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Author Guidelines

The text below starts with a statement of ethical standards to which authors are required to adhere. Detailed guidance then follows about the preparation of manuscripts for the three main kinds of contribution: Papers, Study Profiles  and Research Notes, followed by the Submission Preparation Checklist. Authors may also like to consult general information about the Journal, contained in Focus and Scope (under the ABOUT tab on the Home Page) and also, particularly in the case of epidemiological studies, consult the STROBE Guidelines, which can be found at:

Statement of Ethical Standards

By submitting any form of article to Longitudinal and Life Course Studies each author explicitly confirms that the manuscript meets the highest ethical standards for authors and co-authors, as described in this Journal’s Statement of Ethical Policy. The author making the submission must indicate (by ticking the relevant box) that the submitted article meets the requirements in each of the following ways:


Each author of the article has made a significant contribution to the concept, design, execution or interpretation of the research reported, or to drafting or critically revising the article, or giving final approval for submission for publication.

Conflict of interest. Each author of the article affirms that they have no interests, financial or otherwise, which may conflict with or have affected their contribution to this article. Ethics approval and informed consent. Each author of the article affirms that ethical approval was obtained, as necessary, for all aspects of the research reported, and that details of approval processes and of gaining informed consent, where required, have been specified in the article.

Concurrent submission. The authors affirm that this article is not at present submitted to any other journal.
Access to the data. If the article reports the use of data the authors affirm that they take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the analysis. Plagiarism. The authors accept that their article may be screened for plagiarism.

Papers, Study Profiles, Research Notes

All papers must be in the English language, and should be submitted through the LLCS website for review - all subsequent processes involving the author are carried out electronically via the website. Since LLCS provides adequate word length (see under ‘Preparation of Texts' below) to permit longer papers than may be usual in some disciplines, we encourage authors to include, as appropriate in the Discussion section, consideration of the broader theoretical implications of their findings for life course study and the policy implications of their findings. Notification of books and monographs for review, including a summary, should be sent electronically to the Editor. LLCS cannot guarantee that reviews will be undertaken.It is a condition of publication in LLCS, that authors grant it first license to publish.

The Creative Commons license agreement used by LLCS also permits authors to retain copyright for subsequent use of their material in other publications, provided that LLCS is acknowledged as the original place of publication. Articles are accepted for publication on condition that they are contributed solely to LLCS, and are not being considered by any other Journal. Authors are also responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyright material from other sources.

The editors cannot enter into correspondence about papers considered unsuitable for publication, and their decision is final.

Submission of Papers

All papers should be submitted via the LLCS website as a Microsoft Word 2003 or later file, or in a compatible format. If there is a good reason why this is not possible, authors are requested to contact the Journal Manager before submitting the paper.

Author Details. Names, affiliations and emails of all co-authors must be entered on the website by the submitting author.

Competing Interests. A Competing Interests statement for each named author must be completed during the submission process. Guidance and templates are provided.

Preparation of Texts. Length. The paper should normally be approximately 5000 words, with longer papers also accepted up to a maximum of 7000 words. This word count excludes tables, figures and bibliography. An appendix can be used for supplementary material.

Font and Line Spacing. Please use Calibri (or similar sans serif) font, 12pt, with 1.5 line spacing in all main text, single space in figure or table captions.

Page Layout. All text should be justified to the left hand margin (all margins of at least 2.5cm) with no indents at the start of paragraphs and a line space separating paragraphs. All headings and sub-headings used within the body of the paper should also be left justified. Paragraphs and sections should not be numbered. Please keep automatic formatting to a minimum.

Weblinks. To help our readers to look up cited references or other information available on the web, authors should ensure that all such references are activated. Guidelines on how to do this are as follows:

Step 1 - go to the online document/publication/website that you want to cite in your paper, and copy the full URL (web address) that appears in the box towards the top of the screen (highlight the URL by left-clicking on it, then press Ctrl plus C on your keyboard - Ctrl is at bottom left usually so you can do it one-handed).

Step 2 - return to your paper on-screen (these instructions specifically relate to Word documents but are similar for other word-processing packages), and highlight the words that you want to use to indicate the live link (could be the title of a paper or publication, or maybe the name of a person or of an organisation if you want them or a particular page of their website to be featured, etc.)

Step 3 - find ‘Insert' in the top toolbar and click on that word, and then look for the word ‘Hyperlink' in the menu choices offered, and click that - a template box will appear.

Step 4 - at the top of the template will be a box with the words you highlighted from your paper already displayed. All you have to do is click inside another box, labelled ‘Address' found towards the bottom of the template, and then paste the URL from Step 1 into this box by pressing Ctrl then V.

Step 5 - click OK, the template will disappear and the words you originally highlighted in your paper will now show in blue, and you will be able to click them (sometimes this needs a double click, or requires Ctrl plus click) and go directly to the intended webpage to view the additional information.

Ensuring a 'Blind' Review.. Please submit papers with a full detailed title page. Once a paper has been submitted to LLCS via the website, it will be 'anonymised' by the removal of all author name(s) and institution names on the title page, and any identifying electronic document properties will also be removed. Use of this anonymised version of the paper for the review processes, will help to ensure that the identities of author(s) and reviewers will remain unknown to each other. Authors do not need to remove their name(s) from the main text or references but any reference to their work or themselves should be expressed in the third person.

Title. The main title should be brief and specific. Subtitles may be used to amplify the main title. If a paper is accepted for publication, over-long titles may be shortened on the page header.

Author Names. Please list full names on the title page, but no titles or qualifications, and indicate the corresponding author by an asterisk; give the email address for this author just below the list of names.

Abstract. The abstract should be no more than 250 words (not part of the main word count). Please do not use subheads in the abstract, which should briefly describe the subject of the study, how it was carried out, the salient results and what can be concluded from the results.

Keywords. These should be included just below the author list. For indexing purposes, please list some keywords (minimum 3 maximum 10) - authors should ensure that the words they choose will help others to locate this paper via the main search engines.

Abbreviations. Words to be abbreviated should be spelt out in full the first time they appear in the text with the abbreviations in brackets. Thereafter the abbreviation should be used.


LLCS now follows the text referencing style and reference list style set out in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA 6th edn.) replaces the style in use in the first nine issues of the Journal, with the exception noted in the guidance relating to multiple authors below. Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of reference lists.

References in text: References in running text should be cited using the author-date system, e.g: Jones (2005), or (Jones, 2005).  Names in multiple author citations should be joined by the word ‘and’, e.g. Jones and Smith (2007).  In parentheses and tables, names should be joined by an ampersand, e.g. (Jones  &  Smith, 2007).  For works with two authors, both names should be given in all citations.  For works with three to five authors, all names should be given in the first instance, and the first author’s name followed by ‘et al.’ in subsequent citations, e.g. Jones et al. (2003) or (Jones et al., 2003).  For works with six or more authors, the first author’s name followed by ‘et al.’ should be used throughout the text.  When two or more works are cited within the same parentheses they should be ordered alphabetically, and separated by a semi-colon e.g. (Jones, 2005; Smith et al., 2003, 2005).  When a number of references for the same author(s) are cited, these should be in date order.

Reference list: The full list of references should appear in alphabetical order at the end of the article.  For references to journal articles, give the author surname(s) and initials, year of publication, full title of paper, full name of journal and volume number (italicised), and first and last page numbers.  For works with two authors, names should be joined by an ampersand (&), e.g. Bynner, J., & Joshi, H. (2007). Building the evidence base from longitudinal data: the aims, content and achievements of the British birth cohort studies. Innovation: the European Journal of Social Research, 20(2), 159-180. For works with three or more authors, in order to give full acknowledgement to all contributing authors, and in the context of on-line publishing, we have decided that all authors should be included in the Reference List  (whereas APA6 limits the number of authors listed to the first six and the final (senior) author). All author names should be included, separated by commas and with the last author‘s name preceded by an ampersand (&).  Full stops are used as separators for the different sections of the reference.

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs): Please do NOT include DOIs in the bibliography.  Due to the LLCS membership of CrossRef, all reference lists are checked by CrossRef and DOIs added, so that bibliographies in our published articles from January 2014 include DOIs (converted to URLs) wherever these are available. 

References to chapters, or sections from edited books: These should give the name(s) followed by the initials of the author(s) of the chapter or section, the date of publication, the title of the chapter or section, the initials and name(s) of the editor(s) of the book (with in this case the initials preceding rather than following the surnames), the title of the book (italicised), the edition if not the first, the page number(s) (first and last if more than one page) of the chapters in brackets, the section, the place of publication and the name of the publisher, e.g. Dearden, L., Goodman, A., & Saunders, P. (2003). Income and living standards. In E. Ferri, J. Bynner & M.E.J. Wadsworth (Eds.), Changing Britain, changing lives: three generations at the turn of the century (pp. 148-193). London: Institute of Education Press.  References to books should be in the same style e.g. Ferri, E., Bynner, J., & Wadsworth. M.E.J. (Eds.). (2003). Changing Britain, changing lives: three generations at the turn of the century. London: Institute of Education Press.

References to material from web-pages and e-books: These should be in the same format as those for papers or books, as appropriate, and should give a full reference to the site including where given the date of posting (or first published) on the site and the date when accessed, e.g. Martin, J., Bynner, J. Kalton, G., Boyle, P., Goldstein, H., Gayle, V., Parsons, S., & Piesse, A. (2006).  Strategic Review of Panel and Cohort Studies. Accessed 25th August 2012 from; Office for National Statistics (2011). Divorces in England and Wales 2010.  Accessed 25th August from  Some cited web material will not have a date of posting/publication date nor author(s) identified.  In such cases the in-text web reference is all that is needed e.g. Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies References to unpublished material should be included only if the work cited is a personal communication (then refer to it in the text as ‘personal communication’) or in the process of publication (then refer to it as ‘in press’ or ‘forthcoming’ as appropriate). Manuscripts in press may be cited and details may be added later if LLCS accepts the paper for publication.

Authors not complying with these reference guidelines will be asked to make all the necessary alterations themselves, if their paper is accepted for publication.


These should be placed just before the References, and should include, as appropriate, details of funding and data sources (giving the full name of each funding source, the title of the grant, and the grant reference), and details of all ethical permissions (giving the granting authority and a reference number) as appropriate, and any interests declared.Notes. As a general rule, supplementary notes should be avoided, but if thought to be essential, they should not appear on the page as ‘Footnotes', but instead, be included as Endnotes.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material may be added if it is considered important for the reader. It might include, for example, more detailed information about methods and measurements used, extended analysis, data sets, or additional figures. It will be accesible to the reader of a published paper, via a link on the RHS of the screen.All additional material must be submitted (uploaded) at the same time as the main text, following the usual uploading procedure, and cannot be altered or replaced after the paper has been accepted for publication.

Submissions containing graphics, tables, illustrations or mathematics

All graphics and tables should be embedded in the text, and have a clear, self-explanatory title, including information on any units of measurement. Tables should be designed to fit across an A4 page width (portrait format) wherever possible. Although Notes to the table for clarification or definition purposes may be necessary, comments on the material that is presented should be part of the main text, and not in the captions. Scales on graphs should be carefully chosen, and axes should be clearly labelled. Illustrations should also be clearly labelled in the text, each with a short caption. The illustrations should be cited consecutively with Arabic numbers in the text.

Use of colours for graphics and tables is welcome, and may help to improve interpretability, but authors should also keep in mind that such forms of presentation, when photocopied or printed in black and white, should still be comprehensible to the reader.

Mathematical expressions should be created in Word 2003 (or a later/ compatible package) with equation editor 3.0, unless the author has good reason to use other software, in which case please contact the Journal Manager. All equations in display format that are referred to in the text, should be consecutively numbered. It will be the author's responsibility to ensure that the mathematical expressions in a final accepted paper are correct. When reference is made to a statistical technique or model, the author should state clearly what the component parts are, and any relevant assumptions that are made. In the case of a standard model such as multiple regression a verbal description will normally suffice. In the case of more advanced or complex techniques, such as multilevel modelling, a formal statement of the model should be included (possibly in an appendix) with a clear statement of the assumptions made. Please note that it is not an acceptable alternative merely to refer to a specific computer package.Units. All biological measures should be reported in SI units, as appropriate, followed, in the text, by traditional units in parentheses. For general guidance on the International System of Units and some useful conversion factors, see 'The SI for the Health Professions' (WHO, 1977).

Author Citation

If the paper is accepted for publication, a version of the paper with all authors cited in full on the title page will be used. Only individuals who have contributed substantially to the production of the paper should be included.

Author Affiliations

The affiliations of each author must also be given in the published version. If an author's present affiliation is not that under which the work was done, both should be given.

Copy Editing

All accepted manuscripts are subject to copy editing, with reference back to author with suggested edits and queries for response. The editors reserve the right to make minor grammatical and other changes at the final stage before publication. Particular care should be taken by the author to re-read and check reference lists at this stage.


The corresponding author will be able to view a layout proof of the article on the website. At this point, only minor errors or omissions may be notified - changes in content or expression should be avoided. Corrections to the proofs should be notified within 3 days. Delay may result in publication of the paper being held over until a later issue.

As well as the relevant parts of the above guidance, authors preparing to submit profiles of longitudinal studies should also take note of the following parameters. The guidance notes below are intended to achieve some degree of comparability between Study Profile papers. They are not meant to be rigidly prescriptive, but more as identifying items that merit consideration in enabling readers to understand the main features of the design and development of the study and its achievements. Reflections on purposes, problems and social/historical context of the study are welcome alongside formal description. As we know from the classic text Looking at Lives* each longitudinal study has a different story to tell.
*Phelps, E. Furstenberg, F F. Jr and Colby, A (Eds.) New York: Russell Sage, 2002.


The paper should normally be no more longer than 5,000 words and no less than 3,000 words. This word count excludes tables, figures and bibliography. An appendix can be used for supplementary material: why the study was set up; how the study came about, separating if appropriate into types of principal aims (e.g. scientific and policy related), any additional reasons why the study has been  (is being)  set up (e.g. in response to a national change in provision of pre-school facilities or health care, the onset of an economic depression) and the current stage of the study (e.g. sampling frame chosen; sample for follow-up selected; first data collection in progress). It should include the study’s scientific aims and main research questions that are (or will be) addressed.


Sample specification (age, gender, ethnicity, multiple cohorts, single age/birth cohort(s); sample selection criteria (eligibility for inclusion and exclusion); selection process, sample size and demographic features (age, gender, social, ethnic and geographic distribution); power calculation factors (e.g. anticipated attrition, prevalence of experience or disease); any over-sampling of sub-populations.

Data collection method(s): face to face interviews, postal, on-line, computer-assisted personal interviewing, computer-assisted telephone interviewing, clinic-based data collection.

Panel maintenance: procedures for tracing respondents between data collections (‘waves’),  sustaining response and minimising attrition.

Data adjustment: any procedures used or to be used in the course of the study e.g. to compensate for sample loss,  including weighting of data and imputation of missing data at the variable and respondent level.

Coverage: Main types of data collected; topic areas (e.g. physical, cognitive and behavioural development) and within each area the broad categories of data collected; details of measures taken, including measurement methods used (best placed in an appendix); collection of ‘paradata’,  i.e. data concerning the process of data collection itself such as call-backs, reasons for refusals, data quality checking methods. Sources e.g. respondents, interviewers professionals (doctors, nurses, health visitors, teachers etc) and/or administrative or other records.

Frequency Intervals between waves and frequency of data collections (including age-related), for each type of data collected.  
Location for each type of data where collection was carried out (e.g. at home or clinic visits) and who collected the data.

Training How data collectors are trained to ensure standardized measurement.


Sources  of support and management framework.

How the study is funded. Main funding source at each wave.

How the study is managed. Day-to-day operations

Ethical approval. Types of approval sought/received (e.g.medical, educational).

Respondent agreement.   Stage(s) at which permissions for specific data collections are sought and the form they take; permissions to access external data sources (e.g. medical and administrative records).

Policy and procedures for data access i.e. governing the means of making the data available to other researchers and any restrictions that apply.

Outputs. Publications, working papers and key documentation from the study.

Evaluation. Main strengths and weaknesses, anticipated and revealed through the processes of implementation.

As well as all the relevant guidance in the above sections on Ethical Standards and Papers, authors of Research Notes should also follow the following guidance. Research notes are shorter than full papers – usually between 2000 and 3000 words in length. They will normally focus on one or two findings from a longer unpublished report, or report interim findings from ongoing research. The text should be written as concisely as possible and referencing should be kept to the minimum.

LLCS is pleased to consider for publication Special Issues and Part Special Issues (special sections) comprising sets of papers relating to a common theme. A Special Issue will normally include not less than six and not more than nine papers, not including the guest editorial. A special section will consist of not less than three and not more than five papers, not including the guest editorial. Guidance on the steps to be taken in submitting proposals for these forms of publication in the journal is set out below.                 

1.The first step is to email the Executive Editor describing, in no more than a short paragraph or two, the idea for the publication – topic addressed, type, size, origins and names of the editors.   

2. The next step is to submit a proposal in, either extended outline or full form, depending on the stage of development of the issue/section (signed-up authors and papers), including a provisional time table. However, there is still some flexibility around the proposal as the final shape of a special issue/special section will often evolve during the production process.

3. Once a proposal has been accepted, all papers are expected to pass through an internal review process, organised by the guest editor(s), before submission to the journal.

4. Once submitted to the journal, all papers will go through a process of external "blind" peer review before a final decision is made about publication.

Special issues and Special Sections normally take at least six to nine months from journal receipt of manuscripts to final publication, depending on the length of the external review process.

Apart from the two-stage review process, all other journal requirements and guidance for authors are the same as for individual papers as set out in the ABOUT section on the journal website.             

The full proposal, which will normally be three to five pages long, will need to address the following points:

1. Guest editor(s): include email addresses for all guest editors and identify who is corresponding editor.

2. Rationale for the special issue/section: what is the added scientific and communication value of assembling the papers as a coordinated set around a common theme, rather than as individual papers? This explanation will also need to be set out in a short overview paper introducing the papers and constituting the guest editorial – usually the last paper to be written.

2. Content: title and brief description (100-150 words) of each of the papers (as far as known).

3. Internal review: procedures to be adopted e.g. process to be conducted by editors alone or involving all authors and over what time scale.

4. Schedule: proposed (provisional) timetable (with dates) comprising deadlines for: submission of papers to the guest editors; completion of internal review; submission of papers to the journal individually via website, which can be as soon as each paper passes through internal review for Section Editor decision.

5. Communication plans: e.g. any plans for publicising the issue and the individual papers within it (not essential at this stage).

(Please address all technical queries to Journal Manager Sarah Jeal,


Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  2. The submission file including all tables is in Microsoft Word document format - graphics are also in a format where the text can be amended.
  3. All available URLs of references have been included and activated.
  4. The paper does not contain any automatic formatting from a package other than Word, with the exception of referencing packages and Equation Editor.
  5. The author(s) has/ve consulted the LLCS Author Guidelines, and ensured that the paper is being presented in compliance with them.
  6. Specifically, this paper conforms to the highest ethical standards, as required for LLCS papers in terms of:Authorship. Each author of the article has made a significant contribution to the concept, design, execution or interpretation of the research reported, or to drafting or critically revising the article, or giving final approval for submission for publication. Conflict of interest. Each author of the article affirms that they have no interests, financial or otherwise, which may conflict with or have affected their contribution to this article. Ethics approval and informed consent. Each author of the article affirms that ethical approval was obtained, as necessary, for all aspects of the research reported, and that details of approval processes and of gaining informed consent, where required, have been specified in the article. Access to the data. If the article reports the use of data the authors affirm that they take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the analysis. Plagiarism. The authors accept that their article may be screened for plagiarism.

Copyright Notice

Authors who publish with Longitudinal and Life Course Studies agree to the following terms:

1. Authors retain copyright and grant the Journal right of first publication with the work, simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

2. Following first publication in this Journal, Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal, provided always that no charge is made for its use.

3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g. in institutional repositories or on their own website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.


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