Writing for FMR

1. What you need to know before writing

We encourage readers to submit articles for publication on any aspect of contemporary forced migration – that is, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and stateless people.

Each issue of FMR has a feature theme and usually a section of ‘general’ articles on other displacement-related topics. We issue a call for articles giving guidance and a submission deadline for each future feature theme. You may submit a ‘general’ article at any date and we will consider it for publication in a forthcoming issue.

We ask authors to email us in advance of writing in order to outline what they wish to write. This should be in the form of a short outline in the body of an email, not as an attachment; you may use bullet points. Please ensure it is written with the call for articles – and FMR’s readership – in mind. We will advise on what subjects/aspects are likely to be of interest and warn of potential duplication with other articles. (You may also wish to use the search function on our website to check if we have published articles recently on your proposed topic.)

Focus of articles
FMR is a magazine rather than a journal, and is oriented towards policy and practice. Articles will usually do one or more of the following:

  • debate different approaches to working with displaced people and new developments in the field of forced migration
  • review experience of a particular project, programme or context, drawing out lessons with wider (local, regional or global) implications
  • convey the results and implications of recent/ongoing practice/policy-oriented research
  • provide a forum for displaced people to share their experiences and insights – with programme/policy implications
  • raise awareness of less well-known (or little covered) displacement crises, drawing out issues at stake, implications, recommendations and so on.


Good practice, and learning from success and from failure

Where appropriate, articles should include examples of good practice and recommendations. And if you come across examples of bad practice or failure, from which others may learn, please share that too. This is part of the rationale for FMR – enabling agencies to share failures and challenges as well as successes, in order to learn from each other and to promote a culture of learning and transparency.

Presentation and promotion
FMR is designed to be accessible to all those working in the international research and humanitarian communities. The language you use should therefore be relatively simple, non-academic and free of jargon. If your subject matter requires the use of technical or legal terminology, please add an explanation in an endnote (but try to keep such usages to a minimum). If in doubt, look at a back issue to get a feel for what we publish, or ask us.

Please remember that although your article may be an opportunity to disseminate your analysis and thinking, it is not primarily a vehicle to ‘promote’ your agency.

For practitioners
We encourage practitioners to share their expertise and insights. Please do not be put off if you are not used to writing for an external audience, or are not confident in writing for an English-language publication. We are very helpful editors! and will be happy to advise you, and to edit your article (including language) in consultation with you. Please do not go to the expense of employing a proofreader prior to submission. We appreciate that many authors will be writing in a language that is not their first language. The fact that there may be work to do to improve the language does not affect our decisions about publication.

For researchers
We ask you not to include some of the features that might be expected of a submission to an academic journal. Please therefore keep your methodology to an absolute minimum, refrain from extensive quoting of other researchers (unless it is critical to acknowledge certain work upon which your own draws), and do not include keywords, Harvard-style referencing or a bibliography.

Finally, please also consider
Are you sure FMR is the right forum for your article? In other words, will your article be interesting and useful to a global readership? Does it do more than just describe a situation or outline a framework or legal instrument? To save your time and ours please give this careful consideration before contacting us with a proposal.

Please note that we receive a large number of submissions for each issue and our acceptance rate may be as low as 20%.


2. The technical requirements

We are a small team with limited capacity, and we receive a large number of articles. By following our writing guidelines and ensuring your article complies with our submission checklist you will help us considerably.

Before you submit your article, please ensure that your article complies with ALL the requirements listed below.

Your article should:

  • be in Word document format (not PDF), in Times New Roman 12 point font, with single line spacing, left-aligned, and page numbers
  • not exceed 2,500 words in length (including any endnotes)
  • not include more than 10 endnotes (note: endnotes, not footnotes)
  • not include a bibliography or Harvard-style in-text referencing; use endnotes to provide essential additional information - and include relevant weblinks (but not embedded) where possible
  • not have embedded photos (you may tell us if you have images to accompany your article but please do not send any or embed any)
  • not include tables or graphs*
  • use single quotation marks to reference titles of articles, italicise for publication/report titles, and include date of publication and weblink where available, in this format: e.g. Aleinikoff A (2011) ‘Foreword’, Forced Migration Review issue 38 www.fmreview.org/technology/aleinikoff
  • not have any indents, underlining, headers or footers (except page numbers), text boxes, borders, coloured text or backgrounds (please don't make it look 'pretty' - we have to strip out any such formatting)
  • include a title and the name/s of the author/s at the start of the article 
  • repeat the name/s of the author/s at the end of the article and give their affiliation/s (i.e. title and organisation) and email address/es
  • include the surname of the author/s and brief title in the document name, for example: ‘Obila – addressing internal displacement in the IGAD region’


* We rarely publish tables/graphs. Please convey the information in the body of the article. If, however, you feel a table or graph is essential, please indicate in your covering email that you could supply a print-quality finalised version of it if we select your article for publication.

When you are sure your article complies with all the points above, please send it by email attachment to the FMR Editors at fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk.


3. The reviewing process – what happens next

We respond to each article query/offer personally; however, we are a small team and can usually only respond to such emails once a week. All articles submitted will be reviewed. We will let you know when you might expect to hear our decision on your article, and will notify you whatever the decision.

All accepted articles will be edited, sometimes to a significant extent – to avoid overlap with other articles, to bring them in line with FMR house style and to ensure clarity for our generalist readership. We will liaise with you on the edited version, and we will always get your approval of suggested changes before going to print.

Please also note that the editorial team cannot guarantee publication of any submission, even when authors have been encouraged in correspondence to submit an article.

If you have a question about any aspect not covered in these guidelines (including FAQs) then please email the Editors.

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Forced Migration Review
Refugee Studies Centre
Oxford Department of International Development
University of Oxford
3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB, UK
fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk  +44 (0)1865 281700