Food Chain Instructions for Authors

Food Chain is an international journal for professionals involved in developing the supply of high quality foods from the ‘farm gate to the plate’ and those who use food processing to alleviate poverty and hunger. It is essential reading for researchers, practitioners, academics, and policy-makers. Food Chain aims to bridge the gap between research and practice: we encourage papers written by researchers for the benefit of people who put ideas into practice in the field, and those written by practitioners to inform the need for further research. The content will cover all aspects of promoting food chains, from on-farm processing and post-harvest storage, to the operation of small food processing businesses, supply of food processing or analytical equipment, hygiene and quality assurance, marketing, distribution, finance and the place of small-scale processing in the wider business environment. Agriculture and nutrition will not feature per se in the journal, but it will include aspects of crop supplies and their quality, nutrition/food security and food relief operations, where these impact on local food processors. The journal will also include details of Internet and published sources of food processing information, book reviews, local food processing associations and groups, letters and links to relevant Internet forums, news of forthcoming events, exhibitions, trade shows, conferences or training courses are also welcome.


Food Chain aims to promote sustainable supplies of high quality foods by exploring all aspects of the food chain from the practical to the political at every level across a broad geographical base.

  • Practical solutions are essential to address many of the difficulties experienced  in processing foods at a small scale. However, the impacts of government and international policies as well as institutional influences on the food sector are also key to addressing issues in the food chain.
  • Food Chain tries to cover as wide a range of geographical areas as possible. Articles describing particular projects in a given country should also include international comparisons, or at least some discussion of how local practice relates to what is done in other parts of the world.
  • Sustainability is key to improvements in the food chain. This can mean, for example, how much programmes cost to run and how income is achieved to cover costs, or how the private sector is involved in new ways of working.


Articles should be between 6000 and 8000 words in length (total to include everything: title, abstract, text, references, tables): articles covering specific projects and their experiences may be shorter, whereas more analytical overviews are often longer.

The Managing Editor welcomes authors sending in 100–150 word outlines of their proposed article for discussion and guidance prior to writing the full article.

All articles should be submitted via Food Chain online submissions site

References and footnotes

Food Chain does not have footnotes. Material of this type should either be incorporated into the text (possibly in brackets) or omitted.

References should be given in the Harvard style e.g. (Smith, 2001) in the text, together with, in a list at the end:
Smith, John (2001) ‘Water coverage indicators’, DFID report.
Please include the DOI number at the end of the reference if available; also,for any websites, check the url is still live and give the [accessed date].

Tables and illustrations

  • Tables should be set up in Word, referred to as ‘Table’ and numbered consecutively.
  • Graphs or diagrams should be submitted as a separate files. Adobe Illustrator files are preferred; otherwise pdfs, or Excel files are accepted. Data should be displayed in greyscale or with patterns rather than colours; they should be in 2-D rather than 3-D. Graphs and line images should be referred to as ‘Figure’ and numbered consecutively.
  • Line images should be submitted as separate files (preferably Adobe Illustrator, otherwise pdfs or Word diagrams) in black and white, with no areas of solid grey, and at a resolution of 600 dots per inch at the size you would like it published or larger. They should be two-dimensional, not three-dimensional.
  • Photographs and illustrations. If you are sending photographs, please save them in colour, preferably in jpeg format (at least 300 dpi for size 12 cm wide). Please always send them as separate files, not embedded in the Word document. Indicate in the text where the figure/photo filename should appear, and the figure title and credit where relevant.

Submission and editorial procedures

All articles should be submitted via Food Chain online submissions site, Editorial Manager

Please submit your article as a Word document containing the text, including title (up to 16 words), abstract (100–250 words), references, tables, boxes and figure captions. Please omit author details and affiliations from this ‘Anonymized manuscript’.Acknowledgments are not encouraged but if it is important to include them, please keep them to one sentence.

Please register on the site as an author then follow the instructions to give details of authors and co-authors, information about the submission, and upload the article itself.  Once  you have submitted the article, viewed the pdf generated and approved the submission, we will acknowledge receipt, and check that the article is within the scope of the journal. We will send your article to at least two other reviewers. When the reviewers’ comments have been received, usually within 2–3 months, we will send you the decision (Accept; Accept with minor revisions; Revise and resubmit; Decline to publish), together with the reviewers’ comments.

If you have been invited to make revisions or resubmit, you should resubmit your revised paper online, together with a copyright assignment form (see below). Your article will be checked and either accepted for publication or sent back for further revisions or declined.

Once your article has been accepted for publication it will be copy edited, at which point you may receive editorial queries from the copy editor. Once the article is typeset you will receive a pdf proof which we ask you to read and correct promptly.

Articles that have been accepted for publication but are not yet assigned to an edition of Waterlines are published on the journal website under ‘online preview’. When they have been assigned to a particular edition of Food Chain we will let you know. Once your article is published we will send each author a single copy of the issue.

Copyright Assignment

The journal’s policy is to acquire copyright for all contributions. We do this to ensure the widest dissemination and protection against copyright infringement of your article.

Your research, in its written article form, has been subject to rigorous peer review, and authorial revision. Your article in its accepted form will now be published in its final, definitive, and citable form, for the first time, as the Version of Scholarly Record by Practical Action Publishing. In addition to facilitating peer review, we add value to your accepted manuscript and create the Version of Scholarly Record by editing the manuscript to a style consistent with community and journal conventions, converting it to a suitable digital form, incorporating digital reference links and metadata tags for feeds to abstracting and indexing services, registering the digital object identifier (DOI), and monitoring electronic usage and citation. We work to assure the integrity of the scholarly record and to protect copyright and associated author rights.

All named authors should therefore download, sign, and scan the copyright assignment form and once the article has been reviewed and revised, the form(s) must be uploaded to the Editorial Manager site along with the revised article. The original copy should be posted to Journals, Practical Action Publishing, The Schumacher Centre, Bourton-on-Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, United Kingdom or faxed to +44(0)1926 634401. Co-authors can sign a single form, or may each sign separate forms, whichever is more convenient.

Open Access

Practical Action Publishing provides authors or their research sponsors and funders with the option of paying a publishing fee and thereby making an article permanently available for free online access – open access – immediately on publication to anyone, anywhere, at any time. This option is made available once an article has been accepted in peer review.

Please visit here for further information.

The purpose of these guidelines is to simplify the process of submitting your article for publication in EDM. These steps will make it easier for the article to be reviewed, and make the production process run more smoothly once an article has been accepted for publication.