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If you have an article you would like to submit to Solutions for possible publication, please contact Kat Grigg at kat [dot] grigg [at] thesolutionsjournal [dot] com. Thank you.

AUTHOR GUIDELINES | PREPARATION OF MANUSCRIPT FOR FIRST SUBMISSION | SOLUTIONS' CONSTRUCTIVE REVIEW PROCESS


Solutions Author Guidelines

What qualifies as a solution?

We are looking for solutions that are seriously creative: they should be novel, perhaps even surprising, but also well-thought out and credible.

We prefer solutions that take a whole-systems approach. What do we mean by that? A system can be a community, a corporation, a government, or even the entire global environment. If you want to solve a problem, you need to look at these systems in their entirety and at several, nested scales, from local to global. Rather than focusing on a single link, look at the whole chain. When you start looking at the world this way, it becomes clear: everything is connected.

What are examples? A solution can be local, such as the development of a sustainable eco-village or eco-city. Or it can be grand and global, like the development of an atmospheric trust to cap and trade greenhouse gases.

It doesn’t have to solve all problems, but it should recognize what problems it can solve, and what others it might cause. Solutions should address the institutional and cultural changes that may be required.

We welcome concrete goals, but we won't shy away from efforts to think outside the system or transcend a paradigm.

Feature articles

  • Length: 2,500 – 4,000 words of text (not including key concepts or author summary)
  • Peer-reviewed.
  • Focus on solutions. We recommend that no more than one-third of the manuscript be devoted to describing the problem.
  • Key concepts: "The Solutions Box". Instead of a paragraph, we encourage a bullet-point list of key points and conclusions. One or two bullets should present the problem, the rest should distill the solution. Please aim for three to five bullets, about 200-250 words.
  • Author summary: "In Brief". Please provide a summary that will bring attention to the core concepts of the article. This box will appear in print, online, and may be used for press releases. Summaries should avoid acronyms and technical vocabulary and be accessible to the educated lay public (or undergraduate student).

Writing should be clear and engaging. Solutions' articles should be accessible to members of the educated public who are not experts in the field. Author should be willing to work with a Solutions editor to this end.

Perspectives

  • Length: Approximately 1,250-2,500 words of text.
  • Description: Opinion piece or more personal essay. A perspective aims to fuse the conversational style of a New Yorker "Talk of the town" editorial with colorful reportage. The aim is to immerse the reader in new points of view from practitioners on the ground who are working on bold solutions. Articles submitted to the Perspective section of Solutions may include the following:
  1. A personal account of a solution you are working on. Article could describe the problem being addressed, the genesis of the potential solution, challenges faced in implementing the solution, and a discussion of the overall success of the solution. An effort to explain how this particular solution could be applicable on a larger scale is appreciated. **Note: only about 1/3 of any piece for Solutions should describe the problem. The majority of the piece should focus on the proposed solution.
  2. An editorial analyzing a particular solution or proposing solutions to a certain issue (see Ernest Callenbach's "The Coming Eco-Industrial Complex": http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/37).
  3. Reportage on a successful or promising solution; interviews with people directly involved are encouraged.

Writing should be clear and engaging. Solutions' articles should be accessible to members of the educated public who are not experts in the field. Author should be willing to work with a Solutions editor to this end.

On the Ground

  • Length: Approximately 1,500-2,500 words of text.
  • Description: Reportage on a successful solution being implemented at a specific location (can be at almost any scale: country, city, community, etc.). Articles can be written in the first person and in a more casual manner. Submissions for the On the Ground section should capture a sense of place by providing detailed description of the location. Piece must also describe and objectively evaluate the solution(s) being implemented. Provide background and history where necessary to clearly outline both the problems and the solutions intended to address them. Remember, however, to keep the piece place-based and to tell the story with the help of vivid description.

Writing should be clear and engaging. Solutions' articles should be accessible to members of the educated public who are not experts in the field.

Solutions in History

  • Length: Approximately 1,500-2,500 words of text.
  • Peer-reviewed.
  • Description: Articles submitted for inclusion in the History section of Solutions can take several forms, including:
    1. Examinations of how a past society or civilization has attempted to cope with a significant ecological problem and how its efforts to solve this problem can inform our current situation. For example, salinity problems in hydraulic societies or the impact of drought on agricultural civilizations.
    2. Studies of more limited and specific ecological problems in the past and efforts to solve them. For example, the over-hunting of whales in the mid-20th Century or the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
    3. Explorations of scientific and intellectual “solutions” from the past, particularly those that were not followed at the time but which might be worth reconsidering today. For example, the work of Buckminster Fuller or Lewis Mumford.

    Other types of articles may also be considered, though it is recommended that authors first submit a brief proposal to the history editor, Frank Zelko at frank [dot] zelko [at] thesolutionsjournal [dot] com.

    Articles should be written in an engaging, literary style that is accessible to non-experts. Ideally, authors will begin by posing a series of intriguing questions, creating a pleasing narrative tension that pulls the reader along to the conclusion.

Envision

  • Length: Approximately 1,500-2000 words.
  • Description: Do you have a vision of how the future should look like? Tell us about it in this section.

Reviews

  • Length: Book reviews should be approximately 700 words of text; other media reviews should be approximately 200-500 words of text.
  • Description: Reviews of books, movies, websites, videos, and other media that present solutions.
  • Issues for consideration:
    1. What is the problem (statement, history) addressed? Does the publication emphasize solutions over restating the problem? What fraction of the publication actually deals with solutions?
    2. How much of the problem is “solved” by the solutions proposed? Is it a whole-system, transdisciplinary solution?
    3. Is the solution at the appropriate conceptual, geographical, time scales?

Photographs and Other Visuals

We illustrate Solutions with photographs, charts, illustrations, and other art to engage our readers visually and show them what our authors’ solutions look like. Please give us images that you have permission to publish, or help our photographers and graphic artists create work to accompany your text.

  • Number of images: Send us multiple images so that we may choose ones that fit our layout.
  • Size: Images must be at least one, and preferably three or four, megabytes. Please do not resize your images through your email program or prepare them for the web. We will make any adjustments necessary.
  • Author photos: Send us a recent photo of yourself for our contributors’ page. Your head and shoulders/torso should take up most of the image. If you have a photo taken for us, please do not stand right in front of a wall and do not have the photo taken using direct flash.
  • Captions: Send us caption information for your images. For photos, tell us who is in the images, what they are doing, where and when it was taken, what any equipment in the photos is called, and what the equipment’s function is. For graphics, illustrations and other visuals, tell us who created it and the source of any data.
  • Credits: Tell us the person and/or organization to credit for each visual.

If you have any questions or need assistance, or you want to submit images and captions, please contact Kat Grigg at kat [dot] grigg [at] thesolutionsjournal [dot] com.


Preparation of manuscript for first submission:


Audience. The level of writing should target the educated lay public. Solutions is a hybrid academic and popular journal, similar to Scientific American. Our goal is to present sophisticated and creative information with depth and clarity, but without jargon.

Language Editing. While we encourage manuscript submissions from non-native English speakers, the language of the journal is English and we recommend that if your first language is not English that you have a native English speaker go over your manuscript before submitting it.

Text. Manuscripts should be written in American English and submitted as a Microsoft Word (.doc) file. Use Symbol font for all Greek characters.

Figures. Figures/images may be imported into the text file, and/or combined into a separate PDF (do not send figure files individually at this stage). If figures do not appear within the text file, please indicate approximately where each should appear. Include a short title, a short explanation, and reference for each image. Symbols used in the figure must be explained either in a key or the legend. Supplementary information, including text, images, videos, or animations associated with the article, can be submitted separately. They can be posted on the web site, and selections may be used in the print version as well.

Title page.The title page must include 1) the title of the paper, 2) name(s) and affiliation(s) of the author(s), 3) a statement indicating to whom correspondence and proofs should be sent along with a complete mailing address, telephone/fax numbers, and e-mail address of the corresponding author. Solutions will correspond exclusively with this author, who will in turn be responsible for consulting with any co-authors during the review process.

Abbreviations. All abbreviations must be spelled out upon first mention in both the summary and main text, followed by the abbreviated form in parentheses. Thereafter, you may use the abbreviated form. Please do not abbreviate phrases of two words or less.

Acknowledgments. All funding sources should be credited in the Acknowledgments section. In addition, people who contributed to the work but who do not fit the criteria for authors should be listed along with their contributions.

To learn the proper style for a reference list in Solutions and to see examples, click here.

Online submission. Manuscripts should be emailed to kat [dot] grigg [at] thesolutionsjournal [dot] com.


Solutions’ Constructive Review Process


We are committed to making peer reviews at Solutions a collaborative and constructive process. We believe that by encouraging referees to become engaged in the articles they review, it will broaden their appeal and enhance quality. To achieve this goal, we need our authors and reviewers to start from a different frame of mind. To see FAQs for our review process, click here.

To read guidelines for both authors and potential reviewers, click here.