Child Development Submission Guidelines
- Types of Manuscripts
- English Language Editing Services
- Ethics and Integrity
- Formatting Requirements
- Additional Content Requirements
- Manuscript Submission and Review Process
- Accepted Manuscript and Publication Information
Child Development considers manuscripts in the formats described below. Inquiries concerning alternative formats should be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief prior to submission. Most submissions (see below) are expected to be no more than 40 manuscript pages, including tables, references, and figures (but excluding appendices). With the exception noted below, if the submission is more than 40 pages, it will be returned to the author for shortening prior to editorial review. Note that we encourage extensive use of electronic supplements that do not count toward the page limit.
Empirical Articles comprise the major portion of the journal. To be accepted, empirical articles must be judged as being high in scientific quality, contributing to the empirical base of child development, and having important theoretical, practical, and/or interdisciplinary implications. Reports of multiple studies, methods, or settings are encouraged, but single-study reports are also considered. Empirical Articles will thus vary considerably in length, but should be no longer than 40 manuscript pages; text and graphics should be as concise as material permits. All modes of empirical research are welcome.
Brief Reports are reserved for short, cutting-edge empirical papers that are no longer than 4,000 words in length (including body text, tables, appendices, etc. but excluding references and electronic supplements), which advance research and knowledge in an area through noteworthy findings and/or new methods.
Reviews focus on past empirical and/or conceptual and theoretical work. They are expected to synthesize, analyze, and/or critically evaluate a topic or issue relevant to child development, should appeal to a broad audience, and may be followed by a small number of solicited commentaries. A large majority of the reviews accepted for publication at Child Development are meta-analyses or invited narrative reviews. Quantitative meta-analyses may be up to 50 pages in length to accommodate sample-specific detail.
Special Sections is a format in which papers on a focal topic, written by different authors, are published simultaneously. In some cases, calls for submissions on particular topics will be disseminated through the SRCD (via e-mail or SRCD publications), and submissions will undergo normal editorial review. In some cases, a submitted manuscript (e.g., an Empirical Article) may be selected as a lead article for this format, with invited commentaries providing additional perspectives. The editors also welcome suggestions from readers for topics for this format. Read additional content requirements for Special Sections.
Commentaries are peer-reviewed papers that respond to previously published Child Development papers. The original paper’s authors have the option to submit a follow-up Commentary in response. Authors must note the paper of reference title, author list and, when available, DOI on the cover page at submission and cover letter. Paper titles are also set as “Commentary: [paper title]”. Read additional content requirements for Commentaries. Note: Commentaries are approved in advance by the Editor-in-Chief and invited by Associate Editors prior to submission. Do not submit unsolicited Commentary submissions.
- Note: Registered Reports are not a regular article type and may only be submitted as part of the existing Registered Report Special Section. Please do not submit a Registered Report without invitations from the Registered Report Special Section editors.
English Language Editing Services
Authors have the option, but are not required, to use the services noted below to translate or proofread their text pre-submission. This option may be particularly helpful to non-native English speakers. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and SRCD does not endorse – and is not responsible for the quality of – any product or service mentioned.
- Alba Editing
- American Journal Experts
- International Science Editing
- SPi Global
The following points are requested of all papers submitted to Child Development and are required for any paper ultimately accepted for publication. Failure to comply with these requirements may lead to delays in processing, review, or publication. Failure to comply may also lead to the manuscript being returned to you for revision.
Format and Style
Child Development requires that all documents be submitted as Microsoft Word files (.doc or .docx; exceptions may be made by contacting the SRCD Editorial Office).
In addition, all manuscripts must align with APA Style rules including:
- Double-spacing throughout (abstract, body text, references)
- Using 12-point, Times New Roman font
- 1-inch margins
- When providing racial or ethnic designations, please follow APA's language guidelines. See the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2001, pp. 75–76). Use initial capital letters (i.e., Black and White instead of black and white). Do not use the term Caucasian when describing Whites or people of European descent.
40 pages for Empirical Articles and Reviews, inclusive of everything aside from electronic supplementary materials. The reference list is included in the 40-page total, and may be 8 pages at most. (Quantitative meta-analyses may be up to 50 pages in length).
4,000 words for Empirical Reports, excluding title page, abstract, and references, but inclusive of body text, tables, figures, and appendices.
Empirical Articles and Reports must have the following major sections (other article types may vary):
- Introduction (but not labeled as such)
- Tables and Figures (Child Development strongly encourages authors to embed Tables and Figures in-text upon initial submission)
The Method section must include participant demographic information, such as sex, SES, race or ethnicity, recruitment method, etc.
- Must be 120 words or fewer
- Include participants' numerical age
- Include information about sex/gender and race/ethnicity of participants
- Include total number of participants (Ns)
- Should generally report the focal effect size(s), as appropriate
- Must be written in the third person, not first person
- Do not exceed 8 pages
- Are cited both in the body text and on the reference list
- Are listed in alphabetical order by authors' surname
- Include the DOI # when available
Color figures publish online and in print free of charge. More technical information on images (accepted file types, image quality, etc.) is available at Wiley-Blackwell Author Services. Child Development strongly encourages authors to embed Tables and Figures in-text upon initial submission.
Footnotes and Endnotes
Child Development does NOT publish footnotes or endnotes of any kind. All such notes must be incorporated into the body text.
Child Development uses a double-blind reviewing procedure. Please ensure any information that might identify authors is either removed or sufficiently masked.
Information such as the author list, affiliations, acknowledgements, etc. should be removed from the main manuscript file and uploaded as a separate Title Page file during submission.
In-text references to any work by the authors should be referred to in the third person to mask the authors' identities (for example: "We have shown in previous work that children...(Martin, 2011)" should instead be written as "It has been shown in previous work that children...(Martin, 2011)").
External Manuscript Resources, Preregistrations and Data
We encourage authors to share links to research materials, data and preregistrations wherever possible. When authors intend to include these links in their published manuscripts, we ask that an anonymized version be included in the main document submitted for peer review. Repositories such as OSF and AsPredicted offer the facility to create anonymous links.
APA Style Reminders
Child Development follows the Seventh Edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA).
The following are reminders of often forgotten points of APA style. However, ultimately it is the author's responsibility to comply with APA regulations. Failure to follow APA rules may lead to delays in the production process and the publication of your manuscript.
Avoid sexist language; use plural phrases such as "children and their toys" rather than "a child and his toy." Refrain from referring to children with "it."
Please keep figures as clear and simple as possible. For example, do not use a three-dimensional bar graph unless you are presenting data along three dimensions. Be sure that labels are large enough to be visible when the figure is reduced in size. Remember to provide figure numbers and captions separately, not on the figure itself. Individual figures must be in EPS, PDF, PNG, or TIFF format, with resolution of at least 300 dpi.
"Relationship" vs. "Relation"
These are not interchangeable. "Relationship" is used to describe a social bond, such as between a mother and a child, a teacher and a child, etc. "Relation" is used to describe non-animate associations, including those between variables.
Uses of Slash (/)
Uses of slash in the abstract and body text must be avoided. Examples include "and/or," his/her," etc. "His/her" can (and should) be written as "his or her." Slashes may be used in references, tables, and figures. Slashes may also be used when citing previously written material, such as including in the paper a test question that was used with participants.
Note: Online Supplementary Materials
Child Development is able to host supplementary materials to articles published in the journal on its Wiley Online Library website. The current editorial team has been encouraging authors to take advantage of this resource as a way to cut the amount of material included in print articles and to provide additional information to interested readers. As such, we are urging authors to look critically at their manuscripts to find information that could potentially be moved online. Examples of such materials include extra tables, figures, or appendices; test questions or other test materials; videos of experiments taking place; or additional data sets from meta-analyses. For Wiley's guidelines for online supporting materials please see http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-828014.html.
Additional Content Requirements
- A description of the racial/ethnic, sex/gender, and other demographics of the sample(s). This must appear in the Abstract and Methods section.
- In quantitative/meta-analytic reviews: tabled information describing key demographic features (sex, ethnicity), the effect size(s), and reliability data for focal measures for each study. Note that demographic data (i.e., sex and ethnicity/race) must be explored as study-level moderators of the focal associations of interest (see No. 1 under “Note for Child Development authors” for additional details).
- Declaration about the degree to which analyses are relatively exploratory versus confirmatory (often at the end of the Introduction section) (see Characterization of Studies on a Continuum from Purely Confirmatory to Purely Exploratory)
- Justification of the sample demographic characteristics (racial/ethnic, gender, etc.) and/or justification for why certain socio-demographic data could not be collected (usually in Methods).
- Generalizability statement, usually within Discussion section. It may be appropriate to describe to what extent sampling might constrain or support generalizability of focal results OR to note how an intentional focus on a particular sociocultural group/groups builds on our knowledge in a given developmental domain in light of the limitations of published research.
As developmental science becomes more global, and the role of context in human development becomes more evident, it is necessary that SRCD publications provide, in addition to age, an indication of the unique characteristics of the sample and the “socioeconomic and cultural place” from which their findings originate. Accordingly, it is now required that manuscripts to be published in SRCD journals specify clearly in the appropriate section(s) (e.g., Method, Discussion) and in an abbreviated form in the Abstract: (1) the dates of data collection (if applicable); (2) the theoretically relevant characteristics of the particular sample studied, for example, but not limited to: race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, sexual orientation, gender identity (inclusive of non-binary options), religion, generation, family characteristics; and (3) the place(s) from which that sample was drawn, including country, region, city, neighborhood, school, etc. and all other context variables that are relevant to the focus of the publication, except when it violates expectations of privacy and confidentiality by an institutional review board or the setting itself. Additionally, selection and recruitment procedures should be clearly specified in the Method section.
The Sociocultural Policy is the product of a recognition that current policies and practices were not reflecting the state of the scholarship in terms of addressing diversity and replicability. As such, the Sociocultural Policy reflects current gaps in the science and is a dynamic policy. The Society will conduct ongoing reviews and re-evaluations of the Sociocultural Policy’s effectiveness over time and its efficacy in advancing the Society’s strategic goals. The Sociocultural Policy, procedures, and rationale will be revisited on a biannual basis to reflect changing demographics, an increasingly global society, and relevant contemporary issues.
Note for Child Development authors:
Under the stewardship of prior Editors-in-Chief, Child Development has become—and we intend to remain—a leader in the area of diversity and inclusion, broadly construed, in terms of: (a) the science we publish, (b) our Editorial Board (Associate Editors and Consulting Editors), and (c) those who provide vital service as reviewers. Furthermore, we strongly encourage the submission of work: (a) focused on diverse populations that (b) covers the full range of substantive issues in child development research, (c) using a wide variety of methods, and (d) submitted by authors who represent a cross-section of the SRCD and child development research more broadly, including international voices. As such, in addition to following the SRCD-wide Sociocultural policy noted above, under Editor-in-Chief Glenn I. Roisman Child Development has instituted the following policies:
- As noted in these instructions as of July 2019, in the adjudication of manuscripts, sociocultural generalizability or its absence will not be assumed on the basis of the demographic characteristics of a single sample. Sociocultural generalizability of scientific findings (or the lack thereof) is necessarily a product of direct comparisons across demographically diverse samples, and Child Development encourages manuscripts reporting explicit comparisons of two or more groups to explore generalizability of key developmental phenomena, even if the focal phenomenon is generally regarded as well established in one cultural or other context. (Note that this should not be misconstrued as implying that Child Development does not publish studies based on single racial/ethnic groups, as the journal does publish such studies.) In addition, the editorial board of Child Development expects that the default position for quantitative (i.e., meta-analytic) reviews will be to include tabled information briefly describing key demographic features of the studies synthesized, along with explicit, even if exploratory examination of such key demographics (i.e., sex and ethnicity/race) as study-level moderators of the focal associations of interest. This table, which should also minimally include effect size and reliability data for focal measures for each sample, may appear in supplementary, electronic materials.
- As of September 2020, consistent with NIH standards related to ensuring rigor and reproducibility and in part based on recommendations for authors detailed by Roberts, Bareket-Shavit, Dollins, Goldie, and Mortenson (2020) in Perspectives on Psychological Science, Child Development requires:
- a description of the racial/ethnic, sex/gender, and other demographics of the sample(s) in keeping with SRCD policy above;
- a brief justification of the racial/ethnic, gender, and other demographic characteristics of the sample(s), including a justification for why certain socio-demographic data could not be collected, when necessary;
- a brief statement regarding generalizability, usually included within the Discussion section. It may be appropriate to describe in this statement to what extent sampling might constrain or support generalizability of focal results OR to note how an intentional focus on a particular sociocultural group or groups builds on our knowledge in a given developmental domain in light of the limitations of published research.
- In the interest of transparency in scientific reporting, as of September 2020, abstracts are now required to contain:
- demographic information about who the participants are (basic demographics, including information about age, sex/gender, and race/ethnicity)
- how many participated (sample size), and, if applicable,
- a characterization of the focal effect size (generally as a d or r for quantitative studies).
Submissions not conforming to these requirements will be returned to authors for revision prior to consideration by the Editor-in-Chief (EIC). Nonetheless, action editors (including the EIC) will be sensitive in the application of these requirements to the different challenges and constraints that operate internationally in the collection and presentation of demographic data. For example, in some limited instances it may be necessary to describe the population from which the sample was drawn and/or to describe cultural proscriptions related to the collection of such data.
Submitted manuscripts must not have been published elsewhere. In general, preprints (e.g., on a departmental website, on PsyArXiv) will not count as prior publication. However, if the document has a copyright license (including Creative Commons), or any other constraints on editing or publication of the work, this information must be disclosed and addressed in the cover letter. It is the responsibility of authors to provide sufficient information about publicly available versions of the manuscript to allow editors to make informed decisions about prior publication.
Please note that once a manuscript is accepted for publication, SRCD policy requires that any previous versions be labeled as “drafts” or “working papers.” There must be some designation indicating that those documents are not “the version of record.” If restrictions on prior versions preclude editing to add this designation, SRCD will likely be unable to accept the submission.
In an effort to further Child Development’s tradition of publishing rigorous research, we previously announced methodological author recommendations to support the production of accessible and reproducible, high-quality research without excluding innovative hypothesis-generating inquiry. To satisfy these recommendations, we ask that authors address sample recruitment and selection, data collection and coding, descriptive statistical information, and model misspecification in the body of their manuscripts or as online supplements. View the full descriptions of the recommendations and further information.
Characterization of Studies on a Continuum from Purely Confirmatory to Purely Exploratory
As implied in the Methodological Recommendations described immediately above, published reports in Child Development lie on a continuum between more exploratory, “discovery” science and more confirmatory hypothesis testing. However, locating a given contribution on that continuum can be difficult for even the most informed reader. Submitting authors to Child Development are expected to clearly and affirmatively describe in their manuscripts to what degree the analyses presented represent a relatively exploratory versus confirmatory effort, and in what ways. For example, pre-registered reports of large, well-defined samples that involve point or point-like predictions are more confirmatory whereas research in a novel domain with smaller samples and with non-directional hypotheses or perhaps with no initial hypotheses are more exploratory.
Authors should consider carefully the exploratory versus confirmatory nature of what they are presenting, and, indeed, whether the nominally significant results highlighted in their manuscripts are consistent with sampling error. These affirmative statements will signal to readers:
- how much excitement is warranted about a focal result given
- the degree of confidence that the authors express that their work is confirmatory and therefore should be considered as an especially strong target for replication efforts.
Special Sections, Registered Reports, & Commentaries
In addition to the above manuscript requirements, Special Sections, Registered Reports, and Commentaries require additional materials.
- Article type must be Special Section on submission
- Cover letters must
- Note the submission is part of a Special Section
- State the full title of the Special Section (not to be confused with the actual submission title)
- State the Special Section Editor(s)
- Review individual Special Section announcements for additional instructions specific to the section.
- Note: Registered Reports may only be submitted as part of the existing Registered Report Special Section. Please do not submit a Registered Report without invitations from the Registered Report Special Section editors. Reports are not being considered outside of the Special Section.
- Article type must be Registered Report on submission
- Stage 2 Registered Reports must be submitted as such through the submission portal
- Cover letters must
- Note the submission is a Registered Report and part of the SRCD Registered Reports Special Section
- State the Special Section Editor(s)
- State if the submission is a Stage 1 or Stage 2 Registered Report
- See full Author Guidelines for Registered Reports.
- Note, Commentaries are approved in advance by the Editor-in-Chief and invited by Associate Editors prior to submission. Do not submit unsolicited Commentary submissions. Article type must be Commentary on submission.
- Cover letter AND Abstract must
- State the submission is a Commentary
- State the full title, corresponding author and (if possible) manuscript number of the paper it addresses
- State if submission is the author response to a separate Commentary and, if so, name the original paper title, manuscript number as well as all above details of initial commentary.
- State if an editor invited the commentary and the editor’s name. Note almost all Commentaries are approved in advance by the Editor-in-Chief and invited by Associate Editors.
- Note previous correspondence with the original paper authors
Manuscript Submission and Review Process
How to Submit
Manuscripts should be submitted online through the Child Development ScholarOne Portal.
Full instructions and support are available on the site and a user ID and password can be obtained on the first visit. If for some reason you cannot submit online, please contact the SRCD Editorial Office by telephone (202-800-0668) or by e-mail (email@example.com).
Please include a cover letter that contains the name(s) and affiliation(s) of the author(s), and the street address, telephone, fax, e-mail address of the corresponding author. Please also provide details about other published or submitted papers having substantial overlap (including data sets) with the new Child Development submission to enable editors to judge whether the new submission is sufficiently distinct from other work. Please also consider suggesting an Associate Editor to process your manuscript in the cover letter; note, it is not always possible to honor such requests. If submitting a Special Section, Registered Report or Commentary, please observe the additional Cover Letter requirements under Additional Content Requirements.
Corresponding Author Responsibilities
A corresponding author's submission to Child Development implies that all coauthors have agreed to the content and form of the manuscript and that the ethical standards of the SRCD have been followed (see the SRCD website or pp. 283–284 of the 2000 SRCD Directory). Any financial interest or conflict of interest must be explained in the cover letter. The corresponding author is responsible for informing all coauthors of manuscript submission, editorial decisions, reviews, and revisions.
Child Development conducts a double-blind review process. Each manuscript is handled by the Editor-in-Chief or an Associate Editor who consults with one or more Consulting Editors and/or ad hoc reviewers who have relevant expertise. Cover sheets are removed before review to ensure blind review; authors should avoid including any other information about identity or affiliation in submissions. Copies of the submission and associated correspondence are retained in the SRCD archives.
Prior to formal assignment to an Associate Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, in consultation with members of the Editorial Board, will determine whether a submitted manuscript is likely to be competitive for publication in the journal. Desk rejection is a common outcome for manuscripts submitted to the journal, which speeds up feedback to authors and creates fewer burdens for reviewers. Studies based on underrepresented groups and/or drawn from diverse populations will be regarded as strong candidates to advance to further consideration by an Associate Editor.
Manuscripts that pass through an initial review by the Editor-in-Chief (which will generally take no longer than 1 week) are assigned to an Associate Editor, who will in turn generally invite 2-3 consultants who have pertinent areas of expertise to review the manuscript. Authors are encouraged to recommend possible reviewers during the submission process, but this is neither required nor are the editors required to abide by the recommendations. Associate Editors also reserve the right to desk reject a manuscript they regard as not competitive for publication in the journal.
Once the Associate Editor receives the requested number of reviews they will make an editorial decision in part based on the reviews and reviewer recommendations, along with their own editorial judgement. The Associate Editor’s decision letter, and accompanying reviews, are blinded and processed by the SRCD Editorial Office staff. These materials are then sent to the authors and all reviewers who contributed to the review process.
Consistent with the recently adopted Author Guidelines on Scientific Integrity and Openness for Publishing in Child Development: (a) providing data and/or code used to produce a manuscript published in Child Development to other researchers who wish to reproduce those findings or include them in a meta-analysis is strongly encouraged and (b) information about whether an author intends to share data and/or code post-publication will be collected post-acceptance, prior to publication. Whether or not authors agree to make data available and/or make their analytic methods (e.g., code) available post-publication, however, will not affect the review/acceptance decision. Nonetheless, at Child Development the action editors reserve the right to independently determine whether it is necessary for an author to provide data and/or code pre-publication to reviewers and/or the action editor in order for the Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editor to render a decision on a manuscript.
Child Development strives to deliver decisions within 60 days of submission. However, given the nature of the review process turnaround times may vary. If you have any questions about your submission, please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 800-0668.
Submissions to Child Development by current Associate Editors and the Editor-in-Chief are handled independently by a Special Associate Editor.
Wiley Developmental Science Publishing Network
Child Development participates in the Wiley Developmental Science Publishing Network. This exciting collaboration between a number of high quality journals simplifies and speeds up the publication process, helping authors find a home for their research. At the Editors’ judgement, suitable papers not accepted by one journal may be recommended for referral to another journal(s) in the network. Authors decide whether to accept the referral, with the option to transfer their paper with or without revisions. Once the referral is accepted, submission happens automatically, along with any previous reviewer reports, thereby relieving pressure on the peer review process. While a transfer does not guarantee acceptance, it is more likely to lead to a successful outcome for authors by helping them to find a route to publication quickly and easily.
Conflicts of Interest and the Review Process
Child Development takes conflicts of interest (COIs) very seriously. COIs arise when scholars are asked to review papers of which their opinions could be biased. In order to avoid any COIs in the manuscript review process, we ask that authors NOT recommend as a reviewer any person who:
- Is a close personal friend of any of the authors
- Works in the same department or school as any of the authors
- Has recently collaborated with any of the authors on projects or publications (this includes members of the authors' dissertation committees)
- Was a recent Ph.D. student advised by any of the authors
- Has any other relationship with the authors that could bias their opinion of the submitted manuscript
We also ask that anyone invited to review a manuscript inform the SRCD Editorial Office if they believe they have a conflict of interest. If you have any questions about potential COIs, please contact the SRCD Editorial Office (email@example.com).
Accepted Manuscript and Publication Information
All papers approaching acceptance are returned to authors at Accept/Revise for author paperwork and final minor changes to manuscripts. At this stage, authors will be required to run StatCheck on their manuscripts (a free, easy to use, web-based version is available at StatCheck.io). Authors are also provided the Conflict of Interest and Public Summary forms when their paper is returned. Papers cannot move forward from this stage without completed forms. Completion of forms and an Accept/Revise decision does not guarantee acceptance.
Authors will also be required to affirm in the updated cover letter to the Associate Editor:
- that the revised manuscript has no inconsistent p-values as detected by StatCheck
- the page number where the Confirmatory/Exploratory statement is stated, and
- the page number where the Sociocultural Statement is stated. Note, authors who cannot comply with the journal sociocultural policy (legal constraints, etc.) must state as much in the revised cover letter.”
When a manuscript is accepted, authors will be asked to submit a final version and accompanying materials via the submission portal to the SRCD Editorial Office. These materials include:
- A final version of the manuscript that follows all requirements listed in the Publication Checklist.
- The main text as a Microsoft Word document with figures and tables removed and notes in-text stating where they should appear on publication ([Table 1 goes here])
- Individual high-resolution figure files as EPS, TIFF, or PDFs clearly labeled
- Individual table files as Microsoft Word documents clearly labeled
Once the above materials have been received the paper will be scheduled to be sent to our publisher Wiley-Blackwell for typesetting and proofing. It will then publish online to W-B’s Early View system, with print publication to follow (articles for special sections and issues typically do not publish to Early View).
Note to NIH Grantees
Pursuant to NIH mandate, the SRCD through Wiley-Blackwell will post the accepted version of contributions authored by NIH grant holders to PubMed Central upon acceptance. This accepted version will be made publicly available 12 months after publication. For further information, see www.wiley.com/go/nihmandate.
Powered by Turnitin’s text comparison tool iThenticate, CrossRef’s Similarity Check enables the SRCD Editorial Office to assess the originality of all submitted manuscripts. iThenticate finds and reports overlaps in text through the use of text-searching algorithms, checking a document against an extensive database of published scholarly writing. Its reports highlight material that matches documents in the iThenticate database and their percentage of similarity. The reports allow editors to judge the appropriateness of any substantial overlap between documents, which can range from authors using identical language across manuscripts to report precise details of methods to more concerning cases of recycling text.
For more information, please see the Committee on Publication Ethics' Text Recycling Guidelines: https://publicationethics.org/text-recycling-guidelines.