Guidelines for authors


The "Contributions to Higher Education Research" gives higher-education researchers from all disciplines as well as practitioners in the higher-education area the opportunity to publish articles that look at important developments in higher education from different perspectives.

The journal publishes original articles of the following kind:

  • Articles providing an overview of a particular topic: Synopsis of a field of research and the state of its research (length: max. 20 pages, line spacing 1.5, Arial 11, max. 50 000 characters including spaces). As a rule, articles providing an overview of a particular topic are commissioned by the publishers. 
  • Research articles: Quantitative and qualitative empirical analyses and comparative studies (length: 15 to 20 pages, line spacing 1.5, Arial 11, 35 000 to 50 000 characters including spaces).
  • Research notes: Working papers in which current aspects of ongoing research projects are presented (max. 10 pages, line spacing 1.5, Arial 11, max. 30 000 characters including spaces, list of references included).
  • Insights into the practice: Manuscripts which present research based examples from higher education practice (max. 10 pages, line spacing 1.5, Arial 11, max. 30 000 characters including spaces, list of references included).

The "Contributions to Higher Education Research" publishes manuscripts written in German or written in English by native speakers. English manuscripts by German authors must be of a demonstrably high linguistic quality, use British English and have been proof-read by a language editor.

The following criteria in particular are important for general assessment of whether or not a manuscript will be considered for publication in the "Contributions to Higher Education Research":

  • The context of higher-education policy is taken into account
  • Relevance of the topic to higher-education research
  • Relevance of the topic to higher-education practice
  • Relevance of the topic to the interested public
  • Comprehensibility for an interdisciplinary public
  • Generation of new and original ideas and insights
  • Possible influence on higher-education and scientific research

Guidelines regarding the contents:

  • The article should deal with topics of general significance, which are of interest to a wide multi-disciplinary readership in the area of higher-education research, in higher-education institutions and in administrative departments of scientific bodies.
  • It should describe questions, methodological procedures, and results clearly and comprehensibly; it should be clearly structured and avoid lesser-known specialist terminology so that lay persons in the respective field of research can also understand the text.
  • The research question should be linked to a concise overview of the current literature in the field of interest.
  • The article should clarify what the study has contributed in response to the question and should indicate and discuss the practical consequences.
  • All articles must be based on the fundamental principles of scientific practice (cf. Recommendations of the DFG). The author's own preliminary work and that of others must be completely and correctly substantiated with references. Results that have been published earlier should only be repeated in a form that clearly indicates this and only to the extent that it is necessary for an understanding of the context. With regard to articles by partners, competitors and predecessors, strict honesty must be maintained.
  • It is not permissible for the contents of a manuscript to be published elsewhere in whole or in part or to have been submitted for publication.

Formal guidelines:

  • Manuscripts should be submitted by e-mail.
  • Contact address: Dr. Johanna Witte, Christina Elhalaby , beitraege (at)
  • The length of the manuscript should be between 15 and 20 pages (line spacing 1.5, Arial 11, 35 000 to 50 000 characters including spaces). The pages must be numbered. For "Research Notes", a maximum length of ten pages is envisaged.
  • Name and address as well as information on the professional role of all authors should be listed on an extra sheet.
  • Abstracts in German and English (max. 12 lines, max. 1 000 characters including spaces) are to be submitted before the manuscripts. Moreover, we would be grateful if you would send us a short title with a maximum of 50 to 55 characters including spaces.
  • As the print version is created externally by a graphic designer, it would be helpful if authors send us the original data files of embedded illustrations and tables (from PowerPoint, Excel or other software). Word documents should not have special document templates.

Further information on the formal requirements for the manuscripts can be found here: Notes on the formal requirements for manuscripts

Information on the peer review process:

All manuscripts submitted for publication will first be reviewed by the publishers to see whether they are eligible and suitable for publication.

If the publishers decide to reject the manuscript, the authors will be informed and will be told of the reasons for the decision.

If the article is basically eligible for publication according to the assessment of the publishers, it will be subjected to a blind peer review by at least two independent experts. Depending on the nature of the article, the following criteria are applied:

  • Theoretical and methodological grounding
  • Clear indication of the gaps in research
  • Clear formulation of the research question/objective of the article
  • Portrayal of the state of research
  • Consideration of the relevant literature
  • Quality of the data and empirical analyses
  • Clarity and consistency of the terminology used
  • Stringency of argumentation
  • Clear portrayal of the empirical results and practical effects
  • Appropriate conclusions (informative summary)

The authors will be informed in detail of the result of the review by e-mail. If the experts conclude that the article has to be revised, the authors will be informed in detail of this conclusion.

Code of practice:

The Contributions to Higher Education Research follows the Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and the Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers (COPE).

These documents should always be referred to for full details. Key points are:  

  • The editors make sure that research fundings, authorships and contributorships are made transparent, and that allegations of academic misconduct will be investigated.
  • They guarantee that publishing decisions are based on the importance and quality of articles and that publishing decisions are not affected by the articles’ origins and authors. Legal requirements regarding plagiarism, privacy and copyright laws will be followed.
  • It is ensured that articles submitted to the journal remain confidential during peer review. The editors make sure that the review process is fair and timely.
  • The journal publishers make sure that content is published on a timely basis. This content includes corrections, clarifications and retractions.
  • Responsibility for the correctness of contents and empirical data solely lies with the authors.
  • The authors undertake to disclose all non-commercial and commercial interests that go beyond the scientific interest of a publication.

On the subsequent steps until printing:

  • As a rule, the authors are sent the print version of their article as a PDF file and then have approximately three days to check it. Large-scale corrections by the author are no longer possible at this stage.
  • After printing, the authors receive three free copies, more if needed. All articles are also permanently available in full text form on the Internet pages of the journal and can be researched by means of a search mask.

Rules of use:

  • The IHF is entitled to publish the texts in paper form in "Beiträgen zur Hochschulforschung" and to provide them free of charge in electronic form on the IHF website at a later date (in the sense of open access) as well as to publish them again at a later time, including in new media.
  • The IHF reserves the right to publish information, abstracts, summaries and short extracts and to link the publication on websites of specialist information services, research institutes, higher-education institutions, scientific organisations, non-profit organisations as well as library servers and in newsletters in the area of higher-education and social research. The IHF itself will neither make commercial use of the articles nor allow third parties to do so.
  • After publication by the IHF, authors will have the right to publish their texts in any form elsewhere (secondary publication rights). They will make no agreements with a publishing company or other third parties that impair the IHF's right to use the article in accordance with stipulations 1 and 2.

By agreeing to publication, the authors accept these stipulations.

We will be happy to answer any further questions you may have:
Contact: Dr. Johanna Witte at beitraege (at)