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Instructions for contributors

Submission of Manuscripts and Peer Review

All new submissions should be submitted online here.

Global Sustainability uses a single-blind peer review process. Submitted manuscripts are reviewed by a member of the Editorial Board and at least two reviewers. Interdisciplinary articles will be handled by each relevant Section Editor with final decisions to publish being taken by one or both of the Deputy Editors with the agreement of Editor-in-Chief.


Global Sustainability now requires that all corresponding authors identify themselves using ORCID when submitting a manuscript to the journal. Joining ORCID is fast, free and you do not need to have a current affiliation. ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and, through integration in key research workflows such as publication and grant applications, provides the following benefits:

  • Discoverability: ORCID increases the discoverability of your publications, by enabling smarter publisher systems and by helping readers to reliably find work that you’ve authored.
  • Convenience: As more organisations use ORCID, providing your ID or using it to register for services will automatically link activities to your ORCID profile, and will save you re-keying information multiple times.
  • Keeping track: Your ORCID profile is a neat place to record and display (if you choose) validated information about your research activities.

If you don’t already have an ID, you’ll need to create one if you decide to submit a manuscript to Global Sustainability. You can register for one directly from your user account on ScholarOne or Editorial Manager or via If you already have an ID, please use this when submitting by linking it to your ScholarOne user account. Simply log in to your account using your normal username and password. Edit your account by clicking on your name at the top right of the screen and from the dropdown menu, select 'E-Mail / Name'. Follow the instructions at the top of the screen to update your account.

For more information read this.


The journal will publish a wide range of science and social science research addressing issues of broad relevance and applicability, with a particular emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches. Research can address global effects or make connections between local and global scales. Articles may:

  • enhance the understanding of natural and human environments and systems;
  • analyse and predict environment changes and the consequences of those changes;
  • provide demonstrations of practical approaches to preventing, ameliorating or adapting to the detrimental effects of climate change and other human activities.

Primary research articles will typically provide new insights. Datasets and methodologies will also be considered on their own merit if they provide a significant benefit to other researchers.

Subject Categories

During submission, authors must clearly indicate which of the below subject categories they are submitting their article under (max. 3 categories). All articles, no matter what the article type, should be submitted under a subject category. If authors are uncertain under which category to submit their article, they should contact the journal’s editorial office at

Natural environments and systemsHuman activities and infrastructureSocial effects and management
Ecosystem services
Pollution and waste management
Policies, politics and governance
Planetary boundaries and resilienceEnergy (production, transport and conservation)Human behaviour
Earth systems (land, water and atmospheric)Land, ocean and freshwater usePopulation growth and migration
Natural resources (biological and non-biological)Agriculture and fisheriesSocial and economic value
Ecology & biodiversityFood and water securityAdaptation and mitigation
Effects of climate changeTechnologies (applications and effects)Auditing of management
Urban systemsIndustry (manufacturing, material efficiencies and transport)Planning and design
Modelling and simulation
System control and optimisation
Communication and education

Themed Collections

The journal will also regularly publish themed collections of content. If your article is being submitted in response to a Call for Papers for a themed collection, please indicate this in the cover letter upon submission.

Article Types

In addition to long- and short-form research articles, Global Sustainability will accept structured Reviews, Intelligence briefings and Short commentaries. Typically Intelligence briefings are only accepted upon invitation. The journal will also consider relevant Letters that respond to published papers. Guidelines for each article type, including word limits, are included below. All word counts given here are discounting references.

Research and Research in Brief

Research articles are original pieces of research with strong, well-supported conclusions that mark a significant advance in understanding with global implications. We accept two types of research article: long-form Research (5000-word limit) and short-form Research in Brief (1500-word limit). Articles will typically provide new insights. Datasets and methodologies will also be considered on their own merit if they provide a significant benefit to other researchers.

Intelligence Briefings

Intelligence Briefings are authoritative, agenda-setting, lively articles addressing topical issues of global significance aimed at a policy audience. They will highlight societal implications and encourage social transformations. These can be Short commentaries or Perspectives. They are commissioned but we welcome brief proposals. All will be subject to peer review. For all types of Intelligence briefings we encourage authors to contact the journal’s editorial office at to discuss a potential submission.


Reviews provide a comprehensive assessment of a particular topic or research area. They may provide interdisciplinary syntheses and can provide strong conclusions relevant to future research, policy or other societal implications. These articles should provide a comprehensive assessment of a particular topic or research area of broad interest. The length of the Review article will depend on the scope of the subject area and its topicality, but generally articles should not exceed 8000 words for the main text, and 150 references


Letters responding to articles published by the journal are always welcome and readers are encouraged to submit these as soon as possible. Letters are flexible in format but should generally be limited to 500 words, without figures. Letters will be subject to review by the Editor responsible for the publication of the original article or Intelligence briefing.

Manuscript Preparation

Title page

The title page should include:

  1. The title of the article, which should be short but informative and accurately reflect the content;
  2. Authors’ names and contact details: please list a brief affiliation for each author (assigned with superscript numbers) below the author names, and in addition, indicate the corresponding author with an asterisk and in this case provide an email address;
  3. Word count, including all text but excluding tables, figures and references.


Abstracts must be structured into two parts, with subheadings. The first part, the Non-Technical Summary (100 words max) should outline the article for a lay audience by giving context and significance of the work against the problem being addressed.

The Technical Summary (200 words max) should then follow as a traditional abstract, summarizing the background, findings, and implications of the work. The Technical Summary should not duplicate the text of the Non-Technical Summary, but should instead provide a more detailed description of the work.

Social Media summary

Please include a summary of your article in 120 characters or less for use in social media promotion.


Original research articles

An article in the journal is an original piece of research with strong, well-supported conclusions that mark a significant advance in understanding and global implications. We accept two types of Article, long-form (5000-word limit) and Research in Brief (1500-word).

The main text of an original research article, excluding the abstract, tables, figures and references, should be no longer than necessary up to 5000 words for a long-form article and 1500 words for a Research in Brief piece. The text should be divided into the following sections: Introduction, methods, results and discussion. Articles should contain no more than five display items (figures or tables).


The length of the review article will depend on the scope of the subject area and its topicality, but generally articles should not exceed 8000 words for the main text, and 150 references. Review submissions do not need to be formally divided into sub categories but should contain the same information as required for an original research article (introduction, results and discussion) within the main body of the text.

Perspectives or short commentaries

These can include a call for action and must be accessible to a broad audience of researchers, media and policy-makers. 1500-2000 words.


Letters responding to articles published by the journal are always welcome and readers are encouraged to submit these as soon as possible. Letters are flexible in format but should generally be limited to 500 words, without figures.

Figures and tables

For guidance on producing figures and tables, please visit the Cambridge Journals Artwork Guide.


References and citations should be formatted correctly in journal style when the article is submitted to the journal but formatting is not grounds for rejection at the submitting phase.

References in text should follow the APA citation style. Find here Endnote style and find here Zotero style by searching APA 6th edition.

‘Unpublished observations’ and ‘personal communications’ may not be used as references, although references to written, not oral, communications may be inserted (in parentheses) in the text. Include among the references articles accepted but not yet published, or published online only (please supply Digital Object Identifier [DOI] reference, if known); designate the journal and add ‘(in press)’. For in press citations, an acceptance letter from the publisher will be required. Information from manuscripts submitted but not yet accepted should be cited in the text as ‘unpublished observations’.

The references must be verified by the author(s) against the original documents.

Foot Notes

Foot notes should be numbered using roman numerals.

Required Statements

The five sections below must be included. These statements should be included at the end of the manuscript, before the References section.


You may acknowledge individuals or organisations that provided advice, support (non-financial). Formal financial support and funding should be listed in the Financial Support section (see below).

Author Contributions

A short statement should be provided indicating how each author contributed to the work. For example: AB and CD conceived and designed the study. CD and EF conducted data gathering. GH performed statistical analyses. AB, EF and GH wrote the article.

Financial Support

Please provide details of the sources of financial support for all authors, including grant numbers. For example, "This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant number XXXXXXX)". Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma and space, and where research was funded by more than one agency the different agencies should be separated by a semi-colon, with 'and' before the final funder. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the authors' initials. For example, "This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (A.B., grant numbers XXXX, YYYY), (C.D., grant number ZZZZ); the Natural Environment Research Council (E.F., grant number FFFF); and the Australian Research Council (A.B., grant number GGGG), (E.F., grant number HHHH)".

Where no specific funding has been provided for research, please provide the following statement: "This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors."

Publishing Ethics

Global Sustainability considers all manuscripts on the strict condition that:

  1. The manuscript is your own original work, and does not duplicate any other previously published work;
  2. The manuscript has been submitted only to the journal - it is not under consideration, accepted for publication or in press elsewhere. Manuscripts may be deposited on pre-print servers;
  3. All listed authors know of and agree to the manuscript being submitted to the journal; and
  4. The manuscript contains nothing that is abusive, defamatory, fraudulent, illegal, libellous, or obscene.

The journal adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines on research and publications ethics.

Text taken directly or closely paraphrased from earlier published work that has not been acknowledged or referenced will be considered plagiarism. Submitted manuscripts in which such text is identified will be withdrawn from the editorial process.

Please visit for information on our ethical guidelines.

Conflict of Interest

Please provide details of all known financial, professional and personal relationships with the potential to bias the work. Where no known conflicts of interest exist, please include the following statement: "None."

Ethical Standards

All Cambridge journals adhere to a set of Ethical Standards, as laid out here.

Where research involves human and/or animal experimentation, the following statements should be included (as applicable): "The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008." and "The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional guides on the care and use of laboratory animals."

Research Transparency and Reproducibility

Authors must follow the journal’s policy for supporting research transparency and reproducibility. Authors must make all data, materials, protocols and software available to readers without undue barriers to access.

Supplementary Material

Additional material (e.g. data sets, large tables) relevant to the article can be submitted with your manuscript for publication online, where they are made available via a link from the article. The article should stand alone without these data. Supplementary Material must be cited in a relevant place in the text of the article.

Please note that (unlike figures included in the printed article) captions or legends should be included for all figures and tables in Supplementary Material. You should number figures or tables with the prefix ‘S’, e.g. Supplementary Figure S1, Supplementary Table S1. Colour images for online publication as Supplementary Material must be saved in RGB format (not CMYK).

Supplementary Material is not checked, copyedited or typeset after acceptance and it is loaded onto the journal’s website exactly as supplied. You should check your Supplementary Material carefully to ensure that it adheres to journal styles. Corrections cannot be made to the Supplementary Material after acceptance of the manuscript. Please bear this in mind when deciding what content to include as Supplementary Material.

Journal Style

Authors should note the following:

  • S.I. units should be used throughout in text, figures and tables.
  • Authors should spell out in full any abbreviations used in their manuscripts.
  • Foreign quotations and phrases should be followed by a translation.


Authors retain copyright but grant Cambridge University Press an exclusive licence to publish. Authors must complete and return a licence to publish form once their article has been accepted for publication.

Articles will preferably be published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence, but authors are free to choose to publish under the following alternative licences:

  • CC-BY-NC-SA (Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share Alike)
  • CC-BY-NC-ND (Attribution - Non-Commercial - No Derivatives)

Open Access

Open access publishing in Global Sustainability is funded through levying an article processing charge (APC) which can be paid by the corresponding author, their institution or their funding body.

For all articles submitted for publication in Global Sustainability during 2016, 2017 and 2018, Cambridge University Press will waive the APC for all authors.

From 2019 onwards, an APC will apply to all accepted articles, with a continuing automatic waiver scheme for World Bank designated Low and Middle Income Countries. Other authors who are unable to pay the APC in full or part will be able to request a discount or waiver from Cambridge University Press, and some evidence for lack of funds may be required.

The decision whether to accept an article for publication will rest solely with the Editors, and without reference to the funding situation of the authors.

Please note: APC collection is managed by RightsLink, who will contact authors following acceptance of their article. Authors whose articles are accepted in 2016-18 will be provided with a waiver code.

Author Language Services

Cambridge recommends that authors have their manuscripts checked by an English language native speaker before submission; this will ensure that submissions are judged at peer review exclusively on academic merit. We list a number of third-party services specialising in language editing and/or translation, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate. Use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense.

Further Details

For further information on this journal, please see our Production FAQs.