Contexts logo

the systemic design journal

Guidelines for Authors

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts to Contexts at any time.

Please review the guidelines before submitting your manuscript.

Submitting your paper

Please submit your Contexts manuscript through the journal’s submission page on EasyChair. The same login should be used if you have submitted work to the RSD Symposium. Articles submitted directly to editors will be accepted only after initial acceptance or invitation.

Contexts is published in English, and articles should be written in standard English. As with other international journals, we will publish in both UK or American English, depending on the author’s choice. Translations and English copy editing services are not provided. The author may provide other language translations of the manuscript or abstract in the final submission as supporting information that can be included with the article.

File format

Review manuscript files should be submitted as standard document files (doc, docx preferred). For review, please insert image files (not copy and paste) in line with the figures cited in the text. Final Word files should be no larger than 10 Mb to be shared and emailed easily to reviewers.

Final manuscripts after review should use the Word template (that will be provided), with text and tables only in the template. Images provided for the figures in the final manuscript format should be high-resolution—.png or .jpg rendered to at least 300 dpi  (print quality). Tables formatted in Word should be rendered as images to scale to different displays or be downloaded as figures.

Article length

We encourage you to present and discuss your findings concisely. Manuscripts for research articles will typically encompass 10-25 pages in the template or between 5000 and 12,000 words. There are no restrictions on the number of figures or references. Appendixes are not recommended, but supplemental data and large image files (such as for system maps or detailed imagery) can be linked to articles.

Article format and headings

Use the template to compose the manuscript with Contexts fonts and heading styles. Use no more than three heading levels, unnumbered, and ensure heading levels are indicated in the manuscript text by using appropriate styles.

Use the template style sheet for formatting; do not manually set any formats. Please follow the page size (A4), margins, header and footer sizes, and single-column layout.

Citations and footnotes

Citations are indicated in the text as “Last name, year” (e.g., Smith, 2002). For two authors, use an ampersand (Smith & Jones); for three or more authors, cite as (First author’s last name, et al., year).

Reference style

Contexts uses the APA reference style (see the APA website for updated specifications). All references should be included in a final section of the paper titled References, in a numbered list listed alphabetically.


Keep abbreviations and acronyms to a minimum, and do not use contractions. Define abbreviations and acronyms upon their first appearance in the text. Acronyms can be used after their definition.

Do not use non-standard abbreviations unless they appear at least three times in the text.

Copyediting manuscripts

Before submission, authors who believe their manuscripts would benefit from professional editing are encouraged to use language editing or copy editing services. Obtaining this service is the author’s responsibility and should be done before initial submission. These services can be found online using search terms such as “scientific editing service” or “manuscript editing service.”

Submissions are also formatted and copyedited before publication, and authors are actively engaged in the editorial and production stages.

Required article sections

  • Title, authors, and affiliations
  • Keywords (4-5)
  • Abstract (300 words max)
  • Introduction
  • Methodology/Methods (if applicable)
  • References

Important considerations

See the Publisher’s Statement for Context’s aims and scope, publishing ethos, and guidelines for the use of generative AI and AI-assisted technologies.

Submission and review response

Contexts is a new journal without a documented history of editorial responsiveness. The editors understand the importance of respectful editorial assessment and high-quality reviews to improve scholarship. Because Contexts is the SDA journal, a serious commitment is made to support the development of SDA member researchers and their contributions to the field. The editorial team aims to achieve a responsive turnaround of submissions with the following goals:

  • Ten days—time to the first editorial decision (rejection or review)
  • 45 days—time to post-review decision
  • 30 days—editorial and production
  • Ten days—time to publication following final revisions


The Systemic Design Association will send you quarterly updates on systemic design and activities in the SDA network. During the annual Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD) Symposium timeframe SDA will send brief updates related to RSD keynotes, papers, and workshops.

RSD11 event updates, program content, and proceedings are posted on