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Submitting papers to Monthly Labor Review: 
guidelines for non-BLS authors

The Review’s audience
Monthly Labor Review departments
Referee process
Editorial process
Specifications for MLR articles

Monthly Labor Review serves as the flagship publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It publishes research, analysis, and data on the Bureau’s major program areas: employment and unemployment; compensation and working conditions; productivity and technology; occupational safety and health; industry, occupational, and employment projections; and prices and living conditions. All papers submitted to the Review must be factual analyses not published elsewhere, and objective and analytical, rather than polemical in tone.

Authors may submit papers for consideration via e-mail to William Parks II, Executive Editor, at mlr@bls.gov. To send your paper via regular mail, address it to:

William Parks II, Executive Editor
Monthly Labor Review
Bureau of Labor Statistics
2 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Room 2850
Washington, DC 20212

The Review’s audience

The Review’s audience includes economists, statisticians, labor relations practitioners (lawyers, arbitrators, etc.), sociologists, and other professionals concerned with labor related issues. Because the Review presents topics in labor economics in less forbidding formats than some social science journals, its audience also includes laypersons who are interested in the topics, but are not professionally trained economists, statisticians, and so forth.

In writing articles for the Review, authors should aim at the generalists in the audience on the assumption that the specialist will understand. Authors should use the simplest exposition of the subject consonant with accuracy and adherence to scientific methods of data collection, analysis, and drawings of conclusions.


Monthly Labor Review departments

In general, full articles should describe, explain, update, and inform the Review’s audience about analyses and findings relevant to the major BLS program areas. Articles are the most comprehensive and complete products featured in the Review. Manuscripts average 20 double-spaced pages (using 12 point Times Roman or similar type) and may also contain tables, charts, exhibits, appendixes, and boxes (which could include a glossary or supplementary information). There also are several departments for shorter papers.

Research summaries – This department includes a variety of materials. Research summaries are basically factual reporting, with less analysis than in a full article. Papers can be around 10 double-spaced-typed pages in length. Tables and charts may be used, but should be kept in proportion with the amount of text. Editing procedures are the same as for other papers or manuscripts. Research summaries may describe the early, fact-setting stages of larger research projects (works in progress), provide summaries of more complex research project, or be self-contained pieces on specific topics.

Book reviews – Containing book reviews prepared by Bureau personnel, other government employees, academics, and other professionals, this department provides insight into recent books relevant to the labor economics field. 

Communications – This department consists of letters to the editor and other correspondence commenting on material appearing in the Review. Upon receipt of correspondence, the appropriate author is given the opportunity to respond to the comment. In these items, a less formal style of expression is permitted, and tables and charts should be kept to a minimum. 

International reports – Brief accounts of events in the field of foreign labor obtained from staff of the Bureau or the Department of Labor or other contributors. Papers can be 1-1/2 to 5 typed pages.

Regional trends – Similar in length to research summaries, this department reports on economic trends in the various regions of the United States. Papers are usually 4 to 8 typed pages. 


Referee process

All submissions from outside the Bureau of Labor Statistics are subjected to a rigorous, two-track review process.

  1. All submissions are screened by the executive editor. Those that are of a topic and style that are appropriate to the Review are assigned to a staff editor for a detailed editorial review--generally an analysis of the salience of the topic for our readers and the editorial problems that might arise if the piece were to be accepted on its technical merit.
  2. At the same time, the Review solicits comments from one or more subject-matter experts in BLS. These experts are generally advanced degree economists with substantial experience in the relevant program of the Bureau. They submit comments to the Review’s senior editorial staff. 
With the two reports in hand, the senior editorial staff of the Review select the submissions that will be published. This process takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Authors are notified whether their paper has been accepted or rejected.


Editorial process

Upon acceptance, the paper will then be submitted to the managing editor to begin the editorial process:

  1. Editor prepares comments and suggestions 
  2. Editor sends suggestions to the author for further comments and corrections 
  3. Author-editor conference: changes are negotiated 
  4. Editor incorporates all changes into a revised file 
  5. Editor or designer prepares page proofs and sends to author for approval
  6. Author reviews page proofs and gives editor approval to print
  7. Editor prepares final camera-ready copy
  8. Printed article in the Review is sent to author
Note that the editorial process and the role of the editor in preparing accepted articles for publication are more substantial than is the case in some journals. This ensures consistently appropriate style, tone, and level of discourse for our readers.


Specifications for MLR articles

Papers submitted for publication should follow certain formatting styles, which will help move submissions quickly through the editorial process.

Questions or comments can be addressed to William Parks II, executive editor (202-691-7911) or by e-mail: mlr@bls.gov

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