Open Access Policy
This journal provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Authors, or where required by law, their employers, retain copyright.
In response to authors’ requests, Ecology and Society is now licensing all its articles under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may copy and redistribute the articles and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited.
Permission to reuse does not extend to material belonging to others that has been cited within an article. This journal is currently archived with ClockSS for long-term preservation.
Ecology and Society is an electronic, peer-reviewed, multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary journal devoted to the dissemination of current research on social-ecological systems and resilience. As the world faces ever more pervasive and severe crises linked to the interdependencies between people and nature, creativity, analysis, and action on sustainability across the globe are more urgent than ever. The journal seeks papers that are novel, integrative, and written in a way that is accessible to a wide audience that includes scientists and practitioners, from an array of disciplines from the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities concerned with the relationship between society and the life-supporting ecosystems on which human well-being ultimately depends.
We welcome contributions from a wide range of scientific disciplines in natural and social sciences and arts and humanities, but especially those that are inter- and trans-disciplinary. We are keen to include collaborative work of different kinds, between scientists and practitioners and across different knowledge domains. Papers must be original and should address core issues of sustainability of social-ecological systems, which may be assessed at different scales and in diverse contexts.
Content of the journal includes applied, theoretical, experimental, and experiential contributions. Papers should cover topics relating to the ecological, political, and social dimensions of social-ecological systems. Specifically, the journal publishes articles that present research findings on the following issues: (a) the current status of the complex interactions between nature and society, (b) the biophysical, social, and political drivers of the (un)sustainable dynamics of social-ecological systems as well as those that foster (or prevent) their resilience, (c) the means by which we can develop and sustain desired future pathways.
Ecology and Society strives for a rich, respectful, and nurturing peer-review process that fosters quality, relevance, and impact through in-depth feedback to authors. As articles are accepted, they are published in an “Issue in Progress.” At four-month intervals, the Issue-in-Progress is declared a New Issue, and subscribers receive the table of contents of the issue via email.
We encourage the publication of Special Features. Special Features comprise a set of manuscripts that address a single theme and include an introductory and summary manuscript. We seek Special Features that significantly advance the vision of the journal by providing cohesive, robust, and innovative contributions to the field of social-ecological systems resilience and/or the dynamics of complex systems of people and nature. The individual contributions are published in regular issues, and the Special Feature manuscripts are linked through a table of contents and announced on the journal’s main page.
1. Research Articles
Peer-reviewed papers present the results of original research. The core article is recommended not to exceed 5000 words (longer articles will incur extra word fees) but may contain a reasonable number of appendices of any kind (e.g., traditional items such as tables, graphs, and written expansions on the main text, as well as items such as downloadable models or statistical software, computer animations of model output, videos, audios, maps, and original databases) as appropriate.
Insight articles present exciting analyses and perspectives that might be emerging “outside the box” thinking, representing novelty and new directions or alternative views. They may include non-traditional forms of knowledge, methods, or approaches. They are clear, succinct, and well-argued – thorough and rigorous but perhaps in non-conventional ways. They are not “opinions.” Insight articles provide space for voices and experiential knowledge from, amongst others, indigenous peoples, practitioners, activists, and artists. Insights are peer-reviewed and should be accessible to a wide audience and undergo similar ethical procedures as all other papers published in the journal. Authors are encouraged not to exceed 3000 words.
Synthesis articles bring different bodies of knowledge together in novel ways. They are not reviews. They are comprehensive and may integrate elements that historically have been considered separately, in order to suggest new opportunities for theory, policy, and/or practice. They may propose new research frameworks, but they should be based on bringing together or applying concepts in a novel way, and/or have a strong empirical basis or applicability. These papers should not exceed 7000 words maximum in length.
*Authors submitting to Special Features: please use the manuscript types: research, insight, or synthesis.
The Special Features are introduced by a guest editorial written by the SF editors. This is a summary of the contributions to the Special Feature. It highlights the relevance of the collection as well as the implications of the contributions made. These editorials are not peer-reviewed.
Special Features are a set of manuscripts subject to peer review that cover a similar topic, and that are solicited, collected, and edited by a Special Feature Editor (or team of editors, who are invited to play the role of Guest Subject Editor). Unless otherwise agreed upon, special feature articles are published as they are ready across multiple issues and then compiled and presented on a special page dedicated to that feature. Special Features are expected to gather complementary high-quality articles that inform the readership about a particularly novel or relevant topic.
Special Features, though focused on a particular subject area, should capture a diversity of thought and approach. We encourage a diverse authorship for the different papers of a Special Feature. Please be explicit about the criteria used to assign authorship when the same author participates in multiple papers of a Special Feature. This helps ensure that a breadth of views is captured within a Feature as whole.
If you are interested in submitting a proposal for a Special Feature, please e-mail the following information to the Managing Editor (email@example.com):
- Define the focus and objectives of the Special Feature;
- Showcase the expected novelty or relevance of the Special Feature
- Identify the Special Feature Editor(s);
- Give the titles and abstracts of papers to be submitted as part of the Special Feature (minimum of 8 papers and 1 editorial);
- Indicate whether the feature will be open to additional non-solicited contributions.
- Alternatively, identify the mechanism through which a call for contributions will open (including the criteria for choosing high quality and highly relevant proposals, and the timeline until the identification of the final list of papers that will be included in the Special Feature); and
- Indicate the source of funding for the Special Feature. Article fees may be paid for individually by the respective authors, or collectively by the Special Feature Editor
Special Feature Editor Role and Responsibilities
A Special Feature Editor is a Subject Editor selected by the EIC(s) to oversee the review of a special feature issue. The responsibilities of a Special Feature Editor include:
- Finalizing the focus and objectives of the Special Feature, together with the Editors-in-Chief;
- Ensuring the high quality of the papers to be submitted to the Special Feature (a minimum of 8), of a careful, constructive, and thorough revision process;
- Peer reviews should assist the editor in making editorial decisions and may also assist the author in improving the paper. We appreciate the time and effort that careful reviewing demands and are grateful for reviewers to provide in-depth comments as well as constructive and respectful suggestions to help authors and editors alike.
- Deciding upon a deadline for manuscript submissions to the Special Feature with the help of the managing editor.
Keeping the Special Feature on time will be contingent upon:
- All submissions should be received within a 6-week window,
- Reviewers will be found in a timely manner,
- Resubmission of revisions will be due within 4 months,
- Editorial (if included) must be submitted within 4 months of a decision on the final paper.
- Making financial arrangements with the Managing Editor to cover the cost of publishing a Special Feature through either institutional funding or direct collection of fees from published authors. Articles will be charged at the going rate (see “Article Fees”).
Regular issues are published 4 times annually, with issues available as “in progress” as soon as articles are published. Special feature issues are published separately throughout the year.
Resilience Alliance is not for profit. Articles published in E&S are available free to readers. Therefore, to cover our costs there is a charge for publication.
The base fee for an accepted article is $975 US for the first 5000 words. Articles between 5000 and 6000 words will be charged an extra $100 US and another $100 for articles between 6000 and 7000 words, etc., that is, an extra $100 for every 1000 words. Beginning October 2022 invoices to Canada will include GST/HST. There is no charge for manuscripts that are not accepted for publication and no submission charge. A limited number of full or partial waivers may be granted if all authors live and work in developing countries. Waivers may also be granted to students if they are the sole author of the paper. Waivers must be granted before submission.
Note: the base article fee will increase to $1100 USD for all Ecology and Society papers submitted on or after 1 January 2024. An annual increase of approximately 3% will take effect on the first day of the year beginning on 1 January 2025 and yearly thereafter.
Word counts are based on the number of words in the abstract and main text only (not including the Literature Cited, tables, figures, or appendices). Payment must be received before an article can be published. Please address questions regarding the fee policy to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The minimum cost for creating errata is $50 US. Please look over the proofs carefully, especially the tables and figures.
If your manuscript has been accepted for publication in our regular issue, we will send you an invoice. If your manuscript has been accepted for publication in a special feature, either the author or the editor will be sent the invoice depending on how the feature has been arranged.
Authors may withdraw their article at anytime prior to copy editing for a partial refund. Once the copy editing process has been initiated, no refund will be issued.
This journal provides open access to all of its content. Anyone may read our content for free.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.
Copyright for all articles is retained by the authors.
This journal is currently archived with ClockSS for long-term preservation.
The Editor-in-Chief makes an initial appraisal of each manuscript. If the topic and treatment seem potentially appropriate for the journal, and the quality of the manuscript is deemed sufficient, the manuscript is assigned to a Subject Editor familiar with the manuscript topic who oversees the review process. Once the review process has been completed, the Subject Editor recommends acceptance, revision, or rejection of your manuscript. The final decision is made by the Editor-in-Chief.
Ecology and Society has a “double-blind” review process: authors are not told who reviewed their paper and reviewers are not told who wrote the paper. Peer reviewers are informed of the identity of the authors after the manuscript is either accepted or rejected. After a decision is reached, a reviewer is free to contact the authors privately about the manuscript.
A decision on the manuscript generally may be expected within three months of submission; delays in obtaining reviews may prolong this process. Ecology and Society strives to improve the quality, relevance, and impact of the contributions through an inclusive and caring peer-review process.
The journal has a double-blind review process that is overseen by a Subject Editor who makes a recommendation on the manuscript to the Editor-in-Chief. That recommendation can include rejection from the desk of the Subject Editor without further review. The Editor-in-Chief has the authority and responsibility to accept, reject, or request revisions to the manuscript. Core criteria concern scope – the extent to which the manuscript fits with the aims and scope of the journal in terms of topic and approach and adheres to the format of the manuscript type; and quality – that it demonstrates coherence, rigor, and originality, and that it is accessible to a broad readership and conforms to highest standards of ethics and respectful research.
The editor and any editorial staff will ensure that information regarding submitted manuscripts is kept confidential.
Editors will evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, age, or political philosophy of the authors.
Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest
Unpublished materials in submitted manuscripts must not be used by the editor in their own research without the written consent of the author.
We are committed to diversifying understandings of social-ecological systems and presenting plural perspectives on resilience. This means that we may invest extra time and resources to support authors from outside conventional centers of academy and research, including those for whom English is not their first language, or researchers who do not have access to the training needed to produce high-quality academic publications. On occasion when we judge that the submissions show great promise (in terms of novelty, quality of supporting data, etc.), we might work extensively with authors over several submissions and this may take considerable time to produce a publishable manuscript. We aim to nurture a new generation of social-ecological system resilience scholars who represent a global and diverse set of voices to forward inclusive, innovative visions of sustainability.
Guidelines for Subject Editors
Subject Editors are very important actors in making Ecology and Society a successful and exciting journal. You do critical work and are valuable members of the E&S team, bringing diverse knowledge and expertise to support the aims of the journal.
Please access the web interface as detailed above under “Guidance for Reviewers.”
Your task is to:
- Assess whether you have the expertise to handle the manuscript. Please make a decision on whether you will act as Subject Editor for a manuscript as soon as possible so that if we need to find another SE we can do so quickly.
- Make an initial assessment of whether a manuscript is within the scope and likely to be of interest and publishable in the journal. In other words, is it of a sufficient standard to be sent for review? If you do not judge it to be in scope, or that it is not of sufficient quality, then you can reject it before sending it for review.
- Allocate reviewers using the online system. You may add new reviewers if you can’t find specific expertise or if you know individuals who are not already in our database. The system automatically generates and sends invitations to reviewers. Please avoid obvious conflicts – for example, a reviewer at the same institution as the authors. We encourage a diversity of reviewers from different parts of the world, different backgrounds, and different career stages. Please note that obtaining at least two different reviews may entail inviting as many as 10 reviewers; you may change the number of required reviewers so that you can simultaneously send out 4 or more invitations to speed up the process.
- Assess the review comments and make a recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief. To do so, do make sure you have read the article and have a personal opinion on it and on the comments from reviewers. Please add your detailed and constructive comments and provide clear instructions on how a manuscript can be improved and what changes are necessary, emphasizing which comments are particularly important.
- If manuscripts are revised and re-submitted, again assess whether they need further external review. If necessary, invite further reviewers or send to original reviewers, or make a recommendation to the EIC. Repeat this process until a final recommendation can be made.
- Please contact the managing editor or EIC if you have any queries or are unsure about your options or a decision.
- There are options within the online system for you to directly contact the authors and reviewers. You will not be anonymous.
- Please treat manuscripts with absolute confidentiality, and please aim at all times for respectful and helpful comments.
Peer reviews should assist the editor in making editorial decisions and may also assist the author in improving the paper. We appreciate the time and effort that careful reviewing demands and are grateful for reviewers to provide in-depth comments as well as constructive and respectful suggestions to help authors and editors alike.
Please make note of this number and use it when corresponding with the Managing Editor or Subject Editor about the manuscript.
Manuscript type and length
Different manuscript types have different styles and length requirements. If a manuscript exceeds the posted word length limit, please bring it to the Subject Editor’s attention.
This manuscript is a privileged communication. Please do not show it to anyone or discuss it, except to solicit assistance with a technical point. If you feel a colleague is more qualified than you to review the paper, do not pass the manuscript on to that person without first requesting permission to do so. Your review and your recommendation should also be considered confidential.
In fairness to the author(s), you should return your review within 3 weeks. If it seems likely that you will be unable to meet this deadline, please request an extension or notify the journal of your inability to complete the review in the specified time using the “Request Extension” button.
Conflicts of interest
If you feel you might have any difficulty writing an objective review, please use the decline to review by selecting the “Unable to do the review” button on this page. If your previous or present connection with the author(s) or an author’s institution might be construed as creating a conflict of interest, but no actual conflict exists, please mention this issue in the “Comments to the editor” section at the beginning of your review.
Guidelines for Reviewers
The peer-review process is critical to identifying the quality of the papers and the potential for improvement of the submitted version.
Your task is the following:
- Assess the quality, relevance, and novelty of the manuscript based on its careful and thorough analysis of the manuscript (see details below under comments to the author[s]),
- Submit a brief, candid summary of your opinion of the paper to the editor (in the appropriate section)
- Submit your assessment into the rating sheet, and your recommendation on whether to accept, reject, or request revision, and
- Submit your comments for the author (please do not include your recommendation to accept or reject the paper in this section).
Please make sure that you have read the explanation of Focus and Scope and Manuscript Types, have read a few of our papers, and are familiar with the aims of the journal and formats we publish.
Comments for the author(s)
The aim of this process is to ensure that only papers of the highest quality, relevance, and novelty are published in the journal, and to identify concrete ways in which those papers with the greatest potential can be significantly strengthened.
Please include both general and specific comments bearing on the following questions:
- Is the paper a relevant contribution to the focus and scope of the journal?
- Is the paper based on a sound analysis of the literature (e.g., critical overview, conceptual/analytical framework), on a robust analytical approach (e.g., reliable and consistent methodologies to gather and/or analyze data), and is the main message and the conclusions well supported?
- Is the paper innovative, in terms of the topic addressed and/or the arguments that support it and/or in the way the paper was developed (e.g., does the paper report on data or ideas that have been widely explored)?
- Does the paper tell a cohesive story, with a clear message that is tightly reasoned throughout the different sections?
- Is the paper accessible to a wide audience that includes scientists and practitioners and written in a way that is easy to follow and interesting?
- Is the current length of the manuscript appropriate (e.g., does the manuscript greatly exceed the posted word limits; what portions of the paper should be expanded, condensed, combined, or deleted; is the division between the main article and the appendices appropriate)?
- Does the introduction adequately frame the objectives of the manuscript with the current state of the knowledge and in ways that are potentially of interest to the readership of the journal?
- Are the objectives adequate (e.g., clearly stated; feasible; coherent with the introduction, the methods used, consistent with the results obtained; concordant with the conclusions)?
- Are the methods (for gathering and analyzing data and/or for undertaking syntheses) robust and adequate (e.g., reliable; consistent with the objectives and the conceptual/analytical framework; adequate sample, data analyses; adequately applied)?
- Is the data clearly presented (e.g., are all the figures, tables, and appendices necessary; can you verify easily the results stated in the text; can they be read easily, legible, and clearly labeled; can they be simplified; are there any contradictions)?
- Is the discussion well-grounded in the results and of interest to a wide readership (e.g., does it invite/explore new ideas and implications)?
- What are the major strengths and weaknesses (please be as specific as possible of the manuscript in its current version, including the title, abstract, keywords, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion) and what is the potential for the paper to significantly improve?
Using the online review system
Reviewers must use the website to agree to review, request a time extension, read the assigned manuscript and submit their review.
If you have forgotten your password, please use the password reset link below the login prompt and follow the steps to have your password emailed to you.
To access the manuscript assigned to you, log into your user interface, click on the “Reviewer” profile, and then on the manuscript title.
We recommend that you type your review out and save it in your word processing program and then paste it into our review form to prevent loss of information in the possible event of a connection time-out.
At any time reviewers may contact the journal office for more information on how to use the website, or for help obtaining a new password.
Data Access and Retention
This journal has a Data and Code Availability Statement requirement. All authors are invited to make available all relevant data and code underlying the findings described in their manuscript. The journal requires all authors to include a data and code availability statement that is published with the article.
Originality and Plagiarism
The authors must ensure they submit entirely original works. If the authors use the work or words of others in their manuscript, they must ensure that this has been appropriately cited or quoted.
Multiple, Redundant, or Concurrent Publication
It is the author’s responsibility to ensure their submission has not been published elsewhere, nor is it presently under consideration by another journal.
Authorship of Paper
Authors include all those who have made significant contributions to the manuscript. The types of contributions can be very diverse and include: conceiving and undertaking research, contributing embodied knowledge, operationalizing actions toward more sustainable pathways, co-producing knowledge and solutions, analyzing data, writing, or revising the manuscript. The corresponding author will verify with co-authors their full names and affiliations and ensure that all co-authors have approved the final version of the paper for publication.
Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AI-assisted Writing Tools
The use of AI tools can assist with data gathering, data analysis, and manuscript preparation. Yet, the use of these tools also poses ethical challenges that will be assessed on a one-by-one basis by the journal’s Editors in Chief.
The use of AI generative or AI-assisted technology, such as large language models or LLMs (e.g., ChatGPT), in the writing process must be properly documented and acknowledged in your manuscript. For example, these tools may be used to assist translation and/or to check grammar and spelling. Documentation should be included in the “Acknowledgements” section.
The use of AI and AI-assisted tools in formal research design, analysis, and research methods should be detailed in the “Methods” section of the main text.
We do not accept AI authorship or AI-assisted authorship. Authorship implies responsibilities that can only be attributed to humans.
We do not permit AI-generated images.
We will continue to monitor developments in AI technologies and amend our guidance as appropriate.
Acknowledgment of Sources and Support
Authors should acknowledge the work of others that has been influential to their manuscript and properly cite the work. Each citation in the text must be included in the Literature Cited section and every reference in the Literature Cited must be referred to in the text. We also encourage authors to acknowledge the support received by diverse stakeholders, including informants and respondents, translators, and interpreters, involved in different stages of research.
Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest
All sources of financial support should be disclosed and any substantive conflicts of interest should be included in a statement.
Fundamental Errors in Published Works
It is the author’s obligation to notify the journal editor of any significant error or inaccuracy in their published work and to cooperate with the editor to deal with the issue either by retracting the paper or adding an erratum.
Submission Check List
It is the author’s responsibility to read and follow all items on the journal’s Submission Preparation Checklist prior to submitting their manuscript.
Undertaking Respectful Research
We require that research must have been approved by appropriate institutions and according to accepted procedures. This includes, for example, the Institutional Review Board, ethics committee, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), local authorities, government research bureau, or others. We expect authors to have gone beyond established permissions or clearances, and to have undertaken research in ways that are fully respectful of all the people involved and potentially affected by it. This needs to be clearly described and evidenced in the article. Free Prior and Informed Consent of participants should be sought in culturally appropriate ways. Reciprocity and care should be promoted at all stages of research, including sharing resources, undertaking inclusive and meaningful consultations, honoring embodied local knowledge, ensuring the protection of confidential and/or sensitive information, and accepting and appreciating differences.
Research Involving Animal Subjects
Any article describing research involving animal subjects is required to be approved by their institution’s animal use and care committee and to have the IACUC’s institution name and protocol number provided.
Ecology and Society and its Publisher, the Resilience Alliance, are committed to following best practices concerning publication ethics. Our publication ethics and publication malpractice statement is based on COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors https://publicationethics.org and Ecology and Society policies.
The publisher is committed to the permanent availability of journal content. Ecology and Society is an open-access journal and is archived with ClockSS for long-term preservation.
All personal information entered in the journal site (including but not limited to names and email addresses) will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.