Author guidelines for Family Matters

Family Matters is not taking any manuscript submissions at this time.
For further information please contact the Publishing Manager: phone (03) 9214 7881

Family Matters is the flagship research journal of the Australian Institute of Family Studies. It reports on the research and related activities of the Institute, as well as on the work of other Australian and overseas family researchers and organisations. It is published twice a year.

Family Matters aims to present contemporary research and debate on issues affecting families and to promote high standards of reporting and writing that will appeal to a broad cross-section of readers with interests in family-related research, policies and programs.

Acceptance of all Family Matters articles is subject to a formal peer review and assessment process.

All articles appearing in Family Matters are fully refereed according to the criteria set out in the 2014 Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) specifications, and is listed on the Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2015 journal list.

Note: Although each issue of Family Matters usually has an overall theme, articles that are not specifically related to those themes are also considered for publication.


Consistent with the Institute's charter to disseminate family research and information as widely as possible, Family Matters is designed, in its content and appearance, to appeal to a broad cross-section of readers who have an interest in the work of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, in other family-related research, and in activities and policies that promote the social and economic wellbeing of families and family life.

Family Matters subscribers include: federal, state and local government policy-makers; libraries, schools and universities; health and welfare organisations; church and legal organisations, practitioners in family-related professions; media personnel; and individuals interested in keeping up-to-date with research and debate concerning families in Australia.

Family Matters is essential reading for those who work with families or want to understand and keep abreast of family research and of changes in policy, trends and issues affecting families.


Family Matters reflects diverse perspectives and analyses of family research and policy in Australia and overseas.

The contents of each edition comprise a mix of:

  • a. papers reporting findings from current Australian Institute of Family Studies research;
  • b. papers reporting other relevant family research;
  • c. shorter articles, such as occasional opinon pieces and a family law update; and
  • d. other occasional features, including Institute Seminars and Book Notes.

In this document, material in categories (a) and (b) are named "research articles", and material in categories (c) and (d) are referred to as "general articles".

In an issue, a cluster of several research articles may reflect a particular theme selected by the Publications Committee. Each issue has an Executive Editor of the academic papers, designated by the Publications Committee. The Executive Editor coordinates the edition, acquires papers and liaises with authors, in consultation with the Publishing Manager and the Publications Committee.

Instructions to authors


The length of research papers depends on various factors. Usually, however, a total word count (including references) of about 6,000 words is a satisfactory length.

Title page

The title page should contain the following information:

  • title of the article, which should reflect the scope of its contents and should be as concise and informative as possible;
  • name(s) of author(s), in the exact form that is to appear on the final publication;
  • position, title and/or affiliation for each author;
  • name, address, email and telephone number of primary author; and
  • disclaimers and acknowledgements, if any.


The author information should be followed by a short, paragraph-length abstract, featuring the main aims and highlights of the paper (maximum 200 words). The abstract will not be published with the paper, but will be used to summarise the article on the AIFS website and for other purposes. Authors should also supply 4-10 keywords from the Australian Family & Society Abstracts Family Thesaurus that describe the article.

AIFS style

Submitted articles should conform to the Institute's house style. The Institute uses the referencing style described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, 2010, but otherwise generally follows the style recommended by the Australian Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers (6th edition, 2002). Spelling should conform to the first mentioned instance in the Macquarie Dictionary.

Numbered figures (charts, graphs and other illustrations) and tables should be included in the text of the article close to the text that refers to them. If the submission is accepted for publication, the author(s) may be required to provide the original data or image file(s) required for redrawing or reproducing the figures.

Specific details about the AIFS house style and examples of usage, spelling, referencing and other important information for authors are available in the Australian Institute of Family Studies Style Guide. See particularly Appendices A and B for simple guides to the basic style.

Please number all the pages in the manuscript.

Delivering the article

Contributions are accepted as Microsoft Word or RTF documents. Please use the online submission form to send them to the Publishing Manager.

Review process

Acceptance of all Family Matters material is subject to a formal review and assessment process by the Institute's review panel. The review process will reflect the twin requirements of high reporting standards and general accessibility.

Each article is reviewed by a selection of members from the review panel and, on a case-by-case basis, by other Institute or external readers who have expertise in a particular area.

Overall, consideration will be given to whether research articles and general articles are clearly written, jargon-free, accessible and of interest to the broad range of informed lay readers that constitute the Family Matters readership, and whether articles are consistent with these author guidelines.

The following criteria will be particularly addressed in the course of the review process.

Criteria for acceptance of research articles

  • Subject matter
    • Timeliness of topic
    • Significance of the research
    • Originality of the argument
  • Style
    • Clarity of stated aims and research propositions
    • Adequate and appropriate use of literature and other research
    • Clear presentation and logical organisation of material
    • Quality, cogency and balance of the discussion/argument
  • Data
    • Appropriate methodological information
    • Adequacy of the quality of data
    • Adequacy of data analysis
    • Adequacy of data interpretation
  • Conclusions
    • Conclusions substantiated by convincing analytical argument
    • Balance and relevance of policy implications and recommendations

Criteria for acceptance of general articles

  • Subject matter
    • Timeliness of the topic
    • Significance of the topic
    • Originality of the argument
    • Topic is of national relevance, i.e. it is not solely focused on one Australian state's and/or territory's experience
  • Style
    • Clear presentation and logical organisation of material
    • Cogency and clarity of the article
  • Evidence
    • Factual accuracy
    • Arguments are supported by references or expert observation/experience
  • Conclusions
    • Conclusions substantiated by convincing analytical argument
    • Quality and balance of the argument or information presented
    • Balance and relevance of any policy implications drawn

Providing the assessment

On receiving a manuscript, the author(s) will be sent an acknowledgement that it has been received.

The manuscript is then sent to the Institute's review panel for assessment.

Authors will be informed as to the outcome of their submission. The reviewers' comments and suggestions for changes concerning articles that are accepted for publication subject to minor or major revisions will be sent to authors to assist in their preparation for suitable revision.


Upon final acceptance of a submission, the author(s) will be required to complete a Copyright agreement form, which assigns copyright in the work to the Commonwealth.

If it is not possible to assign copyright (e.g., if the author belongs to a university or other organisation that wishes to retain copyright), then the author will be required to grant the Commonwealth a non-exclusive licence to publish the work. It is sufficient to do this via an email to the Publishing Manager.

Since 2012, Family Matters has been published under a Creative Commons licence, the current version of which is the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0) . This means that it may be copied, distributed and built upon for commercial and non-commercial purposes; however, the Commonwealth of Australia must be attributed as the copyright holder.

Content where the copyright is held by a third party is subject to the licensing arrangements of the original owner.

For more information about AIFS copyright and licensing conditions, see our Copyright page.

Publishing process

The accepted manuscript will be copyedited and any queries will be directed to the key author for resolution and approval before being prepared for publication.

The article will then be typeset and the author(s) will be able to review this typeset version. Additional corrections/revisions may be made at this stage, although authors are encouraged to limit these only to essential changes, such as errors of fact, or spelling/grammatical mistakes.

The article will not proceed to print until it has been approved by the key author. Approval is usually in the form of an email acknowledgement.

Once the full issue is published and printed, each author is sent two printed copies in the mail. All articles are made available online for free download in HTML, PDF and (usually) EPUB versions, or in print through a paid subscription.

Further information

For further information contact the Publishing Manager: phone (03) 9214 7888, fax (03) 9214 7839.

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