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Advice for Authors
A manuscript submitted to the journal should be oriented to the scope and mission of ijCSCL. It should:
- Make a clear, novel contribution to research on computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL).
- Focus on how learning unfolds in the context of collaborative activity and how to design effective technological and pedagogical settings to support collaborative learning.
- Present a persuasive, articulate and focused argument for its claims.
- Be situated within the current discourse of the CSCL research community, as reflected in the journals and conferences sponsored by ISLS and similar sources. Authors should have read previous ijCSCL papers, freely available at www.ijCSCL.org/?go=contents.
- Describe its methods and meet the scientific standards of the methodology it chooses. ijCSCL accepts papers within any established methodological tradition or proposing an innovative method with sound arguments.
- Provide data or other evidence supporting its major claims. In general, stand-alone self-reports of students or of users collected in surveys or questionnaires are not usually sufficient to document claims about the effectiveness of technologies and pedagogies or to support explanations of collaborative learning, such as theories and models. Such sources can be useful for generating research hypotheses or as data accompanying other sources of data for deeper understanding. For instance, the analysis of interactions and products of collaboration can be used to show how technologies or pedagogies are applied in actual practice, and as evidence of learning by students and teachers.
- Document its claims. Analysis of data should focus on supporting a paper’s central claims.
- State its theoretical commitments, methodological choices and other assumptions. Be specific: do not just say the approach is “constructivist” or “sociocultural” — those terms mean different things to different authors. Avoid obvious or generally accepted observations, such as that computers are being used increasingly in education — unless you are writing about a situation where computers are being introduced for the first time, in which case be specific about that.
- Conform to the standards of the ijCSCL journal. The APA Publication Manual supplies useful guidelines and advice. It is not necessary to follow any standard outline, but it is often useful to cover the problem background, related literature, selection of data, organization of investigations, analysis methods, details of analysis and conclusions.
- Focus all components of the paper on the central claim. The claim should be clear in the Abstract and each section of the paper; it should not be a surprise that only appears at the end. Even the title should convey the central claim and the approach used. The reviewed literature should be tied to the claim, showing that it is important and novel, but situated within previous CSCL research.
- Express depth of analysis, while avoiding excessive wordiness. For instance, in describing an excerpt of dialog, do not just re-word what is said, but show how it supports the paper’s specific claims.
- Use good English — either American or British spellings — and proofread the text carefully. Express ideas clearly and succinctly. If the author is not a native English speaker, the manuscript should be edited by a native English speaker.
- Most accepted papers are slightly over 20 published pages, roughly 10,000 words. More importantly, a paper should be just long enough to present its case, but no longer than necessary. Appendices with details are rarely needed.
- All papers are rigorously reviewed by members of the ijCSCL Board of Editors and other experienced CSCL researchers. Initial review takes a couple of months. About 15% of submissions are eventually published, usually about a year after submission.
- Format the manuscript single-spaced, with tables and figures included in-line. Use minimal formatting, but have the manuscript look roughly like a published ijCSCL article. A template is available at http://ijcscl.org/downloads/ijCSCL_template.doc.
- Authors are not charged for publication — unless they opt for the Springer Open Choice program. See www.springeronline.com/openchoice.
- Submissions must be made through Springer’s Editorial Manager online system. See http://ijcscl.org/?go=authors for details.
- Pre-publication copies of all published articles in ijCSCL are freely available at http://ijcscl.org/?go=contents. Online final copies of all articles are freely available to ISLS members.