We ask our judges to read, rank, and comment all submissions for the prize: allowing two-to-three months for this activity is only reasonable. (The normal time allowed for refereeing one journal paper is usually 4 weeks!) The period between deciding on the prize-winner, and the completion of the final version of their paper is to allow enough time for authors to make revisions required by the panel, and then there is a short time (including the summer break) for final minor corrections required by the Editor. The publishers receive the copy for the first issue of each year (e.g. February 2014) by the first of September of the previous year (e.g. 2013).
1. I wrote my paper for the ESPAnet event some time before the January deadline. Can I revise my paper before submitting it to the prize?
Yes. In fact, you are strongly recommended to revise your paper. The prize was established to encourage and help to develop the work of new scholars: revising your work in the light of your changing thinking, and in the light of comments received is a crucial part of this development. You are especially encouraged to revise your paper to take account of comments you received at the conference, workshop or seminar where you originally presented your paper – such comments are usually a good tip for the kind of comments you would receive from referees (or our judges).
2. 8,000 words is very short – how can I say everything I need to in such a short space?
Of course, you’re right. 8,000 words is not very much – and experienced authors can also have difficulty compressing their work into such a ‘small space’. However, for publication in scholarly journals, keeping to a tight word or page limit is essential. Most journals will simply not consider any submissions above this limit – and some have lower word limits. If you are finding the word length a real struggle, the probability is that you are trying to say too much. Take a step back, and think about the focus of your argument – what is the main point you need to say? Cutting out all material which does not directly contribute to this main point will usually enable you to get your word-count down. Don’t forget – you should not be trying to compress your entire PhD into 8,000 words!
3. I am not confident about my English; should I bother submitting, and should I pay for someone to check it for me?
The judges are used to assessing work written by non-native English speakers, (and are usually not native English-language speakers themselves). As long as the content is clear, judges will assess your paper on the basis of the content, not on occasionally awkward phrases in English. You will have opportunities to improve the English later, so the important issue at submission is to ensure that you have explained each point you wish to make as clearly as possible – the content and argument of your paper should be unambiguous and explicit. It can be helpful to have a native speaker check your paper for the quality of the English, but there is no need to pay for someone to check the language (especially as you will be making revisions to the paper later in any case).
If you have any additional questions, please email the Editor, the Journal of European Social Policy, on firstname.lastname@example.org