The Journal of Extension -

December 2014 // Volume 52 // Number 6 // Editorial // v52-6ed1

  • Issue Contents
  • Previous Article
  • Printable PDF

Acknowledgments & the Oxford Comma

"Acknowledgments & the Oxford Comma" explains where to put acknowledgments in JOE articles and lays down the law about commas in lists of three or more things. "JOE Editor RFP" is a reminder that Extension Journal, Inc. (EJI) is inviting proposals to provide editorial services for the Journal of Extension (JOE), starting in 2016. "December JOE" highlights too few of the excellent articles in the December issue.

Laura Hoelscher
Editor, Journal of Extension
Department of Agricultural Communication
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana

Acknowledgments & the Oxford Comma

Here are two JOE style points I've been meaning to discuss for ages.


Many times authors want to acknowledge the contributions of individuals who were not directly involved in the preparation of their articles and so are not authors per se but who nonetheless contributed in some way to the project or study being discussed. Lots of authors ask me where to put such an acknowledgment. Others just guess.

Ask and guess no more.

Put your acknowledgments in an Acknowledgment section placed between your article and your References section. See "Niche Markets for Natural Fibers: Strategies for Connecting Farmers Who Raise Fiber Animals with Textile Artists—A New England Perspective" <> for an example.

Oxford Comma


The Oxford comma (or Harvard comma or serial comma) is the comma put before "and" (or "or" or "nor" or any coordinating conjunction) in a series of three or more things.

It's JOE (and APA) style to use the Oxford comma, including in citations.

This is not a universal rule, alas. My news colleagues, for example, follow the Associated Press Stylebook (AP), which does not require the Oxford comma in a simple series.

I spend a lot of time inserting that Oxford comma into articles. I'd sure like to spend less.

So, in JOE articles, you must insert a comma before the "and" (or "or" or "nor" or any coordinating conjunction) in a list of three or more things—no ifs, ands, or buts!

JOE Editor RFP

Remember that Extension Journal, Inc. (EJI) is inviting proposals to provide editorial services for the Journal of Extension (JOE). The deadline for proposals is January 15, 2015, and the contract begins on January 1, 2016.

See my October 2014 Editor's Page <> and the RFP for JOE Editorial Services <>.

As I said in October, it's a big job. There's lots of hard work involved. But you'll love it.

December JOE

The sixth and final JOE Commentary of the year to commemorate the Smith-Lever Act Centennial is "Milestones and the Future for Cooperative Extension." <> In addition, we have "Interdependence: Ninth and Newest Critical Element for 4-H Positive Youth Development" <> and "Marijuana Legalization & Extension: A Growing Dilemma." <> That last one should elicit some Discussion Forum debate.

Urban agriculture gets its share of attention in this issue. The third Commentary mentions it, and it's the focus of "Urban Agriculture in the United States: Characteristics, Challenges, and Technical Assistance Needs" <> and "Farming—It's So Citified: An Urban Agriculture Marketing Campaign." <>

The last article cited is not the only one to discuss a visual communication strategy. See "Distilling Research into Actionable Knowledge: An Assessment of a Conservation Buffer Guide."<>

And there's the second in a three-part series: "Going the Distance Part 2: Five Ways of Teaching an Extension Course: Elive, Blackboard, Teleconference, Correspondence, and Face-to-Face." <>

I can't mention every article in the issue (although I wish I could), so I'll close with calling your attention to "Using Needs Assessment as a Tool to Strengthen Funding Proposals," <> which discusses an excellent resource.