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Writers’ Guidelines

Issue 1

Subject Matter:
Most importantly, there should be a clear fourth estate rationale behind each article that the journal publishes. Each piece should be newsworthy, but writers are encouraged not to feel constrained to cover only national issues. Local council affairs, state politics and international issues are also worthy of coverage. Not every piece needs to be about politics, as corporate behaviour and the actions of powerful individuals can also impact on the citizenry. Science and technological advances and concerns can also be worthy topics.

While we are open to receiving submissions in a variety of formats, the two we are expecting to dominate are:

Standard academic format:

Abstract: 100-150 words outlining the scope and achievements of the project.
Introduction: Up to 1000 words explaining why the investigation was necessary.
Methods: Outlining the strategies employed. (Who is being interviewed, why and how).
Limitations: What isn’t the project looking at (and why).
Findings: This is essentially the article; it should include who said what.
Discussion: This could be like a companion comment piece where you can provide a contextualizing framework and speculate about what could or should be done next.
References: These should follow APA style* and interviews should be referenced as personal communication.
Total length: No more than 6000 words. There is no minimum word length.

Article and Exegesis format:
Abstract: 100-150 words Outlining the scope and achievements of the project.
Article: This can be provided as a long-form text article or as the transcript of an audio or video piece as long as its component parts are clearly labeled in a jargon and acronym-free style. It should include academic in-text referencing.
Exegesis: This should include sections that explain why the study was undertaken, why the methods used were selected and the limitations of the project. It should also provide a contextualizing discussion section, that could include reflection on how other media has (or hasn’t) handled the issue. Don’t repeat passages already included in the article.
References: These should follow APA style* and interviews should be referenced as personal communication.
Total length: Preferably no more than 6000 words but contact the editor if the size of your transcript means your piece will exceed this length. There is no minimum word length.

* APA-style is described in detail in:
American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Collaborations and Co-authorship:
Co-authored articles will be welcomed by the journal but it must be clear that everyone listed as an author has been an active participant in the research and/or writing process.
Academics are encouraged to collaborate with students in writing articles but academics acting as supervisors to student projects should only be named as authors if they have made a substantive contribution to the final product.

Authors will retain ownership of material submitted to Research Journalism.
However, submission to Research Journalism gives the journal the right to publish the material online and in hard copy versions of the journal.
Material published in Research Journalism online and in hardcopy will be covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License ( Ownership of copyright in cases where another media outlet publishes part of a Research Journalism article prior to publication on Research Journalism will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

It is the responsibility of academic authors to get ethics approval for their research work from their universities’ Human Research Ethics Committees. All work submitted to Research Journalism must also comply with the MEAA Code of Ethics. If you have concerns about the goodness-of-fit between journalism and research ethics approval please read the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) , specifically chapters 2.2 and 2.3 and point 4.6.1, and the article by Ian Richards on the ethics section of this site.

Peer Review:
All submissions to Research Journalism will be blind peer reviewed by three journalism academics who will make recommendations to the editor. The peer reviewers will recommend that papers either be:

Accepted with minor changes;
Accepted with major changes;
Rejected with encouragement to do more work and resubmit; or
Rejected outright.

The editor will consider the reviewers recommendations, make a decision and communicate that decision to the writer. Resubmitted work will also be subject to peer review.

The peer reviewers will be asked to ensure that each piece submitted:
• Is newsworthy and beneficent
• Shows a high level of journalistic inquiry
• Is a fair and balanced report
• Conforms to the MEAA Code of Ethics (or satisfactorily explains decision to deviate from code)
• Has approval from a HREC (or satisfactorily explains why not)
• Does not breach defamation, sedition or contempt of court laws in a way that cannot be confidently defended
• Provides evidence and lays bare the paper trails that support its claims
• Displays academic rigour in being well-planned, well-executed and intelligently handled
• Provides a contextual interpretive framework, historically and politically locating the issue
• Is a grammatically clean and well-structured narrative

The plan is for the journal, once it matures and has a steady flow of submissions, to be published twice a year, in January and July. It will be possible for more urgent news to be published as it arises on the journal website (and officially included in the following issue). To achieve this, the editorial board will be called upon to turn around peer reviews in a shorter than usual time frame.

Please contact the editor if you have a story that needs to be fast-tracked in this manner.

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