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Authors are advised to carefully review these guidelines before preparing and submitting their manuscripts to ensure compliance with the journal's requirements and maximize the chances of successful publication. Manuscripts are submitted electronically through the journal's online submission system (authors must register on the submission system). 

Scope and Aim

The African Cities Journal is a peer-reviewed journal that promotes a multi- and trans-disciplinary approach to urban planning. The Journal seeks to translate scientific evidence into practical recommendations to address the societal and spatial complexities of African cities. Therefore, we welcome contributions from different disciplinary perspectives (e.g., geography, public health, or information technologies) as long as they address urban planning challenges faced in the African continent and advance evidence-based recommendations. Please refer to the Journal’s Scope for more details.  

Types of Manuscripts Accepted

The journal accepts different manuscript types (see details below) that fit the above research scope. Manuscripts must be structured according to the instructions below, based on their type. 

Original Research Article

This manuscript type presents new findings based on original research conducted by the authors, and should be structured as follows: 

  • Introduction: provide background information explaining the relevance of the research topic and state the research question or hypothesis. 
  • (if applicable) Literature review / Related works: provide the state-of-the-art related to the research topic (previous works on the same question) - this section is particularly important for Review articles (see "Review Article” sub-section). 
  • Methods: describe the study design, materials, and procedures used (including data collection and analysis methods. 
  • (if applicable) Ethical considerations: for studies involving human subjects or animals, provide details of ethical approval (reference number and name of competent organization) 
  • Results: present the study’s findings (may include tables, figures, or other visual representations of data). 
  • Discussion: interpret and contextualize the results in relation to the research question and previous studies addressing the same topic, and address the results’ practical implications, limitations, and potential future research directions. 
  • Conclusion: summarize, in 1-2 paragraphs, the main findings and their significance, and restate the study's contribution to the field. 
  • (if applicable) Acknowledgments: recognize individuals or organizations that contributed to the research but do not meet the criteria for authorship. 
  • Declarations: see “Ethical Principles”. 
  • Authors’ contributions: authors must specify their contributions using the specific terms listed in the subsection “Authorship Criteria” below. 
  • References: authors must apply the “APA” style. For more detailed information, please refer to the free tutorial provided by the American Psychological Association, as well as their APA style summary and examples. We strongly encourage authors to use a reference manager software to avoid errors in this section.  
  • (if applicable) Supporting Information / Supplementary Materials: see details below. 

The main text of Original Research Articles may have a maximum of 6,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures. Please note that for observational studies, authors must follow the STROBE checklist. 

Review Article (including Systematic Reviews & Meta-analyses)

Review Articles provide a comprehensive overview and synthesis of existing research literature on a specific topic. A Systematic Review is an article that follows a systematic and rigorous process to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant research studies on a specific topic, often with the aim of answering a focused research question. A Meta-analysis is a type of review article that statistically analyzes and synthesizes data from multiple primary research studies to derive overall conclusions. Review Articles, Meta-analyses and Systematic Reviews must be structured as follows: 

  • Introduction: provide background information explaining the relevance of the research topic and state the research question or hypothesis. 
  • Methods: describe the search/inclusion criteria (e.g., keywords and reference dates) and sources (e.g., Web of Science or PubMed) used to conduct the article search. For Meta-analyses, describe the statistical methods employed to compile and analyze secondary data obtained from the review.  
  • Literature review: provide the state-of-the-art related to the research topic (previous works on the same question). This section may be shorter for Systematic Reviews including Meta-analyses, which shall have a specific “Results” section (see next item). 
  • (if applicable) Results: present the study’s findings (may include tables, figures, or other visual representations of data). This section is particularly important for Systematic Reviews including Meta-analyses. 
  • Discussion: interpret and contextualize the results in relation to the research question and previous studies addressing the same topic, and address the results’ practical implications, limitations, and potential future research directions. 
  • Conclusion: summarize, in 1-2 paragraphs, the main findings and their significance, and restate the study's contribution to the field. 
  • (if applicable) Acknowledgments: recognize individuals or organizations that contributed to the research but do not meet the criteria for authorship. 
  • Declarations: see “Ethical Principles”. 
  • Authors’ contributions: authors must specify their contributions using the specific terms listed in the subsection “Authorship Criteria” below. 
  • References: authors must apply the “APA” style. For more detailed information, please refer to the free tutorial provided by the American Psychological Association, as well as their APA style summary and examples. We strongly encourage authors to use a reference manager software to avoid errors in this section.  
  • (if applicable) Supporting Information / Supplementary Materials: see details below. 

For Review articles, the manuscript may have a maximum of 8,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures. Please note that for review articles consisting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, authors must follow the PRISMA checklist.

Young Researcher Article

This manuscript type is specifically aimed for young researchers, notably, Master students or early PhD students. Submissions to this section will benefit from more detailed reviews, aiming to train young researchers in scientific writing. Please note that this process requires a longer timeframe than other types of submission due to a higher work load.

Authors may choose between two manuscript formats: Original Research or Review. The former presents new findings based on original research conducted by the authors, while the latter presents a systematic synthesis of relevant findings on a specific topic.

Young Researcher Articles must follow the following structure:

  • Introduction: provide background information explaining the relevance of the research topic and state the research question or hypothesis. 
  • Methods: describe the study design, materials, and procedures used (including data collection and analysis methods. For Review manuscripts, describe the search/inclusion criteria (e.g., keywords and reference dates) and sources (e.g., Web of Science or PubMed) used to conduct the article search. Review manuscripts may also feature Meta-analyses; in this case, describe the statistical methods employed to compile and analyze secondary data obtained from the review.
  • (if applicable) Ethical considerations: for studies involving human subjects or animals, provide details of ethical approval (reference number and name of competent organization)
  • (if applicable) Literature review / Related works: provide the state-of-the-art related to the research topic (previous works on the same question) - this section is particularly important for manuscripts opting for the Review format. 
  • (if applicable) Results: present the study’s findings (may include tables, figures, or other visual representations of data). This section is particularly important for Original Research or Reviews including Meta-analyses.
  • Discussion: interpret and contextualize the results in relation to the research question and previous studies addressing the same topic, and address the results’ practical implications, limitations, and potential future research directions. 
  • Conclusion: summarize, in 1-2 paragraphs, the main findings and their significance, and restate the study's contribution to the field. 
  • (if applicable) Acknowledgments: recognize individuals or organizations that contributed to the research but do not meet the criteria for authorship. 
  • Declarations: see “Ethical Principles”. 
  • Authors’ contributions: authors must specify their contributions using the specific terms listed in the subsection “Authorship Criteria” below. 
  • References: authors must apply the “APA” style. For more detailed information, please refer to the free tutorial provided by the American Psychological Association, as well as their APA style summary and examples. We strongly encourage authors to use a reference manager software to avoid errors in this section.  
  • (if applicable) Supporting Information / Supplementary Materials: see details below. 

The main text may have a maximum of 5,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures. Please note that, for observational studies, authors must follow the STROBE checklist.

Commentary

“Commentary” articles offer a personal or expert viewpoint on a specific issue, a current debate in the field, or a viewpoint on a report published by international bodies influencing urban planning and policy, such as the World Bank or the United Nations. This manuscript type must be structured as follows: 

  • Introduction: briefly provide background information explaining the relevance of the topic. 
  • Body: presentation of the point of view or, if applicable, the controversy in question (must be evidence-based, recurring to previous studies and/or verifiable events). 
  • Conclusion: advance recommendations based on the arguments presented previously.
  • Declarations: see “Ethical Principles”. 
  • Authors’ contributions: authors must specify their contributions using the specific terms listed in the subsection “Authorship Criteria” below. 
  • References: authors must apply the “APA” style. For more detailed information, please refer to the free tutorial provided by the American Psychological Association, as well as their APA style summary and examples. We strongly encourage authors to use a reference manager software to avoid errors in this section.  

For Commentary papers, the main text is limited to 2,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures. 

Project

Project articles present concrete, innovative ways to address architecture, engineering or urban planning issues that have not yet been implemented (or are at prototype stage) but can be insightful case studies. These may consist in academic projects or pilot experiences. They must be structured as follows: 

  • Introduction: briefly provide background information explaining the project’s origin, the main challenges addressed, and their relevance to the field. 
  • Body: presentation of the project, clearly stating its strengths and its limitations, and how it provides new ways of addressing the challenge/topic in question. 
  • Conclusion: advance recommendations based on the project experience. 
  • (if applicable) Acknowledgments: recognize individuals or organizations that contributed to the research but do not meet the criteria for authorship. 
  • Declarations: see “Ethical Principles”. 
  • Authors’ contributions: authors must specify their contributions using the specific terms listed in the subsection “Authorship Criteria” below. 
  • References: authors must apply the “APA” style. For more detailed information, please refer to the free tutorial provided by the American Psychological Association, as well as their APA style summary and examples. We strongly encourage authors to use a reference manager software to avoid errors in this section. 
  • (if applicable) Supporting Information / Supplementary Materials: see details below. 

For Project papers, the main text is limited to 3,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures. 

Letter to the Editor

These letters offer brief comments, critiques, or responses to previously published articles in the journal. Letters to the Editor do not need to follow a specific structure, but must provide background information on its motivation (contextualizing the commentary/critique). This type of article is limited to 1,500 words, excluding eventual references, tables, and figures. 

Abstract & Keywords

All manuscripts, except Letters to the Editor, must include an unstructured abstract of up to 250 words in two languages: English and French. For Commentary papers, the abstract is limited to 150 words. All manuscript types must provide between 4 and 8 keywords.  

Supporting Information & Supplementary Materials

Authors may include a specific section with additional materials that complement the main text but may not be essential for understanding the core findings of the research. This section typically includes data sets, figures, tables, multimedia files, or detailed descriptions of methods that provide further context or support for the findings presented in the main manuscript. 

When applicable, authors are encouraged to include the code used in their analysis as supplementary materials in order to ensure transparency, reproducibility, and accessibility. Ideally, the code and data used should be made available in appropriate repositories such as Zenodo or GitHub, where it can be openly accessed, reviewed, and reused by other researchers with adequate referencing.  

Cover Letter

For Original Research, Review, and Project Articles, authors are required to provide a one-page cover letter along with their submission, briefly outlining the significance of the research, its novelty, and its relevance to the journal's readership. 

For Commentary papers and Letters to the Editor, authors must explain their motivations and clarify their relevance to the journal's readership. 

In all cases, the cover letter must include a clear mention stating that all authors have read the submitted manuscript and agree with its contents. The cover letter should not exceed 1 page.

Formatting Requirements

All manuscript submissions must use the corresponding template, provided in the links below. In the template, authors will find detailed instructions for all sections, including word limits and formatting guidelines for figures, tables and bibliographic references. 

Word template for Original Research articles 

Word template for Literature Review articles  

Word template for Commentary articles 

Word template for Project articles

Authorship Criteria

To be included in the list of authors, one must have significantly contributed to one or more of these the following responsibilities/roles: 

  • Conceptualization: Formulating the research question, hypothesis, and study design. 
  • Data Collection: Gathering data through experiments, surveys, fieldwork, or other methods. 
  • Data Analysis: Analyzing data using statistical, computational, or qualitative methods.  
  • Software development: Developing or programming software, or designing computational models used in the research. 
  • Validation: Conducting experiments or analyses to validate the results. 
  • Data Curation: Managing and maintaining the data, including data processing and ensuring data integrity.
  • Writing - Original Draft: Writing the initial draft of the manuscript. 
  • Writing - Review & Editing: Reviewing and editing the manuscript to improve content, clarity, and readability. 
  • Scientific Supervision: Overseeing the research project and ensuring all aspects of the study are properly conducted.

Please note that securing financial support and/or materials for the research, alone, are not considered valid criteria to be an author.

Changes of authorship 

Under certain conditions, it is possible to make corrections to the author's name(s). For this, please refer to our policy on correcting, updating, retracting, or deleting an article after publication. 

Article Withdrawal

If an article is found to be in breach of our ethical principles, it will be automatically retracted. For more information, please refer to our policy on correcting, updating, retracting, or deleting an article after publication.

Article Processing Charges

The African Cities Journal does not charge article publication fees, thus fulfilling its mission to promote young researchers and open science.

Language

Authors may submit manuscripts written in English or French, according to their preference. As explained previously, all submissions must include an abstract written in both languages (English and French, see details in the “Abstract and Keywords” subsection) 

All submissions must meet the following requirements:

  • The submission meets the requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  • The submission follows the formatting requirements set out in the Author Guidelines, using the template provided (Word file) for the type of article submitted.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration.
  • All references have been checked for accuracy and completeness.
  • All tables and figures have been numbered and labeled.
  • Permission has been obtained to publish all photos, datasets and other material provided with this submission.