Journal

Submission Guidelines

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Article

Research Articles

Articles may be theoretical or empirical, but authors should note that in the case of empirically focused manuscripts the subject matter should be suitably positioned in theoretical and/or conceptual terms. All articles are expected to have original content. They should not have been previously published, nor be under simultaneous consideration by another academic journal – if this is found to be the case, your paper will be withdrawn immediately.

Structure

Originality, clarity of writing style, logical structure of argument and integrity of empirical data are essential for an article’s acceptance. Authors are asked to submit articles that convey a strong sense of urban place. Relevant contextual background must be provided to enable an international readership to be fully cognizant of the urban location under study. Any local terms must be explained. The article should not assume any prior knowledge of the local setting. Authors are encouraged to reflect on urban debates in this journal and beyond.

Authors need to choose an analytical structure that supports the logical unfolding of the text and assists the reader in following the argument. The structure of an article is greatly enhanced by a strong introduction and conclusion. The introduction is key to signposting what the article is about and the conclusion must highlight the article’s various finding and themes, inter-relating them and drawing attention to their more general analytical significance.

Word count

The word restriction on submitted manuscripts is between 4,000 and 8,500 words (including references, notes, appendices, tables and figures). Each table or figure will count as 250 words (approximately half a page of text) regardless of size – please disregard its actual word count. If your paper exceeds the specified word limit it will be withdrawn.

Format

The journal does not provide a manuscript template, but the following provides some guidance on how to format your article for submission.

  • Single column; double spaced; standard 12 point black font (e.g. Times New Roman); 3cm margins
  • No headers or footers; no page numbers; no line numbers
  • Include abstract and keywords in main text file
  • Put headings or sub headings in bold or italics
  • Upload tables and figures as separate files and use placeholders (eg Insert Figure x here) in main text
  • Do not use automated numbering for tables or figures
  • Do not upload pdf files; main text file should be in an editable format (preference is for Microsoft Word)
  • Use SAGE Harvard style to format references (please note this is not the same as Harvard style)
  • Avoid using author identifiers. The author’s own published work may be cited, unless it makes identification obvious (e.g. own PhD; statements such as “In my/our previous study …”). In such cases, use “Author, year” and omit reference from bibliography. For unpublished/forthcoming work, use “Author, forthcoming” in the text and omit reference from bibliography.
  • If citing a working paper, conference paper or dissertation, provide a URL link to article where possible
  • Upload author names/affiliations and any acknowledgements/funding statement on a separate ‘title page’. Do not include with the main document file.

Pre-submission enquiries

For general information on suitability of a potential contribution in advance of submission, please contact Ruth Harkin. 

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Commentary

Critical Commentaries

Urban Studies has been publishing Critical commentaries since 2008 as a distinct article format. They have subsequently been followed by the introduction of other article formats, including Debates papers. This reflects a concern that the conventional research article format can squeeze out other types of innovative contribution. The underlying aim is to encourage more critical debate and reflection in the journal.

Aims

Critical commentaries retain a distinctive place within the journal. They aim to provide a forum for urban scholars and researchers to address some of the ‘bigger questions’ surrounding cities and urban development through critical argument and reflection rather than the primary research findings that underpin the conventional research article. They allow for a reasoned and powerful point of view to be presented in a somewhat less formal (and possibly more polemical) style.

Critical commentaries aim to provide a forum for novel viewpoints of urban issues and questions, where our aim as editors is to encourage submissions from authors capable of taking a critical urban issue and developing a reasoned argument, exposing, inter alia, its nature, context, presentation as discourse, contradictions and implications. Whilst often written from a deep knowledge of particular cities, the scope of Critical commentaries should not be confined to an individual city, seeking to always connect to broader aspects of the urban condition that are of interest to our international readership (see below).

Word count

Critical commentaries are envisioned as shorter, topical think-pieces rather than full-length articles. The target length is 4000–6000 words, (including references and tables/figures).

Topics

Critical commentaries published by Urban Studies in recent years have covered topics such as urban resilience, the subprime crisis, gentrification and ‘smart urbanism’. We are particularly keen to encourage critical debate through the Critical commentary symposia format which incorporates short responses to the original commentary by other researchers, alongside a reply by the original author. The first of these (published in May 2016) is comprised of a set of responses to Loic Wacquant’s reflections on his Urban Outcasts book, while the second debates the meaning and significance of the post-political condition for cities.

Pre-submission Enquiries

If you would like to discuss a possible Critical Commentary submission to Urban Studies, please contact the Critical Commentaries Editor, Professor Alison Bain. 

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Debates

Debates Papers

We invite critical review articles that outline and assess current trends and developments in key areas of urban studies, summarising existing literature on cities and regions and taking it forward by providing fresh perspectives and insights.

Aims

The Debates section complements our existing and well-regarded Critical commentaries section. Critical commentaries allow for the development of a reasoned and powerful point of view in a somewhat less formal style than normal articles; short, topical think-pieces rather than full-length review articles.

Articles in Debates in urban studies will engage with ongoing debates around specific concepts, trends and urban processes, but offer significant new insights or syntheses, extend urban debates into new areas, or capture an emergent literature around new urban phenomena. We invite papers that will promote new thinking and analysis on the broader urban condition, challenge existing thinking and wisdom, or foster debates within specialist subfields (politics and governance, economic development, culture, housing and real estate, finance and financialisation, labour markets, environment and climate transition, gentrification, marginalisation and exclusion, etc.).

Debates in urban studies offers a potential platform for early career researchers (ECRs) who, through their PhD work or post-doctoral research, have been involved in a substantive and critical engagement with a corpus of urban literature and debate; and also to established scholars wishing to offer meta-perspectives on progress and future directions in their chosen fields of inquiry. For both ECRs and established scholars, the Debates in urban studies section provides a space for new and provocative insights on the urban condition, which, at the same time, demonstrate in-depth and critical knowledge of established and ongoing work in the field.

We expect Debates in urban studies to offer more than a literature review – be that systematic literature review or a traditional literature review. These could be part of your manuscript but papers must make a novel contribution. This can be in a plethora of different ways (advancing a specific debate through a new theoretical approach, opening up new research pathways, sketching a novel research agenda etc). In this respect, innovation and creativity in approach are also encouraged.

Word count

We invite papers of between 8000 and 10,000 words for Debates in urban studies, to allow sufficient space for rigorous and critical dialogue with existing perspectives and traditions in urban research.

Pre-submission Enquiries

For further information or advice prior to submitting a paper, prospective authors are strongly encouraged to contact the Debates Editor, Dr Lazaros Karaliotas, in the first instance with a brief 150-word synopsis setting out the broad idea that they have in mind.

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Special Issue

Special Issues

For further information on submitting a Special Issue proposal please see our Special Issues page.

SPECIAL ISSUE GUIDANCE
Review

Book Reviews

If you are interested in reviewing a book for Urban Studies, please visit our Book Reviews page for guidelines and examples of previous reviews.

BOOK REVIEW GUIDANCE

FAQ

Does Urban Studies have a word limit restriction and if so, does this word limit include abstract, keywords and references?

The word limit for an Article is 8,500 words and this includes abstract, keywords, appendices and references. Please note that the word count also includes tables and figures, which are counted as 250 words each (please disregard their actual word count). Word limits for other manuscript types can be found below:

  • Book reviews: 1,200 – 1,400 words
  • Critical commentaries: 4,000 – 6,000 words
  • Debates: 8,000 – 10,000 words

Can the word limit restriction be waived due to….xyz?

We have to be strict on word limit as we have limited pagination in the Journal. Try to reduce word count by combining images in figures or amalgamating tables where appropriate. You can also create supplementary material, which can be published online only.

Does the word count for figures and tables (250 each) count the number of words in each table or figure?

The 250 word count for tables and figures is per figure and table, regardless of the number of words in each table. Please disregard the actual number of words in the table/figure.

Is my article in scope for Urban Studies?

Articles may be theoretical or empirical, but authors should note that in the case of empirically focused manuscripts the subject matter should be suitably positioned in theoretical and/or conceptual terms. All articles are expected to have original content. Originality, clarity of writing style, logical structure of argument and integrity of empirical data are essential for an article’s acceptance. Authors are asked to submit articles that convey a strong sense of urban place. Relevant contextual background must be provided to enable an international readership to be fully cognizant of the urban location under study. Any local terms must be explained. The article should not assume any prior knowledge of the local setting. Authors are encouraged to reflect on urban debates in this journal and beyond. If you would like to discuss the subject matter of your paper more thoroughly before submitting then please contact Ruth Harkin.

How long does the peer review process take?

The peer review process can take up to 3 months. However, this is very approximate, please note that it can take longer due to unforeseen circumstances such as a reviewer declining to review or returning a review after deadline, excessive Editor workloads, etc.

Can I get an update on the progress of my manuscript?

You can contact one of our Editorial Office team for an update on your manuscript.

Can I submit my paper elsewhere while under review for Urban studies?

No, absolutely not. All material submitted to USJ must be exclusive and original. Any paper found to be submitted simultaneously elsewhere will be withdrawn immediately.

Can I get an extension for submitting my resubmission and if so, how do I do this?

If you find that you cannot resubmit a revised paper within the allotted deadline due to unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances then please contact the Editorial Office as soon as possible.

Can I publish my paper anywhere else online once it has been accepted for publication?

For information on your rights as an author, please visit the SAGE Journals Author Archiving Policies and Re-Use page at https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/journal-author-archiving-policies-and-re-use.

How do I get permission to use a published article (or parts of a published article) in another format, e.g. in a book?

More information can be found at: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav.

Or, you can locate the paper in question online at the USJ SAGE site at http://journals.sagepub.com/home/usj. You will see 4 icons underneath the paper title and author names. Click on the “key” icon. This should automatically bring up a “Rightslink” pop window where you should be able to request the necessary permissions you need for the article in question.

Word Limits
Exceptions
Figures & Tables
Article Scope
Review Process
Progress Updates
Simultaneous Submissions
Extensions
Publishing Elsewhere
Format Permissions
Word Limits

Does Urban Studies have a word limit restriction and if so, does this word limit include abstract, keywords and references?

The word limit for an Article is 8,500 words and this includes abstract, keywords, appendices and references. Please note that the word count also includes tables and figures, which are counted as 250 words each (please disregard their actual word count). Word limits for other manuscript types can be found below:

  • Book reviews: 1,200 – 1,400 words
  • Critical commentaries: 4,000 – 6,000 words
  • Debates: 8,000 – 10,000 words
Exceptions

Can the word limit restriction be waived due to….xyz?

We have to be strict on word limit as we have limited pagination in the Journal. Try to reduce word count by combining images in figures or amalgamating tables where appropriate. You can also create supplementary material, which can be published online only.

Figures & Tables

Does the word count for figures and tables (250 each) count the number of words in each table or figure?

The 250 word count for tables and figures is per figure and table, regardless of the number of words in each table. Please disregard the actual number of words in the table/figure.

Article Scope

Is my article in scope for Urban Studies?

Articles may be theoretical or empirical, but authors should note that in the case of empirically focused manuscripts the subject matter should be suitably positioned in theoretical and/or conceptual terms. All articles are expected to have original content. Originality, clarity of writing style, logical structure of argument and integrity of empirical data are essential for an article’s acceptance. Authors are asked to submit articles that convey a strong sense of urban place. Relevant contextual background must be provided to enable an international readership to be fully cognizant of the urban location under study. Any local terms must be explained. The article should not assume any prior knowledge of the local setting. Authors are encouraged to reflect on urban debates in this journal and beyond. If you would like to discuss the subject matter of your paper more thoroughly before submitting then please contact Ruth Harkin.

Review Process

How long does the peer review process take?

The peer review process can take up to 3 months. However, this is very approximate, please note that it can take longer due to unforeseen circumstances such as a reviewer declining to review or returning a review after deadline, excessive Editor workloads, etc.

Progress Updates

Can I get an update on the progress of my manuscript?

You can contact one of our Editorial Office team for an update on your manuscript.

Simultaneous Submissions

Can I submit my paper elsewhere while under review for Urban studies?

No, absolutely not. All material submitted to USJ must be exclusive and original. Any paper found to be submitted simultaneously elsewhere will be withdrawn immediately.

Extensions

Can I get an extension for submitting my resubmission and if so, how do I do this?

If you find that you cannot resubmit a revised paper within the allotted deadline due to unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances then please contact the Editorial Office as soon as possible.

Publishing Elsewhere

Can I publish my paper anywhere else online once it has been accepted for publication?

For information on your rights as an author, please visit the SAGE Journals Author Archiving Policies and Re-Use page at https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/journal-author-archiving-policies-and-re-use.

Format Permissions

How do I get permission to use a published article (or parts of a published article) in another format, e.g. in a book?

More information can be found at: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav.

Or, you can locate the paper in question online at the USJ SAGE site at http://journals.sagepub.com/home/usj. You will see 4 icons underneath the paper title and author names. Click on the “key” icon. This should automatically bring up a “Rightslink” pop window where you should be able to request the necessary permissions you need for the article in question.

Journal cover
Link

Ready to Submit?

Please ensure that you have read the guidelines, understood the word count restrictions, and formatted your paper correctly using SAGE Harvard referencing before manuscript submission. Manuscripts should be submitted on the ScholarOne website using the link below.

SUBMIT
Link

Not sure yet…

Read our guidance on how to get published in Urban Studies journal here.

If you are unsure whether your manuscript is suitable after reading the above information, you are welcome to submit your abstract and a cover letter explaining how your paper engages with broad international debates in urban theory and how it fits with past and ongoing debates in Urban Studies journal to the Editorial Office to consider as a pre-submission enquiry and assess its potential suitability for Urban Studies. Please note that this does not guarantee publication.

Review Process

Review Process

All manuscripts are initially checked by the administrators to ensure manuscripts are ready for review. Please ensure that your manuscript is formatted according to our guidelines and meets our word limit. Please ensure that you complete all the fields in the online submission form and your cover letter explains how your paper engages with broad international debates in urban theory and how it fits with past and ongoing debates in Urban Studies journal. Papers that do not meet the basic submission criteria will be unsubmitted.

We recommend authors visit our website and check the Submission Guidelines section and Getting Published in Urban Studies page for further information on what is required before submission to our journal.

Please note that we have a rigorous review process that can take several months and multiple rounds of review so reading this information can help with common issues such as the topic being out of scope and lacking in theoretical and conceptual engagement with existing urban studies discourse.

Internal Assessment

The Editor in Chief or a Managing Editor will initially assess suitability for Urban Studies in terms of scope and focus before assigning suitable papers to a member of our Editorial team with expertise in the subject matter. Papers deemed unsuitable or out of scope for Urban Studies will be rejected. We aim to process all papers for internal assessment within 1 week of manuscript submission.

The Editor in Chief will consider whether the paper engages with broad international debates in urban theory and how it fits with past and ongoing debates in Urban Studies journal. The most common reasons for rejection are that the paper is out of scope or does not sufficiently engage with urban debates.

Editor Assessment

The assigned Editor will review the manuscript and assess whether it should be taken forward for external review. If so, the Editor will invite a range of reviewers with expertise in the relevant field of study to provide their feedback and decision recommendations. If not, the Editor will issue a rejection decision to the author via email, or they may request further revisions such as reducing word count before peer review.

Peer Review

We operate a double-anonymous peer review process to ensure anonymity and avoid conflicts of interest. External reviewers will not be from the same institution as the author but will have relevant expertise in the paper’s subject matter. Invited reviewers are requested to provide a review within 30 days but Editors will grant extensions if required.

We process a large volume of papers, most of which are peer reviewed within two to three months but referees can decline to review or fail to return a report within the specified deadline despite several reminders. In these cases, the Managing Editor will decide whether we have sufficient constructive feedback from multiple reviewers or if we need to seek alternative reviewers before issuing a final decision. Please be assured that we do everything that we can to expedite the process but please contact a member of the administrative team if you would like a progress update.

Decision

Once all reviews have been received, the Editor will consider the feedback and issue a final decision to the corresponding author via email. Decisions will fall into one of the following categories:

Reject: paper does not make a contribution to literature, and cannot be resubmitted to the journal even in a revised form.
Revise and Resubmit: paper has the clear potential to make a contribution to literature but requires to be rethought and resubmitted.
Major Revision: paper makes a contribution to literature but requires substantial additional work.
Minor Revision: paper makes a significant contribution to literature but requires refinement.
Accept: paper clearly makes a significant contribution to literature.

Reviewer comments will be provided at the end of your decision letter to give you the opportunity to reflect upon the feedback and the Editor may ask you to incorporate suggested changes to improve your manuscript. Although authors are not expected to utilise all reviewer feedback, we would encourage you to keep an open mind towards constructive criticism.

Revision

Manuscripts will often go through multiple rounds of revision and each revision will be subject to peer review or editor review.

Your decision letter will include the Editor’s recommendations, reviewer comments and a revision deadline, as well as instructions on formatting and submitting your revised manuscript.

Please ensure that you include an Author Response document when submitting your revised manuscript addressing reviewer feedback and changes made (we recommend a tabular format with Reviewer comments in one column and your responses in the other).

Any changes in your manuscript should be highlighted for clarity or alternatively please use a tracked changes Word document (please ensure that formatting changes are accepted for tracked changes).

If you have any queries or require an extension, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Editorial Office.

Reviewer Guidelines

Reviewer guidelines and manuscript access instructions will be provided in your email correspondence with our Editorial team, but an overview is provided below. If you have any questions or issues, please contact the Editorial Office.

ScholarOne

Please submit your review on the ScholarOne Manuscripts website using the link provided in your invitation acceptance letter or by logging into your ScholarOne account and accessing the manuscript in your Review dashboard.

Please do not create a new ScholarOne account as a profile will already be set up on the system for you. If you have any difficulties accessing ScholarOne or the manuscript, please contact the Editorial Office.

Please ensure that your profile details are correct and your contact email address is up to date before submitting your review. Please contact the Editorial Office for assistance if required.

Manuscript access

A PDF will be provided to read on the ScholarOne system with the option to download or print the PDF to read.

Critical commentaries and Debates papers will include a short description of the article type at the start of the manuscript PDF, which we ask you to keep in mind when considering your feedback.

Revised papers will include the author response to previous reviewer comments at the start of the manuscript PDF. For heavily revised papers, a highlighted version showing revisions will follow the author response and a ‘clean’ unmarked copy will be provided at the end of the manuscript PDF. Reviewers are asked to consider how the authors have incorporated the reviewer comments into their revised papers.

Submitting your review

Please ensure that you answer all mandatory fields on the ScholarOne review form before submitting your review. You will receive an automated email acknowledging receipt of your review if it has been uploaded successfully. If you have any issues, please contact the Editorial Office.

Reviewers are asked to consider the following questions when providing their feedback:

– Is there enough original material in the paper (new results, theories) to warrant its publication?
– Are there any obvious flaws in empirical basis, or theoretical reasoning?
– Are there any parts which should be expanded or condensed?
– Are the interpretations and conclusion sound?
– Is the article likely to inform research agendas?
– Is the title of the article appropriate and discoverable?

Recommendation

Please provide a decision recommendation to the Editor from the following list:

Accept: paper clearly makes a significant contribution to literature)
Minor Revision: paper makes a significant contribution to literature but requires refinement.
Major Revision: paper makes a contribution to literature but requires substantial additional work.
Revise and Resubmit: paper has the clear potential to make a contribution to literature but requires to be rethought and resubmitted.
Reject: paper does not make a contribution to literature, and cannot be resubmitted to the journal even in a revised form.

Benefits

Reviewers will be provided with 60 days of free access to SAGE journals and the opportunity to get recognition for their reviews on the Web of Science. Access details and instructions will be provided in your email correspondence upon receipt of your review.

Chief

Our People

The Urban Studies Editorial board is managed by our Editor in Chief and a team of Managing Editors and supported by our Administrators and International Corresponding Editors across the globe.

MEET THE TEAM