Who reads a journal’s Aims & Scope? The primary audience might be authors, librarians, and readers but we also need to consider that Aims & Scope statements should address thought leaders in the journal’s field, reviewers, editors, funders, advertisers, the media and even the general public. Yes, we have different reasons for wanting to grab the attention of these groups (e.g., to attract appropriate quality submissions, encourage citations, or engage new readers) but we give our journals the best chance of meeting those goals by ensuring that we have a persuasive, clearly communicated, concise message about why the journal exists, what it aims to achieve, and why it’s special (its USP).
Over the last year, Taylor & Francis editorial teams have been working hand in hand with academic journal editors to evaluate and refresh the Aims & Scope statements of our journals. The updates have added clarity and focus and maximized the journals’ chance of success.
Have you updated your journal’s Aims & Scope? If not, it’s crucial you give them your attention now. Here’s some advice on writing a compelling Aims & Scope statement…
1. Express a vision
- Describe concisely why the journal exists and what it aims to achieve.
- Outline the benefits (of reading, submitting, sharing) for the key audiences.
- Focus on the meaning of “aim” (what are we trying to do?) and “scope” (how are we doing it?).
2. Get to the point, quickly
- Grab attention with your opening line.
- Strip out unnecessary detail and superfluous sentences.
- Avoid repetition.
3. Be realistic and specific
- Avoid hyperbole/tautology.
- Use appropriate evidence to back up assertions – for example, explain processes, flag up achievements, explain the value of affiliations.
4. Be clear
- Use accessible language – think about an international audience.
- Use jargon and acronyms carefully.
- Choose an appropriate tone, but be sure to convey enthusiasm about the field!
5. Be timeless
- Avoid text that will quickly age.
- If used, keep quotes, examples, etc., up to date.
We encourage you to make this a regular activity as part of the journal’s development planning to ensure your journal’s Aims & Scope statement is current and persuasive. We suggest adding this to the agenda of your annual Editorial Board meeting as a discussion point or reviewing the current Aims & Scope as part of a wider journal “health check.”
Do get in touch with your Taylor & Francis Editorial contact if you have a question about updating your Aims & Scope.