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. Feature, Research in Brief, and Ideas at Work submissions undergo double-blind review, and Commentary and Tools of the Trade submissions are reviewed by the editor, Debbie Allen.

The acceptance rate for articles submitted to JOE is currently 27.8%.

All JOE submissions are expected to contain scholarly citations, including citation of relevant JOE articles. (The JOE Search site will help authors locate the latter.)

Authors submitting articles to JOE must follow the guidelines below. Submissions that deviate from these guidelines will be returned to the corresponding authors for correction. Because the guidelines are updated as appropriate, authors should check them again before they submit their articles.

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

Help for JOE Authors offers additional information on writing for JOE. Authors should read the material available on this site before they submit articles to JOE.

Articles 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. At the end of the process, when the editor notifies corresponding authors that their articles have been accepted for publication in JOE, they will be 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 the following categories. Authors should note the differences among the article categories, and the corresponding authors should indicate the category of the articles in the e-mail messages accompanying their submissions.

Feature (reviewed by three reviewers): Discuss concepts and research findings of particular interest and significance to U.S. Extension professionals and to U.S. Extension's knowledge base, methodology, effective practice, and organization. Emphasize implications for U.S. Extension. Maximum length: 3,000 words (Tables, graphics, References section, and abstract are not included in the word count.)

Research in Brief (reviewed by three reviewers): Summarize research results of importance to U.S. Extension professionals. Maximum length: 2,000 words (Tables, graphics, References section, and abstract are not included in the word count.)

What's the Difference?

A Feature 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 focuses more on the data, itself, and the methods used to gather it. A Feature is broader in scope and implication. A Research in Brief is more specific and localized.

Ideas at Work (reviewed by one reviewer): Describe novel ideas, innovative programs, and new methods of interest to U.S. Extension professionals. Maximum length: 1,000 words (Tables, graphics, References section, and abstract are not included in the word count.)

Tools of the Trade (reviewed by the editor): Report on specific materials, books, techniques, and technologies useful to U.S. Extension professionals. Maximum length: 1,000 words (Tables, graphics, References section, and abstract are not included in the word count.)

What's the Difference?

An Ideas at Work focuses on what is novel. A Tools of the Trade focuses on what is useful. An Ideas at Work focuses on an idea. A Tools of the Trade focuses on a thing.

Commentary (reviewed by the editor): Offer a challenge or present a thought-provoking opinion on an issue of concern to U.S. Cooperative Extension. Initiate discussion or debate by responding to a previously published JOE article. Maximum length: 1,500 words (Tables, graphics, References section, and abstract are not included in the word count.)

What's the Difference?

The difference between a Commentary and the other types of JOE articles is challenge, immediacy, and conviction.


2. Submission Formats & Procedure

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. All submissions should be a single Microsoft Word file, with figures (graphics) and tables embedded within them. For tracking purposes, the corresponding author should use the same e-mail address that appears in the submission proper when communicating with the editor. If the corresponding author is submitting more than one article, he or she
should submit each article in a separate email.

Authors must remove personal information from their article files. The links that follow provide instructions for removing personal information.

Microsoft Word 2016, Microsoft Word 2013, Microsoft Word 2010:

Microsoft Word for Mac 2011:

Microsoft Word 2007:

All files must be submitted in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) format.

The corresponding author should send the article to as an email attachment.

Authors who have questions can contact the editor, Debbie Allen, at


3. Layout Formats


The title should be centered in upper and lower case on the first line of the article.

Author Information

All authors' names, titles, institutions, cities, and email addresses must be included, and the first author's information should be separated from the title by a double space. Each of these items should be centered in upper and lower case on a separate line. In the case of multiple authors, each author's information should be separated by a single space. (JOE does not include authors' academic degrees.)

Main Headings

First-level (main) headings within the text should be upper and lower case and centered.

Second-Level Headings

Second-level headings should be upper and lower case and flush left. (Third-level headings, if appropriate, should be upper and lower case, flush left, and italicized.)


Paragraphs should be left justified and separated from each other by a single space. That is, authors should use the text block style and should not indent paragraphs by any means.


JOE does not use footnote or endnotes. Authors are expected to use the JOE search site to locate and cite all relevant JOE articles in their articles. A "References" section should follow the body of the article. It should include only those sources cited in the article.

The "References" section and the reference citations in the text should conform to the style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. Citations in the "References" section to online material should include URLs and be formatted according to that manual.

JOE has made a commitment to permanence. Thus, JOE citation style for JOE articles is not the common "Retrieved (date) from (URL)" style.

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 [On-line], 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 [On-line], 43(1) Article 1COM1. Available at:

Correctly formatting citations is the responsibility of the author.


The abstract should appear after the "References" section. The heading "Abstract" (not the title and authors of the article) should be centered and separated from the article by a double space. The abstract text should be left justified and separated from the heading "Abstract" by a single 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.

The abstract appears on the "Contents" page under the article title. Thus, authors should make their abstracts interesting enough to motivate subscribers to read their articles.

Keyword 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 your article. (In fact, more and more readers use them rather than your abstract to decide whether or not to read your 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 keyword list should appear at the very end of the article, after the abstract. Do not stack your list. Present your list horizontally ("across" rather than "down"), and capitalize only the proper nouns and acronyms.


4. Table & Graphic Formats


All figures (graphics) and tables should be embedded within submission files rather than sent as single files, and their captions should be placed above and outside the fields of the figures and tables so that they can eventually be formatted according to JOE style. Tables should be constructed with the table facility of Microsoft Word and should not be embedded images. They should be inserted at appropriate points in the text, between paragraphs, not within them. Columns should be separated by single tabs and 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 they should not be excessively large, particularly horizontally.


The recommended maximum file size for JOE articles is 500KB. The JOE Web site is accessed across the world by users with varying connection speeds and system capabilities. Therefore, it is important to minimize the size of graphics used in JOE articles without affecting their quality and impact. Following the requirements and guidelines below should ensure that submitted articles meet these requirements.

Graphics may be used in the form of charts/figures or photographs. These graphics should have a material impact on the content of the article and not be used for decorative purposes.

General Requirements for Graphics:

  • No more than 8 graphics may be used with any one article, except at the Editor's discretion.

  • All graphics should be given figure numbers and captions (capital and lower case style) and should be referred to by figure number in the text.

  • It is the responsibility of authors to provide Web-ready, computer-generated graphics suitable for publication. JOE will not convert graphics to other formats or perform other adjustments such as cropping or resizing.

  • Charts/figures should be either embedded drawing objects in Word or GIF files. Photographs should be in JPEG format.

  • No background graphics are acceptable.

Technical Guidelines for Graphics:

  • Image Resolution: The width of any image used in a JOE article must not exceed 500 pixels. We prefer that the height does not exceed 500 pixels, but a larger height is acceptable if the 500-pixel limit detracts from the image's quality or impact.

  • Pixels per inch (PPI): Because most computer monitors display images at 72 pixels per inch, we recommend 72 ppi for all graphics in JOE articles.

  • Resizing Example (Adobe Photoshop): From the "Image" menu select "Image Size." Check the "Constrain Proportions" option, and check the "Resample Image" option and set it to "Bicubic". Set the resolution to 72 pixels/inch (ppi), and then use the "Pixel Dimensions" at the top to resize the image according to the guidelines. These instructions may not apply to all versions of Photoshop but should be similar for each version. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. Resizing an Image in Adobe Photoshop

Resizing an image in Adobe Photoshop
  • Resizing an image from within Word does not reduce the file size of the image. So this is not a recommended method for resizing an image.

  • Drawing objects are often used for diagrams, flowcharts, organization charts, or similar figures within Word. We highly recommend that any figures that are created using drawing objects 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 of the objects are selected, right-click the selected objects and select Grouping, and then Group.

  • Create charts and graphs within Word or create them within Excel (or a similar spreadsheet application) and paste them in the article document or paste them in the article document as a GIF file.

Again, if you follow these requirements and guidelines, the size of your article should rarely exceed 500KB. Please check the size of your article before you submit it to the editor. If the size does exceed 500KB, double-check that you have followed the guidelines listed above and/or seek the help of a colleague at your institution.


5. Other Format Considerations


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


Bullet and numbered lists are 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 highlighting using bold and italics is acceptable. 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.