Journal Policies

Editorial Oversight

This journal was formerly published by AMS Press until 2018 and is now published by the Open Library of Humanities. Editors of the previous printed version of the journal continue to manage this scholarly annual publication. I.e., its current Editor-in-Chief formerly was the Book Reviews Editor; its former Editor-in-Chief is now a Consulting Editor. The Editor-in-Chief recruits new members to the editorial team in consultation with other members of the journal's current team; the journal's Editorial Board is informed of any potential appointments and its approval is sought. In rare cases of disagreement, the board's opinion is considered and the journal team's decision may be modified. Although the journal does not currently publish guest-edited content, in the future the journal anticipates inviting guest editors to edit material curated by our staff, and may issue a call for submissions for guest-edited research. All editorial staff members are academically trained and have a level of professional experience as editors.

The Editor-in-Chief oversees all activities and holds monthly online meetings to update staff on the journal's publication progress and to discuss editorial issues. The Editor-in-Chief and Consulting Editor represent the journal at relevant scholarly meetings, often inviting submissions from papers heard at those occasions. The Associate Editor continues to work on tasks relating to the move from print to online publication, such as informing past contributors of our prior four volumes that their work is now available to the world fully open access as a consequence of the journal's move to publication by the Open Library of Humanities (OLH). The Assistant Editor functions as chief copyeditor. The Book Reviews Editor is active on a number of online sites, and may invite persons to submit reviews of works relating to the field of lifewriting. They also interact with publishers to ask them to send out review copies of works to potential reviewers. The Graphics Editor oversees the art direction of the online journal, either in collaboration with external designers or as the in-house designer themself, and functions as an in-house technical advisor as well.

Lifewriting Annual (LA) is a peer reviewed journal that uses double-anonymous reviewing for the majority of its articles. Following the peer review process, the Editor-in-Chief may accept the manuscript for publication and get in touch with its author to inform them of next steps. Other options include revisions, either minor or major, or a rejection of the article. On occasion, other staff members are also polled on the manuscript’s merit—or for suggestions on any changes they see as needed. The exception is for 'Findings', short pieces about collections or documents worthy of consideration. Publication is at the Editor-in-Chief’s discretion, often in consultation with other journal staff members. This includes those cases of desk rejection of material deemed unsuitable for our use. The Editor-in-Chief will not discuss reasons for rejection in communication with the submitting author. For future guest editors, the journal intends to develop a protocol for draft decisions to be made by them for special sections—subject to approval by LA staff editors.

LA is, like its field, international. This journal cultivates a broad and experienced Editorial Board comprising persons from across different nations, academic institutions, genders, and demographics. We are keenly aware of the need to incorporate materials and opinions representing a wide range of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Potential board members are recruited by the editorial team with this diversity in mind.

Peer Review Process

Potential authors may approach the Editor-in-Chief informally, offering anything ranging from an idea to a concept or even a finished manuscript. Informal exchanges may occur by email in the first instance. When a manuscript is ready for submission, an editor coaches authors through the journal's online platform registration process and conveys the submission protocols for the journal.

Once a manuscript is submitted, the Editor-in-Chief reads it carefully and may share it with other staff editors for consideration of its appropriateness for our publication, academic merit, or ways to improve it. The manuscript then goes to the double-anonymous peer review process:

  1. The Editor-in-Chief or other editorial staff member contacts several potential peer reviewers about their possible service. When they have been identified and confirmed;
  2. The Editor-in-Chief prepares an anonymized version of the manuscript to be shared through the journal's online platform with the two reviewers;
  3. As comments are returned, they may be shared with the author in summary form or, if the situation merits, in full;
  4. In certain cases, a third opinion may be needed to help with the decision or to elicit further suggestions for revision. If a new revised version of the manuscript is submitted in response to these further peer review comments, the manuscript may go through another round of review with a different reviewer.

Materials such as introductions to volumes are vetted by editorial staff and/or members of the Editorial Board before publication.

Double-anonymous peer reviews help to ensure frank opinions from peer reviewers. We carefully anonymize manuscripts before sending them out to peer reviewers. Staff editors do not discuss manuscripts outside the working context of the journal.

As in the past, manuscripts submitted to our 'Crossings' section occasionally undergo modified single-anonymous review. This section is the 'editor’s choice' to showcase new (or very old and interesting) writing that uses at least two forms of lifewriting. For volume 6 and henceforth, the policy for 'Crossings' is extended to our new 'Findings'—both sections continuing as the editor’s choice. ‘Findings’ spotlights collections of materials or fragments of writing worthy of further scholarly attention. ‘Findings' material is, as for ‘Crossings,’ occasionally given single-anonymous review as needed.

Peer reviewers are mainly sought by the journal's editorial staff according to their experience and fit for the reviewing of research. The journal does, however, occasionally invite authors to suggest potential peer reviewers for their articles. The Editor-in-Chief oversees this practice, often inquiring of potential reviewers of others who might be good reviewers of the manuscript. All cautions as recommended by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) are followed. This practice has proven to be occasionally useful in, for example, our 'Lifewriting & Islam' theme. This is also particularly useful for sourcing reviewers for articles on emerging subgenres of lifewriting, where the pool of experts is small.

Anonymized manuscripts are provided to peer reviewers after they agree to review an article. Often an editor will summarise the manuscript when approaching a potential peer reviewer via email. All staff editors are aware of our procedure to delete or obscure references to an author’s related work in a manuscript under review.

Reviewers are encouraged to comment on the article’s relevance to any current intellectual questions and the quality of its writing, as well as any needed revisions. For novice reviewers and junior scholars, some guidance is needed and this is provided at the point of a peer reviewer's agreement to review the manuscript. The journal's forms provided through its electronic publishing platform, Janeway, help reviewers to post their responses in an orderly fashion. Reviewers are encouraged to comment on the article’s relevance to any current intellectual questions and the quality of its writing, as well as any needed revisions.

According to its peer review policy, LA does not publish peer review reports alongside articles, or the names of the peer reviewers who have undertaken review of the article. Anonymized peer review data is held securely and privately in the journal’s publishing platform for the author to access whenever they choose.

Exceptions or modifications to the review process may be made in instances of reprint material chosen by the LA staff editors.

Organization and Governance

LA is owned and managed by the Lifewriting Association, a not-for-profit scholarly association established in 2020 which is not funded by membership subscriptions. The association, composed of the editorial staff of LA and its Editorial Board, is dedicated to facilitating open-access publication of all forms of lifewriting (memoir, autobiography, biography, poetry, historical narrative, transcriptions of interviews, and essays) through the Open Library of Humanities. The Association's Executive Committee has a president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary elected from LA’s Editorial Board and current LA team members. The Editor-in-Chief serves ex officio. Elected members serve three-year terms, staggered to ensure consistency in direction; two new members are elected each year. Any member of the Editorial Board and editorial team may nominate themselves or colleagues to serve on the Association’s Executive Committee. Elections will take place before the Committee’s annual meeting, a virtual or in-person meeting to receive updates on editorial team activities and elect its new officers as needed.

The Lifewriting Association in no way asserts copyright control over material published through LA. As with other OLH journals, copyright is retained by contributing authors. The association supports but does not affect editorial decisions of the journal in any way; only LA staff have that role. The association does not provide any form of financial support for the journal. LA was formerly published by AMS Press until 2018 and is now published by the Open Library of Humanities.

Business Practices


This journal only displays advertisements (adverts) that are of relevance to its scope and will be of interest to the readership (e.g., upcoming conferences). All advertising space is provided free of charge and the editor and publisher have the right to decline or withdraw adverts at any point. Adverts will include a text heading to make it clear that they are advertising. If you wish to propose a potential advert then please contact the editorial team. Advert images may be provided to the publisher in rare cases for their agreement, should the journal require its judgement.

The publisher, OLH, employs a Marketing Officer who undertakes general marketing activities for the publisher including the promotion of its journals. The Marketing Officer does not, however, engage in direct marketing for any OLH journals and this does not affect the editorial decisions of OLH journals in any way.

Direct Marketing

Most marketing is conducted by LA team members organically via flyers distributed at scholarly events or by posts on social media and is therefore not strictly direct marketing. Occasionally, however, LA may conduct direct marketing to solicit manuscripts for publication and to increase its readership. We hereby attest that all information provided about the journal in such marketing is truthful and not misleading to readers or authors. Such marketing is conducted by LA staff members and in no way affects the editorial decisions of the journal.

Other Revenue

This journal is funded by OLH’s Library Partnership Subsidy Model and does not generate any additional streams of revenue.

Preprint Policy

LA does not publish preprints. The journal may consider articles based on work that has already been made openly available as a preprint, if the research is suitable to a specific Special Collection. The article must successfully pass through the journal’s peer review process before being published. LA’s remit is to publish original research that has not been previously published in another journal.

Conduct and Expected Behavior

LA operates with a zero tolerance policy of abusive or inappropriate behavior. Anyone participating in the publishing workflow of LA should not, under any circumstances, be abusive or behave inappropriately towards peer reviewers, authors, or other members of the LA editorial team. The publisher’s ‘Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement’ contains further information on the expected responsibilities and conduct of all participants in the journal’s workflow.

If an author, editor or reviewer has any concerns about the conduct of Special Collection editors at LA, they are asked to contact the LA editorial team via the journal’s ‘Contact’ page form. Complaints regarding members of the LA editorial team should be raised directly with the publisher, OLH. As per the OLH’s ‘Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement’, the publisher is responsible for dealing swiftly and ethically with allegations of editorial misconduct, plagiarism, or any other complaints related to the fraudulent publication of an article.

Consent and Ethical Considerations

Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Where applicable, the studies must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee and the authors should include a statement within the article text detailing this approval, including the name of the ethics committee and reference number of the approval. Authors are expected to follow their institutional policies for research ethics. For most research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or guardian in the case of children under 16).

Peer reviewers are asked to comment on any ethical problems perceived within submissions when providing their peer review report.

Special Collections

On occasion, Lifewriting Annual may publish Special Collections comprising works already published in the journal or of new material around a special topic or theme. Such endeavours may be proposed by experts in a scholarly field or subfield or LA staff members; any offer includes an obligation to collate or collect pertinent materials. LA’s Editorial Board members will vet the proposed collection and its prospective editor. Resulting Special Collections may collate material around a theme from past volumes or feature new material, both preferably introduced by an interested guest editor. Lifewriting Annual staff will oversee the editing of this curated material in consultation with any guest editor of a Special Collections segment.

Proposals for a Special Collection may be developed in consultation with the LA staff and submitted for consideration, with the possibility of resubmission to clarify standards. We ask that guest editors do preliminary editing of any material to be considered before its submission to the journal. All manuscripts will be subject to a double-anonymous peer review process overseen by the Editor-in-Chief. Final editorial decisions rest with the LA staff. All resulting materials will reside on LA's journal site as a discrete entity—a Special Collection—even while persisting in the volume in which the material may have originally appeared.