Action Research/Practitioner Inquiry | Data Collection & Analysis | Evaluation
This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Click here to read submission guidelines FAQ.
AERA Open is a peer-reviewed, open access journal published by the American Educational Research Association (AERA). With an emphasis on rapid review and dissemination, AERA Open aims to advance knowledge through theoretical and empirical study across arenas of inquiry related to education and learning. AERA Open emphasizes publishing scientific and scholarly work that adds to knowledge incrementally and cumulatively. AERA Open also serves as a venue for innovation, novel inquiry and ideas, interdisciplinary bridge building, and research that fosters the connection of research to practice and practice to research.
AERA Open’s content will transcend the boundaries between education research and other adjacent fields of inquiry, formal and informal education, research and development, education and other social institutions in society, early and later stages of human development, and scientific and humanistic study. By design, AERA Open seeks to avert the silos and stereotypes that can lead to favoring one rigorous method over another or one conceptual framework or model as more robust than another. AERA Open will not only make knowledge available, it will also use its available space to promote access to data; research instruments, protocols and guides; and other supplemental sources of information that will enhance the value of articles as well as stimulate others to pursue research or its application. As an online journal, AERA Open will provide a publishing venue for works in new and innovative formats, such as video, interactive data tables, and audio recordings that a print format precludes.
Read the Inaugural Editors' Editorial. Check out the most recent articles here.
|Kara Finnigan||University of Michigan,USA|
|Stella Flores||University of Texas at Austin, USA|
|Michal Kurlaender||University of California, Davis, USA|
|Elizabeth Moje||University of Michigan, USA|
|Michele Moses||University of Colorado at Boulder, USA|
|Terah Venzant Chambers||Michigan State University, USA|
|Andrea Dyrness||University of Colorado, Boulder, USA|
|Lorenzo Dubois Baber||University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA|
|Samantha Daley||University of Rochester, United States|
|Susan C. Faircloth||Colorado State University, USA|
|Amy Farley||University of Cincinnati, USA|
|Kevin Gee||University of California, Davis, USA|
|Cathy Horn||University of Houston, USA|
|Jayne Lammers||University of Rochester, USA|
|Julie Learned||SUNY Albany, USA|
|Melissa Martinez||Texas State University, USA|
|Toby Park-Gaghan||Florida State University, USA|
|Jon Wargo||Boston College, USA|
|Terrenda White||University of Colorado, Boulder, USA|
|Vivian Wong||University of Virginia, USA|
|John Yun||Michigan State University, USA|
- Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
- ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)
Click here to read submission guidelines FAQ.
AERA Open is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Types of Manuscripts
AERA Open publishes research and scholarship on educational processes and outcomes, broadly defined. Manuscripts come from a wide range of academic disciplines, including but not limited to anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, and also can be interdisciplinary. Submissions can focus on education and learning in any context (e.g., early childhood, after-school, post-secondary) or country provided they are suitably contextualized for AERA’s readership.
A manuscript can be submitted as a regular article, a special topic article (when there is an open call), or a registered report.
Regular Topic Articles
While we encourage all submissions based on rigorous research methods and analysis, the majority of regular topic articles published in AERA Open will be empirical studies that draw on social science-based approaches to research (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods, or geo-spatial analyses). Manuscripts using humanities-oriented approaches (e.g., historiography or philosophical inquiry) also are appropriate for AERA Open. In addition, we are interested in submissions of conceptual or theoretical papers that make strong contributions to our understanding of issues related to curriculum, pedagogy, or policy, along with methodological articles that offer new approaches in the collection or analysis of data. In most cases, we expect conceptual and methodological papers to engage with relevant empirical research and to be able to communicate with our broad readership. We also welcome meta-analyses, replication studies, research syntheses, and studies with precisely-defined null results provided they meet rigorous standards and contribute new ideas or understandings to the field. We do not publish opinion essays, literature reviews, pilot studies, atheoretical studies, small-scale evaluations, or practical guides.
Special Topic Articles
AERA Open publishes special topic collections on a range of important interdisciplinary or methodological themes related to education. See the special topic collections page to view recent special topics. Note that many special topics require prior approval of an abstract. We do not currently accept solicitations for special topics as these are determined by our editorial team.
Registered reports offer a new form of manuscript review. Manuscripts are submitted for review before data are collected and/or analyzed. The manuscripts can then receive in-principle acceptance based on the quality of the research question and methods rather than on the direction, nature, effect size, or presence or absence of certain findings. Registered reports are designed to improve both the iterative nature of research review and the transparency of research. The AERA Open editors are pleased to accept for review manuscripts that test specific answerable questions using any suitable quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods approaches (see Gehlbach & Robinson, 2017, for a description of how pre-registration might work for nonexperimental studies).
For studies with a clear motivating question or hypothesis, pre-registration and the registered report format has four key strengths compared with standard review:
1. First, the registered report format creates an iterative process of review, in which authors receive feedback from reviewers before collection or analysis of data, thus strengthening the research design at the ideal time in the research process.
2. Second, because protocols are accepted in advance of data being collected, the registered report format provides a greater incentive for researchers to conduct novel, resource-intensive projects (e.g., involving multisite consortia) that would otherwise might be too risky to undertake (Makel & Plucker, 2014). Note that registered reports are equally useful for original research and replications, irrespective of methodology.
3. Third, the registered report format prevents publication bias by ensuring that editorial decisions are made on the basis of the theoretical importance and methodological clarity of a study, before research outcomes are known.
4. Fourth, for those manuscripts reviewed in this manner, it will reduce common forms of research bias, including p hacking and HARKing (hindsight bias), while still welcoming manuscripts reviewed through the standard publication process after the research and writing are fully completed (Gehlbach & Robinson, 2017; Nosek, Ebersole, DeHaven, & Mellor, 2017; Simmons, Nelson, & Simonsohn, 2011).
What is the difference between a registered report and pre-registration?
Pre-registration is registration of a document stating the questions or hypotheses and methods of a study prior to the collection and analysis of data. A registered report is the peer-reviewed full article that is based on a pre-registered protocol. By submitting your Introduction and Methods sections (including hypotheses or answerable questions) to AERA Open for peer review prior to the collection and analysis of data, you are pre-registering your protocol as part of the peer-review process for a registered report. However, this pre-registration in AERA Open is not a public pre-registration because it is not accessible to the public. For authors interested in more information about public pre-registration, contact the AERA-ICPSR Research Data HUB at AERA-ICPSR-PEERS@aera.net.
Submission and review processes for registered reports
Registered reports differ from conventional empirical articles in having a two-phase publication process.
In Phase 1, authors write their Introduction and Methods sections (including their focal answerable questions or hypotheses) before collecting or analyzing any data. Together with any prepared materials and analysis scripts, the manuscript is then reviewed by peers. High-quality pre-registered protocols that meet strict editorial criteria will then be offered in-principle acceptance. If the manuscript is reviewed favorably (after one or multiple iterations), the editors then grant in-principle acceptance, whereby, if the authors have conducted the research generally as described (noting deviations from the original plans), the editors agree to publish the article without prejudice as to the specific findings. This approach aligns editorial and author incentives toward publishing articles on important questions with excellent research designs, while avoiding incentives that encourage publication of work that continually adjusts the methods in alignment with desired results or seeks certain p values to be considered important.
Phase 2 of peer review occurs after data collection and resembles the standard peer-review process. However, the in-principle acceptance guarantees publication of the results provided the authors have adhered to their pre-registered protocol (or clearly note necessary or reasonable modifications) and provided that pre-specified quality standards are achieved in the final product. While registered reports are focused on testing pre-registered questions or hypotheses with pre-defined methods of analysis, these reports can be clarified or expanded along the way, and the final manuscript can certainly include exploratory analyses that are labeled as such. In that sense, registered reports do not diminish the freedom or creativity of the researcher and may enhance it.
For a collection of registered reports in their final published form, reflections on the registered report process by AERA Open authors, and an introductory paper on registered reports in education research, see Registered Report Special Topic Collection.
After reviewing these guidelines in full, visit the Journal’s submission site http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/aeraopen to upload your manuscript.
Only manuscripts of sufficient quality that meet the aims and scope of AERA Open will be reviewed. As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that you are submitting your original work, that you have the rights in the work, that you are submitting the work for first publication in the Journal, that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere and has not already been published elsewhere, and that you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by you. Main text should be approximately 8,000-10,000 words (max 12,000), but there is no word limit for online supplemental material. We encourage you to review your manuscript before submitting to make sure it is clearly written and includes all references.
While we get many manuscripts that are interesting and show some promise, we must desk reject a large proportion of them because they are not ready to move forward to external review. Common reasons for desk rejects include: insufficient discussion of the rationale for the study, the conceptual or theoretical framework guiding the work, or the study’s methodology. Desk rejects are often common for manuscripts that do not meet rigorous methods for data collection, analysis, or argumentation. Results should not just be summarized but also interpreted in a discussion section, which describes to the reader what can be learned from the study particularly in light of prior empirical and conceptual work in the area. Some articles are rejected for being “out of scope,” i.e., because they do not directly relate to the field of education or have a narrow or peripheral focus that is not appropriate for our readership. Your manuscript is more likely to be accepted if it:
- is within the scope of the journal
- describes research that advances the field or adds to an active field (and makes a case for why this research is relevant and important)
- adequately cites prior work on the topic
- clearly articulates the study purpose and research questions
- fully describes the methods
- not just summarizes but discusses (i.e., interprets) the results
- is carefully prepared and follows the journal's submission guidelines
- uses clear and concise language
- follows ethical standards
As an open access journal, AERA Open is freely available online immediately upon publication. All articles are rigorously peer-reviewed and brought to publication as rapidly as possible. The timeline to production can vary based upon the initial state of the manuscript and issues raised during the review process.
For general information on open access at SAGE please visit the Open Access page or view our Open Access FAQs.
In keeping with AERA policy, AERA Open encourages sharing of data and/or data files whenever feasible. For further details, please see information on the American Educational Research Association Data Repository. Questions about data sharing can be addressed to the AERA Open editors or the AERA Executive Director.
One of the many benefits of publishing your research in an open access journal is the speed to publication as we do not have to wait to publish specific issues. Your article will be published online in a fully citable form with a DOI number as soon as the production process is complete. Articles are free for readers to view and download. The most recent, most read, and most cited published content can be accessed on our web page. Please note that during Covid some of the stages of peer review are taking extra time. We hope that you will have patience with our editorial team and reviewers as they navigate these challenging times and continue to provide this important service to the field.
AERA Open accepts only original research articles. Researchers submitting manuscripts should consult the Standards for Reporting on Research in AERA Publications and the AERA Code of Ethics. Only manuscripts of sufficient quality that meet the aims and scope of AERA Open will be reviewed. As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that you are submitting your original work, that you have the rights in the work, that you are submitting the work for first publication in the Journal and that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere and has not already been published elsewhere, and that you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by you.
Production costs are covered by Article Processing Charges (APC) paid by the authors/institutions/funders upon acceptance of their manuscripts (more information below). There is no charge for submitting a paper to AERA Open.
Upon acceptance of your manuscript, you will be charged a one-time Author Processing Charge (APC). This fee covers the cost of publication and ensures that your article will be freely available. Once the charge has been processed, your article will be prepared for publication and will appear online within an average of 20 working days.
Author processing charges are listed below.
All articles submitted after January 1, 2023 will be subject to the following rates:
Article Processing Charge
Pricing In effect from 1/1/2023
AERA Member Rate*
AERA Graduate Student Member Rate**
Non-Member Graduate Student Rate
* All authors must be an AERA member in order to qualify for the AERA member rate
** All authors must be “Graduate Student” members of Association in order to qualify for the discounted rate.
Note: The Article Processing Charge will be waived for authors of manuscripts who are residents of a country listed on the Research 4Life List (Group A and B), provided that all authors of the manuscript must be residents of these countries in order to qualify. Authors of manuscripts who are residents of several countries not listed on the Research 4Life List (Eswatini, India, Moldova, Philippines, and Tanzania), provided that all authors of the manuscript must be residents of these countries, will be eligible for the waiver due to their presence on the World Bank Lower Middle Income list, but please note that it will not be automatically applied. Please communicate with the AERA Open editorial office and SAGE staff to ensure the waiver is correctly applied in this instance. Publisher may revise the Article Processing Charges in consultation with the Association as Publisher deems appropriate in response to market developments, provided that any change in the above noted Article Processing Charges shall be made only upon the written agreement of the parties.
All manuscripts for AERA Open should be submitted electronically at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/aeraopen. For specific questions or inquiries, email the AERA Open editor. Manuscript submissions by email are not accepted.
Only electronic files conforming to the journal’s guidelines will be accepted. Preferred formats for the text and tables of your manuscript are Word DOC, RTF, and XLS. LaTeX files are also accepted. Please refer to the additional guidelines on submitting artwork and supplemental files, below.
All parties who have made a substantive contribution to the article should be listed as authors. Principal authorship, authorship order, and other publication credits should be based on the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their status.
AERA Open manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with the style guidelines of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 7th edition.
Manuscripts should be approximately 8,000-10,000 words in length, excluding tables, appendices, figures, notes, and references. (Authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts that are closer to the lower end of the word count (or below) to make them more readable but they must still address all areas which typically includes introduction and rationale, prior literature, conceptual/theoretical framework, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.
Pages should be numbered consecutively, beginning with the page after the title page. Manuscripts should be typed for 8½” x 11” paper, in upper and lower case, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins on all sides. The type size should be 12 point. Figures and tables are to be placed at the end of the text. Subheads should be placed at reasonable intervals to break the monotony of lengthy text. Sentence structure, not italics, should be used to create emphasis. Abbreviations and acronyms should be spelled out at first mention. Mathematical symbols and Greek letters should be formatted to indicate italics, boldface, superscript, and subscript.
Notes are for explanations or amplifications of textual material, not for reference information. They are distracting to readers and expensive to set and should be avoided whenever possible. They should be typed as normal text at the end of the text section of the manuscript rather than as part of the footnote or endnote feature of a computer program and should be numbered consecutively through the article.
Manuscripts must include a list of references, which should include only sources that are cited in the text. The accuracy and completeness of references and citations are the responsibility of the author(s). Reference each dataset with its title, author, date, and a persistent web identifier, such as a digital object identifier (DOI), a handle, or a uniform resource name (URN). If necessary, this last element may be replaced by a web address and an access date, although researchers are urged to use the DOI as the preferred citation.
All manuscripts should include an abstract of 100–150 words, followed by a list of keywords (the terms that researchers will use to find the article in indexes and databases). Abstracts should be structured to inform readers of the purpose, methods, and findings of the research or the equivalent for theoretical or non-empirical manuscripts.
Provide full contact details for the corresponding author, including email, affiliation, mailing address, and telephone numbers. Academic affiliations are required for all co-authors. These details should be presented in their own file, separate from the main text of the article, to facilitate anonymous peer review.
Figures and tables should present data to the reader in a clear and unambiguous manner. They should be described in the text. Figure captions should be typed on a separate page and should not appear in full on the original figures. One high-quality electronic version of each figure must be submitted with the manuscript that is to be typeset. Tables will be typeset. Figures supplied in color will appear in color online.
For additional guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures, and graphs in electronic format, please visit SAGE’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines.
Photographic illustrations should be rendered with at least 300 dpi; please use CMYK color conversion if possible. Graphs made with Office software such as Microsoft Excel can be provided in their original format to facilitate conversion into printable format with preserved quality. Any other line graphs/illustrations should preferably be provided in EPS format with a resolution of at least 600 dpi to prevent ragged lines when printed. A figure image should be at least 160 mm in width at the appropriate resolution. For further guidance on how to prepare your digital image see http://art.cadmus.com/da/index.jsp.
Researchers need to address conflicts of interest, human subjects protection, and data sharing in accordance with AERA’s standards for reporting on research in AERA publications.
AERA Open encourages authors to include a declaration of any conflicting interests and recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway.
To comply with the guidance for research funders, authors and publishers issued by the Research Information Network (RIN), AERA Open additionally requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading. Please visit Funding Acknowledgment on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state in your acknowledgments that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
This journal is able to host approved supplemental materials online, alongside the full text of articles. Supplemental files will be subjected to peer-review together with the article and must be included at the time of submission. For more information please refer to SAGE’s Guidelines for Authors on Supplemental Files.
Authors seeking assistance with English language editing, translation, or figure and manuscript formatting to fit the journal’s specifications should consider using the services offered by SAGE Language Services. Visit SAGE Language Services on our Journal Author Gateway for further information.
AERA Open uses double-anonymize review. Authors will not know the identities of reviewers and reviewers will not know the identities of authors.
The complete title of the article and the name(s) of the author(s) should be provided only in a separate cover-page file to ensure anonymity in the review process. The text should have no author names but may carry a short article title at the top. Names of authors in citations and references should not be anonymized; however, information in text that would identify those references as belonging to the author should be deleted from the manuscript (e.g., text citations of “my previous work,” especially when accompanied by a self-citation; a preponderance of the author’s own work in the reference list). These elements may be reinserted in the final draft. Information that could help identify any author (e.g., mention of any affiliation) should also be removed. Citations and references to undistributed work, as long as it is unsearchable on the web, should be anonymized using “Author” and realphabetized in the reference list. The author’s name should be removed from the document’s Properties.
We will email a PDF of the proofs to the corresponding author. Any accompanying queries should be answered as soon as possible so that publication is not delayed. The PDF of your article will be available for download on the journal website after publication. Your SAGE Production Editor will keep you informed as to your article’s progress throughout the production process.
We value your feedback to ensure that we continue to improve our author service. Upon publication all corresponding authors will receive a brief survey questionnaire on your experience of publishing in AERA Open with SAGE.
Contributor’s Publishing Agreement
Before publication, SAGE requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. AERA Open publishes manuscripts under Creative Commons licenses. The standard AERA Open license is Creative Commons by Attribution NonCommerical (CC BY-NC), which allows others to reuse the work without permission as long as the work is properly referenced and the use is noncommercial. Authors may also use the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) if required by their institution or funders. For more information, you are advised to visit SAGE’s OA licenses page.
Alternative license arrangements are available, for example, to meet particular funder mandates, made at the author’s request.
AERA Open and SAGE take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism, or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of articles published in the journal. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked using duplication-checking software. Where an article is found to have plagiarized other work or included third-party copyrighted material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgment, or where authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action, including but not limited to publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article (removing it from the journal); taking up the matter with the head of the department or dean of the author’s institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; banning the author from publication in the journal or in all SAGE journals; or taking appropriate legal action.
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures, or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. If authors are using their own work, they will still be required to obtain permission if they did not retain copyright of the previously published work. Papers will not be accepted for publication without the correct permissions.
Right of Reply
The right of reply policy encourages comments on recently published articles in AERA publications. They are, of course, subject to the same editorial review and decision process as articles. If the comment is accepted for publication, the editor shall inform the author of the original article. If the author submits a reply to the comment, the reply is also subject to editorial review and decision. The editor may allot a specific amount of journal space for the comment (ordinarily about 1,500 words) and for the reply (ordinarily about 750 words). The reply may appear in the same issue as the comment or in a later issue (Council, June 1980).
If an article is accepted for publication in an AERA journal that, in the judgment of the editor, has as its main theme or thrust a critique of a specific piece of work or a specific line of work associated with an individual or program of research, then the individual or representative of the research program whose work is critiqued should be notified in advance about the upcoming publication and given the opportunity to reply, ideally in the same issue. The author of the original article should also be notified. Normal guidelines for length and review of the reply and publication of a rejoinder by the original article’s author(s) should be followed. Articles in the format “an open letter to …” may constitute prototypical exemplars of the category defined here, but other formats may well be used, and would be included under the qualifications for response prescribed here (Council, January 2002).