Submission Guidelines

Before submitting your work to Pacific Affairs, reviewing our general guidelines below may be helpful, and improve your chances of success.

Prior to Submitting

Prior to submitting we would strongly encourage authors to read recent articles published in our journal for a picture of the range of subjects we cover.  

We consider and publish two types of manuscripts: research articles and Perspectives pieces. Please be familiar with each and know your category when submitting.

Pacific Affairs is an interdisciplinary journal, so we are open to submissions from all disciplines in the social sciences (political science/IR, sociology, anthropology, economics, etc.). We do consider more historical papers if they make a sufficiently strong case for contemporary relevancy.

We also consider detailed proposals for Special Issues, described in further detail below.

Our style guides, Romanization guide, and the preferred usage guide are intended to help authors prepare their submissions; please read them carefully prior to submitting your manuscript. 

Our rejection rate averages around 90% of all submissions we receive per year. Further, we are currently desk rejecting approximately 60% of all submissions at the pre-review stage because either the subject area is not appropriate for Pacific Affairs, our editorial desk read indicates the paper is not sufficiently robust in argument and/or empirical contribution, or the word count is not in accordance with our guidelines. 

Please note, in order to preserve diversity in the authorship, subject matter, and disciplinary approaches of our articles, and to avoid any appearance of partiality, we do not publish more than one article or perspectives by a given author in one volume year. We also will not concurrently consider more than one manuscript by a given author.

Peer Review Process

All submissions, whether research papers or Perspectives, are first checked to make sure they meet our citation style guidelines, word-count parameters, and our geographical and subject purviews. Passing this, the submission then undergoes a quick internal pre-review by a member(s) of our Editorial Board (also known as a desk read). This should be completed within ten days. If it passes this stage, the manuscript is then sent out for double-blind external peer review. The reviewers assess the scholarly quality of the submission as well as its relevance to Pacific Affairs’ audience and conformity with the goals of the journal. We have a minimum of two double-blind peer reviews per manuscript, although in some cases there will be more. As an interdisciplinary journal, we are open to submissions from all social science disciplines; at the same time we strive to match the submissions with appropriate referees who can speak to both a manuscript’s contributions to the specialized field and also to its accessibility to non-specialist readers.

Please note that the criteria for acceptance for Pacific Affairs are stringent: we publish one or two out of every ten manuscripts that we receive. We carefully assess submissions for their relevance to our mission, for their potential appeal to our readership and empirical and conceptual contribution to the existing body of relevant literature (though the requirement for original empirical contribution may be waived in the case of a Perspectives submission). We look for evidence of deep engagement with local knowledge (including the use of non-English sources), analytical rigour, and critical engagement with an awareness of relevant theories.

Some reasons for rejection include, among others: insufficient development of the argument; lack of depth or originality in empirical research; exclusive emphasis on policy recommendations (unless intended for Perspectives); and frames or central questions that might be more appropriate for country-specific or disciplinary-specific journals.

Peer reviewers will have the following possible recommendations for the manuscript under review:

  1. Accept
  2. Accept with Revisions
  3. Revise and Resubmit
  4. Reject

We confirm the receipt of all reviews, and inform all reviewers of our initial and final decisions.

About half of peer-reviewed submissions are rejected in the first round of review, while about half receive a “revise and resubmit” assessment.  If authors receive a “revise and resubmit” decision, they are free to resubmit their manuscript within 4 months from the date of the original editorial decision. In the case of an “accept with revisions,” the author will be given a set deadline to complete relatively minor revisions (usually 2-6 weeks). Such papers do not undergo a second round of external review, but only an editorial read, following which they are accepted if they have met the revision requirements.

“Revise and resubmit” manuscript will go through another round of external double-blind peer review following resubmission. Along with the revised manuscript, the author’s letter detailing the changes made and the initial reviews will be sent back to the original reviewers, if possible. In the re-review stage, the re-reviewers will recommend from the following:

  1. Accept
  2. Accept with Conditions
  3. Reject

Following the receipt of the external re-review reports, the paper will be sent on to a member of our Executive Committee and the Editor for what we call an Editorial Read. Following this, the Editor will come to an editorial decision. The paper will be accepted as is, accepted with conditions, or rejected. If accepted with conditions, minor revisions will be requested with a short deadline, though these final revisions will not require another round of external review. If the paper is rejected, the author will be informed of this, and the review process with us will come to an end. If a paper is given an accept, we will issue the publication agreement. After this stage, our Managing Editor and copyeditor will contact the author(s) regarding copyediting and other technical issues and the paper will be slated for the next available issue.

The articles in Pacific Affairs do not represent the views of the University of British Columbia or the Institute of Asian Research. The editor is responsible for the selection and acceptance of articles, but responsibility for all opinions expressed in them rests with their authors.

Based upon recent statistics (but be aware that these are averages, and some unavoidable challenges in finding appropriate and available reviewers can result in delays), our average turnaround times are as follows:

  • Time from manuscript submission to pre-review decision: 9 days
  • Time from pre-review approval to completion of double-blind peer review and editorial decision: 60 days
  • Time from receipt of a revised manuscript to completion of double-blind re-review and editorial decision: 49 days

If you would like to be considered as a peer reviewer for manuscripts under consideration by Pacific Affairs, please fill out our form.

Submitting Research Articles & Perspectives

Research Article Criteria

Research articles comprise the bulk of Pacific Affairs and so we are always looking for quality submissions that meet our standards for publication. In our eyes, a strong paper must: 

  1. provide new empirical information for specialists; 
  2. engage with the relevant Asian-language materials and scholarship; 
  3. possess a clear argument that is differentiated from or positioned within the existing academic literature on directly relevant subjects; 
  4. be encased in argumentation that is consistent, cogent, and fully engaged with the larger theoretical and/or comparative literature on the subject; and 
  5. be written in clear and consistent English and have a structure that helps support the argument. 

We strongly believe these five components generate value-added for readers who are specialists of the subject, comparativists, or generalists, and increase the likelihood of cross-disciplinary mobility or traction. Naturally, a paper may not meet all criteria upon first submission, but it should at least have the potential to do so after revisions. 

Perspectives Criteria

Pacific Affairs was at its inception a scholarly journal with a policy orientation. During the first two decades of the journal, prominent policy concerns were frequently addressed in shorter essays, particularly the “Notes and Comments” section in each issue, as well as in our trademark research articles. In the 1950s, the balance shifted as the journal moved away from policy debates to concentrate on full-length academic essays and reviews. “Notes and Comments” made very few appearances over the 1960s and ceased by the mid-1970s.

In Winter 2006–2007 (Vol. 79, No. 4), we revived the earlier practice of publishing divergent perspectives on contemporary policy issues. The reincarnated 21st-century “Perspectives” section features clear opinion-driven pieces that aim to bridge academic and policy circles, but remain based on robust and deep use of academic and other empirical sources, consistent and cogent argumentation, and clear and accessible writing.

Our goal is to provide more light than heat, that is, clear, concise, and in-depth reasoning as opposed to sabre-rattling and inflammatory rhetoric, to suggest fresh, reasoned perspectives and to challenge ourselves to reconsider cherished “truths” without excessive emotional baggage. We hope such essays will complement our, longer, more empirical articles.

Note that although Perspectives are more opinion-driven, and in this sense do not carry the obligation for original empirical contribution as do our research articles, their arguments should still be firmly positioned within the relevant theoretical approach and literature.

We invite submissions for standalone perspectives or a set of two countering perspectives, on issues of salience and relevance to contemporary Asia and the Pacific. We welcome suggestions for topics related to contemporary policy that would benefit from energized but reasoned debate.  

In the case of single paper submissions, we may find a contributor who would write a piece that would serve to highlight a different perspective from the original piece, or simply proceed with the essay as a standalone Perspective.  

Each paper should be around one of two length options: 6,500 or 8,500 words, including notes (excluding the title, author name, and the abstract), depending on the structure of the essay and the argument. 

Please specify in your cover letter/email (if submitting by email) or by the checked box (if submitting online) that you are proposing or submitting a piece that would fit the category of Perspectives rather than regular articles, and whether you prefer 6,500 or 8,500 words as the format. 


We do not publish descriptive overviews based on secondary sources or journalistic coverage. Also, our focus is generally on the social sciences, but manuscripts on media, arts, and literature are welcome as long as the main focus is on contextual, rather than textual, analysis, that is, as long as they make a case for social or political relevancy for the contemporary period.

In terms of chronological coverage, Pacific Affairs accepts the submission of manuscripts dealing with the contemporary social, economic, and political affairs of Asia and the Pacific. The “contemporary” is defined to include significant issues within the past five years or the forthcoming five years. Papers focused on historical topics are also encouraged but only if the manuscript makes a strong and sustained case for clear relevance to the contemporary scene. 

Pacific Affairs broadly defines its constituents to include scholars, educators, program directors, academic administrators, consultants, policy makers and practitioners in private or public organizations in which Asia and the Pacific, defined as both a geographic and a conceptual space, is a significant or central concern. 

Submission Checklist

  • Does the manuscript cover a topic and region that falls within our purview? 
  • Is the manuscript in .doc, .docx (MS Word), or .txt? 
  • Does it conform to our word-length limits? (Including endnotes, but excluding abstract, title, etc. These are between 8000 and 9000 words for research articles, and 6500 or 8500 words for Perspectives pieces) 
  • Is the citation style in Chicago-style and using endnotes without reference list (not in-text citations with reference list)? 
  • Do you have a cover letter that provides (a) all the required contact information and (b) your statement confirming that the manuscript is not currently under review by another publisher, will not be sent to another publisher while under review at Pacific Affairs, and has not previously been published (even in another language)? (NOTE: If you are submitting your paper through our website submission portal, this may substitute for the cover letter). 
  • Have you included a 250-word abstract and 5–8 keywords? 
  • Are all non-English language sources Romanized consistently in a recognized style? 
  • Does the manuscript provide new empirical information for specialists? 
  • Does the manuscript engage with the relevant Asian-language materials and scholarship? 
  • Does the manuscript possess a clear argument that is differentiated from or positioned within the existing academic literature on directly relevant subjects? 
  • Is the manuscript encased in argumentation that is consistent, cogent, and fully engaged with the larger theoretical and/or comparative literature on the subject? 
  • Is the manuscript written in clear and consistent English and have a structure that helps support the argument? 

Manuscripts that do not conform to these guidelines may be declined (item #1) or may be returned to the author for correction (items #2-12) before the formal review process is initiated. 

Submitting Special Issue Proposals

Special Issue Proposal Criteria

Approximately one issue per year of Pacific Affairs is dedicated to a special issue that is guest-edited. We welcome proposals for Special Issues on topics of significance in contemporary Asia and the Pacific. The themes, topics, and methodologies are open, but we normally require that at least two countries, and preferably two regions in Asia and the Pacific (e.g. East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Pacific islands), be covered. We are open to considering historical themes; however, this is only if the editor(s) make a strong case for clear relevance to the contemporary scene. In addition, cohesion of the entire set of papers (abstracts) and inter-area coverage are crucial to the success of Special Issue proposals.

A strong proposal should contain: (a) a coherent, overarching puzzle or question that binds the papers together; (b) differentiation from and/or positioning within the relevant theories; (c) logical (rather than merely logistical, i.e. conference roster) for case or area selection criteria (whether geographical or subject area); (d) explanations of methodology or methodologies used; and (e) individual paper abstracts that have clear questions and indicate a working thesis (rather than just promises to examine a question/subject).

Once received, a Special Issue Proposal will undergo the following review process:

Please note that unlike Special Issues of some other journals, at Pacific Affairs, the journal Editor remains involved in all stages of the review process along with the Guest Editors, and retains all final decision rights regarding acceptance. These and other details are outlined in the letter of understanding between the Editor and the Guest Editors.

Special Issue Proposal Review Process

Pre-review of proposal

The Pacific Affairs executive committee will pre-review the proposal, and assess whether it should move forward as is, or invite a revised resubmission, or decide to decline. Most proposals are asked to make revisions and resubmit. We will usually re-review proposals only once. We strongly prefer that resubmissions or proposals take place within six months of the initial decision.

Please note that around 50% of all Special Issue proposals are rejected at this stage. Those proposals not rejected at the pre-review stage will still likely be asked to “revise and resubmit.” We usually re-review proposals only once (i.e. there is only one possible round for systematic revisions to the proposal). We usually require that resubmissions of proposals take place within 6 months of the initial decision.

External review of special issue papers

If the proposal is accepted (or a revised version accepted), the editor will issue a letter of understanding outlining the duties of the guest editors. Please note that after this stage, the special issue editors will be responsible for submitting masked MS Word versions of all papers (including the Introduction) by the agreed deadline, suggesting reviewers, and later, submitting revised versions of papers. The issue editors will also be responsible for communicating with individual contributors regarding revisions and deadlines. The requirements for regular submissions — empirical depth, theoretical awareness or engagement, clear writing, and adherence to our Style Guide — also apply to Special Issues papers.

Then, all the papers, including the Introduction, will be subject to our usual practice of double-blind external review. The external referees will assess the papers as either accept, revise and resubmit, or reject. If a sufficient number of papers pass the refereeing process, the special issue will proceed.

Please note that some papers from the original proposal may have to be dropped and/or replaced at this point, and in the worst-case scenario, the entire Special Issue may have to be abandoned if an insufficient number of papers are deemed acceptable by the referees and the Editor. Pacific Affairs retains the right to publish individual articles from a Special Issue that has not passed review as a whole.

Publication of special issue

Pacific Affairs does not guarantee a specific volume and issue of publication until after the final acceptance of the Special Issue papers (i.e. all the aforementioned steps have been cleared). We make every effort to keep the review cycle as close to that of our regular article submissions as possible.

Please also note that in instances where the publication of a conference or edited volume is planned, Pacific Affairs insists on the first right of publication (i.e. right to publish the articles prior to the conference volume). In general, we require the copyright year of any conference volume to be later than the year of publication in PA.

Proposal submission process

Your proposal should include the following:

  1. Title of the Special issue
  2. Name(s) and contact information for the Issue editor(s). If there is more than one editor, the primary contact person should be identified.
  3. An Abstract of the entire Special Issue – usually around 250-300 words.
  4. A list of all article titles, author names, and affiliations (including a listing for an Introduction).
  5. The Proposal – usually one of two formats – 4000-4500 words or 7000-8000 words, explaining the significance of the subject and the approach, theoretical and/or methodological approaches, and the questions and concerns that bind the papers together. The proposal should also provide a rationale for division of coverage among the papers, explain the links between the papers, and provide some possible conclusions.
  6. Paper Abstracts – abstracts of 250 words are required for each paper. We do not require one for the Introduction, as we anticipate the Proposal would be incorporated into the Introduction.

Book Reviews

Reviewing for Pacific Affairs

Book reviews in Pacific Affairs are by invitation only. We do not accept unsolicited book reviews. If you would like to review books for Pacific Affairs please fill out the application form below. Be very specific about which regions and in what topics you have expertise. You must be either enrolled in, or graduated from, a Ph.D program.

If you receive an invitation from us, we sincerely hope you can accept. Your review will contribute to our intellectual community, not only by informing readers about recent scholarly publications, but also by more broadly sustaining the practice of serious, careful, and diplomatic yet critical exchange that lies at the heart of the scholarly endeavor.

If you accept our invitation, kindly confirm your acceptance via email and provide us a preferred (physical) mailing address so that we can send you the book by surface mail. In the event that you do not receive a reply from us within a week of your confirmation, please assume that we did not receive your message and re-send it at your earliest convenience. At that time, we will send you detailed book review instructions and a book review agreement enclosed with the book.

Please note that we use the most economical shipping method available. For reviewers based in Asia and Europe, this means that you may not receive your book for 6 – 12 weeks.


1) Do you have time to write the review within the specified timeframe? Please bear in mind that incomplete reviews result in disappointment for the book authors and editors, as well as losses in time, labor, and shipping costs for both the publishers and for Pacific Affairs itself.

2) Should you exclude yourself from writing the review based on a potential conflict of interest?

Pacific Affairs is strongly committed to maintianing the integrity of the review process by excluding from consideration reviewers who have a potential conflict of interest with authors. The professional obligation to self-declare potential conflict of interest is triggered when there is a relationship that falls into the following categories:

  • former or current advisors and advisees,
  • current departmental colleagues,
  • former or current co-authors,
  • previous reviewers of the manuscript for a press,
  • or if you have well-documented strong scholarly, ideological or personal disagreements with the author.

If you feel you fall into one of these or other categories of potential conflict of interest, we would appreciate your letting us know so that we can find another reviewer. If you have any doubts or concerns regarding whether you are in a potential situation of conflict of interest or not, please contact us.

If you have been invited to review a book for Pacific Affairs, but are unable to do so for the above or other reasons, we would welcome your suggestions for other reviewers who you feel have the appropriate level and type of expertise.

Submitting Books & Films For Review

Our mandate is to review books and documentary films that focus on important current political, economic and social issues throughout Asia and the Pacific. Pacific Affairs only accepts books and films for review that were published or appeared in the preceding two years. 

Pacific Affairs does not review books in the following categories: Art, Literature and Poetry, Literary Criticism, Philosophy, Religion (in the abstract sense), Textbooks, Translated Works.