Call for papers: Evidence & Policy special issue -The many faces of disability in evidence for policy and practice

By Carol Rivas, David Gough and Ikuko Tomomatsu

This special issue examines the relationship between disability, evidence, and policy. It considers the extent to which the demand for, production, and use of evidence in policy and practice takes account of disability perspectives.  For example, disabled populations, already vulnerable, have been made more so throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlights their disenfranchisement and marginalisation in relevant policy decisions. This outcome has sparked calls to action by disability advocacy groups and coalitions in the Global North and the Global South. These current events and responses provide a window of opportunity to reassess and change some of the entrenched systems that consistently exclude vulnerable groups such as disabled populations.

It is timely therefore to produce a special issue that considers how the use of evidence does or does not take account of the perspectives (theoretical and ideological assumptions and priorities) of disability.  Laws and policies internationally continue to uphold the need for an inclusive society, but what does this mean for disability-related evidence in policymaking? How does a specific framing of disability and non-disability influence evidence use in policy and practice? How can (and how do) the disabled or disabilities influence policy and practice?  How does this debate fit with issues of decolonisation and user engagement with research (including topic prioritisation and co-production) and equity?

Aims and scope

The special issue will take a creative approach to further stimulate or expand such debates. Its philosophical focus is on the intersection of values, ethics, epistemologies and policy and the different ways that disabled people, variously positioned, can influence policy and practice.

The special issue aims to bring together influential and critical scholars from across the disciplines, to create a theoretical and empirical dialogue that addresses these central issues in contemporary inclusivity and accessibility considerations. As such it aims to inform contemporary theorising and the transformation of inclusive social (justice) and knowledge-making practices. It aims to provide a unique assemblage of articles of interest across diverse groups, from activists and charities, through researchers and policymakers, to the informed public including those with disabilities.

The special issue editors are looking for theoretical and empirical contributions on enacted inclusion in policy and practice; epistemic injustice that precludes this; grassroots movements; or any other focus on the broad range of possibilities in which people with disabilities interact with, produce or are shaped by evidence for policy and practice. We are not looking for pandemic-specific papers, but will consider them if they fit with the broad aims of the special issue.

We particularly encourage submissions relating to the Global South and by researchers with disabilities.  We also encourage proposals to consider policymaking as a complex endeavour and to discuss the intersection of models of disability and policy evidence and the implications for the likely focus of:

  • evidence and policy priorities,
  • the actors debating them and their psychologies, and
  • the complex systems supporting the actors, their priorities and debates.

Types of paper

We are looking for three types of paper:

  1. Research articles of 5-8,000 words that describe an original piece of primary research.
  2. Debate articles of 3-5,000 words – opinion pieces that will analyse the state of the field and/or critically discuss new evidence-related initiatives or burning issues relevant to the topic of the special issue. Typically, debate articles take a point of controversy and construct a supporting argument.
  3. Practice papers of 3-5,000 words that describe and critique a project or process by which evidence was or could be applied to policy and practice, from the point of view of a practitioner, decision maker or researcher.

Supplementary materials

We encourage authors to be creative and to improve accessibility by also submitting supplementary materials – such as video, podcasts, blogs, storyboard, images or slides – for inclusion in the Evidence & Policy blog. Ideally these should be complementary and stand-alone although we will also consider materials that are more inextricably linked to the text.   Stand-alone supplementary materials may be submitted after a paper is accepted as well as at submission since we recognise that this special issue has a short timeline.

Further information

For any additional information and to submit your contributions, please contact our Guest Editors using the following hyperlinks:

Carol Rivas (Lead Guest Editor), David Gough and Ikuko Tomomatsu

Important: To be considered for this special issue please email the special issue editors. Please do not submit to the journal via the online submissions manager system until asked to do so.

Deadline for expressions of interest: 30th June 2020

Deadline for first draft submissions: 31st August 2020

Indicative deadline for submissions after initial peer review: 30th October 2020

Publication: Early 2021 (online) and May 2021 (print)

The special issue editors will oversee the peer review, with a view to publishing one debate, one practice, and seven research articles. For research papers, 5,000 words are preferred but with an upper limit of 8,000 words.

For more information on format and journal requirements please see the instructions for authors or visit the journal pages.


Carol Rivas, Lead Guest Editor; David Gough, Guest Editor; and Ikuko Tomomatsu, Guest Editor


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