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contexts systemic design journal images of shell, seeds, new leaves, circular mindset


Guide for Authors


Submitting your Paper

Please submit your Contexts manuscript through the journal’s submission page on EasyChair. If you have submitted work to the RSD Symposium, the same login should be used. Articles submitted directly to editors will be returned.

Contexts publishes in English, and articles should be written in standard English. Translations and English copyediting services are not provided. Other language translations of the manuscript or abstract may be provided by the author in the final submission as supporting information that can be provided with the article.

File Format

Review manuscript files should be submitted as standard Word files. 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 20 Mb so they can be shared and emailed easily to reviewers.

Final manuscripts after review should use the Word DOCX 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 – TIF or JPG rendered to at least 300 dpi (print quality). Tables formatted in Word should be rendered as images so that they can 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 in the standard fonts and heading styles. Use no more than 3 heading levels, unnumbered, but ensure heading levels are clearly indicated in the manuscript text using appropriate styles.

Manuscript text should be spaced at 1.5 lines (per format). Do not format text in multiple columns.

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), and for three or more authors, cite as (First author’s last name, et al., year). Footnotes are not used.

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 in alphabetical order. References are single-spaced.


Keep abbreviations and acronyms to a minimum, and do not use contractions. Define abbreviations and acronyms upon the first appearance in the text. Acronyms can be used after their definition within a section but should be spelled out (but not indicated again in parentheses) in each new major section.

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

Copyediting Manuscripts

Prior to submission, authors who believe their manuscripts would benefit from professional editing are encouraged to use language-editing or copyediting services. Obtaining this service is the responsibility of the author, and should be done before initial submission. These services can be found on the web using search terms like “scientific editing service” or “manuscript editing service.” Submissions are not copyedited before publication. Proofs are the responsibility of the author.

Required Article Components

  • Title, authors, and affiliations
  • Keywords
  • Abstract (300 words max, plus a visual abstract)
  • Introduction
  • Methodology / Methods
  • References

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:

  • 10 days – Time to the first editorial decision (Rejection or Review)
  • 45 days – Time to post-review decision
  • 10 days – Time to publication following final revisions


Authors are invited to submit manuscripts to Contexts at any time, that meet the specs in the Authors guidelines.


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