Policies and Procedures

Editorial Policies, Practices, and Procedures for Review and Publication

Scope, Audience, & Subscriptions

The Journal of Urban Mathematics Education (JUME) was founded in 2009 as the only research publication devoted to the dissemination of empirical research and theoretical studies focusing urban mathematics education. Published by Texas A&M University’s Aggie STEM, JUME adheres to strict peer-review procedures throughout a rigorous juried process of manuscript review. The journal publishes data based qualitative and quantitative studies, action research, research syntheses, integrative reviews and interpretations of research literature. Readership includes urban education professionals who work in colleges, universities, foundations, agencies, school districts, and research centers throughout the United States and in other countries.

Editorial & Review Board / Management

JUME is sponsored by the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture at Aggie STEM at Texas A&M University. The Editorial and Review Board for JUME consists of researchers throughout the United States and other countries who have an understanding of middle grades issues, research methodologies, and rigorous publication requirements in keeping with high quality research vetted by a jury of professional peers. The journal is managed by an Editor-in-Chief and co-editors, and associate editors, along with an accomplished production staff. Guest editors are sometimes appointed by the Editorial & Review Board in cooperation with the Editor-in-Chief to manage special editions and/or themed issues and author submissions considered to create a potential conflict of interest.

Procedures for Review & Publication

JUME is a refereed, peer-reviewed journal that accepts both solicited and unsolicited manuscripts. All manuscripts submitted for consideration of publication and determined to be appropriate for JUME are evaluated by up to three different reviewers. While normative time to complete the review process is approximately two to four months, some manuscripts may require as much as six months before a decision can be made. Decisions fall into one of the following categories: accept, accept with revisions, revise and resubmit, or reject.

The Editor-in-Chief examines all manuscripts submitted for consideration and sends the lead author a notice of receipt prior to sending either printed or electronic copies of the manuscript to reviewers for their evaluation. If the editor deems a submission inappropriate for JUME, the contributing author will be notified within ten working days after receipt of the manuscript. In most cases, contributing authors are notified of receipt and distribution to reviewers via e-mail within five days of receipt of a submission.

Desk rejects are the sole decision of the Editor-in-Chief but may be made in collaboration with co-editors and or associate editors. Desk rejects fall into one of three categories: 1) scope is not appropriate for JUME, 2) The methodology is fatally flawed given the scope or breadth of the results and or conclusion/discussion, or 3) The manuscript contains too many APA errors. Foreign authors with many grammatical or language-expression issues may still have their work reviewed and be required to have an external editor make the necessary grammar and language expression issued revised at the author’s expense. The authors may choose their own editor or an editor recommended by JUME. If you use an editor recommended by JUME there is a guarantee that suggested edits will be in accordance with journal standards. Regardless of the choice, the author is responsible for any editing fees, and those fees are paid directly to the editor.

Submissions must be made electronically and in Microsoft Word using the electronic submission system.

All manuscripts must adhere to APA sixth edition formats and include an abstract of between 200 and 300 words. While shorter or longer manuscripts may be considered, those that range between 20 and 30 pages in length (including tables, charts, figures, and references) will be given priority.

Those manuscripts accepted for publication are placed into electronic “galleys” and remitted to the contributing lead author for copy-level edits. Substantive revisions must be completed prior to placing any manuscript into production of galleys to be proofed by the editor(s). Authors must assign copyright to JUME and Texas A&M University.

"Calls" for submissions may appear in various places including direct mailings. Calls are also disseminated via listserv to a variety of constituent groups.


  1. Submission. While most manuscripts submitted for consideration of publication are unsolicited, contributors may be made aware of JUME by reading various “calls” and/or networking efforts made via affiliations with organizations such as AERA, NCTM, SSMA, or other prestigious national or international associations.
  2. Special Issues. Special issues may be proposed by any scholar in the field. Proposals for special issues must meet the following format:
    1. Exactly one page 8.5X11
    2. Single Spaced
    3. 1” margins
    4. Size 12 Times New Roman or Helvetica
    5. Contain these headings: 1) special editors’ names, their affiliations, and contact information; 2) topic (includes the proposed title and brief description of the theme), 3) timeline for announcing the call, deadline for receiving manuscripts, and final decision date 4) justification including a brief and clear explanation of why the topic is needed, the target audience, and the target authors who will be solicited to publish in the special issue.
    6. The editorial team will review the proposal and determine the acceptability, and if the proposal is accepted, one of the editorial team will work with the special editors to meet the expectations and timelines for the special issue.
  3. Review. Reviewers are selected and solicited within 10 days of receipt of the submission or within 3 days being determined that the submission is not a desk reject. Reviewer application forms indicate specific areas of expertise for each reviewer. The editor in charge chooses reviewers based on this expertise in relation to the manuscript. A review form and letter are sent by the JUME staff to each reviewer, along with a request that the reviewer return comments within four weeks. Total time for a decision can range from approximately four weeks to four months. If any reviewer has not returned a review within six weeks, the editor contacts the reviewer and may subsequently send the manuscript to another reviewer.
  4. Correspondence. Upon receipt of a manuscript, the editor notifies the contributing author via e-mail that the manuscript was received. Notification usually occurs on the same day the manuscript was received and will seldom take longer than one week. The letter of notification of receipt of a manuscript informs the contributor that the fully blinded review process usually takes from 2 to 4 months. Upon satisfactory review as determined by the editor, a letter notifying the contributor of the status of the manuscript is mailed. If this process takes longer than 4 months, the editor notifies the contributor.
  5. Decisions. Decisions to “accept,” “accept with revisions,” “revise and resubmit,” and “reject” are made by the editor(s) overseeing the manuscript. To make these decisions, the editor(s) consider the following factors: overall quality of the manuscript, reviews & reviewers’ opinions/recommendations; amount of revisions necessary for publication; timeline (contributors’ ability and willingness to meet production deadlines); and (in the case of themed issues) the relevance or “fit” with other studies chosen for publication in that issue. Decision time frames correspond directly to review time frames listed in #2 above. Due to publication limitations, a “best of the best” final decision must be made regarding publication, which may result in many favorably reviewed manuscripts not being published.
  6. Production. After a decision to accept or to accept with revisions has been made, the contributor is notified in writing via e-mail by the Editor-in-Chief. Timelines, copyright assignment forms, necessary revisions, formatting, and other issues are negotiated between the editor and contributors. Galleys are produced by the Institute for School Improvement editorial staff and are emailed to each contributor. Contributors review galleys before returning them to the Editor-in-Chief. The editors make final corrections before publishing. The production phase usually takes eight to ten weeks.
  7. Confidentiality. All JUME manuscripts and correspondence are in electronic format. To insure ethical and professional treatment of the review process, contributors are not made aware of the specific names of the reviewers who evaluated their manuscripts, and reviewers are not made aware of the names of contributors. In this situation, the editor acts as liaison between contributors and reviewers.

Ethical Standards & Grievance Procedures

JUME editors are familiar with and follow AERA’s Ethical Standards, including but not limited to the Guiding Standards IV: Editing, Reviewing, and Appraising Research. (Publications Committee, October 2003). Authors who believe any ethical standards have been compromised or that manuscripts have not been reviewed appropriately per AERA’s Standards and/or JUME’s policy should call the matter to the attention of the JUME Editor-in-Chief.

JUME editors will investigate matters brought to their attention in an effort to fully address and resolve concerns regarding the professional code of ethics for refereed publications. When a grievance is brought to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief or one of the co-editors, the Editor-in-Chief will contact the person filing the grievance to determine whether a conscientious effort has been made by the parties involved to resolve the disagreement. If the conflict involves the Editor-in-Chief or a co-editor, the Editorial Board will act as a grievance committee or select three individuals from the Board to act as its representatives to resolve the conflict. The procedure will be as follows:

  1. The person (or persons) filing a grievance must prepare a statement describing the nature of the problem and provide in that statement a supporting rationale and documentation to substantiate the grievance. Only grievances that pertain to professional ethics for publications and JUME policies and procedures will be considered.
  2. The person(s) whose actions or decisions have precipitated a grievance will be asked to describe the problem and provide a rationale and supporting documentation.
  3. The Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board, or its committee will review the documentation and determine whether additional information is needed.
  4. Additional data will be collected, if needed, and distributed to the Editor-in-Chief, Advisory and Review Board, or its appointed committee.
  5. The Editor-in-Chief, Advisory and Review Board, or its committee will determine whether or not the grievance is based upon ethical, procedural, or other issues and render a decision.
  6. In trying to reach fair and equitable decisions, the Editor-in-Chief, Advisory and Review Board, or its committee will perform the following steps:
    1. Make a bona fide effort to define the problem (or problems) based on the evidence provided.
    2. Consider the opposing positions and supporting information provided by all parties involved. Data will be viewed within the framework of professional ethics for referred publications and JUME policies and procedures as well as the purpose of the journal and with respect for the rights and views of all persons involved.
    3. Weigh the evidence, make a final decision, and inform the parties involved.

Writing the review

The primary purpose of the review is to provide the editors with the information needed to reach a decision. The review should also instruct the authors on how they can strengthen their paper to the point where it may be acceptable. As far as possible, a negative review should explain to the authors the weaknesses of their manuscript, so that rejected authors can understand the basis for the decision and see in broad terms what needs to be done to improve the manuscript for publication elsewhere. This is secondary to the other functions, however, and reviewers should not feel obliged to provide detailed, constructive advice to authors of papers that do not meet the criteria for the journal (as outlined in the letter from the editor when asking for the review). If the reviewer believes that a manuscript would not be suitable for publication, his/her report to the author should be as brief as is consistent with enabling the author to understand the reason for the decision.

Confidential comments to the editor are welcome, but it is helpful if the main points are stated in the comments for transmission to the authors. An ideal review should answer the following questions:

  • Who will be interested in reading the paper, and why?
  • What are the main claims of the paper, and how significant are they?
  • Is the paper likely to be one of the most significant papers published in the discipline this year?
  • How does the paper stand out from others in its field? Are the claims novel? If not, which published papers compromise novelty?
  • Are the claims convincing? If not, what further evidence is needed?
  • Are there other experiments or work that would strengthen the paper further?
  • How much would further work improve it, and how difficult would this be? Would it take a long time?
  • Are the claims appropriately discussed in the context of previous literature?
  • If the manuscript is unacceptable, is the study sufficiently promising to encourage the authors to resubmit?
  • If the manuscript is unacceptable but promising, what specific work is needed to make it acceptable?

Peer review

The goals of peer review are both lofty and common. It is the responsibility of journals to administer an effective review system. Peer review is designed to select technically valid research of significant interest. Reviewers are expected to identify flaws, suggest improvements, and assess novelty. If the manuscript is deemed important enough to be published in a high-visibility journal, reviewers ensure that it is internally consistent, thereby ferreting out spurious conclusions or clumsy frauds.

One problem with manuscript selection is the inherent tension between reviewers and authors. Reviewers wish for only the most solid science to be published, yet when they 'switch hats' to that of author, they desire quick publication of their novel ideas and approaches.

Authors of papers that are contrary to prevailing research trends bear a far greater burden of proof than normally expected in publishing their challenge to the current paradigm. Veering too far in one direction or the other leads to complaints either that peer review isn't stringent enough, or that it is stifling the innovative research. It is the job of the editors to try to avoid both extremes.

Journal editors do not expect peer review to ferret out cleverly concealed, deliberate deceptions. A peer reviewer can only evaluate what the authors chose to include in the manuscript. This contrasts with the expectation in the popular press that peer review is a process by which fraudulent data is detected before publication (although that sometimes happens).

We are continually impressed with peer review's positive impact on almost every paper we publish. Even papers that are misunderstood by reviewers are usually rewritten and improved before resubmission. Mistakes are made, but peer review, through conscientious effort on the part of reviewers, helps to protect the literature, promote good science, and select the best. Until a truly viable alternative is provided, we would not have it any other way.

Peer-review Publication Policies

All contributions submitted to JUME that are selected for peer review are sent to at least one editorial board member, and usually two or more, independent reviewers (total of at least 3 reviewers), selected by the editors. Authors are welcome to suggest suitable independent reviewers and may also request that the journal excludes one or two individuals. The journal sympathetically considers such requests and usually honors them, but the editor's decision on the choice of reviewers is final.

As a condition of agreeing to assess the manuscript, all reviewers are required to keep submitted manuscripts and associated data confidential, and not to redistribute them without permission from the journal. If a reviewer seeks advice from colleagues while assessing a manuscript, he or she ensures that confidentiality is maintained and that the names of any such colleagues are provided to the journal with the final report. By this and by other means, JUME endeavors to keep the content of all submissions confidential until the publication date.

Although we go to every effort to ensure reviewers honor their promise to maintain confidentiality, we are not responsible for the conduct of reviewers.

Reviewers should be aware that it is our policy to keep their names confidential, and that we do our utmost to ensure this confidentiality. Under normal circumstances, blind peer review is protected from legislation. We cannot, however, guarantee to maintain this confidentiality in the face of a successful legal action to disclose identity. Frank comments about the scientific content of the manuscripts, however, are strongly encouraged by the editors.

Plagiarism and Fabrication

Plagiarism is when an author attempts to pass off someone else's work as his or her own. Duplicate publication, sometimes called self-plagiarism, occurs when an author reuses substantial parts of his or her own published work without providing the appropriate references. This can range from getting an identical paper published in multiple journals, to 'salami-slicing', where authors add small amounts of new data to a previous paper.

Plagiarism can be said to have clearly occurred when large chunks of text have been cut-and-pasted. Such manuscripts would not be considered for publication in JUME. But minor plagiarism without dishonest intent is relatively frequent, for example, when an author reuses parts of an introduction from an earlier paper. The JUME editors judge any case of which they become aware (either by their own knowledge of and reading about the literature, or when alerted by reviewers) on its own merits.

JUME uses Turnitin, an initiative to help editors verify the originality of submitted manuscripts. As part of this process, submitted manuscripts may be scanned and compared.

If a case of plagiarism comes to light after a paper is published in JUME, the journal will conduct a preliminary investigation.

If plagiarism is found, the journal will contact the author's institution and funding agencies. JUME will then run a statement, bidirectionally linked online to and from the original paper, to note the plagiarism and to provide a reference to the plagiarized material. The paper containing the plagiarism will also be obviously marked on each page of the electronic file.

Depending on the extent of the plagiarism, the paper may also be formally retracted.