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The Relationships of Education, Health, & Skills in Improving the Lives of Adults & Their Families: Newly Extended Call for Papers for a New PLOS Collection

EXTENDED DEADLINE: The U.S. National Institutes of Health (the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child and Human Development (NICHD) and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)) and the U.S. Department of Education (Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)) are pleased to announce a call for research papers  on the relationship of education and skills to public health for adults and their families, particularly for those most at risk for poor educational, economic and health outcomes. This collaboration reflects a shared commitment to increasing the evidence base for the work that these agencies perform and to making that evidence freely available for all. The theme of the call is: Improving the Lives of Adults and Families: Identifying Individual and Systems-level Factors Relating Education, Health, Civic Engagement, and Economic Well-being.


kshelton, Pixabay
Kshelton, Pixabay

This effort leverages and extends the recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on U.S. Health in International Perspective [i] as well as the recently released Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) cross-national, population-representative dataset, the Survey of Adult Skills, to hone in on issues specific to the U.S. and allow for rich international comparisons.



Specifically, the OECD Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is an ongoing endeavor to assess educational and workplace-related skills among adults in order to inform policy. The PIAACSurvey of Adult Skills quantifies adults’ ability to utilize literacy and numeracy skills and to apply information and communication technology to solve problems. The PIAAC Survey encompasses an extensive, demographic background questionnaire that includes information about education, health, nativity, and employment status across all participating countries – currently 23 OECD countries, with 9 others joining the next round of survey administration. The U.S. questionnaire also includes Census-aligned race and ethnicity variables. Online training on using the dataset is available at:


The collection organizers welcome primary research articles utilizing the PIAAC dataset, and in particular research that combines PIAAC with other extant datasets.  Although not an exhaustive list, the following inquiries are of direct relevance and particular interest:


  • The relationship between numeracy and health status among individuals of diverse age ranges, racial groups, and immigrant status.
  • The relationship between health status and respondents’ ability to utilize information and communication technology for problem solving, including analyses of whether the relationship varies by age, racial group, or immigrant status.
  • The relationship between parental educational attainment and respondents’ educational, health, economic, and skill attainment outcomes.
  • The relationship between literacy and numeracy, educational attainment, and differential health status from an international perspective.
  • The relationship between literacy and numeracy and “well-being” (defined by the OECD as variables of trust, health, volunteerism, and voting) from an international perspective.
  • The relationship of adult skills in literacy and numeracy to long-term health, employment and educational status for adults in corresponding countries.
  • The scale and demographic profile of at-risk adults in the U.S. and non-U.S. context.
  • The relationship between educational attainment level, literacy and numeracy outcomes, and health status for young adults.
  • The relationship between employment status and health and the extent to which such a relationship may be mediated by educational attainment and/or skill attainment.
  • The relationship between regional or country-level educational or economic policies and health status.


Information on Submitting to the Collection

OCTAE, NICHD, and OBSSR plan to cover the publication fees associated with a select number of initial publications for this Collection. Authors interested in applying for financial consideration by these groups should submit a preliminary draft paper for funding consideration and an assurance that they have completed training on how to use the PIAAC dataset (either the four online modules available at or through in-person training) by September 15, 2015 to These submissions will be reviewed with final determinations about financial support made within 2 weeks of this deadline. Authors will be notified of all decisions before initial submission deadlines for this call for papers. Determination of funding consideration does not imply acceptance by the journal. Papers selected for federal funding may experience a slight publication delay.


All papers should be submitted to PLOS ONE, or as a pre-submission inquiry to PLOS Medicine, with a clear statement in the cover letter that the authors intend the submission for the Improving the Lives of Adults and Their FamiliesCollection. Authors should not mention the outcome of a funding determination in the cover letter. Submitted manuscripts will then undergo evaluation according to the specific journal’s policies; no articles can be guaranteed acceptance at any journal. PLOS editors will retain all control over editorial decisions. If and when, following peer review, a paper is accepted for publication in a PLOS journal, it will be forwarded to the selection panel for the collection consisting of OCTAE, NICHD, and OBSSR. This panel will decide on articles’ suitability for inclusion.


Articles will stand the best chance of inclusion in the Collection if they are submitted by  October 30, 2015.


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