Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs (JPNA) is a peer-reviewed, open source journal focused on providing a connection between the practice and research of public and nonprofit affairs. This is accomplished with scholarly research, practical applications of the research, and no fees for publishing or journal access. JPNA publishes research from diverse theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary backgrounds that address topics related to the affairs and management of public and nonprofit organizations. The content of the journal focuses on natinoal and international perspectives and spans the spectrum from public finance and organizational behavior to health administration and veterans’ affairs.



Section Policies

Research Articles

JPNA publishes research from diverse theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary backgrounds that address topics related to public and nonprofit affairs. This includes, but is not limited to, research that addresses state and local government management, nonprofit management, intergovernmental relations, organizational theory and behavior, civic engagement, budgeting and finance, human resources; and ethical issues in public affairs. Articles are expected to adhere to scientific standards and provide a discussion of the application of the research to the practice of the discipline. Upon submission, articles are reviewed by the editors for quality and fit. All research articles that pass the initial review will undergo a double-blind review process, with the final decision for publication remaining with the editor-in-chief(s).

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Survey Essays

JPNA publishes survey essays and articles that synthesize the research on a broad topic that would be of interest to both academics and practitioners. Most survey essays are commissioned by the editors; however, unsolicited essays will be considered for publication. Individuals that are interested in writing a survey essay are requested to submit a two-page proposal for the essay that includes a discussion of the proposed content, why a survey essay on the topic is appropriate, an abstract for the proposed survey, and a listing of the main references to be covered.

The successful survey essay will tell the reader what we know about an issue, with what confidence we know it, and what questions or debates remain. The coverage of literature in the essay should address the work that is both pertinent and significant to the issue at hand. Coverage does not need to be all inclusive as readers rely upon the expertise of the author for guidance on what is important. Care should be given to ensure that the essay is accessible to both an academic and practitioner readership without sacrificing rigor or richness in conception.

The most important aspect of the survey essay is that of synthesis. An effective synthesis is informative to specialists in the area of the essay but also to those in the greater field. A successful synthesis general has a point of view, which should be clearly acknowledged. Opposing points of view should be fairly explained. Synthesis often produces a clear statement of the important unanswered questions.

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Current Issues In Practice

In pursuit of its mission to link research with the practice of public affairs, JPNA publishes practitioner based research under its “Current Issues In Practice” heading. Articles that will be accepted for the section will focus on the application of public and nonprofit affairs principles to the work of public and nonprofit administrators. Examples include case studies and other applied research. Pieces that appear in this section will typically be written by practitioners and will provide researchers with the current status of the field and practitioners with an understanding of what others are facing and how they address the issues. Articles published under the “In Practice” heading are subject to editorial review rather than the reviewer-based process of research articles. For consideration of publication under the heading, author(s) must choose the appropriate section upon the initial submission of their manuscript.

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Book Reviews

Books that are well-researched, make an original contribution to the fields of public and nonprofit affairs, and that would have an interest to academics and practitioners will be considered for review. Publishers and authors that are interested in having their books considered for review in JPNA should send a copy of the book to:

    Marcus Lam
    University of San Diego
    School of Leadership and Education Sciences 
    Department of Leadership Studies
    5998 Alcala Park 
    San Diego, CA  92210 

As a matter of policy, JPNA does not publish unsolicited book reviews. Rather, reviews are commissioned by the editors, though the editors do welcome expressions of interest from individuals who would like to review books. Such an expression of interest should be directed to Marcus Lam at mlam@sandiego.edu.

Most published reviews are short, between 1,000 and 1,500 words. They should be written so as to inform a broad readership of public and nonprofit managers, practitioners, and researchers. Specifically, they should explain what the book is about and enable prospective readers to decide whether they would like to read the book. When appropriate, longer reviewers and reviewers involving multiple books on a single theme may be commissioned.

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

JPNA uses a double-blind peer review process. Upon submission to the journal, all papers are sent to three reviewers for comment. Reviewers are selected based on their expertise in the area related to the submission.


Publication Frequency

JPNA publishes three issues per year. The spring, summer, and fall issues are released on April 1st, August 1st, and December 1st, respectively.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.



The editors of JPNA have taken steps to ensure that all open access articles published with the journal are deposited with LOCKSS, a safe, open access archive. In the event that the journal should be sold or closed, open access to all published articles is guaranteed through that archive. Should a change in journal ownership be considered, the Board of Trustees for the Midwest Public Affairs Conference, in consultation with the journal's editors and editorial board, will be asked to judge and advise whether there are sufficient guarantees to continue a policy of unconditional open access for articles by prospective owners. The Midwest Public Affairs Conference will not enter into a change of journal ownership without its Board of Trustees accepting these guarantees.


Authorship Guidelines

JPNA recommends that authorship of an article be based on the following criteria:
  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; and,
  • Drafting the work or revisiting it critically for important intellectual content; and,
  • Final approval of the version to be published; and,
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

All those designated as authors on a manuscript should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria may be acknowledged, but not listed as an author.


Conflicts of Interest

Awareness and proper management of potential conflicts of interest for authors, reviewers and editors are essential to JPNA's mission to disseminate and archive scholarly research on public and nonprofit affairs, and practical applications of the research, with no fees for publishing or journal access.

JPNA defines a conflict of interest as arising from any relationship authors, reviewers, and/or editors have which (knowingly or unknowingly) interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the full and objective presentation, peer review, editorial decision-making, or publication of a manuscript. Conflicts of interest can be financial or non-financial, professional or personal, and can arise in relation to an organization or an individual. 

JPNA requires full disclosure by authors of all conflicts of interest relevant to a submitted manuscript, which is integral to the transparent reporting of research. It is also the responsibility of reviewers for disclosing any potential conflict of interest that may arise by reviewing a manuscript.

Associate Editors should disclose to the editor(s)-in-chief any conflicts of interest that they might have which would preclude them from handling a manuscript in an unbiased nature. When such conflicts arise, the manuscript will be assigned to a different associate editor. If the conflict extends to all associate editors, the manuscript will be handled by the editor(s)-in-chief. If an instance arises that the editor(s)-in-chief are unable to handle a manuscript without bias, a committee of three members of the editorial board will be tasked with overseeing the manuscript through the review process. 

To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, when members of the editorial staff submit a manuscript for review, a committee of three members of the editorial board will be tasked with overseeing the manuscript through the review process. Submissions by the editorial board to the journal will be treated as any other manuscript.


Ethics and Publication Malpractice

JPNA is committed to ensuring ethics in publication and quality of articles; and, the journal is a full member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Conformance to standards of ethical behavior is therefore expected of all parties involved: Authors, Editors, Reviewers, and the Publisher.

In particular, 

Authors should present an objective discussion of the significance of the research as well as sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the research. Fraudulently or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable. Review manuscripts are required to be objective, comprehensive, and accurate accounts of the research. The authors should ensure that their work is entirely original, and if the work and/or words of others have been used there should be an appropriate acknowledgment of that work. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Concurrently submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Authors should not submit articles describing essentially the same research (providing the same literature review, the same theoretical approach, and/or using identical data) to more than one journal. The corresponding authors should ensure that there is a full agreement of all co-authors in approving the final version of the manuscript and its submission for publication.

Editors should evaluate manuscripts exclusively on the basis of their academic and/or practitioner merit. An editor may not use unpublished information in the editor’s own research without the express written consent of the unpublished author. Editors should take reasonable responsive measures when ethical complaints have been presented concerning a submitted manuscript or published paper.

Any manuscripts received for review is treated as a confidential document. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review are required to be kept confidential and not used for personal gain. Reviews are expected to be conducted objectively, and observations should be formulated clearly with supporting arguments so that authors can use them for improving their submitted manuscript. Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be difficult should notify the editor and excuse herself/himself from the review process. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors or institutions connected to the manuscript.



Article Corrections and Retractions

Corrections to or retractions of published articles will be made by publishing a correction or retraction note in the next available issue of the journal and without altering the original article. This allows for both the original article and the subsection correction to remain in the public domain and to be subjected to indexing.


Allegations of Misconduct and Complaints

JPNA takes concerns and allegations of misconduct seriously. It is the responsibility of the authors to ensure the accuracy of the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data in the manuscripts they submit to the journal. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of authors to guarantee the veracity of the content of articles published in JPNA. However, when concerns or allegations of misconduct arise, they should be reported to the editors of the journal at editor@jpna.org. The report should include available evidence for the allegation in question. For allegations of misconduct that involve or create a conflict of interest for the editors, a committee of three members of the editorial board will be formed to investigate and address the complaint.

The editors of the journal adhere to the processes for addressing allegations and complaints that have been established by the Commission on Publication Ethics, as outlined here. When allegations are found to have merit, the editors will contact the appropriate administrative officials at the institution with which the author is affiliated and inform them of the charges and the decision of the journal.

As a practice, the journal does not retract manuscripts that have appeared in the journal unless it is for issues of misconduct. When allegations are found to have merit deserving the retraction of an article, the JPNA editors will make a recommendation of retraction to the editorial board and the Midwest Public Affairs Conference Board of Trustees for confirmation. Both confirming bodies must approve the retraction by majority vote. With the approval, the editors will prepare a written statement for publication in JPNA indicating that the publication of the article has been retracted and the cause for retraction. The statement will also be linked to the original article. Both the statement and the original article will remain in the public domain and be subjected to indexing.


Abstracting and Indexing Information

  • Cabell's International Directory 
  • EconLit
  • Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)