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Physics Education Research Conference 2012 Proceedings

The purpose of the conference proceedings is to provide a written record of the scholarly work undertaken by physics education researchers by documenting the research presented at the annual Physics Education Research Conference. To this end, the editors welcome the submission not only of significant or final results, but also of preliminary research results and discussions of works in progress.


In order for a manuscript to be eligible for submission to the Proceedings, the first author on the manuscript must make a presentation related to the submitted manuscript at the PERC 2012 in Philadelphia, PA. One need not submit a manuscript in order to make a PERC presentation, but one must make a PERC presentation to submit a manuscript.

Work presented at the main AAPT meeting, but not at the PERC, is not eligible for submission to the Proceedings.

Eligible Presentations and Manuscripts Types

Manuscript submissions are contributed or invited.

You may submit a contributed paper for inclusion in the Proceedings if you:

  1. contribute a poster to the PERC contributed poster session or
  2. lead a PERC roundtable discussion.

You may submit an invited paper if you:

  1. present a plenary at the PERC,
  2. present a poster or give a talk at a PERC Symposium Session, or
  3. present a PERC Workshop.

Contributed Manuscripts

Contributed manuscripts are those associated with PERC presentations given at either the contributed poster session or a roundtable discussion session. All contributed manuscripts will be peer-reviewed with the understanding that such submissions may concern preliminary results and works-in-progress.

Contributed Manuscript Submission

Contributed papers were due on Friday, July 6 by 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Papers are no longer being accepted.

The only time a person is allowed to be the first author on two peer-reviewed papers is when one is for a contributed session and the other is for an invited session.

Contributed Manuscript Review Process

All first authors submitting a manuscript for publication in the Proceedings will be expected to assist with the peer-review by reviewing up to three papers. Secondary authors may also be asked to assist in the peer-review process.

Contributed papers submitted to the PERC Proceedings are reviewed based on six criteria:

  1. Interest/Value to the PER Community;
  2. Content Novelty;
  3. Strength of Research;
  4. Conclusions;
  5. Organization of Ideas; and
  6. Grammar and Formatting.

The most important criterion for publication is interest/value to the PER Community. The Proceedings are intended to be inclusive, welcoming not just significant or final results, but also preliminary research results and discussions of works-in-progress.

Papers submitted are assigned to three (or in rare cases, two) peer referees. If all referees recommend that a paper be published, it will be accepted. If one or more referees recommend that a paper be declined, the three editors will read all the reports carefully and decide whether the objections are serious enough to warrant not publishing the paper. Once a paper is accepted, the authors will be given the referee reports and a short amount of time to make minor revisions before submitting a final version of the paper. If an author feels that a mistake has been made in the review process, he or she may contact the editors for clarification or appeal, but in all cases, the editors have the final decision on the acceptance of papers.

Authors should keep in mind that, because of the short time between the PERC conference and the publication of the Proceedings, manuscripts requiring substantial or content-based revisions that would necessitate a re-review cannot be accepted. In rare cases, the editors may decide to accept a paper contingent on whether or not certain modifications recommended by the referees are made to a paper.

The acceptance rate of contributed papers in the PERC Proceedings is typically between 70% and 80%.

Peer reviews are due by Monday, August 6, 2012 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Invited Manuscripts

Invited manuscripts are those associated with either an invited oral presentation, an invited presentation at a Symposium session, or a workshop. Each PERC Plenary speaker is expected to submit a manuscript documenting that presentation. Other invited presenters are encouraged to submit a manuscript.

Invited Manuscript Submission

Conference attendees that have an invited presentation (a talk, symposium, or workshop) accepted may:

  1. submit a paper to be peer-reviewed - such papers were due by July 6; or
  2. submit a paper without peer-review (but copy-edited by the editors) - Deadline: Monday, August 6.

Invited Manuscript Review Process

Invited papers submitted to the PERC Proceedings are copy-edited by the editors. If significant changes are required, they will be returned to the authors to make the necessary modifications, then published when received back by the editors. Invited manuscripts are normally not peer-reviewed; however, invited papers will be peer-reviewed if submitted by the July 6, 2012 deadline for contributed papers.

Paper Format

The PERC Proceedings will be published as a volume in the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Conference Proceedings Series.

Preparing your PERC Proceedings Manuscript

AIP requires ALL authors to follow detailed instructions to prepare their camera-ready manuscripts. Instructions for the 8.5 x 11 inch, double-column format used for all PERC Proceeding papers can be found here. For those using MS Word to prepare your PERC Proceedings paper, a MS Word template is available. If you are using LaTex, LaTeX Classes and Guides are also available. All papers must be submitted in .PDF format. Your PERC Proceedings paper MUST NOT exceed four (4) pages in length.

Transfer of Copyright

AIP will hold the copyright for the Proceedings. A Transfer of Copyright Agreement is required for each paper accepted into the Proceedings. The form is available at:

Please note this form is only requested if a paper is accepted for publication. Authors will be able to upload the form with the final version of their paper.

Permission to Reprint Published Material

If your submission contains any material copyrighted elsewhere, you must obtain permission using the Request for Permission to Reprint Published Material form ( Submit the returned forms as evidence that you have obtained all necessary permissions. The author instructions booklet has examples of what does and does not require permission. Note that material previously published in an AIP journal (e.g., Physical Review, American Journal of Physics, etc.) is exempt, as AIP already owns the copyright.

Fee for Publication

Beyond the conference registration fee, there will be no additional fee required to contribute a paper for publication in the Proceedings.

Obtaining a copy of the proceedings

All registered PERC participants will receive a copy. The purchase price of the proceedings is included in the registration fee for the meeting. AIP will make additional copies available for purchase and will make the entire Proceedings available on the web. (If your institution has a site license, access to the full text should be free of charge; otherwise there is a fee.)

2012 PERC Proceedings Paper Award

All peer-reviewed papers are eligible for the PERC Proceedings Paper Award.

The award is based on feedback from paper reviewers, the 2012 PERC Proceedings editors, and a committee selected by the Physics Education Research Leadership Organizing Council. The paper selected is noteworthy in terms of the quality of research, readability, and impact on the PER Community. The $200 award will be split evenly between all paper authors. The authors and paper will be given an acknowledgement in the 2013 Proceedings.

Frequently Asked Questions

How serious are the editors about the deadlines?
VERY serious! In an effort to insure timely publication of the proceedings, the editors MUST strictly enforce the deadlines. Failure to submit manuscripts, copyright forms, revisions, and referee reports of manuscripts you have been asked to review by the given deadlines may result in the exclusion of your manuscript from the Proceedings.

Does presenting a talk in a PER session of the main AAPT meeting qualify for manuscript inclusion in the Proceedings?
No, only work presented at the PERC is eligible for inclusion in the conference proceedings. Hence, presentation in a PER session of the main AAPT meeting does NOT qualify (the main AAPT meeting is not the PERC).

Can color be used in the manuscripts?
No. The Proceedings will be printed in grayscale. Therefore, manuscripts should be submitted in grayscale. All graphs and charts should be clearly labeled and those with multiple bars or data points should be distinguishable in grayscale.

Why are contributed manuscripts due BEFORE the conference? Can I submit a contributed manuscript AFTER the conference?
The deadline to submit the manuscript is BEFORE the conference in order to allow reviewers time to evaluate the manuscripts during the conference. This will keep the turn-around time short and allow reviewers to be influenced by interactions at the poster sessions and oral presentations. Modifications to the submitted manuscript that address the reviewers' comments can be made after the conference. Absolutely, NO manuscripts will be accepted after the deadline.

I want to purchase a copy of the Conference Proceedings, how can I do so?
All PERC conference attendees will receive a copy of the Proceedings at no additional charge. Additional copies can be ordered from AIP. The Proceedings will also be available on the web either through your institution’s site license or for a fee.

Who is the primary contact person for the 2012 PERC Proceedings?
Paula Engelhardt is the primary contact for questions related to the 2012 PERC Proceedings. The editors for the 2012 PERC Proceedings are:

The Editors of the 2012 PERC Proceeding have requested that I complete a review of a manuscript submitted for potential inclusion in the 2012 PERC Proceedings. When are reviews due?
Requested reviews of manuscripts are due by Monday, August 6, 2012.