October 2001 // Volume 39 // Number 5

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Editor's Page

The new "Help for JOE Authors" page delivers just what its name implies. It's a portal to information and advice to help prospective JOE authors and those who teach them.

Alert readers and savvy prospective authors will already have noticed a new page on our JOE site: "Help for JOE Authors" http://www.JOE.org/jhelp.html. The page is a portal to just what its name promises: help.


JOE readers can download pdf files of two 1-page handouts: "Tips for Writing for the Journal of Extension" and "What Journal of Extension Reviewers Want in JOE Submissions." Again, their titles tell their tales.

If you're a prospective author, do more than check them out. Take them to heart.

"Tips" contains awfully good advice all prospective authors should heed. It expands a bit on such recommendations as

  • Following the submission guidelines,
  • Planning your article for the broadest possible Extension audience,
  • Writing with the Web and on-screen reading in mind,
  • Developing an effective title,
  • Asking at least one colleague to review your article, and
  • More.

"What Journal of Extension Reviewers Want" is a reviewers' "wish list," a distillation of the comments and observations made by our excellent JOE reviewers. It discusses:

  • Article quality,
  • Content relevance,
  • Focus,
  • Rigor, and
  • More.

There's another audience for these handouts: those of you who teach graduate students who are working on research projects with potentially publishable results (accent on "potentially").

One of the things you teach (or should teach) is how to write for a refereed journal. These handouts, while they're necessarily specific to JOE, might provide a good, accessible springboard for a discussion of writing articles for any refereed journal. Judging by the quality of some of the submissions I receive, such discussion would be a very good thing.


"Help for JOE Authors" also provides links to five "Editor's Pages" I've written that focus specifically on the quality of JOE articles.

Over the course of the last year or so, I've discussed a number of things that could help improve the quality of JOE articles, including the:

  • Things I, as editor, look for when I receive a submission and either accept it as suitable for review or return it to the submitting author for revision,
  • Differences among the various article categories and the importance of recognizing them, and (my personal favorite)
  • Contribution headings and subheadings make to article clarity and coherence.

The links are all there in one place so you don't have to surf the Editor's Pages of multiple issues "on spec."


Now I'd like to solicit your counsel.

Are there other kinds of handouts you think would be helpful? I'm already working a "JOE Article Checklist," but I'm sure there are other possibilities. I can't promise to act on all the suggestions or, indeed, on any of them too speedily. They take time, and being JOE editor already keeps me hopping. But I'd like to learn from you.

How about fodder for the "Editor's Page"? What do you think I could discuss there that would help improve the quality of JOE articles? Again, I'd like to learn from you.

Laura Hoelscher, Editor