Author Guidelines

The Cybersecurity Skills Journal (CSJ) is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal published via the National CyberWatch Center Digital Press. The goal of CSJ is to stimulate professional discussion and advance the interdisciplinary field of cybersecurity through the publication of scholarly works of value and interest to the profession. CSJ seeks to integrate and expand the methods, processes, and evidence of effective practices which underlie skilled performance. CSJ focuses on valued, measured results; considers the larger system context of people’s performance; and provides valid and reliable measures of effectiveness.

Please refer to our Manuscript Content Guidelines for information on the types of papers CSJ seeks, and to our Publication Guidelines for additional details on formatting and other requirements for accepted manuscripts.

Manuscript Format and Author Information. CSJ publications, while scholarly, should be written to enhance readability. We prefer that articles be written in first person. Whether written in first person or third person, your point of view should be consistent throughout the manuscript.

Structured Abstract. All CSJ Article and Note submissions accepted for peer review begin with a structured, extended abstract that summarizes the manuscript in less than 500 words using the following section headers. This structured abstract will be the abstract published for an Article and is the core content of a Note. Authors should answer the “what” and “why” questions below to indicate how their paper will make a substantial contribution to our understanding of skilled performance of cybersecurity practices. Authors should also indicate which CSJ audience (practitioners, instructors, and researchers) is the primary target for their paper.

  1. Problem Statement: What is the primary problem that the study investigated? Why is this an urgent and/or severe problem?
  2. Research question(s): What questions related to the problem have not been answered by prior research? Why are practitioners or prior research lacking an understanding of the phenomenon being studied?
  3. Contribution: What is the contribution made by this manuscript to a current conversation in the literature? Why are the concept relationships, method, findings, or conclusions surprising or contributing new and important insights?
  4. Rationale: How is the paper’s argument addressing the research questions? Why are the claims and propositions warranted?
  5. Investigative Approach: What is the approach followed (e.g. field study, experience with a new or existing method, review, empirical, etc.) or what is the paper’s empirical rationale? Why is the method appropriate to develop or test the theoretical claims and propositions?
  6. Lessons Learned: What are the primary findings from the study? Why might we expect a substantive impact on practice from the factors analyzed in this study?
  7. Implications for practice: What advances in cybersecurity workforce capabilities are implied? Why is the study advancing cybersecurity workforce capabilities?
  8. Implications for research: What advances in research are implied or new questions have been raised which future research should investigate? What new investigations are suggested by the findings?

Submission and Review Process. Please see our current Calls For Proposals for specific submission links. The first submission of an initial idea must use only the fields provided in the submission form; content uploaded in a separate document will be disregarded. To allow for blind review of Articles and Notes, no author names or indications of the author(s) should appear anywhere in the submission.

The EasyChair system automatically assigns a proposal to an associate editor for fit with editorial policies and the types of manuscripts invited for the journal issue, and completeness of submission. If a proposal passes the associate editor review, authors will be invited to submit a draft structured abstract (as detailed above) in EasyChair. The first submission of a structured abstract must use only the fields provided in the submission form; content uploaded in a separate document will be disregarded. To allow for blind review of Articles and Notes, no author names or indications of the author(s) should appear anywhere in the submission.

A panel of ten (10) peer reviewers having expertise in the topic area will review the structured abstract. The size of CSJ review panels enable reviewers to collaborate in providing detailed constructive reviews which aim to assist the authors in moving the manuscript towards publication, whether in CSJ or another journal. The review panel makes a recommendation to the associate editor for acceptance for developmental feedback and revision, or rejection due to the content being unsuitable for a CSJ publication.

If the initial review process concludes that further development and revision is required, the review panel provides collegial support to authors during the revision process in the interest of creating the best possible manuscripts for readers. After a submission is accepted by the peer review panel, authors need to submit a cover sheet that includes the following:

  • A statement indicating that the manuscript is not currently being considered for publication by another journal.
  • Manuscript title.
  • Authors in order of preference with names listed as they should appear in the published article, with institutional affiliation, email address, phone number, and delivery address (home or work, no PO boxes) for each author.
  • Page numbers included on each page.

File uploads of draft content using the Easy Chair review system and self-citations are permitted in manuscripts that have been accepted by peer review for further development, revision, or publication.

Only when the completed, final manuscript has been approved by the Review Panel will it be forwarded for proof editing to the Editorial Board, who remains blind to all editorial decisions prior to the final publication stage. Proofs are reviewed by members of the Editorial Board to ensure a high-quality proof is submitted for final publication after the corresponding author has approved any proof edits.

CSJ seeks to provide the initial detailed and constructive review within six weeks of submission of a manuscript that meets these guidelines. Review decisions and peer reviewer comments and recommendations can be accessed by any registered author through the EasyChair review submission. Reviewer comments, decision status, and editorial proof reviews may be accessed up to the earliest of the publication date of the manuscript or four weeks after a decision has been sent to the corresponding author.

Version 2.5. February 2023