Focus and Scope

Struggles for access to and participation in higher education have a long history and continue to present challenges across a range of contexts. Access invites critical debates at the intersection of higher education and inequalities of international interest and significance.

Part of the journal’s project is to engage an increasing diversity of voices, perspectives, theories and methodologies, critique the practices of research, writing and publication, and disrupt dominant forms of representation of and in the field. We draw on and continue a commitment to the foundations of the work featured in International Studies in Widening Participation which has been historically focussed on the rich Australian context that has a long history of enabling and widening participation pathways. Access extends and deepens these debates, with an increased focus on contributions about international strategies and research and radical ways to approach, interrogate and challenge injustices given worsening inequality globally. 

Access applies broad understandings of equity issues, which includes how class, dis/ability, gender, geography, faith, nation, race and sexuality intersect. The journal is committed to extending the scope of exploration around questions of access, equity and widening participation including but also beyond admissions and entry. The changing shape of higher education foregrounds concerns with its fundamental purpose as a public institution and raises significant questions about access to what forms of higher education and for whom.

The journal welcomes contributions that develop sustained critique and extend the terms of debate by, for example:

  • interrogating the roots and logics of access and participation
  • problematising different forms of representation and categorisation of privilege, marginalisation and disadvantage
  • exploring lived experiences of inequalities as situated in wider contexts
  • examining policy and practice through critical theoretical and/or conceptual perspectives
  • foregrounding a politics of knowledge in relation to questions of access and participation
  • studying the relationship between higher education and inequalities
  • considering the forms of identity and recognition that shape struggles over access in, through and post higher education
  • bringing in to view debates about the purposes and value of higher education in relation to access and inequalities
  • analysing the effects of different theoretical and/or methodological frameworks on research, evaluation and practice.

The journal welcomes contributions taking up creative, critical and emerging approaches and methods.


Peer Review Process

Manuscripts are peer reviewed by scholars who have expertise in research and practice in the intersection of higher education and inequalities. Manuscripts are reviewed by two scholars.

Manuscripts are considered on the strict condition that they have not concurrently been submitted to any other journals.


Publication Frequency

The Journal will publish one volume per year. Articles and viewpoints can be submitted at any time and may be published outside of the yearly Special Issue.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.


Style Guide

Submissions must subscribe to the following guidelines.

Attribute Style
Reference Style


Text and Spacing
TIMES NEW ROMAN 12pt font (with the exception of headings as per below). Single spaced.
Article Type Submissions should indicate the type of article (Research Paper, Case Study, Policy Review, Viewpoint or Student Voice). This heading should be in bold CAPITALS, TIMES NEW ROMAN 14pt and centred.
Word Limits Research Papers, Case Studies and Policy Reviews should be between 4000 and 6000 words (excluding references, tables and figures). Viewpoint articles should be no more than 3500 words (excluding references, tables and figures). Student Voice papers should be between 1500 and 2500 words (excluding references).
Title The title of the article should be in bold, TIMES NEW ROMAN 14pt with main words capitalised and should be left justified.
Abstract Abstracts should be no more than 200 words.
Keywords Authors should include 5 to 6 keywords with their manuscript. The heading for keywords should appear after the abstract and be in italics, TIMES NEW ROMAN 12pt and left justified. Keywords should be in lower case apart from proper nouns and separated by semi-colons.

Heading 1: TYPE OF ARTICLE (in bold capitals)(centred) (14 pt TIMES NEW ROMAN)

Heading 2: Article Title in bold (left justified) (14pt TIMES NEW ROMAN)

Section headings: Bold (left justified) (12pt TIMES NEW ROMAN font)

Further headings: Bold italics (left justified) (12pt TIMES NEW ROMAN font)
Paragraphs Do not indent first line of paragraph. Paragraphs to be separated by a single line space.

Tables will be captioned above the table using a left justified heading in bold 12pt TIMES NEW ROMAN. E.g. Table 1: Title describing table.

It is in the authors’ interest to provide the highest quality table format possible.

Figures will be captioned below the figure using a left justified heading in bold 12pt TIMES NEW ROMAN. E.g. Figure 1: Title describing figure.

It is in the authors’ interest to provide the highest quality figure format possible.
Quotes Quotes of under 40 words will be included in the text and indicated by ‘single quotation marks’. Quotes that are over 40 words will be indented with no quotation marks.
Acknowledgements Acknowledgements of people, grants, funds etc. should be placed in a separate section before the references. The heading will be in bold 12pt TIMES NEW ROMAN and left justified.
Number Lists Number lists will use the convention (1), (2), (3) or (i), (ii), (iii) etc.
Margins Ample margins should be included (approx. 2.54cm on each side and the top and bottom of the page).
Language English language should be used. British English spelling and terminology should be used. Sexist or racist terms should not be included.
Abbreviations Abbreviations should be kept to a minimum and the first use of the abbreviation should be preceded by a full explanation of the abbreviation.
Acronyms Acronyms should be kept to a minimum and the first use of the acronym should be preceded by a full explanation of the acronym.
Numbers Numbers should be spelt out if under ten. If over ten then they can be written as numbers (11, 13, 50, 100 etc.). If a number if used at the start of the sentence then it should be written out.
Appendices Supplementary material is not encouraged but where deemed necessary should be collected in an appendix and placed after the references. Each appendix should appear on a new page and should have a bold left justified heading entitled Appendix 1: Title of Appendix.
In-text Citations

In-text citations should include the name of the author, followed by the year of the publication. For example, Johns and Taylor (2010) is used if referring to the authors by name, otherwise the form (Johns & Taylor, 2010) should be used. If two or more authors are cited then the in-text citation should be (Taylor, 2010; Johns, 2009).

In-text citations with up to five authors should use all authors in the first instance and thereafter first author followed by et al. (Kahn et al., 2017). In-text citations with more than five authors should use et al. in all instances and include the full list of authors in the Reference list at the end of the article.
References A comprehensive list of all cited works should appear in a separate section titled References at the end of the manuscript using a left justified heading in bold 12pt TIMES NEW ROMAN.

Journal History

This journal was established in 2014 under the title International Studies in Widening Participation (ISSN 2203-8841). In 2021, the journal reviewed its focus and scope and is now known as Access: Critical explorations of equity in higher education (ISSN 2653-245X).

We acknowledge the important work of previous Editor-in-Chiefs and Managers, including Mahsood Shah, Anna Bennett and Jo Hanley.