Virginia Cooperative Extension publishes both peer-reviewed (scholarly) publications and nonpeer-reviewed publications (newsletters, crop production reports, etc.). All VCE publications are published electronically as downloadable PDFs on the VCE public website on the Publications and Educational Resources page. Publications are also uploaded to Office Max, where faculty and staff members can purchase printed copies for distribution. Upon request, publications can also be printed for distribution by the author as long as the author has funds available to pay for the printing.
Types of Publications
VCE scholarly publications are peer-reviewed bodies of work that present original content that addresses a topic that is not currently covered by another VCE peer-reviewed publication. A peer-reviewed publication reflects innovative or new knowledge or the compilation of existing knowledge in a new or innovative format or delivery method. A publication could cover a topic in-depth.
Qualities of a good peer-reviewed publication include
- Unbiased, research-based information.
- Writing that is appropriate for an Extension audience (avoids technical jargon and complex style).
- A topic that addresses a need; has application across the state, within a particular region of the state, or within a particular client group; and is relevant to current VCE work.
Peer-reviewed publications are reviewed by a panel of experts within the field to verify accuracy of the information presented. Peer-reviewed Extension publications are considered scholarly products for faculty promotion and tenure. All peer-reviewed publications must be submitted through the publications approval process and be edited by the copy editor in the CALS Office of Communications and Marketing. A peer-reviewed publication receives a unique number starting with a departmental prefix followed by a number ending with a "P" (for peer-reviewed).
A nonpeer-reviewed publication typically has little original content, contains generic information or information compiled from other sources, is usually brief — one to two pages in length, has a short-term use, and/or could communicate research data such as field plot data. Nonpeer-reviewed publications are placed into a generic template and typically do not receive any additional editing or formatting. A nonpeer-reviewed publication receives a unique number starting with a departmental prefix followed by a number ending with a "NP" (for nonpeer-reviewed).
The Publishing Process
Faculty members wishing to create and publish publications should refer to the Virginia Cooperative Extension Content Publishing Process for the step-by-step process. It is recommended that all authors carefully read the detailed instructions. Following is an abbreviated description of the process.
- Author determines that there is a need for content on a particular topic. Materials must also meet the criteria for in-depth scholarly work.
- The author creates the content and submits it to the appropriate department head or associate director. The author provides a list of suggested peer reviewers (one Virginia Tech or Virginia State faculty member, one faculty member external to Virginia Tech and Virginia State, and two Extension agents).
- The department head/associate director conducts the peer review. The author is given feedback from the peer-review process and makes revisions as necessary.
- Upon approval of the content by the department head, the manuscript is submitted to the Office of Communications and Marketing via the online Project Request System for editing, design, layout, publishing to the Extension public website, and/or printing.
- Author creates content and places it into the nonpeer-reviewed Word template
- Content is submitted to Communications and Marketing via the online Project Request System.
- Content is published to the Extension public website.
Updating a Publication
When a publication is posted online, it is given an expiration date of five years plus six months from the day it is posted. When the publication reaches the five-year mark, the author is notified that it is time to review the publication. The author has six months to review the publication and decide whether (1) it should stay on the website for another five years without revision, (2) it needs minor or major revisions, or (3) it needs to be archived and removed from public access. If Communications and Marketing does not receive notification about what should be done with the publication, the publication will automatically be removed from the website. Publications can be revised at any time. Authors are encouraged to review nonpeer-reviewed publications annually. To request any changes to a publication, the author must submit a request in the online Project Request System.
A limited number of VCE publications are translated into Spanish annually. VCE associate directors select these publications. If an author has a need to have a publication translated, the author should contact the VCE associate director. Selected publications are reviewed and updated, if necessary, before the publications are sent to the translator. After the publication has been translated, another person fluent in Spanish reviews the translation before it is published. If an author’s publication is not selected to be translated, the publication can still be translated; however, the translation cost will need to be covered by the author or program area.
Publications can also be published in an e-book format. An e-book is a book-publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, which is readable on computers or other electronic devices. This format allows the reader to enlarge the view, turn pages, and bookmark sections. Authors can also embed linkable content that takes the reader to web pages, videos, and other content.
Publications that are several pages in length, include multiple photos or other graphics, and have linkable external content make the best candidates for the e-books format. Authors wishing to have their publication made into an e-book can submit a request in the Project Request System. All e-books must have a corresponding PDF version completed prior to having the e-book created.
Publication process as of Jan. 1, 2018
Peer Reviewed Materials
- Author Checklist
- Peer-Reviewed Content Process Details (PDF)
- Peer-Reviewed Content Request Form
- Peer-Review Document Template
- Peer Reviewer Feedback Form
- Preparing Your Manuscript for Submission