Guidelines For Contributors

Thank you for writing for Interface: a journal for and about social movements. Here are some guidelines to help you develop your article.

Themes and audience

The basic theme of Interface is social movements themselves, rather than the issues they focus on, the forces they are up against or the kind of world they would like to see (all topics which are extensively covered in other publications). We take a very open view of what social movements can consist of, running from community organisation to radical theatre and from political parties to neighbourhood groups and beyond.

As a journal, we see social movements as key knowledge producers in their own right, and we are interested in particular in reflecting and supporting this: in creating a space for research, theory and education from within social movements and in encouraging a dialogue between academic work on movements and movement practitioners (while recognising of course that the boundaries are not fixed, and that many people are engaged in both).

We think of our audience as being both engaged and reflective: people who are concerned to have an effect on the world (whether as activists or as researchers, or both) and people who are able to reflect on their own practice (on what they do in their own movements, or on the usefulness of their own academic work to others), as well as a broader circle of intelligent and informed lay people who are not (at present) active or researching, but nevertheless interested in the topic.

When writing for Interface, we would ask you as far as possible to bear these two emphases (engagement and reflection) in mind. The editor working with you will similarly be encouraging you to highlight the relevance for movement practice of what you are writing (how can this help people within movements develop their practice?) and to develop a reflective/analytic approach.

Communication and translation

The key purpose of this project is to enable better communication, and translation, of the knowledge that is being produced in and about social movements. At present, much of the knowledge produced within movements remains within individual movements or organisations, or is produced within political and intellectual languages that make it inaccessible to people engaged in other movements, or coming from different political traditions. Similarly, much academic writing on social movements is never intended to be communicated to people working in different disciplines, let alone to movement practitioners or to people who use a different theoretical language.

When writing for Interface, you should aim firstly to be conscious of your own language (whether political, academic or both): everyone has one, and we are not asking writers to speak in someone else’s language or to “dumb down”. What we hope writers will do is to try to speak from their own work, in their own language, in ways that will be clear and comprehensible to people whose practical experiences are different (e.g. different country or continent, different movement, different problems) and whose theoretical, political or disciplinary background is different. Again, the editor working with you will do their best to bring this out in your writing.

Finally, the actual languages we speak are often (of course) barriers to communication. For this reason, Interface works with a number of different regional/linguistic subgroups, and you will normally be submitting your article to one of these and working with the appropriate editor. We do encourage authors to write in their own language: if you are writing in a second language you must get a competent native speaker of that language to copyedit your piece. Otherwise it will weaken the impact of your piece as well as making it harder for others to read.

We are also very happy to accept translations of published articles into any of our other working languages: at present we can accept material in Afrikaans, Arabic, Catalan, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Maltese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish and Zulu.

Types of article


These are articles which are submitted “blind” (i.e. with a separate cover page naming the author) and are reviewed by one “activist” and one “academic” referee familiar with the field (meaning in each case someone who is willing and competent to review this particular submission as an activist or as an academic, even if they also hold other roles). This is a particularly demanding process, which acts as a form of quality control (producing “flagship” articles) and as a tool for encouraging rewrites and developing the kind of global communication the journal is intended for. Initially, the following types of material are envisaged as falling within this category:

  • Conventional journal articles (8 – 12,000 words). These are understood as original contributions to theory, practice and research likely to be of interest both to practitioners and researchers in other movements and situations, and are expected to be of a high intellectual standard and well-written.
  • Review essays (6 – 8,000 words). These are overviews of particular literatures (activist and / or academic), particular movement experiences, particular theoretical traditions and so on, and are intended as expert introductions to their subject for the benefit of activists and researchers who are not yet familiar with the area.

Other types of submission may be agreed in due course.

Non-peer reviewed

This is material which, by its nature, it is not appropriate to put through the full peer review process. It thus involves a direct communication between the author and the editor, in the course of which the editor will often request rewrites to make the material suitable for the journal and useful to its intended readership. Initially, the following types of material are envisaged as falling within this category:

  • Book reviews (1,000 – 1,500 words): These are reviews of important theoretical, political and research works which it is felt will be of interest to readers of the journal.
  • Facilitated discussions and interviews (8 – 12,000 words): These are conversations with people who, either because of educational and literacy barriers or because of their activist and movement work, are not in a position to write formal articles, or not interested in doing so, but whose experience, practice and reflection is nevertheless worth highlighting.
  • Analyses of movement events (4 – 6,000 words): These are immediate analyses of significant movement developments (not general political analysis) which it is felt will be of interest to a large proportion of the journal’s readership.
  • Action / practice notes (1 – 3,000 words): These are brief notes relating to particular types of social movement action, activist practice and so on which may be of use to those working in other movements and contexts.
  • Teaching/research notes (1 – 3,000 words): These are brief notes relating to particular types of movement or academic educational and research practice which may be of use to others working in the area.
  • Key documents (4 – 6,000 words): These are publications of important movement documents which it is felt will be of interest to a large proportion of the journal’s readership.
  • Comments and debates (length as appropriate): These are responses to articles and documents, whether solicited as part of a debate around a particular paper or submitted as a response to a previously-published paper. In the latter case the author of the original paper will normally be given the opportunity to respond.

We are also open to suggestions for other types of submission.

Format guidelines for article submissions

English-language submissions to Interface should include the following:

  • One copy of your article, including a title, abstract (a summary of 200 words or less) and bibliography (see below for details).
  • If you are submitting the article for anonymous peer review, this copy should be anonymous, and you should include a separate sheet with your name and the title of the article. (NB that anonymity is compromised by extensive citation of your own work in the initial submission, as well as by failing to remove your name in the “Author” field of the document’s “Properties” (in Word; there are equivalent issues with other word processors). If you are not submitting it as a peer-reviewed article but working directly with an editor, there is no need for anonymity.
  • A short biography (250 words or less), your primary affiliation (1 activist and / or 1 academic) and your email address.
  • A cover letter stating that the article has not been submitted for publication elsewhere, and will not be submitted elsewhere until a decision has been made on it by Interface.

Submissions are normally by email and in .rtf format, which can be produced by most word processing programs.


Please use the standard Interface templates for submissions. Online you can find templates for standard articles etc. and reviews (which can also be used for review essays). Please use the formatting in these templates when writing your article. These templates are .rtf files, and submissions should also be .rtf files, which most word processors can produce as a standard option.

Please avoid using automatic bibliography tools such as Zotero / Endnote in submissions, as they can cause problems in transfer, and follow the referencing system outlined below.

We would like you to use whatever standard form of the language you are writing in (e.g. Brazilian Portuguese, British English, Canadian French etc.) is most familiar to you. Please make sure to follow the conventions you choose (such as –ise or –ize, dating systems etc.) consistently.

Please make sure that you have considered issues of consent and confidentiality as appropriate.

Please avoid personal attacks, “hate speech” of all kinds (e.g. racist or sexist language) and sectarianism.

Formatting information

Most of this information is also contained in the templates.


Only the first letter and proper names are capitalized.

This is a first level heading

First level headings are flush left on a separate line. The first text line following is flush left.

This is a second level heading

Second level headings are flush left on a separate line. The first text line following is flush left.


The purpose of a bibliography is to help readers who want to follow up particular ideas, issues, historical experiences and so on that you have made reference to in the text. References should be listed in alphabetical order at the end of the article. Authors should use the Harvard system in which authors’ names (no initials) and dates are given in the main body of the text with specific pages indicated only in the case of quotations (e.g. Linton and Moisley 1960, 29).


Barnett, Rosalind C. 1994. “Home-to-Work Spillover Revisited: A Study of Full-Time Employed Women in Dual-Earner Couples.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 56: 647-56.


Appelbaum, Eileen and Rosemary Batt 1994. The New American Workplace. Ithaca, NY: Industrial and Labor Relations Press.

Book chapter

England, Paula and Lori McCreary. 1987b. “Gender Inequality in Paid Employment.”Pp. 286-320 in Analyzing Gender: A Handbook of Social Science Research, edited by Beth B. Hess and Myra Marx Ferree. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Other publications

Where there is doubt (e.g. Occasional papers) include all bibliographical details. The place of publication should always be given when books are referred to.

Web Sites and Pages

The full title of a Web site or page should be provided. Web site URLs should be cited at the end of a citation to an online source as follows: url (Last Accessed Date)

Other material


Images and illustrations should convey ideas efficiently or enhance the text.

Figures must be legible, concise, and referred to in the text. All figures must be in digital form (jpeg or tiff for images).

Photographs and Illustrations

Black-and-white or colour versions of all photographs and illustrations should be submitted as electronic files. IT IS THE AUTHOR’S RESPONSIBILITY TO OBTAIN ANY NECESSARY PERMISSIONS, AND INDICATE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS IN THE CAPTION.

In the interests of keeping Interface as accessible as possible, we try to keep the total document size manageable (most full issues come in around 10 MB). In practice this means that we can have a couple of articles in each issue with up to 3 MB of images, but we can’t usually go over that. In most cases this compression can be achieved without real loss of visual quality for an online journal. Compression is easy to do with various standard programmes and free online services. If for any reason you feel it is important to have high-resolution images please let the editor you are working with know and we can discuss this further.


Tables must be typed double spaced, using as few horizontal rules as possible and no vertical rules. They should be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals (Table 4, etc.). Titles should be concise but as informative as possible. Decimals appearing in tables should include leading zeros i.e. 0.1273.

Creative Commons

Material submitted from issue 3/1 (November 2010) on is published under the Creative Commons “attribution no-commercial no derivatives” licence, which allows others to download them and share them with others as long as the author is credited and the original piece is linked to. Such pieces cannot be changed or used commercially without the author’s express permission. For more information on this licence, please see the Creative Commons site.

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