Project Management Journal Guidelines

Project Management Journal® publishes research relevant to researchers, reflective practitioners, and organizations from the project, program, and portfolio management fields. Project Management Journal® seeks papers that are of interest to a broad audience.

Due to the integrative and interdisciplinary nature of these fields, Project Management Journal® publishes the best papers from a number of other disciplines, including, but not limited to, organizational behavior and theory, strategic management, marketing, accounting, finance, operations research, technology and innovation management, entrepreneurship, economics, political science, history, sociology, psychology, information science, decision science, systems theory, and communication theory.

Project Management Journal® publishes qualitative papers as well as quantitative works and purely conceptual or theoretical papers, including diverse research methods and approaches. Our aim is to integrate the various types of project, program, and portfolio management research.

Project Management Journal® neither approves nor disapproves, nor does it guarantee the validity or accuracy of any data, claim, opinion, or conclusion presented in either editorial content, articles, From the Editor, or advertisements.

Project Management Journal® is a journal to disseminate and discuss project management research. It is not a platform to discuss the content or quality of PMI standards, credentials or certifications, and those of other standard-setting organizations.

Authors' Guidelines

Papers published in Project Management Journal® must relate to research and provide new contributions to project management theory and/or project management practices. Each paper should contain clear research questions, which the author should be able to state in one paragraph. Authors are expected to describe the knowledge and foundations underlying their research approach, and theoretical concepts that give meaning to data or to proposed decision support methods, and to demonstrate how they are relevant to organizations in the realm of project management. Papers that speculate beyond current thinking are more desirable than papers that use tried-and-true methods to study routine problems, or papers motivated strictly by data collection and analysis.

Authors should strive to be original, insightful, and theoretically bold; demonstration of a significant value-added advance to the understanding of an issue or topic is crucial to acceptance for publication. Multiple-study papers that feature diverse methodological approaches may be more likely to make such contributions.

Authors should make contributions of specialized research to project, program, and portfolio management theory and to the theory of the project-oriented organization or project network. They should define any specialized terms and analytic techniques used. Papers should be well argued and well written, avoiding jargon at all times. Project Management Journal® does not prefer subjects of study, as long as they are in the project, program, or portfolio management field, or in the field of the project-oriented organization or project network, nor do we attach a greater significance to one methodological style than another does.

Avoid Use of Commercialism

Papers should be balanced, objective assessments that contribute to the project management profession or provide a constructive review of the methodology. Papers that are commercial in nature (e.g., those that endorse or disparage specific products) will not be published.

Editing Your Paper

Make sure papers adhere to the theme or question to be answered. Write in clear and concise English, using active rather than passive voice. Manuscripts should not exceed 12,000 words, inclusive of figures, tables, and references. Count each figure and table as 300 words.

Manuscript Format/Style

All manuscripts submitted for consideration should meet the following guidelines:

  • All papers must be written in the English language (American spelling).
  • Title page of the manuscript should only include the title of the paper.
  • To permit objective double blind reviews by two referees, the abstract, first page and text must not reveal the author(s) and/or affiliation(s). When authors cite their own work, they should refer to themselves in the third person. Any papers not adhering to this will be returned.

Formatting the Paper

Papers must be formatted in an electronic format using a current version Microsoft Word. For Mac users, convert the file to a Windows format. If the conversion does not work, Mac users should save files as Word (.doc) files.


Use a 12-point Times or Times New Roman font for the text. You may use bold and italics in the text, but do not underline. Use 10-point Helvetica or Arial font for text within tables and graphics.


Papers should be double-spaced and in a single-column format. All margins should be 1 inch.


Use 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-level headings only. Do not number headings.

References, Footnotes, Tables, Figures and Appendices

Always acknowledge the work of others used to advance a point in your paper. For questions regarding reference format, refer to the current edition of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Identify text citations with the author name and publication date in parentheses, (e.g., Cleland & King, 1983), and listed in alphabetical order as references at the end of the manuscript. Include page numbers for all quotations (page numbers should be separated by an en dash, not a hyphen).

Follow the formats in the examples shown below:

Baker, B. (1993). The project manager and the media: Some lessons from the stealth bomber program. Project Management Journal, 24(3), 11–14.

Cleland, D. I., & King, W. R. (1983). Systems analysis and project management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Hartley, J. R. (1992). Concurrent engineering. Cambridge, MA: Productivity Press.

It is the author´s responsibility to obtain permission to include (or quote) copyrighted material, unless the author owns the copyright. Use the permission form, which is available at the Manuscript Central site.

Graphics and Illustrations

Be sure to number tables and figures with Arabic numerals, include titles for each, and insert them in their preferred location within the body of the text. In addition, provide artwork in 300-dpi jpg, tiff, or PowerPoint formats.

Tips for creating graphics:

  • Provide only the essential details (too much information can be difficult to display).
  • Color graphics are acceptable for submission, although Project Management Journal® is published in grayscale.
  • Helvetica or Arial font should be used for text within the graphics and tables.
  • Figure numbers and titles are centered and appear in boldface type below the figure.
  • Table numbers and titles are centered and appear in boldface type above the table.
  • Figures and tables should be cited and numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear in the text.
  • Tables with lines separating columns and rows are acceptable.

Use an appendix to provide more detailed information, when necessary.

Submission Policy

Submit manuscripts electronically using Project Management Journal®’s Manuscript Central site.

Manuscript Central is a web-based peer review system (a product of ScholarOne). Authors will be asked to create an account (unless one already exists) prior to submitting a paper. Step-by-step instructions are provided online. The progress of the review process can be obtained via Manuscript Central. Other questions regarding publication may be sent to

Manuscripts should include the following in the order listed:

  • Title page. Include only the title of the manuscript (do not include authors’ names).
  • Abstract. Outline the purpose, scope, and conclusions of the manuscript in 100 words or less. * Keywords. Select 4 to 8 keywords.
  • Headings. Use 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-level, unnumbered headings.
  • Text. To permit objective reviews by two referees, the abstract, first page and the rest of the text should not reveal the authors and/or affiliations.
  • References. Use author-date format.
  • Illustrations and tables. These should be titled, numbered (in Arabic numerals), and placed on a separate sheet, with the preferred location indicated within the body of the text.
  • Biographical details for each author. Upon manuscript acceptance, authors must also provide a signed copyright agreement.

By submitting a manuscript, the author certifies that it is not under consideration by any other publication; that neither the manuscript nor any portion of it is copyrighted; and that it has not been published elsewhere. Exceptions must be noted at the time of submission.

Authors using their own previously published or submitted material as the basis for a new submission are required to cite the previous work and explain how the new submission differs from the previously published work. Any potential data overlap with previous studies should be noted and described in the letter to the Editor. The editorial team makes software-supported checks for identifying plagiarism and self-plagiarism.

Accepted manuscripts become the property of PMI, which holds the copyright for materials that it publishes. Material published in Project Management Journal® may not be reprinted or published elsewhere, in whole or part, without the written permission of PMI.

Accepted manuscripts may be subject to editorial changes made by the Editor. The author is solely responsible for all statements made in his or her work, including changes made by the editor. Submitted manuscripts are not returned to the author; however, reviewer comments will be furnished.
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Review Process

The reputation of Project Management Journal® and contribution to the field depend upon our attracting and publishing the best research. Project Management Journal® competes for the best available manuscripts by having the largest and widest readership among all project management journals. Equally important, we also compete by offering high-quality feedback. The timeliness and quality of our review process reflect well upon all who participate in it.

Developmental Reviews

It is important that authors learn from the reviews and feel that they have benefited from the Project Management Journal® review process. Therefore, reviewers will strive to:

  • Be Specific. Reviewers point out the positives about the paper, possible problems, and how any problems can be addressed. Specific comments, reactions, and suggestions are required.
  • Be Constructive. In the event that problems cannot be fixed in the current study, suggestions are made to authors on how to improve the paper on their next attempt. Reviewers document as to whether the issue is with the underlying research, the research conclusions, or the way the information is being communicated in the submission.
  • Identify Strengths. One of the most important tasks for a reviewer is to identify the portions of the paper that can be improved in a revision. Reviewers strive to help an author shape a mediocre manuscript into an insightful contribution.
  • Consider the Contribution of the Manuscript. Technical correctness and theoretical coherence are obvious issues for a review, but the overall contribution that the paper offers is also considered. Papers will not be accepted if the contribution it offers is not meaningful or interesting. Reviewers will address uncertainties in the paper by checking facts; therefore, review comments will be as accurate as possible.
  • Consider Submissions from Authors Whose Native Language Is Not English. Reviewers will distinguish between the quality of the writing, which may be fixable, and the quality of the ideas that the writing conveys.

Respectful Reviews

PMI recognizes that authors have spent a great deal of time and effort on every submission. Reviewers will always treat an author’s work with respect, even when the reviewer disagrees or finds fault with what has been written.

Double-Blind Reviews

Submissions are subjected to a double-blind review, whereby the identity of the reviewer and the author are not disclosed. In the event that a reviewer is unable to be objective about a specific paper, another reviewer will be selected for that paper. Reviewers will not discuss any manuscript with anyone (other than the Project Management Journal® Editor) at any time.

Pointers on the Substance of the Review Theory

  • Does the paper have a well-articulated theory that provides conceptual insight and guides hypotheses formulation?
  • Does the study inform or improve our understanding of that theory?
  • Are the concepts clearly defined?
  • Does the paper cite appropriate literature and provide proper credit to existing work on the topic? Has the author offered critical references? Does the paper contain an appropriate number of references?
  • Do the sample, measures, methods, observations, procedures, and statistical analyses ensure internal and external validity? Are the statistical procedures used correctly and appropriately? Are the author’s major assumptions reasonable?
  • Does the empirical study provide a good test of the theory and hypotheses? Is the method chosen appropriate for the research question and theory?
  • Does the paper make a new and meaningful contribution to the management literature in terms of theory, empirical knowledge, and management practice?
  • Has the author given proper citation to the original source of all information given in the work or in others’ work that was cited?

Adherence to the Spirit of the Guidelines

Papers that severely violate the spirit of the guidelines (e.g., papers that are single-spaced, papers that use footnotes rather than conventional referencing formats, papers that greatly exceed 40 pages), or which do not clearly fit the mission of the Journal will be returned to authors without being reviewed.


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