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Instructions to Authors

New for 2010 – Please note that the journal now encourages authors to complete their copyright licence to publish form online.

Submission Requirements

  • Length: 10,000–12,000 words (about 30–35 double-spaced pages)

  • Abstract of about 150–200 words

  • Microsoft Word electronic file submitted to Peter Lanjouw
    and copied to Swati Raychaudhuri


Exposition is a priority for WBRO. The article should be intelligible and, if possible, interesting, for someone without much economics experience. The target audience (see masthead) is "anyone interested in development"—for instance, a project officer, or a student, or an economist wanting to keep up with areas outside his/her specialty.

To this end:

  • No equations, or if they have to be used, they should be comprehensible at about the seventh grade level.

  • Few and uncomplicated figures and tables—only include if they really illustrate and simplify the argument, or inform clearly.

  • Organization should be transparent.

  • Gloss any concepts that would be unfamiliar to the noneconomist reader.

  • Minimize Bankese, jargon, abstract nouns and passive constructions.

Structure of Manuscript

Abstract: About 200 words. It fronts the published article and summarizes the principal issue(s), objectives, methodology, and findings. It should at the same time provide the "hook" that encourages the reader to read on—spotlighting principal conclusions, cruces of the argument, controversial issues, or other points of interest.

Introduction: No heading. Answer the "so what"? question (i.e. relevance to policy/developing countries/applications). Brief roadmap.

Endnotes: Keep footnotes (which appear as endnotes at the end of the article) to a minimum—delete or incorporate in text where possible.

Affiliations: Unnumbered endnote heading list of endnotes.

Funding information: Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled 'Funding'. This should appear before the 'Acknowledgements' section.

The following rules should be followed:

  • The sentence should begin: ‘This work was supported by …’
  • The full official funding agency name should be given, i.e. ‘National Institutes of Health’, not ‘NIH’ (full RIN-approved list of UK funding agencies) Grant numbers should be given in brackets as follows: ‘[grant number xxxx]’
  • Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma as follows: ‘[grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]’
  • Agencies should be separated by a semi-colon (plus ‘and’ before the last funding agency)
  • Where individuals need to be specified for certain sources of funding the following text should be added after the relevant agency or grant number 'to [author initials]'.

An example is given here: ‘This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [AA123456 to C.S., BB765432 to M.H.]; and the Alcohol & Education Research Council [hfygr667789].

References: Only those cited in the text are listed in the reference list at the end of the article. For style, see published journal.

Figures and tables: Fully identify all components, including column heads, row stubs, and graph lines or bars, and add complete sources.


Permission to reproduce copyright material, for print and online publication in perpetuity, must be cleared and if necessary paid for by the author; this includes applications and payments to DACS, ARS, and similar licensing agencies where appropriate. Evidence in writing that such permissions have been secured from the rights-holder must be made available to the editors. It is also the author's responsibility to include acknowledgements as stipulated by the particular institutions. Oxford Journals can offer information and documentation to assist authors in securing print and online permissions: please see the Guidelines for Authors section. Information on permissions contacts for a number of main galleries and museums can also be provided. Should you require copies of this, please contact the editorial office of the journal in question or the Oxford Journals Rights department.


The World Bank Research Observer does not accept papers that have been previously published elsewhere with the exception of working papers series. The Journal’s policy regarding working paper series is:

  • Pre-publication in working paper series is allowed where submission to the working paper series is prior to acceptance by the Journal.
  • The working paper version may remain online after publication in the Journal.
  • The working paper version should NOT be updated after acceptance by the Journal.
  • Authors are requested to append the appropriate citation to the working paper version on acceptance by the Journal (if the working paper series allows this).


For information about this journal's policy, please visit our Author Self-Archiving policy page.


Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford Journals, authors will be invited to complete an online copyright licence to publish form.

Please note that by submitting an article for publication, you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. You agree to notify OUP immediately if your details change. If your article is accepted for publication OUP will contact you using the email address you have used in the registration process. Please note that OUP does not retain copies of rejected articles.

The World Bank Research Observer authors have the option to publish their paper under the Oxford Open initiative; whereby, for a charge, their paper will be made freely available online immediately upon publication. After your manuscript is accepted the corresponding author will be required to accept a mandatory licence to publish agreement. As part of the licensing process you will be asked to indicate whether or not you wish to pay for open access. If you do not select the open access option, your paper will be published with standard subscription-based access and you will not be charged.

Oxford Open articles are published under Creative Commons licences. Authors publishing in The World Bank Research Observer can use the following Creative Commons licences for their articles:

•Creative Commons Non-Commercial licence (CC BY-NC)
•Creative Commons non-Commercial No Derivatives licence (CC BY-NC-ND)

Please click here for more information about the Creative Commons licences.

You can pay Open Access charges using our Author Services site. This will enable you to pay online with a credit/debit card, or request an invoice by email or post. The open access charges applicable are:

Regular charge - £1750/ $2800 / €2275
Reduced Rate Developing Country charge* - £875 / $1400 / €1138
Free Developing Country charge* - £0 /$0 / €0
*Visit our Developing Countries page for a list of qualifying countries

Please note that these charges are in addition to any colour/page charges that may apply.

Orders from the UK will be subject to the current UK VAT charge. For orders from the rest of the European Union, OUP will assume that the service is provided for business purposes. Please provide a VAT number for yourself or your institution, and ensure you account for your own local VAT correctly.

3rd-Party Content in Open Access Papers

If you will be publishing your paper under an Open Access license but it contains material for which you do not have Open Access re-use permissions, please state this clearly by supplying the following credit line alongside the material:

Title of content

Author, Original publication, year of original publication, by permission of [rights holder]

This image/content is not covered by the terms of the Creative Commons license of this publication. For permission to reuse, please contact the rights holder.


In order to meet your funding requirements authors are required to name their funding sources in the manuscript. For further information on this process or to find out more about the CHORUS initiative please click here.

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