Submitting papers to Monthly Labor Review: guidelines for non-BLS authors

Monthly Labor Review (MLR) serves as the flagship publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It publishes research, analysis, and data on the Bureau’s major program areas: employment and unemployment; compensation and working conditions; productivity and technology; occupational safety and health; industry, occupational, and employment projections; and prices and living conditions. All papers submitted to the Review must be factual analyses not published elsewhere, and objective and analytical, rather than polemical in tone.

Authors may submit papers for consideration by email to Emily Liddel, Executive Editor, at mlr@bls.gov. To send your paper via regular mail, address it to—

Emily Liddel, Executive Editor
Monthly Labor Review
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Room 2850
2 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20212

The Review’s audience

The Review’s audience includes economists, statisticians, labor relations practitioners (lawyers, arbitrators, etc.), sociologists, and other professionals concerned with labor-related issues. Because the MLR presents topics in labor economics in less forbidding formats than some social science journals, its audience also includes laypersons who are interested in the topics but are not professionally trained economists, statisticians, and so forth.

In writing papers for the Review, authors should aim at the generalists in the audience on the assumption that specialists will understand. Authors should use the simplest exposition of the subject consonant with accuracy and adherence to scientific methods of data collection, analysis, and drawings of conclusions.

Referee process

All submissions from outside the Bureau of Labor Statistics are subjected to a rigorous, two-track review process:

  1. The executive editor screens all submissions. Those that are of a topic and style that are appropriate to the Review are assigned to a staff editor for a detailed editorial review—generally an analysis of the salience of the topic for our readers and the editorial problems that might arise if the piece were to be accepted on its technical merit.
  2. At the same time, the Review solicits comments from one or more subject-matter experts in BLS. These experts are generally advanced degree economists with substantial experience in the relevant program of the Bureau. They submit comments to the Review’s senior editorial staff.

With the two sets of comments in hand, the senior editorial staff of the Review select the submissions that will be considered further. This process takes about 8 weeks. Authors are notified whether their paper has been accepted or rejected. If accepted, papers may include recommendations or suggestions regarding content or style.

 


Editorial process

Upon acceptance, the paper will then be submitted to the managing editor to begin the editorial process:

  1. Assigned editor prepares comments and suggestions
  2. Editor sends suggestions to the author for further comments and corrections
  3. Author-editor conference: changes are negotiated
  4. Editor incorporates all changes into a revised file
  5. Editor or designer prepares HTML pages and sends to author for approval
  6. Author reviews HTML pages and gives editor approval to publish
  7. Article is published online at http://www.bls.gov/mlr

Note that the editorial process and the role of the editor in preparing accepted articles for publication are more substantial than is the case in some journals. This ensures consistently appropriate style, tone, and level of discourse for our readers.

 

Specifications for MLR papers

In general, papers should describe, explain, update, and inform the Review’s audience about analyses and findings relevant to the major BLS program areas. Manuscripts average 20 double-spaced pages and may contain tables, figures, appendixes, boxes (which could include a glossary or supplementary information), and a reference list.

Papers submitted for publication should follow certain formatting styles, which will help move submissions quickly through the editorial process.

  • The author’s title, affiliation, and email address should be included on the first page of the paper, followed by an abstract.
  • Papers should be submitted electronically using separate files for (1) the text, (2) the figures, and (3) the tables.
  • Text should be submitted in MS Word (no .pdf or image files). Each figure or table should be properly referenced—but not embed—in the text.
  • Figures and tables should be submitted in MS Excel. For figures, please submit electronic files with the corresponding data set. (Submission of an individual data table for each figure is preferred.) Figures and tables should be submitted in the simplest format—that is, no shading, 3D effects, etc.
  • Cite sources with a consecutive endnote number in the text and associate it with the number in the endnote section at the end of the document; not as footnotes at the bottom of each page.
  • Authors are responsible for the accuracy of their data and sources.

Questions or comments

Questions or comments can be addressed to Emily Liddel, executive editor (202-691-6468) or by email: mlr@bls.gov.