the published version of the work, with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in Collaborations.
  • • Authors are permitted to post their work online in institutional/disciplinary repositories or on their own websites. Pre-print versions posted online should include a citation and link to the final published version in Collaborations as soon as the issue is available; post-print versions (including the final publisher's PDF) should include a citation and link to the journal's website.
  • • It will be the responsibility of the authors to secure all necessary copyright permissions for the use of 3rd-party materials in their manuscript. Authors will be required to provide written evidence of this permission upon acceptance of their manuscript.

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Review Process

Collaborations seeks work that is clearly written and relevant to the Journal’s central theme, yet imbued with analytical and intellectual excellence. In this respect, the editorial review board shall consist of both leading scholars and respected practitioners. All manuscripts undergo a two-stage review process:

  1. The editor and/or his or her representative will conduct a cursory review to determine if the manuscript is appropriate for inclusion in Collaborations by examining the relevance of the paper and its appeal to the Journal’s target readership. The editor may: a) reject the manuscript outright, b) request submission of a revised manuscript which will then be subject to a comprehensive in-house review, or c) forward the manuscript for review pursuant to the provisions of the following paragraph.
  2. The editor will send the manuscript to two reviewers. Once reviews are returned, the editor may: a) accept the manuscript without modification, b) accept the document with specific changes noted, c) offer the author(s) the opportunity to revise and resubmit the manuscript in response to the reviewers’ and editors’ comments and notations, or d) reject the manuscript.

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