The Journal of Extension -

For Authors: JOE Submission Guidelines

The Journal of Extension (JOE) expands and updates the research and knowledge base for U.S. Extension professionals and other outreach educators to improve their effectiveness. In addition, JOE serves as a forum for emerging and contemporary issues affecting U.S. Cooperative Extension education.

JOE is a refereed journal. All submissions undergo initial editorial review by the editor, Debbie Allen. Commentary and Tools of the Trade submissions are reviewed solely by the editor. If advanced by the editor, Feature, Research in Brief, and Ideas at Work submissions undergo double-blind peer review. (When advancing a manuscript for peer review, the editor will request that the corresponding author take steps to remove or mask content that provides clues about the identity of any author or institution/organization involved in the research.)

The acceptance rate for submissions to JOE is currently 25.5%.

All JOE submissions must contain scholarly citations, including citation of one or more JOE articles. (The JOE Search site will help authors locate the latter.)

Authors submitting manuscripts to JOE must follow the guidelines in this document and the guidance provided in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (APA manual). Where the JOE Submission Guidelines contradict the APA manual, authors should adhere to the JOE Submission Guidelines. For questions not addressed by the JOE Submission Guidelines or the APA manual, authors should consult The Chicago Manual of Style. Because the JOE Submission Guidelines are updated as appropriate, authors should check them again just before submitting a manuscript.

Authors should prepare their submissions with the web and on-screen reading in mind. This means, among other things, that manuscripts should include shorter paragraphs and more bulleted and numbered lists than are conventional in traditional on-paper journals.

Help for JOE Authors offers additional information on writing for JOE. Authors should read the material available through this portal before they submit manuscripts to JOE. Also, before submitting manuscripts to JOE, all authors must apply the Journal of Extension Manuscript Submission Checklist to their work. (See the “Submission Procedure and Allowable Format” section below for more information.) Authors may wish to use this checklist during manuscript development to facilitate the writing task.

A manuscript submitted to 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. When the editor notifies a corresponding author that a manuscript has been accepted for publication in JOE, the corresponding author is instructed to fill out a form affirming compliance with JOE’s copyright policy. Authors unfamiliar with copyright policy should see “Copyright Rules.” Authors interested in a discussion of ethical ways to get more than one article from the same research should see “Article(s) & Research.”

1. Journal Sections/Article Categories

JOE accepts submissions in five categories. Authors should note the differences among the article categories and indicate the applicable article category in the email message accompanying a submission.

Feature (reviewed by the editor and three reviewers): Discuss concepts and research findings of broad interest to U.S. Extension professionals and of broad significance to U.S. Extension’s knowledge base, methodology, effective practice, and organization. Emphasize implications for U.S. Extension. Maximum length: 3,000 words (excluding tables, figures, acknowledgments or other such sections, references, abstract, and keywords)

Research in Brief (reviewed by the editor and three reviewers): Summarize research results of importance to U.S. Extension professionals. Maximum length: 2,000 words (excluding tables, figures, acknowledgments or other such sections, references, abstract, and keywords)

What’s the Difference?

A Feature article focuses on the implications of the data or concepts for as wide an audience of U.S. Extension professionals as possible (hence, the “extra” 1,000 words). A Research in Brief article focuses more on the data and the methods used to gather the data. A Feature article is broader in scope and implication. A Research in Brief article is more specific and localized.

Ideas at Work (reviewed by the editor and one reviewer): Identify and describe novel ideas, innovative programs, and new methods that are of interest to and can be adapted by U.S. Extension professionals. Include substantiation that the ideas, programs, and methods have been used successfully. Maximum length: 1,000 words (excluding tables, figures, acknowledgments or other such sections, references, abstract, and keywords)

Tools of the Trade (reviewed by the editor): Identify and describe specific materials, books, techniques, and technologies useful to U.S. Extension professionals. Explain how the tools are useful specifically to U.S. Extension professionals. Maximum length: 1,000 words (excluding tables, figures, acknowledgments or other such sections, references, abstract, and keywords)

What’s the Difference?

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 focuses on an idea. A Tools of the Trade article focuses on a thing.

Commentary (reviewed by the editor): Offer challenges or present thought-provoking opinions on issues of concern to U.S. Extension by expressing positions that are clear, specific, and rational. Initiate discussion or debate by responding to previously published JOE articles. Maximum length: 1,500 words (excluding tables, figures, acknowledgments or other such sections, references, abstract, and keywords)

What’s the Difference?

The differences between a Commentary article and the other types of JOE articles center on challenge, immediacy, and conviction.

2. Submission Procedure and Allowable Format

Before submitting manuscripts to JOE, all authors must apply the Journal of Extension Manuscript Submission Checklist to their work. This checklist is a supplement to the JOE Submission Guidelines and is intended to help prospective JOE authors prepare their manuscripts for submission. Application of the checklist increases the likelihood that a manuscript will make it through the initial editorial review without being returned for revision and, thereby, progress more quickly through the publication process. Authors are to use the checklist in conjunction with, not in place of, the JOE Submission Guidelines. To confirm use of the checklist, the corresponding author should state in the manuscript submission email that the Journal of Extension Manuscript Submission Checklist has been applied and that the manuscript meets the conditions identified in the checklist.

JOE accepts submissions in electronic format only and from a single designated corresponding author who will be responsible for all subsequent communication with the editor. A submission should be a single Microsoft Word file, with figures and tables positioned at the appropriate places within it. When communicating with the editor, the corresponding author should use the email address that appears in the manuscript. If a corresponding author is submitting more than one manuscript, he or she should submit each manuscript in a separate email.

The corresponding author should send the manuscript to the editor at as an email attachment. The subject line of the submission email should contain the word “submission,” the article category, and the corresponding author’s last name.

Authors who have questions can contact the editor at

3. Manuscript Layout


The title should be title case, bold, and centered on the first line of the manuscript.

Author Information

The author information should be separated from the title by two lines of space and should be title case, centered, and stacked. In the case of multiple authors, entries should be separated by a single line of space.

The author information should pertain to only individuals who were involved in the preparation of the manuscript, not all individuals who may have been involved in the project or program the manuscript discusses. Names, titles, institutions, cities and states (no abbreviations), and email addresses should be included for all authors. Author information should not include academic degrees but may include an author’s academic department.


First-level (main) headings within the text should be title case, bold, and centered. Second-level headings should be title case, bold, and flush left. Third-level headings, if appropriate, should be title case, italicized, and flush left.

Body Text/Paragraphs

Paragraphs should be left aligned and formatted in “text block” style (not indented, single line of space between paragraphs).

Disclaimers, Acknowledgments, Recommendations for Further Reading

A “Disclaimer(s)” section, if needed, should follow the body of the text, and the heading should be bold and centered.

An “Acknowledgment(s)” section, if needed, should follow the body of the text, or any existing “Disclaimer(s)” section, and the heading should be bold and centered.

If both a “Disclaimer(s)” section and an “Acknowledgment(s)” section are needed, they should be combined (as appropriate), and the heading should be bold and centered.

A “Recommendation(s) for Further Reading” section, if needed, should follow the body of the text, or any existing “Disclaimer(s)” and/or “Acknowledgment(s)” section, and the heading should be bold and centered.


JOE does not use footnotes or endnotes. The “References” section follows the body of the text, or any existing “Disclaimer(s),” “Acknowledgment(s),” and/or “Recommendation(s) for Further Reading” section, and the heading is bold and centered.

The “References” section should include only those sources cited in the manuscript. Authors are expected to use the JOE Search site to locate relevant JOE articles and cite those articles in their manuscripts.

The “References” section and the reference citations in the text should conform to the style suggested in the APA manual.

One exception to APA style is the style for references to JOE articles. Citation style for JOE articles is based on JOE’s commitment to permanence.

This is how JOE articles published before 1984 should be cited in JOE:

Kittrelt, D. L., & McCracken, J. D. (1983). Are agents’ interests, job satisfaction, and performance related? Journal of Extension [online], 21(2). Available at:

This is how JOE articles published from 1984 onward should be cited in JOE:

Fehlis, C. P. (2005). A call for visionary leadership. Journal of Extension [online], 43(1) Article 1COM1. Available at:


Any appendixes to be included should follow the “References” section. The heading for each appendix should be title case, bold, and centered.


The abstract should follow the “References” section (or any appendixes). The heading “Abstract” should be bold and centered and separated from the rest of the manuscript by two lines of space. The abstract text should be left aligned and separated from the heading “Abstract” by a single line of space.

The abstract should describe in 100 words or less: (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.

In JOE, the abstract for an article appears on the “Contents” page under the article title. Thus, authors should make their abstracts interesting enough to motivate readers to read their articles.

Keywords List

Keywords and key phrases help information seekers find relevant articles, serve to generate better search engine results, and enable readers to grasp the contents of an article. (In fact, more and more readers are using keywords lists rather than abstracts to decide whether to read an article.)

Selecting keywords and key phrases can be tricky, but it is important. See How to Choose Effective Keywords and Key Phrases.

The list should contain no more than five keywords or key phrases. These will be the search terms that will be used to find your article through search engines, so they should reflect the contents of the article. The keywords list should appear at the end of the manuscript, after the abstract. Do not stack the list; present it horizontally. Capitalize only proper nouns and proper adjectives and abbreviations.

4. Tables and Figures

All tables and figures (graphics) should be part of a submission file rather than single files sent separately. Their numbers and titles should be placed above and outside the fields of the tables and figures so that they eventually can be formatted according to JOE style.


Tables should be constructed with the table facility of Microsoft Word and should not be embedded images or objects. They should be located at appropriate points in the text, between paragraphs, not within them. All tables should have table numbers and titles (title case) and should be referred to by table number in the text. Columns should be separated by single tabs and should contain no extraneous spaces or hard returns other than the ones at the end of each row.

The number of tables should be kept to a necessary minimum, and tables should not be excessively large, particularly horizontally.


The JOE website is accessed across the world by users using various devices and software.The following requirements are meant as guidelines to help ensure that articles in JOE contain high-quality images across devices and platforms.

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.

General Requirements for Figures:

  • No more than eight figures may be used in an article, except at the editor’s discretion.
  • All figures should have figure numbers and titles (title case) and should be referred to by figure number in the text.
  • It is the responsibility of authors to provide web-ready, computer-generated figures suitable for publication. JOE will not convert figures to other formats or perform other adjustments, such as cropping or resizing.
  • Graphs, charts, maps, and drawings should be provided in PNG format. Photographs should be in JPEG format.
  • No background graphics are acceptable.

Technical Guidelines for Figures:

  • Image Resolution: For any image included in a submission file, the width should be at least 600 pixels, and the height should be at least 600 pixels. (Before publication, the image will be resized to conform to JOE style, but sizing an image this way at submission will help achieve greater image quality.)
  • Pixels per Inch (ppi): Because most digital screens display images at 72 ppi, we recommend 72 ppi for all figures in JOE articles.
  • Resizing Example (Adobe Photoshop): From the Image menu, select Image Size. To constrain proportions, toggle the chain icon between the width and height fields. When gray lines join the width and the height, the proportions of the image will be kept the same on resizing. Set the resolution to 72 pixels/inch (ppi), and then alter the values of width and/or height to the desired image size. These instructions may not apply to all versions of Photoshop but should apply similarly among versions. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Resizing an Image in Adobe Photoshop

  • Create charts and graphs within Word or Excel (or a similar spreadsheet application), and paste them in the manuscript document, or paste them in the manuscript document as a PNG file. Wherever possible a PNG file is preferred.
  • Drawing objects are often used for diagrams, flowcharts, organization charts, or similar figures within Word. Any figures that are created using drawing objects and not converted to PNG should be properly grouped. Grouping drawing objects greatly facilitates the issue production process. Follow these steps to group objects in the most efficient manner:
    1. Hold the Shift key as you select each object in your drawing.
    2. Once all objects are selected, right-click the selected objects and select Grouping, and then Group.

5. Other Format Considerations


Authors should use a single default font and font size for body text. They should not change font color.


The use of bulleted and numbered lists is encouraged.

Hypertext Links

Authors may include HTML hypertext links using URLs. Authors should check the links they include immediately before submission. JOE is not responsible for checking these links.

Bold, Italics, Underline

Judicious use of bold and italics is acceptable. The use of underlining is not acceptable.

HTML Forms

HTML forms are not acceptable.

Other Web Enhancements

JOE does not support other web enhancements at this time. These include such formats as multimedia (sound/video), applets of all kinds, and Java.