Although the majority of its articles are commissioned by the Editors, the Journal of Democracy also welcomes unsolicited submissions. Every unsolicited manuscript is read and evaluated by at least two members of the editorial staff. Many unsolicited manuscripts are rejected at this stage, often for reasons of focus, timing, style, or space that do not necessarily reflect on their scholarly merits. The Journal is not formally peer-reviewed, but in some cases manuscripts are sent to outside scholars or specialists for comments and evaluation.

Because of our small staff, we are regrettably unable to provide individualized critiques of most of the manuscripts that we reject. We immediately confirm receipt of unsolicited manuscripts as soon as they arrive, and we make every effort to convey our decision to the author within eight weeks.

Tips and Guidelines

Because the Journal is written and edited for the general reader, we ask that submissions avoid overly specialized terminology to the extent possible. Prospective contributors should also keep in mind that the Journal of Democracy focuses primarily on developing and postcommunist countries rather than on the United States or other advanced democracies. In light of our global nonspecialist readership, we generally prefer articles that are relatively broadly focused (for instance, on the overall trajectories of countries or world regions, or on trends of significance to many different countries) over those covering narrow topics such as particular national institutions or developments within a single region of a country.


Manuscripts must be typed, double-spaced, and should not exceed 6,500 words, including references. The word limit will be lower for manuscripts accompanied by tables, charts, or other graphics.  All references must be in the form of numbered Chicago-style endnotes and should be strictly limited in number. Please include an abstract of no more than 100 words, as well as a brief biography of no more than 50 words. The abstract should include as many keywords from your essay as possible. The biography should include a current academic or professional affiliation and any recent publications or activities. The Journal will not consider manuscripts submitted simultaneously to other journals.

How to Submit

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically through the form below and formatted in Microsoft Word. Please direct any questions about submission to