Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

Cover image for Vol. 48 Issue 3

Edited By: Timothy R. Vollmer, University of Florida

Impact Factor: 1.088

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 83/119 (Psychology Clinical)

Online ISSN: 1938-3703

Associated Title(s): Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Author Guidelines


Manuscripts should be submitted electronically in Word (.doc) format to the ScholarOne website: Manuscripts submitted as .pdf files will need to submit a .doc version before review of the manuscript will occur. All manuscripts should be formatted to the guidelines described in the most current APA publication manual.

Figures can be included at the end of the manuscript Word document or submitted separately as .pdf or .eps files. All tables should be submitted at the end of the manuscript (following references) in the manuscript Word document in portrait orientation. See details at the end of this document for more information regarding the guidelines for figures.

There are six primary categories of manuscripts: research articles, reports (also called brief reports), discussion articles, brief reviews, technical articles, and book reviews. Please review the details below for each manuscript category before submission.

Research Articles
The primary focus of JABA continues to be Research Articles of social importance. Both individual and group designs are appropriate, but in intervention studies, data on individual variation should be included. Further, the clinical significance of the effect on individuals should be discussed. In most cases, direct measures of behavior will be critical for acceptance, but in some instances, self-reports (e.g., headaches) will be acceptable, especially when such studies bear on issues relevant to types of interventions that might be used in applied behavior analysis.

General Guidelines for Research Articles:

  • Title Page
    • The title should be 12 words or less. The title should be a concise statement of the content in the article.
    • The affiliations listed on the Title Page should indicate the location where the author conducted the work.
    • The Author Note should appear on the Title page and should list authors’ affiliations at the time of the study (first paragraph), any change of affiliation (second paragraph), acknowledgements (third paragraph), and the person to contact for correspondence (fourth paragraph).
  • Abstract
    • The Abstract should be 150 words or less. The Abstract should provide a brief, comprehensive summary of the study.
  • Introduction
    • The Introduction should identify the key issues to be addressed, state the purpose of the study, and cite key references.
    • The Introduction should clearly identify the importance of the problem and the gaps in the literature that form the basis of the study.
  • Method
    • The author should provide sufficient detail to allow for replication.
    • The method should include a description of:
      • The participants, setting, and materials
      • The dependent variables with operational definitions
      • The method of data collection
      • The method used to assess and calculate interobserver agreement and the resulting coefficients
      • The experimental design used in the study
      • The procedures used to conduct the study
      • A description of the method used to assess the integrity of the independent variable (if applicable)
  • Results
    • The author should present summary statistics and describe the data presented in figures or tables.
  • Discussion
    • The author should interpret the results and present conclusions that are supported clearly by the data. The authors should also state the importance of the findings, note directions for future research, and identify limitations of the study.
  • References
    • Check the references carefully to ensure that they comply with APA (6th Ed) guidelines and ensure that references that appear in the text are in the Reference section and vice versa.
  • Figures and Tables
    • Consider the data display carefully before inserting figures and tables. Use a figure or table to summarize a large amount of data efficiently such that the data will be more comprehensible to the reader in figure or tabular form than in text. By contrast, data that will be just as comprehensible in text as in a figure or table should remain in the text. Figures and tables should draw the reader’s attention to the key findings of the study.
    • Figures and tables should be included at the end of the manuscript, not embedded within the text.

    Innovative pilot work, replications, and controlled case studies will be considered for publication as Reports. Because direct or systematic replications of research findings, as well as new areas of application having heuristic value, are crucial to the development of a field, such reports warrant special submission and review criteria. Reports will be judged according to the following criteria: (a) The subject matter has applied significance, (b) the information necessary to replicate the procedures is contained in the report, and (c) the data collection and analysis permit reasonable conclusions about the phenomenon. Less emphasis will be placed on procedural rigor for innovations (which contribute to our understanding of behavior by encouraging further research) than for replications (particularly failures to replicate, which require demonstrating alternative controlling variables).
    Studies appropriate as Reports must not exceed 2,500 total words, including the Title Page, Author Note, References, Figure Caption(s), and Table(s). The author(s) must agree not to publish an extended version of the Report in another Journal.

    General Guidelines for Reports:

    • The Abstract should be 85 words or less.
    • The Introduction should identify the key issues to be addressed, state the purpose of the study, and cite key references. Attempt to limit the references to 10 or less.
    • The Method (is a critical part of the manuscript. The author should make every attempt to provide sufficient detail to allow replication. The length of other sections of the manuscript should be shortened to accommodate procedural details.
    • Results and Discussion should be combined under that exact heading. This section should be limited to the presentation of summary statistics and references to data found in the table or figure, a summary of the findings and importance of the research that are supported clearly by the data, acknowledgement of the limitations, and possibly a suggested area for future investigation.
    • Most often a single figure or table will be sufficient to display key data.

    Discussion Articles
    Manuscripts surveying and critically evaluating particular areas of research or issues in applied behavior analysis may be accepted as Discussion Articles. Such papers will be sent to several reviewers who will be asked whether they find the manuscript helpful in conducting, analyzing, or interpreting research in the field of applied behavior analysis. Accepted manuscripts may be published with an accompanying commentary, which will be solicited by the Editor.

    Brief Reviews
    The purpose of the brief review is to summarize recent literature on a specific topic and provide directions for future research. The brief review should be highly focused on one very specific segment of the literature and should contain a synthesis of the literature, which provides readers with thought provoking insights that may not be evident from reading the articles individually. The area that is the focus of the review should contain sufficient numbers of studies to warrant a review of the literature. The goal is to provide readers with access to the literature in easily digestible portions. To allow for timely publication, the brief review needs to be publication ready and cannot require extensive revision. The brief review should be limited to 2,500 total words, including the Title Page, Author Note, and References.

    To ensure that reviews provide timely analysis that is both current and relevant to JABA readers, manuscripts should focus primarily on research published during the preceding five years. Authors interested in writing a brief review should send an abstract and reference list to the Editor for initial consideration, which will allow the Editor to identify relevant in-press manuscripts for inclusion in the review.

    Technical Articles
    Manuscripts contributing primarily to procedures, data analysis, or instrumentation may be accepted as Technical Articles. Such articles should report a complete experiment demonstrating a causal relation. For cases wherein experimental demonstration is not feasible, authors are expected to provide other suitable data or documentation supporting the utility of the methods, technique, or apparatus.

    Technical Articles will be judged according to the following criteria: (a) The issue is of general importance to the future conduct of applied research, (b) the conclusions are unambiguous and are based on either sound experimentation or thorough analysis of current research practice, (c) the information necessary for implementation is contained in the report, and (d) publication of the manuscript is likely to produce significant improvement in applied behavior analysis procedures.

    Book Reviews
    Books that are of interest to some segment of the JABA readership are appropriate for the book review category. Book reviews are typically solicited by the book review. A prospective book reviewer should contact the book review Editor to assess interest and appropriateness of the selected book and the review topic.

    Not only should the review summarize the contents of the book, but it also should set the stage for a scholarly discussion of the book in the context of a larger conceptual/technical area that is in line with the theme of the book. The review should be written in an interesting and engaging style, and the evaluation of the book should be fair, justified, and based on the book's purpose. Reviews will undergo review by the book review Editor. The book review Editor also has the option of sending book reviews out for review.


    Dimensions & Proportions
    Figures should be prepared keeping in mind the proportion of JABA's printed page: The height is 19.6 cm. The single-column width is 7.0 cm. The double-column width is 14.6 cm. The width to height proportion is 1:2.8 for a single column and 1:1.3 for a double column. To determine appropriate lettering size, line thickness, and clarity of data points, it is best to have figures reduced to single-column or double-column width. Authors should submit figures in these sizes so that Associate Editors and reviewers can judge their adequacy.

    For initial submission, figures may be submitted as separate .pdf or .eps files. Alternatively, figures can be included in the word document of the manuscript following the references. Figures should be submitted in as high of a resolution as possible to ensure that reviewers are able to clearly evaluate the information presented. When and if the manuscript is accepted for publication, the figures must be submitted to the editorial office as high resolution .pdf or .eps files.

    More detailed information on the submission of electronic artwork can be found at

    Data points
    Data points must be constructed of thin lines and be of sufficient size so that reduction will neither obscure their differentiation nor fill in such symbols as unfilled circles, triangles, and squares.

    Axes and lines
    Avoid heavy lines for axes because they may make thin-lined lettering and data points appear disproportionately light. Do not use heavy lines to connect data points or to describe theoretical functions because they will de-emphasize or obscure data points. Provide scale marks along both axes at sufficiently frequent intervals to permit x and y values of data points to be read accurately. Be sure that axes meet at a right angle and that labels parallel their axes. Align scale marks with labels and data points.

    Legends identify the data points within the figure. Identify data paths with arrows and labels when possible. Use text boxes only when space is not available for arrows and labels.

    Avoid squat, heavy-lined, bold-faced type. Use comparatively tall, thin-lined, narrow letters and numbers. It is best to use all capital letters, but do not hesitate to use upper and lower cases when needed to fit in the area available. It is better to use upper and lower cases in a readable size than it is to use all capitals in a smaller, more-difficult-to-read size.

    Figure captions
    The caption should explain the figure and should appear in the word document of the manuscript beneath references and tables. One line of text will accommodate 52 characters and spaces for a single-column figure and 107 characters and spaces for a double column figure. The height of each line of text is .35 cm. An additional .35 cm is needed between the bottom of a figure and its caption.

    Wiley is able to host online approved supporting information that authors submit with their paper. Supporting information must be important, ancillary information that is relevant to the parent article but which does not or cannot appear in the printed and online edition of the journal. Supporting Information can comprise additional tables, data sets, figures, movie files, audio clips, 3D structures, and other related nonessential multimedia files. Supporting information can be referenced in the manuscript parenthetically. For example: (see Supporting Information). All files should be clearly labeled as "Supporting Information” (e.g., use SuppInfo, Supp, in the filename; example Figure_6_SuppInfo.pdf).

    Like the manuscript accompanying it, it should be original and not previously published. If previously published, it must be submitted with the necessary permissions. Supporting information will be published as submitted and will not be corrected or checked for scientific content, typographical errors or functionality. The responsibility for scientific accuracy and file functionality remains entirely with the authors. A disclaimer will be displayed to this effect with any supporting information published. Questions about missing supporting information on Wiley Online Library should be directed to the journal's production editor at

    Supporting information may also be displayed on an author or institutional website. Such posting is not subject to the journal's embargo date as specified in the copyright agreement. In such cases, it is the author's responsibility to ensure that the supplied URL for the supporting information remains valid for the lifetime of the article.

    Wiley-Blackwell does not provide technical support for the creation of supporting information. If technical support is required to output supporting information in a suitable format and size, authors should seek the assistance of their local IT department. If a native dataset is supplied, the program and/or equipment used should be given. For specialist software (e.g. LaTeX), the software and version number used should be given. Please try to restrict individual file sizes to 10Mb maximum (zipped or unzipped). Larger files may be hosted, but these can lead to download issues for users.

    A Supporting Information statement will be inserted at the end of the article (after the main body of the article, but before any acknowledgements and the reference list) indicating where readers can find the Supporting Information online. This statement will not contain a direct link to the Supporting Information and will contain the Supporting Information filename and brief title. Below is an example:

    Supporting information
    Additional Supporting Information may be found in the online version of this article:
    Appendix S1
    Please note: Wiley-Blackwell are not responsible for the content or functionality of any supporting materials supplied by the authors. Any queries (other than missing material) should be directed to the corresponding author for the article.

    Copyright Transfer Agreement
    If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Author Services; where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.

    For authors signing the copyright transfer agreement
    If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) to sign. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs below:

    CTA Terms and Conditions

    For authors choosing OnlineOpen
    If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):

    Creative Commons Attribution License OAA

    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA

    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA

    To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services visit

    If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) or the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with your Funder requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit: