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Author Guidelines

JIL Submission Guidelines

The Journal of Information Literacy seeks innovative and challenging research articles and project reports which push the boundaries of information literacy thinking in theory, practice and method, and which aim to develop deep and critical understandings of the role, contribution and impact of information literacies in everyday contexts, education and the workplace.

Notes for authors of peer-reviewed papers

i. Scope and focus

Papers published in the sections ‘Articles’ and ‘Articles from LILAC’ undergo a process of peer review. These papers may be based in research or practice and should offer an original contribution to the wider community’s understanding of information literacy. Papers in these sections should be:

  • research informed and evidence based
  • designed around an arguable research question
  • contextualised with reference to previous and current advances in IL thinking
  • methodologically robust with a demonstrable research design

All peer-reviewed articles should offer a scholarly investigation into an aspect of information literacy. Descriptive reports of classroom or online practice which do not contain such a dimension are not suitable for the ‘Articles’ and ‘Articles from LILAC’ sections.

Papers should be between 3,000 and 8,000 words, excluding references.


ii. Practical guidance

Authors must use the article template, which can be found here. Papers are published in English and should use UK spelling (here is a helpful guide).

The abstract should cover the following areas (however, please do not use these headings within the abstract):

  • purpose of the study, including the aim and objectives and/or research questions
  • research design and context
  • key findings
  • significance of the research in terms of:
    • originality and contribution to the field of information literacy research
    • the potential impact of the research for society

To facilitate the blind review process, the name, title, affiliation and contact details of all authors should NOT be given on the title page and their institutions should NOT be identified anywhere else in the paper. Throughout the body of the paper, authors and institutions should be replaced by anonymising text, e.g. XXX.

Finally, authors should include a list of at least four keywords that describe the main themes of their paper. While JIL generates its own controlled vocabulary to enhance the searching facilities of the site, we feel that authors would find the selection of their own keywords helpful in setting the key themes conveyed by their paper.


iii. Structure and argument

a.       The focus of the paper should be clearly set out, together with its relevance to the IL debate.

b.      Clearly articulate the main themes, aims and objectives of the study in a problem statement. Outline the research questions that guided the work from its inception and design through the analysis and findings to the conclusions, implications and applications.

c.       The paper should provide a balanced and thoughtful review of previous related literature, placing the its contribution in context and indicating how it adds to what has gone before.

d.      Whether the research is theoretical or applied, authors should give an account of the method(s) used to frame their thinking and approach, generate or collect their data (if appropriate), and guide their analysis, findings and discussion. Include an explanation of why this method was the most appropriate one for the investigation, and deal honestly with any limitations it may have had.

e.         Demonstrate that the research was conducted ethically. Where appropriate, authors should describe how they protected their participants and met the requirements of their institution’s ethics committee. If the research has been assigned an ethics protocol number, please include it.

f.          Make clear statements of the findings, conclusions, implications and applications as appropriate. Papers should examine their findings analytically (not simply describe them) and discuss their implications for both further research and wider social impact. Where appropriate, please relate the findings back to the themes and previous research discussed in the literature review.

g.        Either in the discussion or conclusion, authors should critically reflect on their work, exploring any limitations and how it could have been improved. They should restate briefly whether and how the research has succeeded in attaining the aims and objectives set out initially, and how the research question(s) have been met. Recommendations for further work may also be included here.

The peer review process

JIL follows a double-blind peer review process, meaning that articles are read by at least two reviewers who have no knowledge of the author’s identity. To enable this, authors should ensure they follow the guidelines in section (ii) above on anonymising their work.

The role of the peer reviewer is twofold:

Firstly, to advise the editor as to whether the paper is suitable for publication and, if so, what stage of development it has reached.  This is done by providing one of the following recommendations:

a.       Accept with no changes

b.      Minor revisions: accept if specified minor changes are made; no re-review is necessary

c.       Resubmit for review: substantial changes are needed before the article is resubmitted for a second round of peer review with the same reviewers

d.      Inappropriate for publication by JIL: this is generally because the scope of the article sits outside the journal’s remit or because the reviewer feels that no amount of editing would raise the article to the required standards.

Secondly, the peer reviewer will act as a constructively critical friend to the author, providing detailed and practical feedback on all the aspects of the article found in the review form. Where changes to an article are suggested, the rationale for the suggestion should be clearly explained and contextualised with reference to the field of information literacy research and its methods.

Reviewers will assess an article from the perspective of JIL readers at large and not just from their own viewpoint. This means that even if they personally like the article they should ensure that the topic is of relevance to a wider audience. Reviewers will also ensure that authors use language that is accessible to readers without specialist knowledge (for example in technical fields such as mobile technology or gaming). If the article employs a register that is overly specialist or technical, reviewers should highlight this problem and make recommendations on how to address it. In order to provide comprehensive, structured and workable feedback reviewers should use the review form.

Authors should ensure that any observation, derivation or argument that has been previously published should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should call to the editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the paper being reviewed and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge. Reviewers are also asked to identify and highlight relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors.

Feedback should be constructive, comprehensive and courteous, particularly if changes to the article reviewed are suggested. The role of peer reviewer is a privileged one and must be undertaken with empathy and integrity. Dismissive language, insufficient engagement with the work, and one-sentence feedback are not acceptable.


The route to publication

The peer-reviewed publication process consists of the following stages:

1.   Initial submission: Author submits their article using the template supplied and through the journal’s online submission process.

2.   Peer review: Article is reviewed and recommendations are made by the peer reviewers on the suitability of the submission and the extent of the changes required.

3.   Feedback and revision: Feedback from the reviewers and the editor is sent to the author with suggested corrections, improvements and clarifications where needed. The author should consider these changes carefully, but should feel free to provide justifications for not changing the paper in line with the suggested amendments.

4.   Submission of amended article: If the changes requested by the reviewers are substantial the article is sent back to them so that they can comment on the amended version of the article. If the requested changes are minor then the article goes directly to the editor who supervises the final editing stage.

5.   Editing: This stage may occur a number of times depending on the extent of the changes required. If the changes made do not address the concerns made by reviewers and editor, the article may be declined at this stage. Final corrections by the editor is undertaken before the article is accepted for publication.

6.   Copyediting: During this stage the copyeditor finalises the wording and layout in consultation with the author(s).

Notes for reviewers of books and other relevant literature

The journal publishes reviews of a wide range of media, including books, e-books, websites on the topic of information literacy and software fostering information literacy practices. Reviews should discuss appropriateness for the intended target audience, readability, currency, content and overall value.

The suggested length for reviews is 750–1,000 words. Please use the book review template which can be found here.


Conference corner

We welcome accounts of information literacy events, such as conferences, seminars and workshops that have taken place both in the UK and other countries. The suggested length for these types of contributions is 750-1,000 words and may include photos of the event.

Submissions for the Conference corner should be structured as follows: Title of the contribution, details of the author(s), short account. Please submit the file in Word or RTF.

IL Projects

Contributions to this section include updates on projects for the purpose of raising awareness of the project or disseminating their findings to the IL community at large. The suggested length is 500 words and may include images, diagrams etc. If the project has been assigned an ethics protocol number, please include it.

Submissions for the IL project should be structured as follows: Title of the contribution, details of the author(s), short account. Please submit the file in Word or RTF.


Students’ view of IL

Submissions for this section consist of papers drawn from research (theoretical or applied) undertaken by students as part of a postgraduate course in LIS or other cognate disciplines, such as education or media.

Contributions to this section should be structured as follows: Title, author, summary of the research undertaken (covering: outline of research and audience targeted, main findings and conclusion) and list of references. The suggested length is 1,000 words. Please submit the file in Word or RTF.


Authors must ensure that they present an accurate account of their research and that the work they submit is their own. Where they have used the words or ideas of others, they must quote or cite the original appropriately. Failure to do this may have serious repercussions (see the journal’s Publication Ethics and Publication Misconduct Statement for more details).

Referencing should be in Harvard style as used at Cardiff University. See this online tutorial or this downloadable guide for the particular conventions used. Please include DOIs for sources where these exist.

It is the author’s responsibility to ensure that any material used in the article, such as photographs, images, charts or tables, may be used without infringing copyright. Authors must obtain permission to include any third-party content that is not openly licensed.


Submitting your work

All contributions must be submitted through the journal’s website to ensure that the editing process is appropriately recorded and managed. For this reason we regret that it is not possible to consider papers submitted directly to the Managing Editor, although prospective authors may contact her for a preliminary discussion on their submission.

Submissions to JIL must be previously unpublished and must not be under review or consideration by another journal. By submitting their articles to JIL the author(s) retain the copyright, but grant the right of first publication to the journal (including publication in print and electronic media).  From December 2015 articles published in JIL are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike Licence.

To ensure the broadest possible audience for the Journal of Information Literacy the editorial team has set up a number of agreements which stipulate that the journal’s issues will be included on one or more subscription databases, although the articles will still be available free of charge and in full text format. If you wish to have your article excluded from these agreements please state so in the ‘Comments to Editor’ box on the submission form.


Submission Preparation Checklist

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

  1. The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  2. The submission file is in Microsoft Word or RTF file format.
  3. When available, the URLs to access references online are provided, including those for open access versions of the reference. The URLs are ready to click (e.g.,
  4. If a peer reviewed paper or book review it has been submitted using the template provided. If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, please note that authors and institutions should be replaced by anonymising text, eg XXX
  5. The bibliographic requirements outlined in the Referencing section of the Author Guidelines are adhered to.
  6. If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review have been followed.

Copyright Notice

The Journal of Information Literacy ( JIL) is an open access title and authors retain copyright in their articles and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike Licence.  You are free to deposit a copy in your institutional repository but we would appreciate an acknowlegement that it was first published in the Journal of Information Literacy with a link back to the JIL site. To ensure the broadest possible audience for the Journal of Information Literacy the editorial team has set up a number of agreements which stipulate that the journal’s issues will be included on one or more subscription databases, although the articles will still be available free of charge and in full text format. If you wish to have your article excluded from these agreements please state so in the ‘Comments to Editor’ box.


Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.