British Journal of Learning Disabilities

Cover image for Vol. 45 Issue 1

Edited By: Professor Bob Gates

Impact Factor: 0.391

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 35/39 (Education Special)

Online ISSN: 1468-3156

Author Guidelines


The journal to which you are submitting your manuscript employs a plagiarism detection system. By submitting your manuscript to this journal you accept that your manuscript may be screened for plagiarism against previously published works.


Aims and Scope

British Journal of Learning Disabilities is an interdisciplinary international peer-reviewed journal which aims to be the leading journal in the learning disability field. It is the official Journal of the British Institute of Learning Disabilities. It encompasses contemporary debate/s and developments in research, policy and practice that are relevant to the field of learning disabilities. It publishes original refereed papers, regular special issues giving comprehensive coverage to specific subject areas, and especially commissioned keynote reviews on major topics. In addition there are reviews of books and training materials, and a letters section. The focus of the journal is on practical issues, with current debates and research reports. Topics covered could include, but not be limited to:

  • Current trends in residential and day-care services
  • Inclusion, rehabilitation and quality of life
  • Education and training
  • Historical and inclusive pieces [particularly welcomed are those co - written with people with learning disabilities]
  • Therapies
  • Mental health issues
  • Employment and occupation
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Ethical issues, advocacy and rights
  • Family and carers
  • Health issues
  • Adoption and fostering
  • Causation and management of specific syndrome
  • Staff training
  • New technology
  • Policy critique and impact

Its readership is wide comprising members from the British Institute of Learning Disabilities, as well as academics, family carers, practitioners, staff in health and social care organisations, as well as a wide range of others with a personal and professional interest in learning disability, and who wish to promote enriched lifestyles, as well as high quality services and support for adults and children with learning disabilities.

The British Journal of Learning Disabilities crosses all professional groups and all academic disciplines concerned with learning disability. The opinions expressed in articles, whether editorials or otherwise, do not necessarily represent the official view of the British Institute of Learning Disabilities and the Institute accepts no responsibility for the quality of goods or services advertised.

Please read the instructions below for brief details on the Journal’s requirements for manuscripts. Please visit the Journal website: for full and updated Author Guidelines and Wiley-Blackwell Publishing’s Author Services website,, for further information on the preparation and submission of articles and figures. Manuscripts in an incorrect format may be returned to the author.
Please note that we also welcome articles by or with people with learning disabilities. Accessible and friendly guidelines are available on request.

Acceptance of papers is based on the understanding that authors have treated research participants with respect and dignity throughout. Papers based on original research involving people with learning disabilities must include an ethical statement to confirm either that the research has received formal ethical approval from an appropriate ethics committee or that the research has taken appropriate steps with regard access, informed consent, confidentiality and anonymity. Contributors to the article other than the authors accredited should be listed under an Acknowledgements section which should also include, if appropriate, details of any potential conflict of interests.

Copyright Transfer Agreement

Authors will be required to sign a Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA) for all papers accepted for publication. Signature of the CTA is a condition of publication and papers will NOT be published unless a signed form has been received. After submission authors will retain the right to publish their paper in various media/circumstances (please see the CTA for further details).
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 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 and visit
If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit: For RCUK and Wellcome Trust authors click on the link below to preview the terms and conditions of this license: Creative Commons Attribution License OAA To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services and visit

Permissions: If all or parts of previously published illustrations are used, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder concerned. It is the author's responsibility to obtain these in writing and provide copies to the Publisher.


The British Journal of Learning Disabilities has now adopted ScholarOne Manuscripts (formerly known as Manuscript Central), for online manuscript submission and peer review. The new system brings with it a whole host of benefits including:

  • Quick and easy submission
  • Administration centralised and reduced
  • Significant decrease in peer review times

From now on all submissions to the journal must be submitted online at Full instructions and support are available on the site and a user ID and password can be obtained on the first visit. If you require assistance then click the Get Help Now link which appears at the top right of every Manuscript Central page. If you cannot submit online, please contact Christian Mañebo in the Editorial Office by e-mail

 3.1. Getting Started

  • Launch your web browser (supported browsers include Internet Explorer 6 or higher, Netscape 7.0, 7.1, or 7.2, Safara 1.2.4, or Firefox 1.0.4) and go to the journal's online Submission Site:
  • Log-in or click the 'Create Account' option if you are a first-time user.
  • If you are creating a new account:
    - After clicking on 'Create Account', enter your name and e-mail information and click 'Next'. Your e-mail information is very important.
    - Enter your institution and address information as appropriate, and then click 'Next.'
    - Enter a user ID and password of your choice (we recommend using your e-mail address as your user ID), and then select your area of expertise. Click 'Finish'.
  • If you have an account, but have forgotten your log in details, go to Password Help on the journals online submission system and enter your e-mail address. The system will send you an automatic user ID and a new temporary password.
  • Log-in and select 'Author Center'.

3.2. Submitting Your Manuscript

  • After you have logged in, click the 'submit a Manuscript' link in the menu bar.
  • Enter data and answer questions as appropriate. You may copy and paste directly from your manuscript and you may upload your pre-prepared covering letter.
  • Click the 'Next' button on each screen to save your work and advance to the next screen.
  • You are required to upload your files.
    - Click on the 'Browse' button and locate the file on your computer.
    - Select the designation of each file in the drop-down menu next to the Browse button.
    - When you have selected all files you wish to upload, click the 'Upload Files' button.
  • Review your submission (in HTML and PDF format) before sending to the Journal.
  • Click the 'Submit' button when you are finished reviewing.

 3.3. Manuscript Files Accepted

 Manuscripts should be uploaded as Word (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rft) files (not write-protected) plus separate figure files. GIF, JPEG, PICT or Bitmap files are acceptable for submission, but only high-resolution TIF or EPS files are suitable for printing.  The files will be automatically converted to HTML and PDF on upload and will be used for the review process. The text file must contain the entire manuscript including title page, accessible summary, summary, text, references, tables, and figure legends, but no embedded figures. Figure tags should be included in the file. Manuscripts should be formatted as described in the Author Guidelines below.

 3.4. Suspension of Submission Mid-way in the Submission Process

 You may suspend a submission at any phase before clicking the 'Submit' button and save it to submit later. The manuscript can then be located under 'Unsubmitted Manuscripts' and you can click on 'Continue Submission' to continue your submission when you choose to.

 3.5. E-mail Confirmation of Submission

 After submission you will receive an e-mail to confirm receipt of your manuscript. If you do not received the confirmation e-mail after 24 hours, please check your e-mail address carefully in the system. If the e-mail address is correct please contact your IT department. The error may be caused by spam filtering software on your e-mail server. Also, the e-mails should be received if the IT department adds our e-mail server ( to their whitelist.

 3.6. Manuscript Status

 You can access ScholarOne Manuscripts (formerly known as Manuscript Central) any time to check your 'Author Center' for the status of your manuscript. The Journal will inform you by e-mail once a decision has been made.

All manuscripts submitted to British Journal of Learning Disabilities should include: Accessible Summary, Keywords, Abstract, Main Text (divided by appropriate sub headings) and References. Manuscripts should not be more than 5,000 words in length including references.

Title Page: This should include: a short title to indicate content with a sub-title if necessary; the full names of all the authors; the name(s) and address(es) of the institution(s) at which the work was carried out (the present addresses of the authors, if different from the above, should appear in a footnote); the name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and email addresses of the author to whom all correspondence and proofs should be sent; a suggested running title of not more than 50 characters, including spaces should be provided in the header of each page.

Accessible Summary: As well as an abstract, authors must include an easy-to-read summary of their papers. This was introduced in 2005, and was done so in the spirit of making research findings more accessible to people with learning disabilities. The editorial board also believe that this will make ‘scanning’ the Journal contents easier for all readers. Authors are required to:

  • Summarise the content of their paper using bullet points (3 or 4 at most),
  • Express their ideas in this summary using straightforward language, and
  • State simply why the research is important, and should matter to people with learning disabilities.

Keywords: these are words which have relevance to the type of paper being submitted, this is for reviewing and citing purposes. You are asked by Manuscript Central to input keywords when submitting a paper, but up to 6 keywords must also be included within the 'main document' underneath the Accessible Summary.

Abstract: All papers should use a structured abstract incorporating the following headings: Background, Materials and Methods, Results, Conclusions. These should outline the questions investigated, the design, essential findings and main conclusions of the study.

Main Text: The text should then proceed through sections of Background/Introduction, Review of Literature, Research Questions/Hypotheses, Materials, Methods, Results and Discussion, and finally Tables. Figures should be submitted as a separate file.

Abbreviations and symbols:
All symbols and abbreviations should be clearly explained. Abbreviations should not be used when they refer to people (e.g. learning disabilities, not LD; developmental disabilities, not DD; intellectual disabilities, not ID). Please also use “people with learning disabilities” wherever possible, not “learning disabled people”.

References: List all sources in the reference list alphabetically by name. . In text citations should follow the author-date method. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

References are styled according to the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. A sample of the most common entries in reference lists appears below. Please note that for journal articles, issue numbers are not included unless each issue in the volume begins with page one.

Journal article:
Phelps, L. (1996). Discriminative validity of the WRAML with ADHD and LD children. Psychology in the Schools, 33, 5-12.

Book edition:
Bradley-Johnson, S. (1994). Psychoeducational assessment of students who are visually impaired or blind: Infancy through high school (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-ed.

References should refer only to material listed within the text.

Colour Charges: It is the policy of the British Journal of Learning Disabilities for authors to pay the full cost for the reproduction of their colour artwork. The Colour Work Agreement form can be downloaded here.

Once completed, please return the form (hard copy with original signature) to Customer Services via regular mail to the address below:

Customer Services (OPI), John Wiley & Sons Ltd, European Distribution Centre, New Era Estate, Oldlands Way, Bognor Regis, West Sussex PO22 9NQ, UK.

Manuscripts received with colour files WILL NOT be reproduced in colour unless a CWAF has been received.

Supporting Information: Supporting Information, such as data sets or additional figures or tables, that will not be published in the print edition of the Journal, but which will be viewable via the online edition, can be submitted. Please contact the Production Editor ( for further details.

: Proofs will be sent via e-mail as an Acrobat PDF (portable document format) file. The e-mail server must be able to accept attachments up to 4 MB in size. Acrobat Reader will be required in order to read this file. Corrections must be returned to the Production Editor within 3 days of receipt.

Author Services: For more substantial information on the services provided for authors, please see

Offprints: A PDF offprint of the online published article will be provided free of charge to the corresponding author, and may be distributed subject to the Publisher’s terms and conditions.

Early View
British Journal of Learning Disabilities is covered by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing’s Early View service. Early View articles are complete full-text articles published online in advance of their publication in a printed issue. Articles are therefore available as soon as they are ready, rather than having to wait for the next scheduled print issue. Early View articles are complete and final. They have been fully reviewed, revised and edited for publication, and the authors’ final corrections have been incorporated. Because they are in final form, no changes can be made after online publication. The nature of Early View articles means that they do not yet have volume, issue or page numbers, so Early View articles cannot be cited in the traditional way. They are therefore given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), which allows the article to be cited and tracked before it is allocated to an issue. After print publication, the DOI remains valid and can continue to be used to cite and access the article.

OnlineOpen is available to authors of primary research articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers on publication, or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their article. With OnlineOpen, the author, the author's funding agency, or the author's institution pays a fee to ensure that the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in the funding agency's preferred archive. For the full list of terms and conditions, see

Any authors wishing to send their paper OnlineOpen will be required to complete the payment form available from our website at:

Prior to acceptance there is no requirement to inform an Editorial Office that you intend to publish your paper OnlineOpen if you do not wish to. All OnlineOpen articles are treated in the same way as any other article. They go through the journal's standard peer-review process and will be accepted or rejected based on their own merit.

Note to NIH Grantees
Pursuant to NIH mandate, Wiley-Blackwell will post the accepted version of contributions authored by NIH grant-holders to PubMed Central upon acceptance. This accepted version will be made publicly available 12 months after publication. For further information, see