General Submission Requirements | Section Submission Requirements

The online format of this journal presents an opportunity for us to learn about the various media in which our constituencies (potential contributors) are working. As we evolve the journal, we find ourselves sitting in front of a screen, imagining what various media contributions might look like, how diverse the contribution formats might be, and how ‘readers’ invested in the project of Imagining America might interact with them.

Thinking about the experience and flow of the overall journal experience, we ask contributors to compose, curate, design, and/or craft submissions whose multimedia components constitute no more than a 20-30 minute duration of experience. This may take the form, for example, of a timed photo-essay, video or audio composition, or interactive work that can be fully experienced in this timeframe. For contributions that are primarily or exclusively textual, word count replaces duration as the measure of a submission’s length.  (See requirements below).

Prepare and submit all electronic media in final presentation format so that the editors and reviewers can clearly experience the contribution in the form you intend. For example, should audio play while one is reading a text; should images appear in sequence, or adjacent to each other? To best enable us to understand the user experience that you envision, we also ask that you describe this experience in an introduction that accompanies your submission.

Please note that, because Public operates as both a journal and multimedia archive, you may include supplementary reference material in excerpted or complete form.  If the presentation of this work online does not infringe on any copyright or intellectual property rights, it may be included in the Public archive at the discretion of the editor.

With the exception of textual submissions, limits on forms, formats, durations, and modes of interaction are a challenge to impose, as new technologies and techniques are unveiled almost daily. We thus do not wish to exclude anything, but upon the peer review and editorial review process, we may need to work with contributors to alter or refine a contribution to be publishable in the journal.

General Submission Requirements

  • You confirm that the submission has not been previously published, nor will it be, if accepted, before appearing in PUBLIC.

All submissions require:

  • text files in MS-Word format or open source equivalent (.doc or .docx)
  • an abstract of 150 words maximum
  • a biographical sketch of 125 words maximum per contributor
  • express written permission to include third-party material, such as:
    • Illustrations, photographs, quotes, audio/video, poetry, etc.
    • Signed subject permission from interview and photograph subjects (Sample permission request forms are available in PDF and Word/docx formats.)
    • captions and credit lines must accompany all illustrations and photographs
    • adherence to the Public stylesheet
  • Please make sure your submission uses in-text citation and includes a Works Cited list rather than footnotes and end notes. See the References and citations section of the Public stylesheet for guidance.

Please note: We require that your abstract, submission text, and works cited list be combined into one document for ease of copyediting.

Multimedia requirements:

  • All multimedia must be uploaded separately from your text file.
  • Do not embed images or media in text file; instead, please place a call-out where you would like the image (or video or audio bit) to appear, like this:

    <<Please place image 4/file name near here>>

  • All still images must include a caption and credit line
  • Acceptable video formats: avi, m4v, mov, mp4, mpeg, mpg, QT, and wmv.
    MP4 (also known as H.264) is recommended.
    Projects requiring Adobe Flash are not acceptable because of its inaccessibility on iOS devices.
  • Audio files: AAC codec is recommended.
  • Pixel dimensions for image and video media should be, ideally, 600 to 1000 pixels in width; files should never be smaller than 150 pixels wide or high, and no larger than 1200 pixels wide or high.

Refer to for additional technical information.

Direct questions regarding media submissions to

Section Submission Requirements

Principles and Practices
For this section, we seek critical pieces that foreground ideas and provide examples of how they play out in practice, incorporating humanities, arts, and/or design in public life, and linked to the theme of the issue. Text or multimedia driven, authored individually or jointly, and in narrative, interview, or other form.

  • Text based submissions should be 3,000 – 7,000 words, including endnotes.
  • Media submissions should be ≤ 30-minute experience.
  • See general and multimedia requirements above.

Resources and Case Studies
For this section we seek specific, replicable instances of effective and/or inspiring projects, programs, or teaching. May be as modest as a single assignment or syllabus, or as large as a multi-year, cross-sector, cross-disciplinary endeavor.

  • 250-500 word introduction/ frame.
  • Text based submissions: 500 –3,000 words.
  • Media submissions should be ≤ 30-minute experience.
  • See general and multimedia requirements above.

Critical reflection of performances, books, websites, exhibitions, films, etc., in line with the journal’s mission. If you are interested in submitting a review, please email the editor, one month in advance of the submission deadline, a 150-word statement of what you wish to review and why it would be of keen interest to our constituents. Unsolicited reviews are not accepted. See general requirements above.

  • Text based submissions:
    • Single work: ≤ 1,100 words;
    • Comparison of two or more works: ≤ 1,800 words
  • Media submissions should be ≤ 30-minute experience.
  • See general and multimedia requirements above.

Please send all questions to