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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • Submission is in MS Word or rich text format.
  • If you are submitting a Research Article, the word count is between 4000 and 7000 and have indicated this on the front page of your article.

    If you are submitting a Note, Literature Review, or Book Review, you have clearly indicated this in the metadata and note to Editor.
  • The submission has not been previously published and is not under review at another journal. If your article is derived from a thesis or dissertation, please provide the name of the institution to which it was submitted, the date of submission, the author(s), and the supervisor.
  • The text adheres to APA 7th edition stylistic and referencing requirements for the entire article, including the references and tables/figures, as outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  • The submission has been prepared for double-blind peer review by ensuring that there are no identifiers in the article. Authors must confirm that:
    • They have deleted their names from the entire article, including references and citations, and have inserted "Author" in its place. Titles of published papers by the authors have been replaced with "Deleted for Peer Review."
    • Author identification has been removed from the properties.
  • All electronic references include the DOI if available. If no DOI has been issued, the URL should be included in the reference.
  • If the submission is for a Special Issue, indicate the name of the Special Issue in the title and editor comment section.
  • Data has been collected and analyzed in an appropriate manner, ensuring regard for the privacy of subjects. The researcher(s) confirm that they have followed ethical standards for research involving human participants such as those at detailed for Canadian researchers. If an AI application (e.g., Bard, ChatGPT) has been used, this must be acknowledged.

Author Guidelines

Information for Authors


The aim of The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL) is to disseminate scholarly information to academics and practitioners of open and distributed learning worldwide. Authors submit their manuscripts online by registering with this journal, logging in, clicking the “New Submission” link, and following the screen instructions through a five-step submission process. There are no article submission or access charges for publication in IRRODL. If you have trouble logging in to IRRODL’s site, please contact us at

  • Submission topics must relate to open or distributed learning and may be placed in the Research Article section or a Notes section.
  • Research on educational interventions should demonstrate that students actually learned something. Studies on student perceptions, acceptance, engagement, and satisfaction are only useful for educators insofar as there is evidence that they promote or support actual learning achievement. See IRRODL's policy statement on Evidence of Student Achievement.
  • Research Articles must have a word count within 4000-7000 words, including all references, appendices, tables, and figures. Submissions that exceed this limit will not be accepted for review.
  • Notes sections are normally below 4000 words.
  • Literature reviews with analyses may be acceptable with a large number of references that exceed the word limit; however, they must be clearly labelled.
  • Abstract (between 150-250 words) and Keywords (at least 4) must follow the title.
  • Upon submission, all authors and affiliations must be represented in the submission metadata. Author information must be removed from the article for blind review. Replace all author mentions with “Author” and author references with “Deleted for Peer Review.”
  • Tables and figures are encouraged in articles and must be placed within the text.
  • Footnotes are not accepted; however, endnotes can be included at the end of an article as appropriate.
  • Supplemental files are not accepted. Any file that is attached to your submission will be deleted. If you would like to provide supplemental information other than in an Appendix, you may provide a link to an external website for readers to review, but this will not be reviewed or edited by IRRODL.
  • APA7 article formatting style, referencing, and double-blind peer review requirements are strictly enforced. Failure to meet the submission guidelines satisfactorily will result in your article being rejected. Authors are expected to read and adhere to the submission guidelines in full. Failure to meet the submission guidelines satisfactorily will result in your article being rejected.
  • By submitting to IRRODL, the authors agree to the submission of their article to TurnItIn or to an Artificial Intelligence application (e.g., Bard, Chat GPT) or service for the purpose of review, detecting plagiarism OR confirming originality.



  • A publishable paper should contain the following: Abstract (150-250 words, describing the research problem, the method, the basic findings, the conclusions, and the recommendations); Keywords (at least 4); Introduction (what is the problem?); Research method and/or theory used; If an application or experiment, a description of pool of subject, and how they were chosen; Analysis of research and how results impact theory and practice; Conclusion; and References.


Manuscripts must conform to APA 7th edition standard for both referencing and style. Authors are expected to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.; 2020).

Follow the author-date method of citation in text. Ensure you provide page numbers for all direct quotes. Prepare an unnumbered reference list in alphabetical order by author. When there is more than one article by the same author(s), list the most recent paper first. References should include the names of all contributing authors. Ensure that all references are accurate and that any references cited in the text also appear in the reference section.

Authors may download the IRRODL submission guideline template to help ensure compliance with submission requirements.

IRRODL Submission Guideline Template

Below are some examples of the basic reference list format:

Citing an Article in a Periodical

Surname, A. A. (year). Article title. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), inclusive page numbers. DOI of link if available.


Grow, G. O. (1994). In defense of the staged self-directed learning model. Adult Education Quarterly, 44(2), 109-115.

Citing a Book

Surname, A. A. (year). Title of book. Publisher. DOI of link if available.


Rogers, E. (1962). Diffusion of innovations. Free Press.

Citing an Edited Book

Surname, A.A. (year). Title of book. In Editor first initial, Editor last name (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xx-xx). Publisher. DOI or link if available.


Ally, M. (2008). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The theory and practice of online learning (pp. 15-44). AU Press.

Citing a Conference Proceeding

Surname, A. (year). Conference paper title. In Editor first initial, Editor last name (Ed.), Proceedings Book Title (pp. XX-XX). Place of Publication: Publisher. DOI or link if available.


Nawrot, I., & Doucet, A. (2014). Building engagement for MOOC students: Introducing support for time management on online learning platforms. In C. -W. Chung, A. Broder, K. Shim, & T. Suel (Eds.), Proceedings of the Companion Publication of the 23rd International Conference on World Wide Web (pp. 1077-1082).

Blog Post

Author, A. (date). Title of document. Publisher. DOI of link if available.


Anderson, T. (2019, April 8). A systematic review of the equiv theory. Virtual Canuck.

Conference Proceeding – Paper

Author, A. (year, month). Title of paper [Paper presentation]. Conference Title, place. DOI of link if available.


Alabbasi, D. (2016, April). WhatsApp, agency and education: The case of female Saudi teachers [Paper presentation]. DEANZ Biennial Conference: Charting Flexible Pathways in Open and Distance Education, Hamilton, NZ.

Proceedings Published in Book Form

Author, A. (year, month, day). Title of paper. In Editor first initial, Editor surname (Ed.), Title of Published Proceedings which may include volume (pp. xx-xx). Publisher. DOI of link if available.


Ostashewski, N., & Henderson, S. (2017, October 17). Creating OER materials - Perspectives of global instructors. In J. Dron & S. Mishra (Eds.), Proceedings of e-learn: World conference on e-learning in corporate, government, healthcare, and higher education (pp. 644-648). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).


Author, A. (year). Title of work (Report No. XX). Publisher. DOI of link if available.


Coventry, L. (1995). Video conferencing in higher education (Report No. 262361293). Support Initiative for Multimedia Applications.


Author, A. (year). Title of doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis (Publication No xx) [Doctoral dissertation or Master’s thesis, awarding institution]. Publisher. DOI of link if available.


Xiao, M. (2007). An empirical study of using Internet-based desktop videoconferencing in an EFL setting (Publication No. AAI3292884) [Doctoral dissertation, Ohio University]. ACM Digital Library.   

For more information on citing sources, visit APA Style Help.


Refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed., 2020) for guidance on expression (including grammar and ways to reduce bias in language) and style (including punctuation, capitalization, headings, use of quotes, and italics, etc.). It is mandatory that authors adhere to APA7 style in full upon submission.


IRRODL accepts articles in English only. Submissions using International, British, or American English spelling are acceptable, but usage should be consistent throughout. Please use spell check for all submissions.


To abbreviate the name of an organization or agency, use capitals and no periods (e.g., YWCA). For first occurrence of an abbreviated word, provide the full name with the abbreviation following in parentheses. Once introduced in the body of the paper (not abstract), the abbreviation may be used throughout. 


The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL) is a refereed, open access, online journal that disseminates original research, theory, and best practices in open and distributed learning. IRRODL is free-of-charge and available to anyone with access to the Internet.



Manuscripts submitted for review and possible publication in IRRODL must be original material that has not been published nor submitted for review/publication elsewhere.

Publishing Previously Distributed Content

  1. Every article must maintain a high quality of scholarship, must not plagiarize the work of others, must be original and unpublished, and must contribute to the field of open and distributed education scholarship. Articles previously published or under review by another peer review commercial or scholarly publisher are not eligible for publication in IRRODL. Using large portions of an author’s previously published works is not permitted.
  2. Articles distributed as conference proceedings or self-published in blogs or institutional repositories should be substantially revised before submission. If your article is derived from a thesis or dissertation, please provide the name of the institution to which it was submitted, the date of the submission, the author(s), and the supervisor. (The editor may ask to review in detail the publication/distribution history of any work to make this determination).
  3. Articles that appeared in conference proceedings or were self-published should acknowledge this distribution history in an endnote. Authors submitting articles that were previously distributed should detail the rationale for review and publication by IRRODL in a note to the editor.

ESL/New Authors: If you are uncertain about whether your paper meets the standards required by a peer review journal, please seek advice and assistance from a professional agency or an editor, such as AuthorAid at (a free-of-charge mentoring service).



IRRODL features the following types of submission:

Research Articles

We accept Research Articles that feature theory, research, and/or best practice in open and distance learning. These articles are peer reviewed using a double-blind process.  Word count for Research Articles is between 4000-7000 words, including references, appendix, and abstract, and is strictly enforced.


Articles that do not fit the scope of Research Articles are reviewed by the editors and may be featured as one of the following:

  • Research Notes - reports of proposed and ongoing research projects or completed projects that are missing critical components (e.g., theoretical basis).
  • Leadership Notes - relevant pieces focusing on leadership issues in distributed or open learning.
  • Field Notes - shorter pieces describing innovative projects, applications, or interventions in distributed or open education programs.
  • Technical Notes - pieces which feature, compare, or critique technical tools, innovation, or applications

Book Reviews

IRRODL reserves a section for the scholarly review of current books that contribute to the literature of open and distributed education. The aim of our Book Reviews is to engage distance educators in sharing their perspectives about new publications that contribute to the advancement of distance education theory, research, and practice. While we normally invite specific reviews, we will consider unsolicited reviews; contact the Book Reviews Editor for more information about unsolicited reviews. Book reviews should be composed in the following manner:

Heading and signature

Book title, author name, location, publisher, date of publication, book edition, number of pages, and ISBN. Ensure that the name of reviewer and their institutional affiliation is included.


The review should begin with an introduction to the topic and an overview of the content of the book. What is your main point in presenting this review? Describe the background and qualifications of the author. Who is the author’s intended audience? What is the author’s purpose? What is the author’s main thesis?


What is the organization/structure of the book? How accurate and current is the information presented? How well does the development of the author’s thesis book draw on supporting ideas, arguments, documentation, and/or evidence? Does the evidence support the conclusions?

Assessment of significance to the field of distance education theory, research, and/or practice

How current is the information presented? How effective is the author’s method of developing the information? What is your assessment of the book’s major strengths and weaknesses? How does it compare with other works on the same subject? Does the book make a meaningful contribution to the literature of distance education theory, research, and/or best practice?

Overall impression

What are your overall comments and conclusions about the book? Why or why not would you recommend the book to others? What is your overall assessment of the book?

Additional points (re: mechanics)

Provide support for your statements about the book in the form of examples. Are there any noteworthy statements or wording quotations you could cite to illustrate various points in your review? When quoting from the book, add the page number in parentheses immediately following the quote. Do not exceed 1000-1500 words.



An IRRODL special issue is a collection of articles focused around a specific theme relevant to open or distributed learning.  This could include research issues, policies, theory, and/or practice. Special Issues usually follow the format of a collection of articles related to a particular topic, or as a central position paper followed by a series of commentaries, along with an editorial written by the Special Issue Editor. However, as an innovative Journal, IRRODL also welcomes proposals for formats beyond these two and is open to considering offers from the research community on a case-by-case basis. 

To submit a proposal for a Special Issue, please follow the process listed here and submit to the IRRODL Editor for consideration.



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