Start Submission


Focus and Scope

Citizen Science: Theory and Practice is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal sponsored by the Citizen Science Association. The journal seeks to advance the field of citizen science by providing a central space for scholarly exchanges about engaging the public in multiple scientific disciplines. Authors and readers include citizen science practitioners, researchers, evaluators, and funders, regardless of their specific disciplines. 

CSTP is not intended to be a venue for reporting scientific outcomes of citizen science projects (e.g., trends in plant or animal distributions; discovery of supernovae). Scientific findings based on citizen science data should be submitted to appropriate scientific journals where the findings will help to advance varied scientific fields (we encourage inclusion of the keyword “citizen science” in such submissions to ensure that the field of citizen science receives recognition for its contributions.) Scientific outcomes of citizen science data can be reported in CSTP when knowing those outcomes helps to inform understanding of citizen science practice.

CSTP accepts submissions in the following categories:

  • Research PapersQuantitative and qualitative research about the practice of citizen science. These articles might, for example, address how learning outcomes differ among models of citizen science; how various features of project design yield high-quality data; the efficacy of various participant recruitment models; and the effectiveness of different technologies for implementing and facilitating a range of projects. Research-focused articles should be 6,000–7,750 words in length.
  • Review and Synthesis Papers:  Overviews with meta-perspectives of significant topics in citizen science such as conceptual or theoretical reviews or syntheses of methods. Articles focused on review and synthesis should be 6,000–7,750 words in length.
  • Case Studies: Evidence-based reports exploring a project’s intended and actual outcomes for education, conservation, research, and/or policy. Case studies should be 6,000–7,750 words in length.
  • Essays: Perspectives on issues in the field of citizen science, particularly new ideas, controversial positions, and hot-topic highlights. Essays should be 4,000–6,000 words in length.
  • Methods Papers: Descriptions of new (or innovations of old) methods that involve citizen science participants. These papers should elucidate the testing process and results, and should provide suggestions for further methodological improvements or applications. Methods papers should be 4,000–6,000 words in length.
  • Meeting Reports: Descriptions of citizen science meetings, sessions, or conferences. The report will explain how the meeting was developed and implemented to achieve advances in understanding of citizen science theory and practice, and will examine its outcomes. (Individual papers presented at conferences do not fall under this category but should instead be submitted as research papers, review papers, case studies, essays, or methods papers.) Meeting reports should be approximately 1,000–6,000 words in length.
  • Editorial Content: Editorials should contain a brief introduction to the special collection, followed by a concise comment about the relevance and content of each included paper. Editorials should be approximately 1,000–2,000 words in length, but may be occasionally longer for larger collections. They will not be peer reviewed but will be reviewed by the EiC, the AEiC, and possibly by members of the Citizen Science: Theory and Practice Editorial Board. Our standard publication fees and waiver opportunities apply.
  • Invited PapersInvited papers are written by people in the field who are well-known, or who are doing especially interesting, state-of-the-art work, or who have a particular perspective on an issue. The invitation to contribute an invited paper comes from the Editors-in-Chief, who welcome suggestions from the Journal Editorial Board and from CSA members. Invited papers are not peer reviewed.  Instead, they are read and possibly commented on by the editorial team. Invited contributions that are thought-provoking or challenging, or highlight facets of controversial issues are welcome, although invited authors should identify any potential controversy, particularly challenges to belief systems, political views, etc., and bring them to the attention of the editorial team upon submission. The Journal will not publish papers that may bring the Journal into disrepute, nor those that use racist or obscene language, or language that we ascertain may be construed as offensive. In extreme cases, the editorial team will mark sections of a paper that require revision before publication. Invited papers should be approximately 2,000–8,000 words in length.

All word limits include the Abstract, the References section, tables, author statements, and figure captions (i.e., anything that will be typeset, or anything other than Supplementary Files). Figures do not contribute to the word count; however, figures and tables  should not total significantly more than three pages when typeset. Supplementary Files do not count toward the word count and may include figures, tables, text, and appendices.

Publication Frequency

The journal is published online as a continuous volume throughout the year. Special collections of articles are welcomed and will be published as part of the normal issue and within a separate collection page. Please contact the editor to discuss ideas for special collections.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. There is no embargo on the journal’s publications. Submission and acceptance dates, along with publication dates, are made available on the PDF format for each paper.

Authors of articles published remain the copyright holders and grant third parties the right to use, reproduce, and share the article according to the Creative Commons license agreement.

Authors are encouraged to publish their data in recommended repositories. For a list of generic and subject specific repositories that meet our peer review criteria, see here.

Archiving Policy

The journal’s publisher, Ubiquity Press, focuses on making content discoverable and accessible through indexing services. Content is also archived around the world to ensure long-term availability.

Citizen Science: Theory and Practice (CSTP) is indexed by the following services:

To ensure permanency of all publications, this journal also utilises CLOCKSS, and LOCKSS archiving systems to create permanent archives for the purposes of preservation and restoration.

If the journal is not indexed by your preferred service, please let us know by emailing or alternatively by making an indexing request directly with the service.

Journal Statistics

Core journal statistics for the 2021 volume:

Submissions received193
Reviews requested2416
Reviews received3186
Total Rejections450
...of which, Desk rejects524
Acceptance rate747.92%
Time from submission to publication8279 days


1Number of new articles received by the journal
2Number of peer review invitation emails that were sent out
3Number of completed peer review reports received
4Total number of articles rejected (including desk rejects)
5Number of articles rejected prior to peer review
6Number of articles that received a 'Accept for publication' decision
7Number of acceptances, as a percentage, against the total number of final decisions
8'Mean' average from submission to publication for all publications in the volume

Publication Ethics

Ubiquity Press, the journal’s publisher, is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics  (COPE), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). The Press recognises its responsibility as a guardian of the scholarly record and takes an active role in establishing standards and policies in publication ethics.

The Editors have committed to maintaining high editorial standards through rigorous peer review and strict ethical policies. The Editors follow the COPE code of conduct and refer to COPE for guidance as appropriate. The journal and the publisher ensure that advertising and commercial interests do not impact or influence editorial decisions.

Advertisement Policy

The journal only displays advertisements that are of relevance to its scope and will be of interest to the readership (e.g., upcoming conferences). All advertising space is provided free of charge and the editor and publisher have the right to decline or withdraw adverts at any point.

If you wish to propose a potential advert then please contact the editorial team. All adverts are displayed in the right column of the journal and will need to fit a 120 pixel wide space. All advert images will have to be provided to the publisher.

Annotation and Post-Publication Comment

The journal platform permits readers to leave comments on the publication page, via the Disqus service. Readers will need a Disqus account to leave comments. Comments may be moderated by the journal, however, if they are non-offensive and relevant to the publication subject, comments will remain online without edit.

The journal platform also includes in-browser annotation and text highlighting options on full text formats via Readers will require a account to create annotations, and will have the option to make these publicly available, available to a group, or private.



The Journal was founded in 2014 by the Citizen Science Association, in partnership with Ubiquity Press Ltd.

Quick links