Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How frequently is the journal published?
A: Spark is published once per year, in September/October.
Q: Who can submit a piece to the journal?
A: Anyone in postgraduate study, from both taught and research positions. We are an interdisciplinary journal, and welcome contributions from all academic fields.
Q: How long should the submissions be?
A: For articles, between 5000 and 7000 words; for book reviews, between 750 and 1250 words.
Q: How long does the publication process take, from article submission to final publication?
A: We circulate the Call for Papers in January; the cut-off point for submissions is around March/April (the precise date is stated on the CfP). The complete process – peer reviewing and feedback to authors, author amendments, copy editing, and final publication – takes approximately 35 weeks.
Q: Can I become a journal staff member, and if so, what prior experience do I require?
A: Certainly! Spark is always looking for new members to fill editorial roles, including advertising, budgeting, and website design positions. We are also on the lookout for peer review and copy editing staff too. No prior experience of running an academic journal is required; we welcome those who are familiar with academic journals and newcomers alike. Part of the aim of Spark is to provide postgraduates with the skills of running an academic journal and thereby enhance their CV.
Q: How long does an individual journal staff member assume a position for?
A: There is no specific time limit affecting a staff member’s occupation of a particular role. Typically, a staff member will retain a presence on the journal throughout their postgraduate period of study, which varies by discipline and degree – from one to three years. There is no obligation to remain on staff for the entirety of this period, however – nor do you have to remain in the one role during your time with Spark. You can manage your input as suits your core academic commitments, enabling flexibility regarding your position in Spark and the time you devote to it.
Q: How do you decide on an issue’s central topic?
A: The editors meet fortnightly to discuss and steer the progress of the journal. At the end of each academic year, we decide upon a theme that reflects important events taking place in each of our disciplines, which is inclusive to all academic fields of study.
Q: Who reads the journal, and how aware are academics of it?
A: Currently, we are in a period of transition regarding the online presence of Spark. We have just developed a new, more visually pleasing website with which to host the journal – one that increases our brand awareness, links us more thoroughly with the University of Stirling’s web site, and provides us with an improved Search Engine Optimisation. Therefore, statistics on the influence of our journal and its readership are forthcoming.