Invitation to Submit Solutions-Focused Articles for Publication in The Solutions Journal

We warmly invite you to join our community by submitting your solutions-focused articles for review. At The Solutions Journal, our mission is to connect those responsible for implementing sustainability, justice, and regeneration on the ground to the solutions they need to succeed. We specialize in curating articles that provide best practices and innovative approaches that assist professionals in all sectors to achieve their sustainability goals. To begin the submission process, please submit a submission inquiry form. In response, you will receive email instructions for how to create your contributor’s profile and submit your article.

Helpful Links for Contributors 

Editorial Vision

The Solutions Journal

Editorial Vision, Published 2018

Beth Schaefer Caniglia, PhD


It is an amazing honor for me to join The Solutions Journal family as the new Editor-in-Chief! I am so grateful to Bob Costanza, Ida Kubiszewski, our fabulous Editorial Board and staff for their confidence and collaboration as we move into our second decade as the leading journalistic voice in sustainability innovation worldwide.

Many have asked for an editorial vision they can use to guide their submissions to the magazine. Our first ten years and thousands of articles have reflected a deep and widely shared desire to step out of a world mired in negativity, mistrust, and disappointment and join the collaborative movement underway to build shared prosperity on a healthy planet. We have contributed to this movement by bringing together academic rigor and practitioner insights, by championing the voices of dreamers, innovators, risk-takers and change-makers in service to a sustainable and desirable future.

Our work is built upon the absolute certainty that our community can change the trajectory of our planet to benefit all living creatures. We call this solutions journalism, and this manifests in our requirement that wholly 70% of each article we publish focuses on how to solve socio-environmental problems and move the needle toward a more sustainable and desirable future. This foundational commitment to solutions journalism remains integral to The Solutions Journal brand.

That said, Solutions is an amazing global platform, literally read in every country of the world, and we should always be inspired to do more. Particularly in the areas of equity, inclusion, self-determination, and shared governance, we need to identify and amplify the underrepresented and missing voices of our era – voices from Indigenous Peoples, communities of color, single mothers, farmers, those who are uneducated, outcast, and the working class. 

A solution to one challenge can produce new problems and unanticipated consequences. So, in keeping with our long-held commitment to taking a systems approach in The Solutions Journal, we are introducing a new form of contribution called a “Community Symposium.” This contribution will require at least two perspectives on the selected solution: one from a community organization and one from either the education, government, or business sectors. We expect critical, yet collaborative dialogue to be the cornerstone of these symposia – a means of transcending gridlock and developing shared vision. We also invite our contributors to include video interviews with community members who might not feel comfortable with the formality of journalistic writing. And we strongly encourage our contributors to involve community members in the production of their pieces as co-authors.

I am personally enthralled by the exciting revolutions that are taking place in cities around the world. In the industrialized world, over 80% of people reside in and immediately around cities; and in the very near future the same will be said for all occupants of our planet. Cities already consume 70% of our energy; and cities are the most unequal places on Earth. If we can get cities right, we can alleviate incredible suffering and ameliorate a considerable portion of the unequal impacts of climate change. Technological, socio-cultural, governance, and business innovations in energy, transportation, buildings, urban water management, heat island effect, urban agriculture and forestry, city planning, eco-districts, and more hold abundant promise – particularly given the spread of the regenerative development paradigm. I am passionate about solving the challenges that emerge at the intersections of rapid urbanization, climate change, and inequality, such as gentrification, transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and the intersectional vulnerabilities that characterize our urban landscapes. You can count on me to seek out stories in these subject areas.

Finally, it is exciting to know that around 60% of our on-line readers are youth and Millennials – folks 18-35 years of age. To reflect this, we will be highlighting this generation in our articles, on our editorial board, and in our brand. We honestly don’t know where their leadership will take us, but we know it will be in the direction of their optimism, creativity, and their commitment to an equitable, prosperous, and ecologically abundant future.

So, happy Ten Year Anniversary, Solutions! Please join us as we embark on the next.

Article Types & Guidelines

We publish several article types at The Solutions Journal. Please, review these article types to determine which format best fits the article you would like to submit. For all articles, we require that 70% of your article focus on solutions to the challenges you are trying to solve.

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: 3,500 – 4,500 words of text (including key concepts, author summary, and references)
  • 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.


  • Length: Approximately 1,250-3,500 words of text (including references).
  • Description: Documented 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 general format for this type of article is: “We can move the needle toward a more sustainable future by doing X,Y,Z and this is why.” 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”: The Coming Eco-Industrial Complex).
  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 1,500-4,500 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.


  • Length: Approximately 700-1,200 words of text
  • Description: Noteworthy articles are designed to briefly introduce our readers to exciting work taking place to advance justice, sustainability, or regeneration around the world. These articles are more descriptive than other pieces we publish, in that they describe projects, campaigns, new approaches, and innovations undertaken by nonprofits, governments, neighborhoods, schools, or businesses. In some cases, these articles represent branded content that will require sponsorship support to publish, and we will inform you if your submission inquiry suggests a sponsorship component. In most cases, these articles will be considered public interest stories and be published without a sponsorship requirement.

Solutions in History

  • Length: Approximately 1,500-3,500 words of text.
  • Description: Articles submitted for inclusion in the History section of Solutions can take several forms, including:
    1. Examinations of how a past society 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 formation of water compacts in northeastern Africa more recently.
    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, Lewis Mumford, or Mahatma Gandhi.
    4. Explorations of anthropological or cultural practices from previous or current societies that enabled or encouraged them to live within more sustainable limits.

Other types of articles may also be considered, though it is recommended that authors first submit a brief proposal to the history editor, Kathleen Smythe at

Articles should be written in an engaging, literary style that is accessible to non-experts. Ideally, authors will begin by posing an intriguing question or a problem of contemporary relevance, and then demonstrating with sufficient detail a resolution or approach.


  • Length: Approximately 500-3,500 words.
  • Description: Do you have a vision of what a just, sustainable, or regenerative future could be like? Share that vision here using poetry, expository essays, short fiction, or other creative writing forms.

Media, Product & Book Reviews

  • Length: Media, product, and book reviews should be approximately 200-700 words of text.
  • Description: Reviews of books, movies, websites, videos, products, and other media that present or advance 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?
  • Additional Requirements: For book reviews, please include a high-resolution image of the book cover and the ISBN number with your review. For online sources, please provide a current URL.


  • Length: 150-700 words of text.
  • Description: Do you have a strong opinion about the solutions being implemented to advance justice, sustainability, and/or regeneration? This is the place to air those points of view. If you feel certain solutions are a waste of time, tell us why? Do you feel people are focused too much on one dimension of shared prosperity on a healthy planet? Tell us what we should focus upon instead.

Info-Graphics & Provocative Imagery

  • Length: One 8.5” X 11” page, including descriptive text and graphic.
  • Description: Have you developed an info-graphic that guides us in solving justice, sustainability or regeneration challenges? Have you taken a photograph or produced a piece of artwork that compels us to create a better future? We would love to share these with our readers.

Submission Guidelines

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.

Submission Query Form

Copyright Policy

We use the creative commons share licensing system(“copylefting” rather than copyrighting) to spread information more broadly while maintaining appropriate credit for authors and sources.

Appropriate credit includes: article title, author name(s), The Solutions Journal, Volume Number, Issue Number, and the license (CC by 2.0).

Reference Guidelines

  • The Solutions Journal uses Nature style referencing with the reference citation outside of the full stop, as shown here.1
  • This reference style can be downloaded here:
    1. For EndNote
    2. For Mendeley/Zotero
  • Reference citations are each numbered in sequential order as they appear in the text, and the complete reference list should list all references used in the documents in sequential order at the end of the document, not in footnotes
  • References that appear only in boxes, tables, or figures should be numbered last. In Focus pieces will contain a separate numbered reference list.
  • Only one reference should be assigned to each number, and it will appear only once in the reference list (but may appear multiple times within the text).
  • If a reference is cited more than once in the text, repeat the number for that reference within the text
  • When text requires more than one citation, list superscripts separated by comma and no space, like this: 1,7-14
  • The reference number appears after any punctuation (e.g., According to Miller,14 the best theory comes from Sarta and colleagues.22).
  • Remember that ‘et al.’ (no preceding comma) must be used in conjunction with the first named author. If you want to refer to the principal author in the text and he or she is not the first named, the principal’s name should be followed by “and colleagues” or “and collaborators.”
  • When cited in the text, reference numbers are superscript, not in parentheses, unless they are likely to be confused with another number (e.g., 4 km (ref. 2)).
  • Example of in-text citing and reference list at the end of a document Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.1 Vivamus egestas metus enim. Donec nulla tortor, ultrices in enim vitae, tincidunt ullamcorper risus. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed at risus vitae risus commodo aliquam.2-4 Integer elementum quis dui dignissim varius. Vivamus at elit eget nunc tristique dignissim. Curabitur quis blandit mi, eu rhoncus tellus. Etiam sollicitudin nunc mauris. Cras sed ornare neque.4 Aliquam vel tincidunt turpis, non suscipit enim. Integer eget felis tortor.
    1. Kaufmann-Heemels, AT, Jennings, C & Carr, K. Where to publish a Nature reject. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 73, 208–212 (1996).
    2. Clarke, M. Keep it short. Journal of Cell Biology Abstracts 21, 789 (1991).
    3. Diener, E & Seligman, MEP. Beyond money: toward an economy of well-being. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 5 (2004).
    4. Bentley, DR et al. Accurate whole human genome sequencing using reversible terminator chemistry. Nature 456, 53–59 (2008).

In preparing reference lists, please ensure that:

  • Authors are listed surname first, followed by a comma and initials of given names. There are no periods after initials. All authors are included in reference lists unless there are more than five, in which case the first author is followed by ‘et al.’. Use an ampersand (&) before the last name in the reference; there is no comma before the ampersand. Periods do not follow initials unless directly before article title.
  • Titles of all cited articles are given in upright, not italic text. The first word of the title is capitalized, the title written exactly as it appears in the work cited, ending with a full stop. There should be a period after article titles. No period after book or journal titles.
  • Book titles are italic with all main words capitalized. Journal titles are italic and written out in full (no abbreviation). But when referring to symposia use the common contractions: Symp., Proc., Assoc., Soc., but leave more obscure words unaltered (see example in list below).
  • Volume number follows the journal title. Do not list issue number. The publisher and city of publication are required for books. Comma between volume number and page number.
  • Use the abbreviations: ed/eds; Ch.; Vol.; 1st edn (no full point).
  • Second line of text is not indented.
  • References to online-only journals are in the style: authors, article title, and journal name as above, followed by URL – or doi if known – and the year of publication in parentheses.
  • References to websites are in the following style: Author. Title of Paper Website title [online] (YEAR) Complete URL should be sufficient to completely define the reference document. If the author mentions the same website many times in the paper as a source of information, and it would be unreasonable to type out the URL every time, it may be given a number and put in the reference list. Alternatively, if it has a ‘name’ (for example, John Smith’s website) you may say ‘see John Smith’s website ( at first use and then simply refer to it as ‘John Smith’s website’ thereafter.
  • Patents should be cited in the reference list as: author’s name, title of patent, type of patent and number, year (in parentheses). See example below.
  • If the author does not cite within text, leave reference list in alphabetical order (but authors should cite in text).
  • In reference lists, page ranges use all digits, e.g., 208–212 (not 208-12)
  • Foreign-language titles are Sentence style; initial cap only those words that would be capped in the language.


Journal Article:

  1. Kaufmann-Heemels, AT, Jennings, C & Carr, K. Where to publish a Nature reject. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 73, 208–212 (1996).
  2. Clarke, M. Keep it short. Journal of Cell Biology Abstracts 21, 789 (1991).
  3. Diener, E & Seligman, MEP. Beyond money: toward an economy of well-being. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 5 (2004).
  4. Bentley, DR et al. Accurate whole human genome sequencing using reversible terminator chemistry. Nature 456, 53–59 (2008).


  1. Tromans, A. How to Edit a Manuscript 1–44 (Bourne and Hollingsworth, London, 1922).

Popular article:

  1. Dworkin, R. The ‘devastating’ decision. New York Review of Books (February 2010).

Edited Volume:

  1. Kasser, T & Kanner, AD, eds. Psychology and Consumer Culture: The Struggle for a Good Life in a Materialistic World (American Psychological Association, Washington DC, 2004).

Chapter in Edited Volume:

  1. Wenz, C et al. in The Production Nightmare 2nd edn, Vol. 56 (Whittock, K et al., eds), Ch. 8, 222–333 (Academic, New York, 1935).
  2. Haines, N & Cotter, R in Studies in Manic DepressionVol. 1 (Tallack, P, ed), Ch. 2 (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1982).


  1. Shadwell, J in Proc. 4th Int. Symp. Transylvanian Fish. Soc. 2nd edn (Howlett, R & Thomas, A, eds), Part II, 4–5 (Springer, Berlin, in press).


  1. Report No. 12345–67, 445–449 (National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, 1988).


  1. Bates, N. New way for processing guests in motels. European patent 5,567,258 (1963).


  1. New Economy Working Group [online].
  2. Friends of the Cheat. North Fork Greens Run [online] (2010).

Online article

  1. Alexander, LV. Updated precipitation series of the UK. Atmospheric Science Letters [online] 1, 142–150 (2000) (doi:10.1006/asle.2001.0025).
  2. Li, R, Zhu, H & Wang, J. De novo assembly of human genomes with massively parallel short read sequencing. Genome doi:10.1101/gr.097261.109 (in press).

Online Poll

  1. Center for a New American Dream. New American Dream: A Public Opinion Poll [online] (2004).


  1. Nishimura, Y et al. The 1843 tsunami deposits found in the peat deposit at Kiritappu marsh [in Japanese with English abstract]. Daiyonki Kenkyu 39, 451–460 (2000).

Personal Communication

  1. Clark, J. Personal communication, spring 2006.

Image & Figure Guidelines

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 high resolution images that you have permission to publish, choose images from Creative Commons Sources (e.g. Unsplash or Pixabay), or work with our photographers and graphic artists create work to accompany your text. We require that you have fully documented the source, permission, credit and caption for each image in your article before publication.

  • 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.
  • 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.

Solutions’ Constructive Review Process

For authors

At Solutions, we try to build a broad consensus around ideas that qualify as real and integrative answers to pressing problems. Authors are encouraged to remain open minded about their papers and ideas.

By shifting away from a territorial approach that can sometimes perpetuate arguments and prevent consensus building, we hope to broaden the scope of contributions in a constructive manner. We are concerned about attribution, of course, and will track and acknowledge all contributions to a paper or idea. Reviewers who make significant positive contributions to a paper should be included on the list of co-authors, if the original contributors agree. Allowing for this inclusion will open the door for the collaborative, constructive process we hope to encourage.

For reviewers

The object of the review is to judge the quality of the paper according to the academic criteria of the journal and to help improve the quality of the paper if possible. Reviewers can judge the quality of the paper to be too low for publication and leave it at that. They can follow the traditional model and provide a standard review. Reviewers may choose to remain anonymous or not.

As a reflection of the overall goal of the journal, we are employing a novel review process. To make reviews for Solutions constructive and transdisciplinary, we encourage the reviewers to make a positive contribution to the article. This could be in the form of a box related to the subject, a substantive revision, or an effort to take the article to a higher level. The reviewers are encouraged to collaborate with the original authors in improving the article, if possible and mutually desirable. If such collaboration is significant, it can lead to co-authorship with the original authors of the article.

It might help to think of how a great jazz band works. In a series of solos, each musician listens carefully to his fellow band members, then begins where the other left off, taking the piece to a new, more thrilling level. When everyone is working together, the piece becomes an organic whole. Or in the case of a feature article, a real solution.

We believe this constructive review process will improve the quality of articles and enable us to develop more innovative, integrative, and whole system solutions. It will allow for broader and more transdisciplinary perspectives on a topic, creating articles appealing to a much broader community, and with a larger chance of being implemented.

Review Process FAQs

Who specifically are the “peers” that will be reviewing articles?

Solutions tries to find a broad range of peers who may come from different areas of society and different disciplines. We usually try to get one academic and one or two additional reviewers from other areas of society (ex. business, governmental, non-profit, etc). The point is to get as broad of a perspective as possible.

Does the peer review process consist of journalistic-style fact checking versus a true peer review?

All features are peer reviewed in the academic sense. However, the editors and reviewers do some fact checking.

If a business submits a solution, would you be sending their solution out to similar (rival) businesses for review?

We would send the article to an academic that has business experience or someone on our editorial board from the business area. We would not send the article to business competitors unless original authors agreed to work on the article with other businesses.

How exactly is the peer review process done? Is it limited only to Solutions’ editorial board? If there isn’t a “peer” on the editorial board, will a new peer be added to the editorial board?

The reviewer does not have to be an editorial board member, and usually isn’t. The reviewer can be anyone that meets the qualifications of being an expert within the field who has the ability to review the article with an unbiased eye.

How many peers review each document?

Approximately 2 or 3.

How much substantive editorial control is given up by the author who submits to the peer review process?

None. Once the reviewers make their recommendations it is up to the authors to decide what feedback to accept or not. If the quality of the feedback is good, the authors can ask the reviewers to become co-authors. The journal editors will work with the authors to improve their article. However, in the end, the final decision remains with the journal as to which articles to publish.