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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.

  • Submissions should not have been previously published, nor should they currently be before another journal for consideration.
  • Ensure citations in the essay have been formatted according to the 7th edition of APA Style. Where available, provide DOIs in your references.
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, RTF, Markdown, or LaTeX document file formats. If you submit in LaTeX, please also include a PDF conversion of the document.
  • The submission is in a single file, containing these elements: title, abstract, reflective essay, assignment. Supplementary files may be submitted separately if desired.
  • Remove identifying information from your manuscript. This process should include editing the manuscript to omit information about your university and alter self-citations to avoid self-identification. Document metadata that identifies the author should be removed.
  • When creating your user profile during the submission process, make sure to enter the following as you would wish them to appear in our journal: your "preferred public name," email address, and academic affiliation. To input your affiliation, click "more user details" on the profile page. Affiliation should include the name of the institution for which you work, but not your title or department.

Prompt publishes academic writing assignments for undergraduates or graduate students accompanied by reflective essays. Detailed guidelines for authors follow below.

Please note that we do not publish assignments aimed at pre-college students, including those used in summer bridge or college-bound programs.

There are no author fees for submitting or publishing in Prompt. We are a scholar-published, non-profit journal and are not affiliated with any publishing company.

Detailed Guidelines for Authors
We accept open submissions, and all submissions should be submitted through this website. If you have any trouble navigating the online submission process, you can contact our editors at thepromptjournal@gmail.com.

Our journal focuses on individual writing assignments. If there are multiple assignments in a course, choose the most innovative to highlight in your submission to our journal. You may offer details about other relevant course assignments in your reflective essay, and you might even offer other course materials as "supplementary materials" that readers of Prompt can review if they wish.  If you want to describe a series of assignments that is linked in such a substantive way that it does not make sense to write about only one assignment apart from the others, we recommend that you query the editors before composing a submission to the journal.

We ask contributors to treat the assignment as an artifact that they use the essay to explain. You may lightly revise the assignment in order to make it more legible to an outside reader, but the assignment should not be substantially rewritten. The kinds of revision you might undertake include:

  • Adding information that was communicated in class and which is fundamental to understanding the assignment
  • Removing departmental or university boilerplate language (e.g. about learning outcomes) that isn’t representative of your own thinking
  • Defining terms that your students would know but that a reader of Prompt may not know

The one change we do ask that you make is replacing specific dates with more general markers of time. So, if an assignment happens during the course of the week, you could use Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. If an assignment takes a month to complete, Week 1, Week 2, etc., will be appropriate.

The assignment can be any length--as short or as long as it was when it was presented to students.

The assignment will stand alone and be referenced by the essay through paraphrase and quotation; it should not be embedded in the essay in its entirety. (See previous issues for examples of the presentation of the assignment itself.)

Assignments must have been taught to students at least once to be considered. Assignments that have been taught multiple times tend to form the basis for stronger submissions.

Reflective Essay
A writing assignment needs context to be intelligible and useful to our students, and the same is true when we share assignments with colleagues. Each assignment in Prompt is accompanied by a short essay of approximately 2500 words (not counting references, titles and sub-titles, and any figures).

Your essay should consist of both description and reflection, and it should respond to the following guiding questions:

  • What are the key ideas and features that characterize this assignment? Keep in mind that many readers will read the essay before examining the assignment itself. The essay should fully introduce the assignment as though the reader is unfamiliar with it. We recommend that the introduction to your essay include a clear, succinct (2-3 sentence) description of the assignment to help orient the reader.
  • What were the institutional, disciplinary, and specific course contexts for this assignment?
  • How and why did you develop the assignment? Are there precedents, influences, or points of reference you can share?
  • What were your experiences of teaching the assignment? This may include details of how you approached teaching aspects of the assignment inside the classroom, your responses to student work, or other relevant details of the experience of teaching this assignment.
  • What is your sense of students’ experiences of undertaking the work of the assignment? What was noteworthy to you about the approaches they took and the work they did?
  • In implementing the assignment in your teaching, what successful outcomes have you seen? What limits do you think the assignment has?
  • What future plans, if any, do you have for developing this assignment or adapting it to new contexts?
  • How do you imagine that other faculty might build on the work you have done?
  • Optional: Links to any supplementary online material, such as examples of student writing that was made public as a part of this assignment.

Beyond covering these topics, we invite you to invest the writing with your own style and to emphasize the elements that are most appropriate for your submission.

Style, Format, Documentation

Examine our published essays for examples of the stylistic variety of the essays in the journal. We allow a range of voices (e.g., highly personal, more neutral) to accommodate the writing styles of scholars from across disciplines. We encourage the use of the first person.

Format your citations and references using the 7th edition of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (i.e. APA style).

Our editorial style closely follows APA style. We have created a style guide document that contains guidance for authors on commonly asked questions, including on a few matters the APA guide does not directly address. (You may request our style guide by email if you have trouble accessing it online.)

We recognize that language, usage, and style are both disciplinary and personal. We are always open to conversations about choices authors would like to make that diverge from our journal’s style.


Every submission should have a brief abstract. Please formulate an abstract that communicates: (1) the type of assignment, (2) key intellectual or disciplinary contexts for the assignment, and (3) the novelty or relevance of the assignment.

Sharing Student Writing

While Prompt offers authors a platform to share intellectual work from their teaching, we ask authors to be thoughtful about representing student work publicly. Authors may wish to share excerpts from student writing in their essays. Such excerpts are valuable to our readers, but proper permissions from student authors should be secured. We require authors to either get the student-authors’ written permission to share student writing or to secure formal approval from their institutional research ethics office to share the student writing in a scholarly publication (e.g. through IRB approval).

If your essay includes information or language from student feedback on the course that was collected through recurring institutional processes, such as customary end-of-term course evaluations, these materials may be freely represented and discussed in our journal. If an author has conducted unique, course-specific surveys and is reporting results or sharing excerpts of students’ responses in their essay, they should consult with their university research ethics office to discuss whether additional permissions (such as IRB approval) are required for sharing that information in a publication. 

We do not host sample student essays, but your essay may link to work your students have made public elsewhere.

Plagiarism and Academic Honesty
All ideas, language, data, and visual elements that are not the author's own should be clearly attributed to their sources. If evidence of plagiarism or other scholarly misconduct is brought to the editors' attention, we follow the Commission on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines for resolving the issue(s) in a transparent and ethical manner.

Guidance on Joint Authorship
Oftentimes writing prompts are developed collaboratively. They are also sometimes taught collaboratively. In cases where an assignment has been developed and/or taught through a collaboration, the group should jointly decide about whether and how to write about the assignment for publication, and questions of authorship should be openly negotiated. It is not appropriate for an instructor who developed an assignment in collaboration with colleagues to present their work to our editors and readers as though it was their sole intellectual product. Teaching assistants should be considered for authorship if they contributed in a meaningful way to the development and teaching of the assignment.

In cases where a new assignment builds upon the work of a previously existing assignment by another instructor but was not developed in personal collaboration with the previous assignment's author, the author of the source assignment should be given direct and clear credit for their intellectual work in the author's reflective essay, but co-authorship is not appropriate.
We leave it to authors to decide the order in which authors will be listed, a choice that can be influenced by different disciplinary practices.

Typical Submission Process and Timeline
The publication process can seem mysterious to authors, as journals can have very different editorial practices and timelines. We share below our general process and timeline in the spirit of transparency, so that authors understand our process and can make decisions about submission and revision with this information in mind. We are a scholar-run journal edited by a small team of volunteers, and our practices and timeline reflect this reality.

Initial review. Incoming manuscripts receive an initial, internal review, typically led by Associate Editors. Manuscripts that are not a fit for the journal (e.g. those which are written for a different audience or purpose than those in our journal or which omit key information relevant to our journal) are declined at this point. Manuscripts that are a good fit for the journal are sent out for peer review after appropriate and available reviewers are located. This process takes 1-2 months, depending on how quickly reviewers are confirmed.

Peer review. Peer reviewers read submissions, make decisions, and write letters to editors/authors. We choose peer reviewers based upon how closely their scholarship and academic interests align with the topic of the submission. When experts in the disciplinary area of the submission are not available to review, we may seek reviewers from our Editorial Board and/or writing across the curriculum experts to serve as reviewers. Authors’ identities are not revealed to reviewers. Reviewers are given the option to sign their reviews or leave them anonymous, which allows us to respect different disciplinary conventions and personal preferences. Reviewers are given 3 weeks to undertake this work. Sometimes, they require extensions, which lengthens the process. Next, editors examine reviews and make final decisions about whether a submission will be declined, moved on to editorial review, or if an author will be asked to revise and resubmit. Editors share a decision and relevant feedback with authors. This process occurs within 2-3 weeks of receiving of reviewers’ reports. If the decision is to ask an author to revise and resubmit, the peer review process is repeated when we receive the revised manuscript.

An additional note--as has been noted in multiple places (e.g., this article in Inside Higher Ed), it is becoming harder for journals to locate peer reviewers. We have also experienced this, and it is making the peer review process slower than it previously was. We do everything we can to locate peer reviewers in a timely way and to encourage them to meet deadlines they agree to.

Editorial review and copyediting. Once reviewers and editors have approved a submission, the manuscript moves to an editorial review process that can involve additional developmental revision as well as copyediting. The duration of this process varies greatly, depending upon the nature of revisions required and the speed of an author’s response.  A well-written manuscript with a responsive author can complete this process in several weeks. Once editorial review is completed, the manuscript is considered to be accepted and forthcoming.

Proofreading. After editorial review is completed, a manuscript is proofread, and authors are asked to review the proofreader’s suggestions. This process takes 2-3 weeks.

Production. At this point, the submission is queued for publication. We publish the journal twice a year, in summer and winter. Articles are published in the next issue being published after the proofreading process is complete. Production involves a page proof review by authors.

We understand that the progress of a manuscript toward publication can be stressful and may have a bearing on authors’ tenure and promotion applications, and we take seriously that you have entrusted your work to us for a fair and reasonable review. When needed, we can write letters for an author’s use that indicate the status of a manuscript with our journal.  If the process breaks down for unexpected reasons, we will reach out to you. Our editors welcome questions from authors about the status of a submission at any point in the process. You do not negatively affect your chances of being published by checking in with a query about the status of your submission.

Current Production Schedule
We publish biannually. Our current production schedule may be of interest to prospective authors:

  • February 2024, issue 8.1. A regular issue. Submissions received through early 2023 that move through the editorial process in a timely way may appear in this issue. 
  • July/August 2024, 8.2. A special issue, In limine, on writing assignments at the transition from undergraduate to law school. Call for proposals closed January 31, 2023.
  • February 2025, issue 9.1. A regular issue. Submissions received through early 2024 may appear in this issue.
  • July/August 2025, issue 9.2. A special issue focused on assignments within the NYU Expository Writing Program. Call for proposals closed January 15, 2024.