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Digest Guidelines
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Guidelines for Digest Authors

Digest articles articulate robust opinions and respond rapidly to contemporary ideas, trends, proposals and initiatives. They will be crisp, engaging, and free from the hedging and qualification typical of academic prose. Prospective authors are encouraged to discuss proposed papers with the Editors prior to submission.

Digest submissions are reviewed by the Editors, who may consult if necessary with outside specialists. They must be original, not previously published or being considered for publication elsewhere. The Editors reserve the right to edit Digest manuscripts for stylistic purposes, subject to the final approval of the authors. Submissions conforming to the guidelines in this document are more likely to be accepted promptly.

Articles will appear online promptly upon acceptance. Authors of accepted papers will be asked to assign to the Australian Review of Public Affairs permission to offer content to abstracting and indexing services, now or in future. Authors will also be responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce materials from third parties. Please see our Mission page regarding details of our open access mission and author copyright.

The Australian Review of Public Affairs is indexed by the Australian Public Affairs Information Service (APAIS), and archived by the National Library of Australia.


Submissions to ARPA’s Digest should be sent in Word format, attached to an email addressed to the Editor, Gabrielle Meagher. Submitted articles must conform to the ARPA style guide, set out in detail below.


All submissions must contain the following details.


All Digest articles, including book reviews, will have a title. This should be accurate, concise, and informative to a general reader. Where the title is lengthy, only an abbreviated title may appear on the cover page, although the full title will appear with the article itself.

Biographical synopsis

Up to 50 words for each author. As a minimum, this should include current professional affiliation and an email address for publication. You may also like to name your latest book or your research interests.


Writing for a broad audience

Because the Australian Review of Public Affairs aims to reach a wide audience, the Editors emphasise strong, clear writing. Like the Editors of Political Studies,

We favour the application of a strict ‘need to know’ criterion, where authors picture their audience and ask what exactly it is that they will need to know in order to assess the key message of their paper. Once this question has been answered, it should guide the whole presentation of the paper from conception through to structure through to referencing and the explanation of data analysis or formal elements (where appropriate) (Political Studies, n.d.).

Language should be as precise and concrete as possible. Accordingly, many conventions of academic expression are not appropriate for this publication. In general, authors need to pay attention to the craft of writing as well as to the soundness of their research methods and findings.

Please avoid:

  • overusing academic jargon. Expressions like ‘post war Keynesian welfare regimes’, ‘discursive practices’, ‘empty signifier’ don’t always communicate as much as we’d hoped!
  • the use of adjectives as nouns (‘social’, ‘imaginary’). Also avoid using nouns as verbs (‘critique’, ‘access’).
  • the passive voice (‘A series of interviews was undertaken to …’, ‘It has been argued that …’). Use the first person to describe the research process, where relevant. At other times, as far as possible, give sentences concrete subjects (‘Proponents of reform argue that …’, or simply ‘Reformists argue that …’).
  • nominalisation (‘This paper provides an examination of …’). Instead, use precise verbs (‘We examine …’).
  • vague and wordy expressions such as ‘in terms of’, ‘in relation to’, ‘in regards to’, ‘has been associated with’, and ‘is characterised by’. Too often writers use these locutions to put a subject and object side by side, leaving the reader to work out their precise relationship. It’s always better to let the reader know exactly how subjects and objects relate to each other. Other overused vague or verbose terms you should avoid include ‘issue’, ‘the way in which’, and ‘a number of’.

Intending authors can obtain excellent further advice on style from Joseph Williams (1991). The Editors reserve the right to edit accepted manuscripts to enhance their accessibility.

Other points of style

  • Realise, analyse | behaviour, colour | acknowledgment, judgment | co-operation, re-enter
  • Ellipsis:#…# (use option+semi-colon (Mac) or Ctrl+Alt+full stop (PC) instead of three full stops)
  • Em dash:—
  • 10 January 2001 | 1995–2000, 1995–97 | 1980s | mid-1980s | 21st century | 6#pm | 50#mya | 25 AD
  • 9,999, 10,000 | 34–35, 107–108, 110–19, 134–35
  • Ibid., id., op. cit. and et al. Roman (not italic)
  • No first line indent for paragraphs in the body of the text
  • Spell out:
    • One to twenty, digits from 21.
    • Per cent, except in figures and tables or technical texts.
    • Measurements (eg cm, km), except in figures, tables and technical texts (3#km).
    • US, UK and state names, expect when used adjectivally (eg. NSW Parliament).
    • e.g., i.e., and etc.
    • TV.


Section headings

Please do not number section headings. Use a maximum of three levels of headings, formatted according to the conventions adopted within the present document.


Please use single quotation marks. Use double quotes only where a quote occurs within a quote. (See below for usage in block quotes.) Punctuation marks should be outside quotation marks unless quotations are full sentences.

Quotations of longer than 40 words should appear in a separate paragraph, indented 1cm right and left, without quotation marks. References at the end of these block quotes should appear in brackets before the full stop or after the ellipsis at the end of the quotation. Where a quotation ends with an ellipsis, the reference should not be followed by a full stop.

No footnotes

Digest articles should not contain any footnotes or endnotes.


All authors are expected to adopt the ‘author-date’ system of referencing, as specified in pages 148–168 of the fifth edition of the Style manual for authors, editors and printers (Commonwealth of Australia 1994). (The following guide is adapted from this publication). Manuscripts that do not comply in detail with this specification—including capitalisation and the usage and positioning of punctuation markers—for both in-text citations and the reference list will encounter delays if accepted for publication. All items cited within the text should appear in the reference list, and vice-versa. Authors are responsible for verifying the accuracy of references.

A note on citing electronic sources

Where you refer to materials available online, these materials may be hyperlinked in the reference list. However, the body of an article will not in general contain hyperlinking.

Some sources and documents are available in print, but also reproduced electronically for wide dissemination—government publications are an obvious example. If you use the electronic version of such a document, please refer to it as usual, that is, treat it as if the document you used were printed for the purposes of preparing your reference list, but add the URL and date on which you last accessed the electronic file to the citation, as per examples included throughout this guide.

However, for electronic versions of academic journals that also appear in print, please do not include a URL or date of access—publishers make both the print and electronic versions available to subscribers only, making the URLs of limited general use. One obvious exception here is citing articles from the Journal of the Australian Review of Public Affairs: this publication is available freely—and only—over the internet, so a URL is genuinely useful. Relatedly, you should treat articles from the Australian Review of Public Affairs’ Digest as magazine or newspaper article, adding the URL and date of access.

We include specific instructions for citing material published solely as web pages as a stand-alone reference category.

Referring to sources in the text of your paper

Please take careful note of the punctuation of in-text references.

Key points

  • Do not use a comma after the author(s) name(s); only to separate the year and page number details when you cite both.
  • Separate multiple references in one instance of citation with semi-colons.
  • Use an ampersand (&) inside bracketed citations, but ‘and’ when you include the authors’ names in the main text.
  • Do not include URLs in the text of your paper. Cite any web pages by author and date (where available), and include the URL as directed in the reference list.


Silver (1994) shows that the concept of social exclusion recycles conservative ideas current when voluntary agencies provided most welfare services.

It is not clear that workplace relationships and processes have changed as much as some researchers predicted (Hampson, Ewer & Smith 1994, p. 534).

Smith and Kettle (1992) are unusual among security analysts, because they emphasise the profound security risks allies can pose for each other.

Roughead et al. (1999, p. 2–3) found that the Quality Use of Medicines program has significantly reduced antibiotic over-prescribing. However, other research points to the influence of increasing price (Productivity Commission 2001, p. 231; Phuong & Johnstone 2000, p. 312) or a reduction in pharmaceutical advertising (Grimston et al. 2003; Smithies 1998).

Preparing the reference list

Journal article

Silver, H. 1994, ‘Social exclusion and social solidarity: Three paradigms’, International Labour Review, vol. 133, no. 6, pp. 531–577.

Quiggin, J. 2001, ‘Active labour market policy and macroeconomic stabilisation’, The Drawing Board: An Australian Review of Public Affairs, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 51–66 [Online], Available: [2003, Mar 17].

Hampson I., Ewer, P. & Smith, M. 1994, ‘Post-fordism and workplace change: Towards a critical research agenda’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 231–257.

Chapter from edited book

Fournier, V. 2000, ‘Boundary work and the (un)making of the professions’, in Professionalism, Boundaries and the Workplace, ed. N. Malin, Routledge, London, pp. 67–86.

Kittay, E.F. 2002, ‘Caring for the vulnerable by caring for the caregiver: The case of mental retardation’, in Medicine and Social Justice: Essays on the Distribution of Health Care, eds R. Rhodes, M.P. Battin & A. Silvers, Oxford University Press, New York.


Bell, I. (ed.) 2002, Economic Governance and Institutional Dynamics: The Market, the State, and Networks, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Kant, E. 1933 (1781/1787), Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N.K. Smith, Macmillan, London.

Morehead, A., Steele, M., Alexander, M., Stephen, K. & Duffin, L. 1997, Changes at Work: The 1995 Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey, Longman, Australia.

Rawls, J. 1993, Political Liberalism, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Smith, G. & Kettle, St J. (eds) 1992, Threats Without Enemies: Rethinking Australia’s Security, Pluto Press, Sydney.

Government and parliamentary publications

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001, Voluntary Work, Australia, 2000, Cat. no. 4441.0, ABS, Canberra.

Department of Foreign Affairs 1975, Annual Report 1975, AGPS, Canberra.

Productivity Commission 2001, International Pharmaceutical Price Differences: Research Report, Productivity Commission, Melbourne [Online], Available: [2001, Oct 31].

Roughead, E.E., Gilbert, A.L., Primrose, J.G., Harvey, K.J., & Sansom, L.N. 1999, Report of the National Indicators: Evaluating the Quality Use of Medicines Component of Australia’s National Medicines Policy. Publications Production Unit, Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, Canberra.

Senate Select Committee on Superannuation and Financial Services 2001, Prudential Supervision and Consumer Protection for Superannuation, Banking and Financial Services, First Report, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, August.

Legislation and legal authorities

Legislation and legal authorities do not generally appear in a list of references. If they are significant to the understanding of the work, please list them separately at the end of the article under an appropriate subheading (viz. ‘Legislation’ or ‘Legal Authorities’). Please consult the Style Manual (Commonwealth of Australia 1994, paragraphs 9.161–9.179) for detailed guidance on how to cite such documents.

Discussion/working/research paper

Cowling, S. 1998, Understanding behavioural responses to tax and transfer changes: A survey of low-income households, Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 15, University of Melbourne.

Conference/workshop/seminar paper

Lyons, M. & Chan, V. 1999, The effect of competitive markets on non-profit organisations, paper presented to the National Social Policy Conference, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 July.

Sissons, J. 2002, Maori tribalism and post-settler nationhood in New Zealand, paper presented at a workshop on Custom: The Fate of Non-Western Law and Indigenous Governance in the 21st Century, University House, Canberra, 1–2 October.

Newspaper/magazine article

Lampe, A. 2001, ‘Super a mystery for most workers’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May, p. 3.

Apps, P. 2001, ‘Howard’s family tax policies and the first child tax refund’, The Drawing Board: An Australian Review of Public Affairs, 5 Nov [Online], Available: [2003, Mar 17].

If an article has no identified author, set out the reference as follows:

‘Investors endorse choice of fund’, 2000, Superfunds, June p. 5.

Media transcripts, press releases

Costello, P. 2001, Transcript of interview with Jon Faine, Radio 3LO, Melbourne, 23 May [Online], Available: [2003, Mar 10].

Costello, P. 2003, National accounts: December quarter 2002, Media release no. 010, 5 March [Online], Available: [2003, Mar 10].

Web pages

The Campbell Collaboration 2003, About the Campbell Collaboration [Online], Available: [2003, Jan 14].

If the web page has no identified author and/or, set out the reference as follows:

Glossary, n.d. [Online], Available: [2003, Jan 20].


Please cite any figures and tables you use in the text of your paper. Number them sequentially, and give each descriptive title or caption of up to two sentences. Please supply the summary data you used to generate any figures, preferably as Excel worksheets. Do not send whole data sets, only the information required to generate the figures themselves. Supply illustrations, diagrams, maps, and photos as high-resolution files in any standard machine-readable format. Please contact Assistant Editor Rhondda Hollis if such materials as are essential to a submission cannot be supplied in electronic format.


Commonwealth of Australia 1994, Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, 5th edn, Australian Government Publishing Service.

Department of Education, Science and Training 2002, Register of Refereed Journals.

Political Studies n.d. Advice for Authors and Style Guide.

Williams, J. M. 1991, Style: Toward Clarity and Grace, Chicago University Press, Chicago.


The Australian Review of Public Affairs ceased publication in May 2016. Please address all inquiries about permissions or legacy issues to the former Editor, Gabrielle Meagher.


Contributors are responsible for the opinions they express in the Australian Review of Public Affairs. Neither the Editors, nor the University of Sydney, necessarily endorse these opinions.


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