Frequently asked questions

How to submit?

Submissions should be sent electronically to and should be attached as a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) file. Submissions must conform with the official policies listed on this website; please note requirements for title page, abstract, and citation style.

What is the review process?

All submissions will have personally identifying information removed and will be sent to three anonymous student reviewers who are knowledgeable on the subject of the article and the research methodology employed. These reviewers will read the work, score it on six dimensions, and provide the editor and the author with comments and recommendations on its suitability for publication.

Based on the feedback from reviewers and editorial staff, the editor will make initial decisions on publication. These decisions will fall into four categories: 1) accept 2) accept with minor revisions 3) reconsider with major revisions 4) reject. Articles that require minor revisions will be accepted for publication pending appropriate changes, while articles that require major revisions may or may not be accepted for publication depending on the strength of the revisions made by the author.

After authors revise their work and resubmit it, it will be reassessed by the same panel of peers. The editor will make final publication decisions with advice from reviewers and editorial staff.

Submission deadline is determined semesterly.

What is the correct format?

All submissions must follow the Chicago Manual of Style format and use in- text parenthetical citations. Papers should be double-spaced in Times New Roman 12-point font with 1-inch margins. All papers must be written in American English.

Submissions should also include a title page and 200-word abstract. The title page should contain the author name, submission title, author major and minor, and expected graduation date; for submissions based on papers completed for a class, course name, professor name, course and section number, and semester taken should also be included. All personally identifying information should be removed from the body of the paper before submission.

Submissions should be between 4,000 and 8,000 words in length.

Am I eligible for publishing?

Clocks and Clouds publishes work completed by American University undergraduate students. Students who have graduated or transferred from American University within one year of the submission deadline may submit work completed while an undergraduate at the university. Students who have transferred to American University may submit work completed at a previous institution. 

Students in a combined B.A./M.A. program may only submit work substantially completed before finishing the requirements for the B.A. and may not submit work completed for a 600- or 700-level class.

All submissions should make an original contribution to the field of study. Clocks and Clouds does not publish literature reviews, policy briefings, memos, or essays. Submissions may use any accepted methodology, quantitative or qualitative. All research must also comply with the American University Academic Integrity Code and be in compliance with the AU Institutional Review Board policies. Submissions may be based on previous class work or work presented at conferences and research seminars, but may not be based on work previously published in an academic journal or similar printed source.



Below is the evaluation rubric Clocks and Clouds uses to review submissions.

Contribution to Existing Knowledge

  • Does the author clearly explain what makes the topic important?
  • Has the author omitted any relevant and important topics?
  • Does the author dedicate space to unnecessary topics or inappropriate sources?
  • Are concepts accurately tied to their sources?
  • Does the review synthesize, rather than summarize, findings of the literature?
  • Does the review identify weaknesses with existing research?

Theoretical Richness

  • Are the author’s hypotheses and theory clear?
  • Does the author identify all variables of interest and exclude trivial variables?
  • Does the hypothesis address issues identified in the literature review?
  • Is the argument original, insightful, plausible, and ambitious?
  • Are models described in a thorough but easily understandable way?

Methodological Strength

  • Is the method of analysis appropriate for the data?
  • Are variables operationalized in a reliable, valid, and justifiable manner?
  • Are cases and samples selected with a sound and sufficiently described method?
  • Is evidence from reliable sources?
  • Does the author identify and defend assumptions behind the analysis?
  • Is supporting evidence specific enough to exclude rival hypotheses?

Soundness of Conclusions

  • Does the author’s evidence support the conclusion?
  • Has the author convincingly addressed weaknesses and alternative explanations?
  • Do conclusions extrapolate beyond the data to suggest more general patterns?
  • Does the author identify avenues for further research?

Organization and Readability

  • Are the author’s thoughts well written and easy to understand?
  • Does the paper contain the standard sections of an academic article (abstract, introduction, literature review, study design, analysis, and conclusions)?
  • Does the introduction accurately explain the argument and structure of the paper?
  • Does the conclusion summarize and discuss the argument and findings?
  • Are there any sections that are too long or too short?

Technical Requirements

  • Does the paper follow the Chicago Manual of Style using parenthetical citations?
  • Does the paper follow Clocks and Clouds submission guidelines?
  • Are there any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors?


Clocks and Clouds awards the Karl Popper Prize for National and Global Affairs, an award of $100, to the best paper published in the Journal by an American University undergraduate student in the School of International Service or School of Public Affairs.

Previous winners include:

2021: Lucas Piedmonte for ““The Supreme Court Changed My Mind”: How Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) Influences Public Attitudes on Same-Sex Couple Adoptions”

2020: Noah Genovese-Mester for “Preventing Civil War Recurrence Through Authoritarian Consolidation”

2019: Morgan Harris for  “An Examination of the European Union’s Use of Lawfare Since 2001”

Papers will be judged by a faculty committee organized by our two faculty advisors, Dr. Kimberly Cowell-Meyers and Dr. David Mislan.

For questions or additional information, email us at