For Contributors

This page contains guidelines and instructions for preparing academic and artistic submissions to BIG_Review (for books, see BIG_Books)


Journal Focus

BIG_Review provides a forum for academic and creative explorations of borders in the 21st century. We publish high-quality and original works in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, that explore various aspects of borders in an increasingly globalized world. Borders offer metaphoric-conceptual tools for the study of differentiation and integration, mandating a wide range of artistic, theoretical, and empirical explorations. The journal is committed to academic peer review, public access, policy relevance, and cultural significance.

See more on the journal's Focus and Scope.

Submission Guidelines

BIG_Review publishes scholarship (academic articles, review essays, research notes, book reviews, and film reviews), policy work (briefs and reports), and artwork (photography, painting, poetry, short stories, and more).

Scholarly submissions should engage with the research literature on borders, including, for example, borderlands, borderscapes, and bordering processes. We are interested in studies that go beyond the ‘land image’ by exploring borders as non-contiguous, functional, aterritorial, mobile, electronic, biometric, etc. We are equally interested in the potential of Indigenous knowledges to transform border studies, along with questions of colonialism, climate change, and sustainability. Research questions might include: What challenges are posed by subnational and transnational groups? What challenges do borders pose to communities and migrants? How are cultures shaped by borders, and vice-versa? How are technologies shaping borders? We encourage innovative theoretical work and explorations of borders widely construed, as well as empirical and quantitative research. We welcome scholarly submissions from all disciplines and backgrounds.

BIG_Review also promotes artistic submissions pertaining to borders (borders understood broadly: political, social, cultural, metaphoric, personal). Borders can capture the popular imagination and inspire creative works. Artwork can reflect and influence the cultures that shape borders. We promote small portfolios and individual works, including original poems, photos, paintings, short stories, creative essays, film and literature reviews, artistic commentaries, and other forms of art. Artists retain copyright of their work and benefit from increased exposure at no cost to them.

BIG_ Review’s policy section translates academic research and scholarship into focused, plain-language reports available to everyone. Writing policy briefings and reports is a special skillset that requires researchers to step outside of their academic training and to imagine what their work might look like to someone without their background. Researchers need to present their work in ways that inspire and enable non-experts to incorporate the findings into their policy frameworks. This means submissions should use clear and relatable language, catchy titles and headings, appeal to current events and issues, avoid jargon and theory, cite relatively few sources, and avoid footnotes. Policy suggestions should flow naturally from the research’s key findings.

For technical submission requirements, see below. 

Peer Review Process 

Each academic article and essay considered for publication in BIG_Review undergoes at least two double-blind peer reviews from our expert and international Editorial Board (board members are listed in a panel on this page and on the first page of the the journal). In the event of a split recommendation, a third (and sometimes a fourth) review may be obtained. Publication decisions are based on these reviews.

The Editor-in-Chief will notify authors as early as possible as to whether their paper has been accepted for publication. Selected manuscripts are assigned a member of the editorial team, who will work with the author to address any outstanding issues concerning style or substantive content prior to publication. Papers that do not abide by the publication’s style guide will not be accepted.

Once revisions have been completed and a final decision has been made by the Editor-in-Chief, final copyediting and formatting will be provided by BIG_Review.

Open Access and Distribution

BIG_Review is an open-access publication. It is available online for free to readers worldwide. You may share it with anyone.

Unless otherwise stated, all works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). See also Copyright Notice.

We distribute each issue to a recipient list of more than 1000 scholars and policy makers located in Canada, the United States, Mexico and in over 60 other countries around the world. We also promote the content on social media, including paid promotion.

Fee for Publishing Academic Article or Essay

We are able to share peer-reviewed academic work around the world for free (open access) in part because we charge a $250 (Cdn) article processing charge (publication fee) to the author(s) of approved and published submissions, and we charge $2,500 (Cdn) to guest editor(s) for special sections or special issues (thematic collections up to ten articles) that are approved and published. We encourage authors and guest editors to seek support from research funds, grants, and supporting institutions. The fee allows author(s) to publish work that is both refereed (with at least two double-blind peer reviews) and shareable with friends, family, and social media (Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0). The fee only applies once to academic submissions that have been approved and prepared for publication. There are no fees for submissions that are not published, and there are no fees for book or film reviews or for any artistic submissions (paint, poetry, story, etc.).


Academic Submission Requirements

Articles and social science and humanities papers that advance academic disciplines through research, data, and theory. Articles should be between 7,000 and 10,000 words in length.

Essays are short academic papers, including literature reviews, with greater leeway for experimentation,  persuasive writing, and creative approaches. Essays should use fewer references (no more than 10 references, except for literature reviews, which may include more). Essays should be between 1,000 and 4,000 words.

Research notes engage with single concepts, terms, or debates pertaining to border studies, using few references (no more than five). Research notes should be between 750 and 1,200 words.

Book reviews summarize and evaluate academic (or fiction) books relating to borders and border studies. Book reviews should be between 500 and 1,000 words.

Film reviews summarize and evaluate films and television relating to borders and border studies. Film reviews should be between 500 and 1,000 words.

All academic articles and essays must include an abstract (75 to 200 words) that summarizes the paper, including the main argument or findings, the disciplinary background or approach, and any research literatures or theories relied upon. 

Submissions must be written in English (although we also consider French and Spanish submissions).

BIG_Review citation style is very similar to Chicago "author-date" manual of style. This means all citations are contained inside parentheses within the text, listing author(s) last name, and the year of publication (and pagination when appropriate, especially following quotations). Complete bibliographic details of all references are contained in Works Cited at the end of the manuscript, listed alphabetically by author last name, with year of publication preceding work title. All references to academic journal articles must include DOI weblinks or other stable URLs at the end of the entry. This increases the exposure of your work.

Quotations should never end with a period or a comma inside the quotation marks, unless the punctuation is original to source; otherwise, periods and commas come after and outside the quotation marks. In the case of article titles in the Works Cited, these should be in quotation marks and followed by no punctuation marks, neither commas nor periods, as in the following examples.

Examples of BIG_Review citation and reference style (notice the placement of all punctuation):

According to some scholars, borders raise normative imperatives as well as territorial considerations: “what borders do”, for example, “should always be related to the overriding ethical concern that they serve and not undermine human dignity” (Agnew 2008, 176).

Works Cited

Agnew, John. 2008. “Borders on the Mind: Re-framing Border Thinking” Ethics & Global Politics 1(4): 175–191. https://doi. org/10.3402/egp.v1i4.1892 

Andreas, Peter, and Thomas J. Biersteker (eds.). 2003. The Rebordering of North America: Integration and Exclusion in a New Security Context. London and New York: Routledge. 

Jones, Reece. 2012. Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States, India, and Israel. New York and London: Zed Books.

O’Lear, Shannon. 2016. “Geopolitics and Climate Change: The Case of the Missing Embodied Carbon” in Shannon O’Lear and Simon Dalby (eds.) Reframing Climate Change: Constructing Ecological Geopolitics. London: Routledge. 100–115. 

Shear, Michael, and Maggie Haberman. 2019. “Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff Deal” New York Times (June 8).

Endnotes are not used for citations and should be used sparingly. Endnotes may be used for substantive observations or supplementary material, but not for citing (though endnote content may include in-text citations). Endnotes should appear together at the end of the manuscript. We use endnotes, not footnotes.

For numerals, single-digit numbers are spelled out ("zero" through "nine") but higher-digit numerals (starting with "10") are written with numbers. For example, "the total membership rose from just seven to a staggering 6,500". Note that a comma is inserted in four-digit numbers and higher (not for years). Large numbers in units of hundred, thousand, million, etc., may combine numerals with spelling, for example: "There were 18 million applications and just six hundred awards."

Units and percentages are spelled out, as in “kilometer” (not “km”) and “percent” (not “%”), unless the text is particularly heavy on units and percentages, in which case these should be abbreviated.

Figures and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end (or markers are used within the text to indicate placement).

Sentences are separated by one space, not two. Paragraphs are separated by an additional line.

Academic submission files must be Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), and include two documents: a) an anonymized version (for prospective reviewers); and b) a separate copy of the title page alone with the submission title and author information, including highest degree obtained, job title, department, institution, and contact options (i.e., email and social media).

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).

Submissions are not guaranteed approval. BIG_Review reserves the right to reject submissions on any ground.

To submit academic work, follow the steps on our Submit page

Artistic Submission Requirements

Our electronic platform permits a wide range of media, from print to visual, video, animation, and interactive.

Prose (short stories, creative essays, film and literature reviews, artistic/critical commentaries) should be double-spaced and use a 12-point font. Length may vary. Accompanying photos and artwork are welcome.

Visual art (photography, painting, etc.) and other visual art must be high-resolution, BMP, JPEG, or PNG, including separate captions.

Poetry formats may vary (length, layout, font, font size, etc). Accompanying photos and artwork are welcome.

All submissions must be previously unpublished and not simultaneously before other publishers for consideration, unless other arrangements are made with our editors.

Submissions are not guaranteed approval. BIG_Review reserves the right to reject submissions on any ground.

To submit artistic work, follow the steps on our Submit page or contact our Chief Editor.

Policy Submission Requirements

Policy submissions may take two forms: policy reports or policy briefs. Policy reports should be 4,000 words in length, include a short summary (100 to 300 words), executive summary, findings, and conclusion with implications and recommendations. Policy briefs should be 2,000 words, include a short summary (three bullet points), and must conform to the following template (reports may adopt this format as well): 

Title [A policy briefing title should capture the reader’s attention and clearly state the brief’s purpose]

Author [full name, highest degree, position, institution, city, country, and contact info (email and/or website and/or social media account if applicable)]

Executive Summary [An executive summary details the central themes and purpose of the report and will also contain one or two explicitly stated policy suggestions in the conclusion. An executive summary fills a similar role as a research paper abstract, though it is longer, less technical, and written in plain language that is accessible to non-experts. Whenever possible, avoid the use to jargon or theory. Your sentences and overall approach should strive for brevity and clarity. You should write the executive summary last.]

Introduction [A good introduction will provide the reader with an outline of the problem or question being tackled by the research and will justify why the research is of interest/importance to the audience you are trying to reach. It will also provide a brief overview of the research and its findings and will encourage the reader to continue reading.]

Approach and Results [Here, you will lay out a summary of the research’s findings, and a short description of the project’s methods and analysis (who conducted it, how was it conducted, what research methods were employed). The findings should start by painting a general picture, before providing specific detail. This section should not be too technical, as it will be read by a non-specialized audience. If applicable, this section should also highlight potential opportunities that emerge from the research.]

Conclusion [Interpret your findings for your audience. Make sure your conclusions flow from your findings and are supported by them. Be as definite as you can be. Aim for clear assertions rather than equivocations.] 

Implications and recommendations [Implications are what could happen, based on the research; recommendations are what should happen. Both need to flow from the conclusions and be supported by the evidence. Implications tell the reader “If ‘X’, then…” Even if specific advice hasn’t been requested, implications – when phrased correctly – can imply a course of action regardless. Recommendations ought to state clearly what should happen next. They should be related in a step-by-step fashion, and they must be relevant, credible, and feasible.]

Privacy Statement

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