Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The Journal of Youth Development fills a unique and critical niche in the youth development arena: it is a place designed for bridging applied research and practice. In other words, it addresses issues and features studies  and practice efforts that have implications for those working with and on behalf of young people in youth-serving organizations and the intermediaries that support them.

To that end, we have refined our section policies below. We seek Feature Articles that address important topics, issues and trends, Research & Evaluation Studies that share new findings from approaches to applied research and evaluation, and Program & Practice Articles that present and discuss programs, practices, trainings and policies designed to inform and improve practice. These sections are peer-reviewed, and authors need to specify how their articles bridge youth development research and practice.

Our Resource Reviews share valuable resources and keep JYD readers abreast of important developments in the field. Our invited Thought Leader Commentaries provide cutting-edge thinking on major issues by leading figures in the field. Both of these sections are editor-reviewed though suggestions for resources to review and thought leaders to invite are most welcome.


Section Policies

Feature Articles

Feature Articles provide synthesis, analysis, and potentially new findings on important topics, issues and trends - particularly those that bridge between and have implications for practice, research and policy. The purpose is to consolidate or advance what is known and help shape the field of youth development. These peer-reviewed articles generally either 1) look across studies and programs on a broad issue with implications for improving practice, focusing applied research, and/or informing policy (e.g., meta-analyses, theoretical integrations); or 2) involve major applied research that tackles similarly important issues in the field (i.e., research topics that transcend a single program and broadly inform principles of youth development). Neither type are typically based on a single evaluation or research study unless very complex and multi-faceted. 4000-6000 words. Sample Article Sample Article

  • Andrea Ettekal
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Program & Practice Articles

Program & Practice Articles provide evidence-informed descriptions of programs, practices, trainings and policies with implications for application or replication. The purpose is to inform and improve practice. These peer-reviewed articles summarize an innovative program, practice or professional development effort with demonstrated results to inform practice. They can include research or evaluation results, but are not simply reporting program evaluation findings and must provide sufficient descriptions of the practice or program. 2000-4000 words. Sample Article  Sample Article

  • Maria Guzman-Rocha
  • Kate Walker
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Research & Evaluation Studies

Research & Evaluation Studies either provide new findings from applied research and evaluation with implications for practice or describe new methods or measures helpful to applied research or the continuous improvement of practice. The purpose is to share new knowledge and research or evaluation approaches. These peer-reviewed articles summarize a significant study related to youth development practice, the profession, or the field. They should not typically be findings from a single program evaluation unless presenting and discussing broader implications for the field. 2000-4000 words. Sample Article  Sample Article 

  • Jill Young
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Resource Reviews

Resource Reviews provide opportunities to share valuable resources and keep JYD readers abreast of important developments in the field. These critical reviews of a resource useful to practitioners, applied researchers, and those bridging research and practice are reviewed by the section editor. Resources can be books, reports, tools or curricula that are publically accessible (but not necessarily free). 600-1000 words. Sample Book Review Sample Curriculum Review

  • Theresa Ferrari
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Thought Leader Commentary

Thought Leader Commentaries provide cutting-edge thinking on critical topics by major practice, research, and policy leaders in our field.  These commentaries can be based on lessons learned or identifying challenges and opportunities for the field. They are designed as commentaries and can include recommendations or calls to action. These reflections on major issues by leading figures from various aspects of the field - including policy, practice, research, professional development, intermediaries, and young people themselves – are invited and reviewed by the section or special issue editor. 2000-4000 words. Sample Commentary Sample Commentary

  • Dale Blyth
Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

JYD uses a double-blind peer-review process, in which reviewers do not know the identity of the authors, and the identity of the reviewers is not revealed to the authors. JYD aims to complete the review process and provide feedback to authors within twelve weeks of submission.

Manuscripts judged to be of potential interest to our readership are sent for formal review, typically to two or three reviewers. Reviewers rate submissions on criteria including:

  • Significance: Articles should address topics that are relevant for and important to JYD readers. They should address key issues of youth development practice and/or research.
  • Originality: Articles should introduce new and innovative work and ideas. They should add to existing knowledge of best practice, research or theory.
  • Quality: Articles should meet high standards of intellectual and methodological rigor. They should be credible, valid and reliable.
  • Coherence: Articles should be clear, organized and well-developed. They should make sense, be well written, and easy for JYD readers to understand.
  • Application to Practice: Articles should have clear implications for practice that are useful, realistic, and relevant for practitioners’ consideration.

The editors then make a decision based on the reviewers' advice, from among several possibilities:

  • Decline: This manuscript should not be accepted for publication.
  • Resubmit for Review: This manuscript needs majoy revision and further review.
  • Revisions Required: This manuscript shoudl be accepted with minor revisions.
  • Accept: This manuscript should be published as submitted.

We want the publishing process to be a positive one. We provide our authors constructive reviewer feedback and helpful editorial assistance. We are piloting a Publishing Mentorship effort to connect authors with a member of our Publications Committee to support their revision. 


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content. Our publisher, the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh, abides by the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of Open Access:

“By “open access” to [peer-reviewed research literature], we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”

Researchers engage in discovery for the public good, yet because of cost barriers or use restrictions imposed by other publishers, research results are not available to the full community of potential users. It is our mission to support a greater global exchange of knowledge by making the research published in this journal open to the public and reusable under the terms of a Creative Commons CC-BY license.

Furthermore, we encourage authors to post their pre-publication manuscript in institutional repositories or on their Web sites prior to and during the submission process, and to post the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version after publication. These practices benefit authors with productive exchanges as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.

There are no article processing charges, submissions fees, or any other costs required of authors to submit articles to this journal.



This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...


Statement on Publishing Ethics

Adherence to ethical standards for the dissemination of research results is critical to the research process. JYD adheres to the Core Practices of the Committee On Publication Ethics (COPE), the Code of Conduct of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Submission Process

  1. How often is the journal published? The journal typically publishes four issues per year (March, June, September and December). Typically, the spring issue is a special issue on a specific topic.
  2. Who is JYD’s target audience? The journal is intended for those who seek to bridge research and practice in either direction. JYD serves applied researchers and evaluators as well as practitioners who work in youth-serving organizations or the intermediaries that support them.
  3. Where can I find author guidelines? You’ll find author guidelines under About the Journal (see both Policies and Submissions). Sample articles are provided in Section Policies. Articles are submitted through the online system. You need to register on the site to submit an article. 
  4. Does JYD have deadlines for submitting manuscripts? JYD accepts submissions on an ongoing basis. However, there are deadlines for special issues – please see the special issue’s Call for Papers.

Review and Revision Process

  1. Is JYD a refereed journal? All submissions undergo initial review by the editor. If advanced by the editor, Feature Articles, Research & Evaluation Studies and Program & Practice Articles undergo double-blind peer review. Resource Reviews and Thought Leaders Commentaries are editor-reviewed.
  2. How long does it take for a manuscript to move through the review processes? This depends on many factors, including reviewer and author response rates. Anticipate a 6-9 month timeline from submission to publication.
  3. Are there opportunities to serve as a reviewer? Yes, when you register at jyd.pitt.edu, please indicate your willingness to serve a reviewer, along with your areas of interest or expertise so submissions can easily be matched with appropriate reviewers. 
  4. How do I resubmit my revision?  Include an explanation of how you have revised your article to respond to the reviewers’ comments and suggestions. Revisions need to be submitted through the online system. That way we can better manage things, and you'll be able to track progress too. Please click on your submission, go to the Review tab, and under Editor Decision there is a field labelled "Upload Author."  That's where you can upload both your revision and your explanation. 

Access and Impact

  1. Is JYD open access? Yes, all published articles are free for everyone to read and download. Thanks to our two co-sponsoring associations and a host of in-kind contributions, JYD does not charge any article processing or submission fees. Further, JYD articles are all published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license and the author(s) retains copyright.
  2. Do JYD articles have DOIs? Yes, all our articles have a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), or a unique string of numbers and letters that permanently identifies and links to an article on the web.
  3. Are JYD articles indexed? Yes, with our new publishing platform, all our articles are indexed and can be easily found by search engines like Google Scholar. In 2017 JYD selected for coverage in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), a new database within Web of Science. In 2019, JYD was accepted into Scopus, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature.
  4. Does JYD have an impact factor? Not yet. Two companies have competing bibliographical citation databases:
  • Impact Factor (IF) is a measure to assess journals indexed in the Web of Science. It is produced by Clarivate Analytics. In 2017 JYD was selected for coverage in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), a new database within Web of Science that extends the universe of publications to include high-quality, peer-reviewed publications of regional importance and in emerging scientific fields. This is the first step in applying to the Science Citation Index, Social Science Citation Index and Arts and Humanities Citation Index. 
  • CiteScore (CS) is a new metric based on journals recorded in Scopus. It is produced by Elsevier. In 2019 JYD was accepted into Scopus, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. This increases the visibility of the journal and validates the work produced.


Envision Yourself as an Author

For many youth development professionals the publication process can seem overwhelming. This 1-hour presentation sets you up for success by reviewing publishing benefits, obstacles and myths, and how to overcome common mistakes. You’ll come away with five tips for getting started, understand the standard article components and what reviewers are looking for, and walk through the steps in the publishing process so you know what to expect. The presenters have extensive experience as journal authors, reviewers, and JYD editors.