Model for an Academic-Professional Article for Authors: Writing Guide and APA Publication Criteria

Abridged version in English of the original


The development of a manuscript with sound contents is as important as the style of the format used when submitting the article to an academic or professional journal. Authors have expressed their concern of not having a model that might guide them in this process; for this reason this articles intends to provide authors who wish to submit articles to any academic or professional publication, Revista de Mediación for instance, in accordance with the American Psychological Association (APA), an easy and practical publication model to be used as a guide for preparing articles. Furthermore, it can be a support tool for other publications and for the evaluators in charge of assessing manuscripts. In this article, some basic format and style aspects are presented, ranging from the title to the bibliography; also, some documents are enclosed as annexes for authors’ self-evaluation.


Keywords: APA Criteria, bibliography, writing guide, academic journal, academic article

This is an English version of the original in Spanish published by Revista de Mediación. This translation is offered as a courtesy of Revista de Mediación to its English-speaking readers.

To reference this article, please cite it as follows: García Colmenarejo, A.I., Rodríguez Rivollier, M., Rodríguez-Sedano, M. y Madrid Liras, S. (2015). Modelo de artículo académico-profesional para autores: Guía de Estilo y criterios APA de publicación. Revista de Mediación, 8, 2 (15 páginas)


Even if the following statement might seem restrictive, no scientific or professional paper exist if it is not shared with the community from an academic or professional viewpoint, be it formal or informal. The professional experience or the results of a research are only complete when the outcomes or the conclusions are shared for mutual enrichment at an individual (professional and academic) level and at a community and social level. Ever since the first scientific publications appeared in 1665, on January 5 Le Journal des Savants in Paris and on March 6 Philosophical Transactions in London, scientists, academics and practitioners have shared their knowledge through different publications and supports, which caused breakthroughs and the evolution of science to the present days.

Journals are the traditional means to disseminate scientific and professional knowledge. Nowadays, many publications present breakthroughs in psychology and its various fields and specializations, hence the importance to share common standards to organize and explain knowledge. Gary R. VandenBos states in the Preface of the Publication Manual of the American Psychology Association (APA, 2010a) that for the sake of better understanding it is necessary to rely on rigorous standards and norms that establish a simple set of writing procedures and norms in order to code the different components of scientific and professional papers, and to facilitate understanding. Following this principle, Revista de Mediación uses these criteria as a foundation of its editorial standards. For this reason and to help readers and the future authors of any quality journal we present in this paper a description and analysis of the key elements to be taken into consideration in writing a paper for Revista de Mediación and, therefore, for any other scientific publication that complies with the APA standards.

First, readers will find a brief description of Revista de Mediación, which is the basis of its Writing Guide. Then, we present the main characteristics authors should consider to submit papers to the journal, ranging from the field of expertise, scope and goals of the publication an author submits his paper to, to the different items that manuscripts are comprised of according to the APA publication standards (APA, 2010a, 2010b), as well as the different documents to be submitted with the paper.

Revista de Mediación, an example of publication

It is very important for authors to know the publication they will submit their papers to and choose it according to the topics and goals they seek to address. Other important aspects should be considered in choosing a publication other than specialization: frequency, target audience, publication language, internationalization and impact of the publication, type of papers it accepts, publication format (online or printed), evaluation system of the papers and the ethical and legal standards the publication upholds.

To explain the latter, let’s take Revista de Mediación as an example of a quality publication. Revista de Mediación is a biannual journal that publishes papers on mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms mainly for psychologists, mediators, lawyers and other practitioners of mediation and conflict analysis and resolution. The journal accepts papers in the field of applied and professional ADR such as:

  • Experimental studies and practical implications of empirical and professional practice research;
  • Development of theoretical aspects, theoretical revisions, challenge and development of theoretical models;
  • Research, Development and Innovation: new Best Practices in specific areas;
  • Evaluations and statistical surveys, analysis and critique or emerging trends, from a practical application perspective;
  • Revisions, communications, case studies, updates and meta-analysis of Mediation topics, conflict analysis and resolution, and other ADR;
  • Explanation and/or application of issues that are generally ignored by researchers;
  • Presentation of professional experiences and mediation cases;
  • A debate space on professional policies, opinions, theories and other relevant questions, well supported and grounded, and in a formal tone;
  • Evaluation and analysis of Mediation-related pieces of legislation and/or other social topics that Mediation and other ADR practitioners should take into account.

From the beginning, Revista de Mediación has been entirely published only in Spanish, but since 2014 (Issue 7) readers can have access to extended summaries or abridged versions in English; from 2016 on (Issue 9) the Journal will be published in both English and Spanish.

The editorial board assesses and evaluates the relevance of the manuscripts submitted, and confirms that the “publication requirements” are respected. Once compliance with the requirements is verified, the paper revision process begins. The Editorial Team reserves the right to accept or reject papers according to their adaptation to the topics dealt with by the journal. If the paper is accepted after the first screening process, a deeper evaluation process begins. Revista de Mediación implements an external anonymous peer review process. Each article is reviewed by two qualified external evaluators that produce a report after which the Editorial Team decides whether the paper is accepted, rejected and/or modifications have to be done for final publication, and this decision is communicated to the author/s. Usually, the modifications requested from authors are mainly elaborating on some ideas or even deleting non relevant information that does not add value to the paper. Thus, thanks to the joint work of the authors, the editorial team and the evaluators, the paper becomes original and interesting for the readers; only when the text has been submitted to reevaluations and corrections it is ready for final acceptance and layout.

Furthermore, Revista de Mediación upholds a set of ethical and legal standards that must be respected at all times, and if failure to do so, the manuscript is rejected. First, the code of ethics for the original profession must be respected, for instance the Code of Ethics for Psychologists (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid, 2010), and ADR-related pieces of legislation that include principles for action, such as the Mediation Act for Civil and Commercial Matters (Ley 5/2012, 2012). Also, the ethical and legal standards supported by the APA’s Code of Ethics (APA, 2002) have to be respected, whose Spanish version check list was obtained from the APA Manual of Publications (APA, 2010b, p. 20) and was included in Annex 3.

The Manuscript

When submitting a paper to a scientific publication (either academic or professional), authors should always bear in mind the editorial requirements of the said publication. Regardless of the fact that most quality journals in the field of psychology follow the APA standards for publication, each one of them might require specific aspects authors should be aware of.

Journals usually make editorial or publication norms available to potential authors. These editorial norms are not only a guide for authors but also they facilitate the evaluators work concerning corrections and the paper’s layout during the final stage of the publication process.

Authors must submit their manuscripts in a text format, usually Word, double space, Times New Roman font 12. As indicated above, Revista de Mediación implements an external anonymous peer review process; therefore, manuscripts must contain no information enabling to identify authors in any way.

The Structure of the Manuscript must have the following order:

  • Cover page of the paper
  • Body of the paper – Development
  • References and citations in the text –APA Standards
  • Footnotes
  • Viewing results (Tables and figures)

Cover page of the paper. On this page you have to include the title of the paper in Spanish and in English, a summary and the keywords, as well as the abstract and the keywords in English.

  • The Title must be indicative of the topic and concise; it should summarize the main idea of the paper in the simplest way possible and it must illustrate the main topic the paper will deal with. The title is the first thing readers see of a paper; therefore it must an appealing outstanding phrase that should lead us to reading the paper. It must also be self-explanatory. In general, it is the last thing you should write and it must be reviewed in order to adapt it to the final outcome of the text.
  • The Abstract. Considering the definition of the APA Manual, “it is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the article” (APA, 2010b, p. 26). Very often, it is not given the importance it has, and, after the title, it is the text that can lead readers to continue reading and it allows them to know whether the entire article is interesting or not. The Abstract must be precise, non-evaluative, consisting, readable and concise, and each sentence should include the greatest amount of information possible. It is important to really take care of this part as it will be included in most databases and it could be used to cite the paper. The word limits are different, and the APA recommendation is to have 150 to 250 words. Revista de Mediación, in particular, requires 150 words for the abstract.
  • Keywords. Usually a maximum of 4 to 5 is required. These are general concepts that must identify the contents of the article. They allow tracking the topic of the paper. It is advisable to not use the words of the title in order to broaden searches in databases and repositories where the paper can be included in the future.

The Body of the article is the section where authors develop the content of their work.

The following aspects need to be considered:

  1. Type of article: As indicated by the APA Publications Manual (APA, 2010a, 2010b), articles vary according to their contents:
    • Empirical studies
    • Reviews of the literature
    • Theoretical articles
    • Methodological articles
    • Case studies
    • Other kinds of articles: brief reports, comments, responses to other published articles, book reviews, obituaries … etc.

In the case of Revista de Mediación, the previous section, “Revista de Mediación, an example of publication”, shows the specific type of articles accepted by the journal.

  1. Structure of the article’s body: depending on the type of article, a different structure should be considered. If readers wish to dig in these aspects, they can consult the APA Publication Manual (2010a, 2010b) or other manuals and papers (Aranda, Mitru & Costa, 2009; Day, 1998, Day & Gastel, 2008; León, 2005; Ramón y Cajal, 2007). However, some aspects are common to all of them and they should be taken into consideration; for example, the fact that the structure of the article’s body is made up by:
    • The Introduction, aims at focusing the reader on the topic to be dealt with, explaining what is the paper about, what are the ideas expressed, why is it interested in the current scientific and/or professional context, and it must contain the main conclusions (or hypothesis), seeking to motivate the reader to continue to read the article. The language used must be clear, simple and straightforward, developing the issue largely enough for as much a broader target as possible and not only for specialists.
    • The Development of the paper is where the fundamental ideas are addressed and the main data presented, if any, as well as the argumentation expressed in the introduction.
    • The Discussion and the Conclusions of the paper are meant to close the section where the contents are presented. These sections must include the results of the argumentation exposed, and the theoretical consequences and/or the practical applications of the issues dealt with; if a research was conducted, they should include the meaning and interpretation of the results compared to the original hypothesis; also the limitations and exceptions of the ideas presented should be acknowledged. For all this it is important to:
      • Remember the main goal of the paper,
      • Summarize results,
      • Discuss possible unexpected results,
      • Specify strengths and weaknesses,
      • Make suggestions for future papers,
      • And lastly, as a conclusion, the author must indicate the relevance of his/her article.
  1. Expression and language correctness: for any publication it is extremely important to get the authors take care of the written expression: grammar, spelling and punctuation, word order, avoiding excess in informal language, etc. In this regard, in technical articles (not opinion articles) references to personal opinions should be avoided. Also, the first person singular is to be avoided. The correct thing to do is to use the third impersonal person because manuscripts refer to a concrete or specific professional field. In articles on professional practice or when presenting a case authors should make a technical analysis of the intervention and illustrate it with a practical example.
  2. Content General Criteria: furthermore, it is important to note that not only must grammar and spelling be taken into account for an article but also the content. Revista de Mediación receives article that, even if they deal with Mediation, were written by authors coming from very different professions: for this reason, both readers and authors use different technical languages. Authors must be very careful in how they address the issue so that it is interesting and appealing for the readers. Therefore, it is important for authors to bear in mind the following content general criteria to decide whether an article is appropriate or not for publication. These criteria, that are crucial in the evaluation processes, are:
  • Interest of the topic, originality, repercussion, matter of urgency or social need it addresses or envisages.
  • Appropriate and efficient proposal to address this need.
  • Theoretical or practical importance; and usefulness-relevance (if it is interesting or contributing to readers).
  • Relation to the field and topics of the journal.
  • Clear ideas and efficiency to address the topic (they broaden knowledge of the already known topic, propose concrete ideas or specific actions, illustrate, contribute to and analyse the topic addressed) using a technical and professional language.
  • Theoretical, legal and social support (which refer to sources that should follow the APA citation criteria).

References and citations in the text: APA Standards. As indicated in the introduction of this article, knowledge is transmitted and shared, and what enriches the experience at scientific and professional levels is that people might replicate an experience conducted by a colleague and/or compare the results obtained, or use the knowledge of the other people as a base to sustain their own paper. It is extremely important to require criteria to make reference to information taken from another author and support a paper, as well as seeking rigor and credibility to avoid plagiarism and to allow this information to be accessed thanks to the cited sources of information. Through references the work of other professionals is acknowledged and they provide a trustworthy way to find it.

There are different standards that provide the basic criteria to write references: The standards of the American Psychological Association (APA), initially used in psychology and spread later to the fields of education, sociology, economics; or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 690).

Following these standards, reference to sources of information is done through citations at the place of the text where they are located, and the complete information of the reference is included at the end of the article. Below are the basic aspects to be considered for correct citation and references.

  • Citations within the body of the text:
  • All the citations mentioned in the article should be the bibliography and all the references must be cited in the body of the text.
  • Citations must be listed in alphabetical order, not by date.
    • NO: (Saucier & Goldberg, 2003; Figueredo et al, 2006; Musek, 2007; Rushton & Irwing, 2008; Rusthon et al., 2008).
    • YES: (Figueredo et al, 2006; Musek, 2007; Rushton & Irwing, 2008; Rusthon et al., 2008; Saucier & Goldberg, 2003).
  • When a citation has more than 5 authors, the surnames of all of the authors must be written the first time the reference occurs in the text. The following citations will only include the surname of the first author followed by the abbreviation “et al.”
  • If a citation has more than 5 authors, the name of the first author followed by the abbreviation “et al.” should be written from the first time the reference occurs.
  • If the article is submitted to a journal published in English, the citations in parenthesis must use & before the name of the last author, but in citations not in parenthesis the word “and” should be used.
  • References:
  • Like the data in the manuscript exist to support the interpretations and conclusions, references are used to document statements regarding the literature.
  • They should not be exhaustive but enough to support our arguments and to make sure readers must locate them in the context of previous experiences.
  • They must be as recent as possible.
  • Self-citation should be avoided.
  • References must be in the original language.
  • Journals that have a digital object identifier (DOI) must include the DOI in all the references.
  • In the bibliography, the use of et al. is not accepted. If papers have up to 7 authors they must all be named, and if they have more than 7 authors the first 6 authors must be included followed by ellipsis (…) and the details of the last author.

Bazanis, E., Rogers, R. D., Dowson, J. H., Taylor, P., Meux, C., Staley, C., … Sahakian, J. (2002). Neurocognitive deficits in decision-making and planning of patients with DSM-III-R borderline personality disorder. Psychological Medicine, 32, 1395–1405.

  • Entries of only one author are ordered by the publication year, starting by the first one.
  • In the event an author has many references of collaboration with other authors, they are ordered alphabetically starting with the surname of the second author.
  • References with the same authors in the same succession, they are ordered by publication year, starting by the first one.
  • The names of journals must not be abbreviated; their full name should be cited.

Annex 4 provides a guide of how to reference authors according to the articles generally published by Revista de Mediación, considering the APA Standards.

Footnotes. These are used to provide additional content. They complete or give more substantial information to the text. They must not include complicated, irrelevant or trivial information as this might distract. Footnotes must not be excessive, they are to be included only if they reinforce hypotheses and must convey only one idea.

Viewing results: Tables and Figures. They are an important part of the article, provided that they explain by themselves a specific argument or the results of a research. There must not be redundancy between the contents presented in the text and the tables and figures. Reference to all the tables and figures must be done in the text and they must be numbered in the order the reference occurs.

Other documents to submit

Some publications require a set of additional documents to be submitted together with the manuscript. For instance, the additional documents that must be submitted to Revista de Mediación with the manuscript for final approval and publication are: the article presentation letter and the authorization for publication letter and waiving of rights.

Article Submission Letter (Annex 1)

This document was prepared by the team of Revista de Mediación in order to have the data of the authors, although these data are not sent to the evaluators so that they are not influenced. For this reason this is normally called blind evaluation. The team decided later that it was necessary to include other aspects and data in the document; these aspects and data are:

  • Title, abstract, keywords, institutional affiliation, email of reference, and a short résumé of each author, because, in fact, many authors forget to include them that are useful for further layout on the cover page of the article.
  • Review of the fundamental aspects such as getting the authors indicate whether his/her article corresponds to the topics addressed by the journal and give a brief justification of the article’s relevance (interest, newness, etc.) in the field of the topics dealt with by the journal, because often articles were submitted unrelated to the topics or that added little value to the knowledge gained in the subject matter; also, get the author confirm that the article was not published before, that the bibliography complies with the APA criteria chosen by Revista de Mediación and that the style and format are according to what is indicated by the “requirements for publication” item.
  • Later, an Evaluation Questionnaire Model was incorporated to the letter which was submitted to the external blind evaluators, for self-evaluation by the author prior to the submission of the article. Reference has already made to the main style, format and contents aspects that were incorporated as questions in the final section of the Article Submission Letter.
Letter of Authorization for Publication (Annex 2)

In the field of conflict resolution we know that preventing conflicts is always positive. In this regard, it must be indicated who the authors are and who is accounted for the ideas expressed in the article; who has the rights once the article is published; and it is also important to make sure that the article has not been published before or that publication by other media is under way. The problem of plagiarism makes these security issues inevitable because publications ought to make sure plagiarism is prevented even if it is not always easy to find the original sources. A challenging question is if academic and scientific journals, like books editors, should own the copyrights of the articles. This is the present reality and it is up to each publication to decide how easy it is for authors to use published material. The internal policy of Revista de Mediación is to facilitate that the authors who wish to incorporate the article as a chapter of a book they will publish later could do so, indicating that it was previously published by the Journal and the corresponding issue number.


Upholding minimum common standards by the academic and professional community allows the sharing of a common language to favor organization, breakthrough and enriching of knowledge. For this reason, the main goal of publications should be to respect and make respect these standards based on which, and regardless of the interest of the paper contents, a decision is made concerning approval or rejection by the journal.

With the documents we presented further on (included in the Annexes and explained in this article) we would like to stress the value the article submission letter has added to receiving higher quality articles. On the one hand, it has allowed authors from the beginning to adapt to the quality, newness, appropriate foundations, style and format requirements any academic journal must demand as a minimum standard. At the same time, it speeds up the article preparation and evaluation as it helps authors to verify compliance with the editorial norms and that all the requested documents are submitted, thus preventing the article from being rejected for not compliance with the editorial standards, and to avoid sending authors constant messages requesting non submitted details. Finally, it facilitates the task of the external evaluators of the paper, as the results of the peer review can be better understood. For this reason, the use of this tool is highly recommended for authors and other publications.

We would like to underline that this article-guide aims not at including all the APA criteria, given the length of the original piece, but rather at facilitating the main ideas and criteria to be followed by authors when writing and submitting articles. In this regard, the way in which the main statements or ideas of other authors are cited is a common mistake. This is why we added Annex 4 as a very useful tool for authors.

Lastly, we would like to insist on the fact that articles must respond to what we have called “Content General Criteria”, i.e., the article’s grounds, the relevance, newness and usefulness of the topic addressed, how ideas are clearly expressed, not forgetting the importance of a technical and professional language. A field of action such as the ADR in general, and particularly mediation, require ongoing update knowledge, research and a high level of academic debate for them to be sustained and progress as a social discipline.


American Psychological Association (2010a). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6Th edition). Washington, D.C., USA : Author.

American Psychological Association (2010b). Manual de publicaciones de la American Psychological Association (3ª edición). México D.F., México: Editorial El Manual Moderno.

American Psychological Association (2002). Ethical Principles of Psyhcologists and Code of Conduct.  (Further modifications published in 2010). Washington, D.C., USA: Author. Accessed:

American Psycological Association. (2016). APA Style. Recuperado de

Aranda, E., Mitru, N. y Costa, R. (2009). ABC de la redacción y publicación médico-científica. (2ª Ed.). La Paz, Bolivia: Elite Impresiones.

Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid. (2010). Código Deontológico. Madrid, España: Autor.

Clanchy, J. (2010). Cómo se hace un trabajo académico: guía práctica para estudiantes universitarios. Zaragoza, España: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza.

Day, R.A. (1998). How to Write & Publish a Scientific Paper (5th Ed.). Phoenix, USA: Oryx Press.

Day, R.A y Gastel, B. (2008). Cómo escribir y publicar trabajos científicos (4ª Ed. En español). Washington, D.C., USA: Organización Panamericana de Salud.

León, O.G. (2005). Cómo redactar textos científicos en psicología y educación. La Coruña, España: Netbiblo.

Ley 5/2012, de 6 de julio, de mediación en asuntos civiles y mercantiles. Boletín Oficial del Estado (España), 162, de 7 de julio de 2012.

Ramón y Cajal, S. (2007).  Reglas y consejos sobre investigación científica. (20ª ed.). Madrid, España: Espasa Calpe.

Other links of interest:

Metropolitan University:

San Francisco University:



What is Revista de Mediación

It is an academic, biannual, online, and free of charge journal on Mediation and other ADR, of high editorial quality, highlighted relevance and professional interest that encourages scientific study and rigor, best practices and innovation, analysis and positive resolution of conflict through alternative and peaceful ways (ADR). It is addressed to mediators, specialists in conflict analysis, management and resolution, and to those interested in these fields.

What articles are accepted

The “Revista de Mediación” management team considers the best authors and the most updated research projects that might be of interest for the entire mediation practitioners. Having quality papers is, ultimately, the main criterion to decide upon publication. In order to accurately respond to the professional principle this Journal aims at, we consider that it is appropriate to meet some requirements other publications, publication standards and writing books have in order to insure the relevance of the published topics.

How to submit papers

If you wish your article to be assessed for publication by “Revista de Mediación” please send the following documents to the email templates can be downloaded here.