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Submission Guidelines

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Article Types

Research Papers

Quantitative 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 no more than 7,750 words in length, this includes all text except for figures and supplementary material.

This section is peer reviewed.

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 no more than 7,750 words in length, this includes all text except for figures and supplementary material.

This section is peer reviewed.

Case Studies

Evidence-based reports exploring a project’s intended and actual outcomes for education, conservation, research, and/or policy.

Case studies should be no more than 7,750 words in length, this includes all text except for figures and supplementary material.

This section is peer reviewed.


Perspectives on issues in the field of citizen science, particularly new ideas, controversial positions, and hot-topic highlights.

Essays should be no more than 6,000 words in length, this includes all text except for figures and supplementary material.

This section is peer reviewed.


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 no more than 6,000 words in length, this includes all text except for figures and supplementary material.

This section is peer reviewed.

Meeting Report

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 no more than 6,000 words in length, this includes all text except for figures and supplementary material.

This section is peer reviewed.

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.

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. If you require a waiver, our ability to grant it will be dependent on the number of papers published in the collection and so will be considered only for collections with 15 or more accepted abstracts. Please include this information in your proposal

Editorials should be approximately 2,000 words in length, this includes all text except for figures and supplementary material.

Invited Papers

Invited 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 no more than 8,000 words in length, this includes all text except for figures and supplementary material.

Author Guidelines

Please ensure that you follow the Author Guidelines when preparing your manuscript. We update our Author Guidelines periodically, so please make sure you are using the latest version of this document. These Guidelines were updated in July 2022 to reflect the change to a standard Harvard-style reference system more readily available in authors' reference managers. For a quick reference guide to some of our most important instructions, please see our Quick Reference for Author Guidelines.

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

Manuscripts that do not follow our formatting and other guidelines will not be reviewed. Manuscripts that exceed the maximum length may encounter delays and require major revision to fit the manuscript to the required limits.  If an author believes that their manuscript requires a word count beyond the listed maximum, they should contact the journal to discuss this prior to publication. Only in rare and unusual circumstances will longer manuscripts be approved, and should one be permitted, an additional processing fee may be applied, on top of the standard Article Processing Charge (APC) listed here.  This will be agreed with the author in advance of being sent for review. All author affiliations need to be listed correctly and in full (e.g. full name, department, university name, etc.) in the initial metadata submission entry as this information will be published along with your paper if your paper is accepted.

Submissions should be made electronically through this website. Once submitted, the author can track the submission and communicate with the editors via the online journal management system. Please note, on submissions with multiple authors only the submitting author will be able to do this.

When communicating with journal editors about your paper, please always reference the 3-digit number assigned to your paper at the time of submission. You can find this when you log into the journal website and visit your submission record. It is the submission ID (far left corner of the record).

Use of Non-English Text

All text within the main body of a manuscript must be in English unless there is a clear reason why it should appear in the original language (e.g., the purpose is to show the layout of items in a questionnaire rather than the content in the items).

Non-English text is allowed in the supplementary materials if readers can fully understand and interpret the manuscript via the main text only (i.e., reading the supplementary materials is not necessary). As such, the Journal provides a repository for related study materials in the original language (e.g., research instruments, protocols, consent documents), and all readers have the option of running these materials through an AI system to get a rough translation. However, a brief English description of each supplementary document is required so that the entire CSTP readership can gain a general sense of the contents of each document; this should be provided at the start of each supplementary document.

Full Article Translations

As part of our efforts to internationalize citizen science and foster inclusivity across the discipline, Citizen Science: Theory and Practice is pleased to now be able to publish your article in your native language, if your native language is not English. It will publish as a Supplemental File to the English-language article, with its own DOI. As with all Supplemental Files, the translation will not be copy edited, and the accuracy of the content/translation rests solely with the author(s). To submit an article in translation, please:

  • indicate that you plan to submit a translation as a Supplemental File in your submission cover letter, 
  • include this translation in your list of Supplemental Files that immediately follows the English-language text, 
  • and upload a Supplemental File in translation that includes all text and figures. Unlike our requirements for English-language submissions, which need to be in editable formats for review and copy editing, the translation should be submitted as a PDF with tables, figures, and captions embedded as you'd like them to appear. You can expect that your English-language article will go through at least one round of revisions before publication. It is expected that you will upload a revised PDF of the translation as necessary so that one directly reflects the other. This must be uploaded in its final format prior to the typesetting process.

Please be aware that translations cannot be added or updated after publication. There can be no exceptions. 


Special Collections

All papers submitted for inclusion in special collections undergo the same peer review process as regular submissions. If you wish to propose a special collection for which you would serve as a Visiting Editor, please reference our proposal template and sample so that you know what should be included in your submission, which should be sent to Caren Cooper, Associate Editor for Special Collections. Proposals will be reviewed and commented on by the AESC, the EiC, the AEiC, and the Editorial Board, after which proposal decisions will be finalized by the EiC and AEiC.

If your proposal is accepted, you will be expected to  

  • call for and accept/reject Abstracts;
  • familiarize yourself with our website, journal management system, and Author Guidelines to ensure author adherence;
  • to assign a lead Editor to your team to oversee the entire collection, whether or not that individual chooses to usher a portion of the papers through the review process; -and to create a shared spreadsheet of expected papers, editorial assignments, due dates, etc.

The spreadsheet link should be shared with the EiC and ME as well as all Editors of your collection, and Editors should be consistent and diligent about updating it.

Editors of special collections will also be expected to write an editorial to accompany their collection. Please refer to the editorial description for details.

All upcoming special collections will be announced on the CSA blog ( and elsewhere. Following a call for papers for a special collection, authors can submit abstracts directly to the editorial team using the instructions provided in the call. The authors of accepted abstracts will then be invited to submit a full paper. If you require a waiver, our ability to grant it will be dependent on the number of papers published in the collection and so will be considered only for collections with 15 or more accepted abstracts. Please include this information in your proposal. Before submitting, please ensure that your paper conforms to the guidelines we've set forth in our author guidelines (we update our Author Guidelines periodically, so please make sure you are using the latest version of this document), then submit your paper and figures to the journal through our journal management system (JMS) to begin the process of peer review.

For your paper to be considered for a special collection, you must indicate the intended collection in the title of your paper upon submission. Your title should read: SC: Abbreviated Title of Special Collection: Your Working Title. For example, SC: Higher Ed: Drivers of Participation in Citizen Science Among Secondary Students Considering Dropout. If your paper is accepted, the title will be edited for publication in the paper and in the article metadata at the copy editing stage. Special collections will be published in one batch with a final publication date to be determined collaboratively with collection editors, the journal editorial team, and Ubiquity Press on the basis of your review timeline.

Submission Preparation Checklist

  1. The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in the cover letter provided on submission).
  2. The author(s) agree to the payment terms detailed on the journal website, which will be applied if this submission is accepted for publication by the journal.
  3. Any third-party-owned materials have been identified with appropriate credit lines, and permission obtained from the copyright holder for all formats of the journal (e.g., reproduced or adapted figures or tables).
  4. All authors have given permission to be listed on the submitted paper and all authors satisfy the authorship guidelines.
  5. The maximum word count associated with the relevant article type has not been exceeded. The word counts can be found in the Article Types in our Submission Guidelines.
  6. The submission file is in an editable Microsoft Word (preferred) or OpenOffice file format. The text should be 12-point Arial, Helvetica, or similar font (to correspond with our online publication font), double-spaced, with 1” margins.
  7. The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines. If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the review process will automatically be single-anonymous, but authors may also opt to make this double-anonymous by indicating this preference in their cover letter and providing all the necessary documents in both a fully anonymised and a de-anonymised formats, clearly labeled in the uploading process (not in the file title) for discernment by the editorial team.
  8. The references have been formatted according to Harvard and House styles, and are provided in plain text or rtf Word format free of residual background formatting from reference generation.
  9. All DOIs for the references have been provided, when available.
  10. All tables and figures are called out in the text. Tables are included within the text document, whilst figure files are uploaded as supplemental files. 
  11. Figures/images have a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Each file is no more than 20MB per file. The files are in one of the following formats: JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, EPS. To maximize quality, the original source file is preferred.
  12. In addition to the individual figure files (without captions) and the list of figure captions within the manuscript, the author should also provide a single file entitled "Figure File for Review" that contains all figures with corresponding captions below each one. This enables ease of reference for editors and reviewers.
  13. Authors agree that (if applicable) the contents of their study meet the journal policy on ethics and consent.
  14. All metadata has been entered correctly and will be updated by the author if any further changes are necessary. It is understood that Ubiquity Press will publish this information exactly as it is entered.
  15. ORCID numbers have been added to the metadata.
  16. The manuscript has been proofread, and authors are reasonably certain that it meets the editorial standards set forth in the guidelines provided.
  17. Keywords (up to 6) and Abstract (where required, and no more than 250 words) have been uploaded to the metadata.
  18. If an abstract has been accepted for publication within a special collection, the title of the full submission must reflect the following convention to ensure that the collection's editorial team has access to it: SC:Collection Title Abbreviation: Paper Title
  19. Optional Elements
    - Figures are submitted separately, following a text document with corresponding figure captions.
    - Any tables should appear in the main text.
    - Supplemental materials have been proofread. It is understood that they will be published exactly as they are submitted.
    - Any keywords have been provided following the Abstract.
    - Acknowledgments and ethics statements have been provided, as needed.
    - Twitter handle and any other relevant social media information has been provided.

Copyright Notice

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms. If a submission is rejected or withdrawn prior to publication, all rights return to the author(s):

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).

Submitting to the journal implicitly confirms that all named authors and rights holders have agreed to the above terms of publication. It is the submitting author's responsibility to ensure all authors and relevant institutional bodies have given their agreement at the point of submission.

Note: some institutions require authors to seek written approval in relation to the terms of publication. Should this be required, authors can request a separate licence agreement document from the editorial team (e.g. authors who are Crown employees).

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered in this journal site 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.

Publication Fees

The Article Processing Charge (APC) for the CSTP Journal is $1600 for all article types, except for invited articles, which are described more specifically above, under Article Types. Authors agree to pay the APC if their submission is published. The APC is due at the time of article acceptance. A 20% discount is provided to first or corresponding authors who are current members of the Association for Advancing Participatory Sciences.

The APC covers costs associated with publishing each article, including the Managing Editor salary and support for Editor-in-Chief and social media staff, as well as the Ubiquity Press fee (currently 525 GBP) for website development/maintenance and production/editorial services. CSTP depends on extensive volunteer support from its leadership team, editors, reviewers, and advisors. The journal aims to be self-sustaining, to promote inclusion, and to provide open access at a lower rate than other journals.

Waiver Information

A very limited number of partial and full waivers are available for authors who lack resources to cover the APC (e.g., no institutional support or grant funds). Editorial decisions are made independent of the ability to pay the APC, and waivers will be considered only after a paper has been accepted for publication.

To apply for a partial or full waiver, authors must include their request at the time of submission and in their submission letter. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, they must provide documentation that they sought funds for the APC from various sources (e.g., grant programs, library, institutional departments) but were unable to obtain it.