Higher Learning Research Communications

Submission Requirements

Please follow submission directions carefully; if you do not complete all required information, your submission may not be complete. Please carefully address the cover letter requirements. Each submission must contain a cover letter. The cover letter, at a minimum, must include how the manuscript aligns with the focus of the journal and the contribution it makes to existing knowledge in the field. Please clearly state the purpose of the paper and its expected contribution. Manuscripts will be reviewed for suitability to send to peer review. Any manuscripts that do not follow double-blind peer review requirements will be rejected. Additionally, authors are expected to submit manuscripts that have been carefully edited for academic English. Manuscripts that do not adhere to these guidelines will be returned.

Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID)

ORCID is a unique number that connects you uniquely to your scholarly and innovation contributions. It takes just moments to obtain an ORCID at https://orcid.org/. The HLRC is among a large and growing group of journals requiring all authors to provide an ORCID. All authors must provide an ORCID for a submitted manuscript to be considered by the HLRC.

Types of Manuscripts

Empirical Study: This type of manuscript presents a comprehensive research study that has general applicability to a global audience. Empirical studies also include comprehensive critical literature reviews.

Research Brief<: This type of manuscript presents a study that is more limited in scope and provides important information for researchers and practitioners in a global context. These could include the results of pilot studies meant to generate ideas for larger comprehensive studies or studies limited to a particular setting but potentially applicable to a larger audience.

Essay: Essays provide a well-developed, logical perspective on a subject. Essays are expected to be based on evidence and provide a perspective that includes multiple viewpoints and schools of thought.

Editorial: Editorials provide an opportunity for experts in a particular area to provide a viewpoint on a particular topic. Editorials are grounded in evidence but tend to reflect more of the writer's opinions. Editorials may include commentaries on previously published work.

Book Reviews: Book reviews provide an opportunity for scholars and practitioners to share thoughts on books considered important to the professions and disciplines. Book reviews are not opinion pieces in that they reflect a balanced point of view. They bring a critical perspective to understanding the book authors' purpose, methods, and perspectives.

Higher Education Innovations: Higher Education Innovations provide scholarly, evidence-based perspectives on a practice that has broader implications for higher education. The approach to writing is like an essay. However, these manuscripts thoroughly describe the innovation and its application in context and include significant literature reviews that support the innovation. Such innovations would be considered important for a global academic readership.

Formatting Requirements

Before you begin, see the attached template for specific guidance on organizing and formatting manuscripts and the required fonts and type sizes. Please adapt the organization to the needs of the specific type of manuscript you are submitting (empirical study, research brief, critical literature review, essay/editorial, etc.). As we do not charge a processing fee, having the manuscript formatting consistent with the journal publishing standards helps during the review and copyediting phases. Manuscripts that do not follow the requested template may be returned.

  • Do not include a title page; please include the abstract.
  • HLRC abstract format contains the following sections: Objectives; Methods; Results; Conclusions; Implications. The abstract length should be no more than 250 words. This can be appropriately modified for essays, editorials, and book reviews.
  • Do not include headers or footers. The editors will add these.
  • Submit your manuscript, including tables, figures, appendices, etc., as a single file (Word or RTF files are accepted). Please include tables and figures where they would be in the manuscript; do not place them at the end.
  • Page size should be standard letter size.
  • All margins (left, right, top, and bottom) should be 1.5 inches (3.8 cm), including your tables and figures.
  • Single space your text.
  • Use a single column layout with both left and right margins justified.
  • If figures are included, use high-resolution figures, preferably encoded as encapsulated PostScript (eps).
  • Copyedit your manuscript. Manuscripts that are not properly edited run a higher risk of rejection at the editor's desk review. Reviewers spend valuable time providing comprehensive reviews, which is greatly complicated by manuscripts that are not carefully edited and proofread before submission. Special note to authors for whom English is not the first language: You must have your manuscript reviewed and carefully edited by someone with experience writing in academic English for scientific publication. This includes copyediting and reviewing for correct translation for meaning. The HLRC does not have the resources to do this level of copyediting, and this responsibility falls upon the authors.
  • When possible, there should be no pages where more than a quarter of the page is empty space.

Additional Recommendations

Language and Grammar

All submissions must be in English. We will also publish the study abstract in the author's native language at their request, but this should be written once the manuscript is approved for publication.

Except for common foreign words and phrases, the use of foreign words and phrases should be avoided.

Authors should use proper, standard English grammar. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White (now in its fourth edition) is the "standard" guide. However, other excellent guides (e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press) exist as well.

Article Length

Because this journal publishes electronically, page limits are less relevant than in print publications. We are happy, therefore, to let authors take advantage of this flexibility to include material that they might otherwise have to cut to get into a print journal. However, authors must exercise discretion concerning length. Generally, we expect manuscripts to be 7000 to 9000 words (the upper limit for qualitative or mixed methods studies).

Colored Text

Set the font color to black for the majority of the text. Authors are advised to avoid using colors when their translation to black and white would render the material illegible or incomprehensible.

Ensure that there are no colored mark-ups or comments in the final version unless they are meant to be part of the final text. (You may need to "accept all changes" in track changes or set your document to "normal" in final markup.)

Emphasized Text

Use italics to indicate text you wish to emphasize rather than underlining it. Do not use color to emphasize text.

Foreign Terms

Set foreign terms in italics rather than underlining them.


Set titles of books, movies, etc. in italics.


Footnotes should appear at the bottom of the page on which they are referenced rather than at the end of the paper. Footnotes should be single-spaced and have a footnote separator rule (line). Footnote numbers or symbols in the text must follow, rather than precede, punctuation. Excessively long footnotes are probably better handled in an appendix. All footnotes should be left and right-justified (i.e., flush with the right margin) unless this creates awkward spacing.

Tables and Figures

Tables and figures should appear in the document near where they are referenced in the text. Large tables or figures should be put on pages by themselves. Avoid the use of overly small type in tables. All tables and figures must fit within 1.5" margins on all sides (top, bottom, left, and right) in both portrait and landscape view.


Roman letters used in mathematical expressions as variables should be italicized. Roman letters used as part of multi-letter function names should not be italicized. Subscripts and superscripts should be a smaller font size than the main text.

Short mathematical expressions should be typed inline. Longer expressions should appear as display math. Expressions using many different levels (e.g., such as the fractions) should be set as display math. Important definitions or concepts can also be set off as display math.

Equations should be numbered sequentially. Whether equation numbers are on the right or left is the author(s) ' choice. However, you are expected to be consistent in your choice.

Symbols and notation in unusual fonts should be avoided. This will not only enhance the clarity of the manuscript, but it will also help ensure that it displays correctly on the reader's screen and prints correctly on a printer. When proofing your document under PDF, pay particular attention to the rendering of the mathematics, especially symbols and notation that are drawn from other than standard fonts.


The author must provide complete references with the necessary information. References should appear right after the end of the document and beginning on the last page. References must be constructed in a way consistent with the requirements of the most current edition of the American Psychological Association style guide. Per the latest edition of the APA Style Guide, digital object identifiers (DOI) must be included where available and written as a complete URL (i.e., they should be prefaced by http (or https)//doi.org/. Please make sure to include DOI as part of the references. A helpful resource for DOI search is https://doi.crossref.org/simpleTextQuery.