Authors instructions

Manuscript preparation

Manuscript submission to the JSFD is free of charge. Manuscripts should be submitted online via JSFD’s online manuscript submission form. All authors must comply with the journal’s ethics policy.

Online submission form

  • In the online system, input the manuscript’s title, primary JSFD thematic area (and secondary, if desired), type of submission, and region where the manuscript is focused. Include a cover letter with a brief description of your manuscript and explanation for why you feel it should be published in JSFD.
  • Paste in the abstract (if required; see Types of Submissions below for instructions) and keywords.
  • Provide the details for the corresponding author who will communicate with JSFD and include the names and affiliations of all authors, in correct order. If an author has changed locations since the work described in the submission, a ‘Present address’ may be indicated; the address at which the author did the work must be used as the main affiliation.
  • Upload the main text, any tables/figures/images, and any appendices. Complete the disclaimer.

Word document submission

Cover page: On the first page, include the manuscript’s (a) Title, (b) Abstract (if required), (c) Keywords and (d) Word Count. Do NOT include the authors names in the manuscript document, only in the online submission form.

  • Abstracts should be no longer than 200 words. An abstract must be able to stand alone and references should hence be avoided. If essential, references should be cited in full at the bottom of the abstract, without citing the full reference list. Abbreviations and acronyms should be avoided but, if essential, should be spelled out at first use.
  • A list of up to 5 keywords should be provided. Keywords should describe of the manuscript, as they will be used for indexing. Abbreviations or acronyms should only be used if absolutely necessary.

Body of manuscript:

  • Manuscripts should be prepared and submitted in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx). They should be double-spaced on A4 paper using 12-point font, Times New Roman, and standard margins (1”) on all sides.
  • Manuscripts should be written in American English, in line with the APA style (7th edition).
  • Manuscripts should comply with the word limit for their type of submission. All word limits exclude references, tables/figures, and appendices: 1) Original research articles should be 5,000-8,000 words; 2) Evaluation protocol should be up to 3,000 words; 3) Systematic or integrative reviews should be 5,000-8,000 words; 4) Book reviews should be up to 1,000 words; 5) Commentaries should be 1,500-3,000 words; and 6) Thought Leadership From the Field essays should be 3,000-6,000 words. The full word allocation need not be used; submissions written in a concise manner are preferred.
  • Sections should be clearly labelled with appropriate headings (e.g., Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion).
  • Include page numbers and continuous line numbers so that reviewers can reference specific places in the manuscript to be addressed. To number lines within Microsoft Word, go to Layout -> Line Numbers -> Continuous.

Tables, figures, and illustrations:

  • Up to 4 tables/figures/illustrations may be included with the manuscript.
  • Tables/figures/illustrations should NOT be included in the main document, but rather should be referenced in text as well as the appropriate place—stating, for example, “INSERT TABLE 1 HERE.” Tables should be submitted as editable text, not as images.
  • Color photographs are encouraged as illustrations. Photographs should be submitted as TIFF or JPEG files.
  • Tables, figures, and illustrations should include a clear description of the content, study population, and place of the study in the title, so that they can be understood independent of the body of the manuscript.
  • When tables, figures, or illustrations are reproduced from another source, the source should be cited in table/figure captions and referred to in the reference list. Permission must be sought by third party owners of copyrighted material. Individuals appearing in photos must have given consent for the photo’s use and dissemination.

Conflicts of interest: All authors should disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest at the end of the text, in a sub-header called, “Conflicts of Interests.” The Editors might use this information when making an editorial decision and publish such disclosure within the manuscript. If there are no conflicts of interest, the authors should state this.

Funding: Authors should acknowledge all sources of funding at the end of the text, in a sub-header called, “Funding.” Include a brief description of what role, if any, the funder played in: the study design; collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; writing of the findings; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Include the grant number, if applicable. If the funding source(s) had no involvement, the authors should state this.

Acknowledgments: Authors may choose to acknowledge individuals or organizations who provided support with the work (e.g., recruiting participants, translating interviews, etc.). If desired, authors should include a sub-header at the end of the text called, “Acknowledgments.”


  • Manuscripts should comply with reference formatting at submission. JSFD uses APA style (7th edition). Please refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th Edition) or the Purdue Online Writing Lab’s APA Style Formatting Guide for more details.

Appendices: JSFD encourages authors to submit additional materials to be included in Appendices. Provide a concise and descriptive caption for each appendix and ensure that appendices are referred to in the manuscript. Appendices should all appear in the same Word document.

Types of submissions

1) Original Research, which report results from original research in 5,000-8,000 words, excluding references, tables & figures, and appendices. Original research articles should include a clearly defined research question. This should be driven by questions from interventions, stakeholders or scholars. Original work may range from studies focused on enhancing understanding of a particular program approach, model or intervention, to studies that test broader theories in order to produce knowledge for the field. An abstract of up to 200 words is required. This submission type represents the majority of papers published.

2) Evaluation Protocol, which provide a comprehensive description of a planned or ongoing assessment of a study in up to 3,000 words, excluding references, tables & figures, and appendices. Protocols need not have obtained formal ethical approval upon submission. An abstract of up to 200 words is required. For additional guidance on writing an evaluation protocol, click here.

3) Systematic or Integrative Reviews, which include clearly-formatted questions and use systematic methods to critically assess research. Reviews should be between 5,000-8,000 words. Systematic reviews should comply with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Authors are required to submit a PRISMA checklist with a systematic review as an appendix and should use the following headings: Title, Abstract, Methods, Results, Discussion, Funding. Other review formats (e.g., integrative reviews) are also accepted. An abstract of up to 200 words is required.

4) Book Reviews, which are short essays of up to 1,000 words whose purpose is to comment on a particular text. For additional guidance on writing a book review, click here. Formatting requirements are as follows:

[Book title, Edition]

By [Author(s) first and last names].  Published in [year] by [publisher], [publisher street address and city], [ISBN], [total pages]

Reviewed by [name], [position and university details] [email address]

Review text

5) Commentaries, which are scholarly essays and/or critical analyses of 1,500-3,000 words. These submissions are designed to challenge the state of knowledge and offer future directions on a given subject within SFD. They may include an abstract and up to 2 table(s) and/or figure(s). They must include no more than 25 references.

6) Research Notes, which are original contributions distinguished from full original research articles mostly by their brevity (5,000 words or less including references) and narrower focus on a specific sub-topic. These submissions are designed to advance a new idea, theoretical perspective, research project, or methodological approach. Often, these articles have support from preliminary or more focused empirical data, are more technical, or have a narrower audience than full-length original research articles. This submission category may also include targeted conceptual notes. Like full-length original research submissions, research notes are rigorous contributions in which author(s) identify relevant prior literature, clearly articulate their contribution to SFD research, and provide compelling support for their arguments.

7) Thought Leadership From the Field, which are thought leadership essays between 3,000-6,000 words designed to offer insight from the practitioner perspective on a subject of interest to JSFD’s readership base that does not meet the criteria of any other submission type. An abstract of up to 200 words is required. Authors interested in this submission type should send an abstract to, or contact the journal prior to working on the manuscript. Topics that fit within this submission type include opinion essays on advocacy, policy, and funding models, among other topics, to stimulate dialogue for advancing sport for development practice, policy, and/or research. Submissions should not serve as a promotional or descriptive summary of an organization or program. Fieldwork as part of a research study should still be submitted as an original research article.