About the Journal

Focus and Scope

Th School of Public Policy Publications (SPPP) offers timely research and discussion of Canadian public policy issues. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and perspectives among academics, members of the private sector, public servants and engaged community members. SPPP publishes works that are topical, have a clear message and can be read and appreciated by a broad audience.


All SPPP submissions must meet a high intellectual standard, which means that the topic of the paper has been thoroughly researched. Thorough research includes, but is not limited to: a review of the existing literature relevant to the policy issue; rigorous data collection and analysis; and, in some cases, an extensive engagement with the practical issues involved in real-world policy contexts.


SPPP manuscripts should take clear policy positions and suggest concrete policy solutions. While papers must be evidence-based and factually accurate, it is both necessary and desirable that they will sometimes contain political views and value judgments. That said, SPPP does not publish political propaganda, polemics or material that is potentially libelous. In cases where political views or value judgments are justifiable features of a paper, it is important that authors disclose and discuss any biases or interests which influence their views.


Peer Review Process

The SPPP papers are subject to a double-blind, peer-review process to evaluate their intellectual content, methodological rigor, accessibility of style and relevance to public policy issues. Peers who are expert in the topic will be invited to review these papers. 

The SPPP will request reviews from at least two external peers. Reviewers will advise the Program Director or Scientific Director who commissioned the paper whether it meets a high intellectual standard, including the analysis of data and review of the literature relevant to the particular policy issue. To facilitate the process, we ask reviewers to upload an anonymous report on the reviewed paper. The report’s structure can vary, but it should include all key elements of the reviewer’s evaluation. The report can provide general comments on the appropriateness of the paper for publication by SPPP (including readability and accessibility by a broad audience) as well as specific comments on the organization of the paper, methodology, soundness and substantive significance of the results and conclusions, and logic of authors’ arguments.

The SPPP provides the following rubrics as areas reviewers may wish to touch on in their review. Using these rubrics as guides, we ask reviewers to create an anonymous, detailed report that will be sent to the commissioning Program Director or Scientific Director and which will also be shared with the authors.

• Have the authors defined their topic and approach appropriately?

• Is their treatment of the topic innovative and engaging?

• Is the paper’s policy relevant and does it contribute to current policy debates?

• Are the methods appropriate and rigorous?

• Are the discussion and conclusions well balanced and adequately supported by the data?

• Have the authors used a clear and understandable style in making their argument and presenting their data?

• Are there any substantive issues? These might include background literatures or analyses that you feel are missing or underrepresented.

• Are there any technical and/or formatting issues? These might include copy editing requirements or missing labels on figures.

• If you are asked to cut this paper for clarity and brevity what would be your suggestions?

To expedite the publication process, we ask reviewers to complete their review either within three weeks of receiving the paper, or within the specific time frame requested by the Program Director or Scientific Director commissioning the paper. Additional time may be requested by the reviewer when first accepting the request for review. Reviewers unable to provide a timely report either due to other demands or a mismatch in expertise are requested to inform the Program Director or Scientific Director managing the peer-review process as soon as possible. Suggestions for alternate reviewers are always appreciated.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

There is no article submission or processing charges.

The following is the copyright statement of SPPP.

Copyright © <Author name> <year>. This is an open-access paper distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC 4.0, which allows non-commercial sharing and redistribution so long as the original author and publisher are credited.

Publication Copyright and Licensing

The following guidelines and information, provided in six sections, are intended for authors (the “Author”) who are invited to write a paper (the “Work”) for The School of Public Policy Publications (the “Publisher”). The rights and responsibilities conveyed in the SPP Author Agreement will only apply once your paper is accepted for publication. At that point in the publication process, you will be asked to download the form and return a signed copy via e-mail to spppublications@ucalgary.ca. Please review the below information to ensure agreement with SPPP policies.

Section 1: Author’s Grant of Rights

In consideration of the Publisher’s agreeing to publish the Work in The School of Public Policy Publications, the Author hereby grants to the Publisher the following:

1.1 The irrevocable, royalty-free right to publish, reproduce, publicly display, publicly perform and distribute the Work in perpetuity throughout the world in all means of expression by any method or media now known or hereafter developed, including electronic format;

1.2 The irrevocable, royalty-free right to use the Author’s name and likeness in association with the Work in published form and in advertising and promotional materials related to the Work; and

1.3 The irrevocable, royalty-free right to license others to do any or all of the above.

Section 2: Prior Publication & Publication by Others

2.1 The Author agrees not to publish the Work, or authorize any third party to publish the Work, either in print or electronically, prior to publication of the Work by the Publisher.

2.2 The Author agrees not to publish the Work in any publication outlet which is substantially similar to The School of Public Policy Publications for a period of six (6) months after publication of the Work in The School of Public Policy Publications. Substantially similar is defined as a non-subscription, open-access publication outlet with a similar mandate/vision and intended audience.

2.3 Should the Author publish or distribute the Work elsewhere at any time or in any alternate format, the Author agrees to contact The School of Public Policy Publications to inform them of the subsequent publication.

2.4 Should the Author publish or distribute the Work elsewhere at any time or in any alternate format, the Author agrees to make reasonable efforts to ensure that any such additional publication cites the publication in The School of Public Policy Publications by author, title, and publisher, through a tagline, author bibliography, or similar means. A sample acknowledgement would be:

“Reprinted with permission from the author. Originally published in the The School of Public Policy Publications, http://www.policyschool.ca/publications/.”

Section 3: Editing and Formatting

The Author authorizes the Publisher to edit the Work and to make such modifications as are technically necessary or desirable to exercise the rights in Section 1 in differing media and formats. The Publisher will make no material modification to the content of the Work without the Author’s consent.

Section 4: Author’s Ownership of Copyright and Reservation of Rights

4.1 Nothing in this agreement constitutes a transfer of the copyright by the Author, and the copyright in the Work is subject to the rights granted by this agreement.

4.2 The Author retains the following rights, including but not limited to, the right:

4.2.1 To reproduce and distribute the Work, and to authorize others to reproduce and distribute the Work, in any format;

4.2.2 To post a version of the Work in an institutional repository or the Author’s personal or departmental web page so long as The School of Public Policy Publications is cited as the source of first publication of the Work (see sample acknowledgement above).

4.2.3 To include the Work, in whole or in part, in another work, subject to Section 2 above and provided that The School of Public Policy Publications is cited as the source of first publication of the Work (see sample acknowledgement above).

4.3 The Editors and Editorial Board of The School of Public Policy Publications requires authors to publish the Work under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC 4.0). This license allows others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the Work for noncommercial purposes, and ensures the Author is credited for the original creation. This onward licensing is subject to section 2.4 of this agreement, which further ensures that the original publisher is credited.

Section 5: Author’s Warranties and Undertakings

The Author warrants that:

5.1 The Author is the sole author of the Work, or if a joint author, the Author has identified within the Work the other authors, and holds the copyright, either solely or jointly, and has the power to convey the rights granted in this agreement.

5.2 The Work has not previously been published, in whole or in part, except as follows:

5.3 Any textual, graphic or multimedia material included in the Work that is the property or work of another is either explicitly identified by source and cited in the Work or is otherwise identified as follows:

5.4 To the best of the Author’s knowledge, the Work does not contain matter that is obscene, libelous, or defamatory; it does not violate another’s civil right, right of privacy, right of publicity, or other legal right; and it is otherwise not unlawful.

5.5 To the best of the Author’s knowledge, the Work does not infringe the copyright or other intellectual property or literary rights of another.

5.6 The Author will indemnify and hold Publisher harmless against loss, damages, expenses, awards, and judgments arising from breach of any such warranties.

Section 6: The Reuse of Third-Party Works

The Publisher requires that the Author determine, prior to publication, whether it is necessary to obtain permissions from any third party who holds rights with respect to any photographs, illustrations, drawings, text, or any other material (“third-party work”) to be published with or in connection with your Work. Copyright permission will not be necessary if the use is determined to be fair dealing, if the work is in the public domain, or if the rights-holder has granted a Creative Commons or other licence. If either the Author or Publisher determines for any reason that permission is required to include any thirdparty work, the Author will obtain written permission from the rightsholder.