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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • All third-party-owned materials used have been identified with appropriate credit lines, and permission has been obtained from the copyright holder for all formats of the journal. Authors acknowledge their responsibility to gain all permissions prior to submission.
  • All authors qualify as authors, as defined in the authorship guidelines, and have given permission to be listed on the submitted paper.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines. Every effort has been made to ensure that the submission is ready for peer review according to the journal's review policy (following the instructions to ensure blind peer review for research articles).
  • Tables are all cited in the main text and are included within the text document.
  • Figures are all cited in the main text and are uploaded as supplementary files. Figures/images have a resolution of at least 150dpi (300dpi or above preferred). The files are in one of the following formats: JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, EPS (to maximise quality, the original source file is preferred).
  • All participants included within case reports or other article types in which an individual or a group of individuals can be identified have signed informed consent forms, or had had their legal guardian do so, giving permission to publish the submitted content under a CC-BY licence.
  • Research has been approved by an appropriate ethics committee, with the name of the committee and reference number of approval included within the submitted file. Otherwise, a statement that ethics approval was not required has been added to the file.
  • The corresponding author is submitting an ORCID identifier in their author data and co-authors have been recommended to also provide an ORCID, as per the journal policy.

Author Guidelines

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 ensure that you consider the following guidelines when preparing your manuscript. Failure to do so may delay processing your submission.

All word limits include referencing and citation.


Manuscript requirements

File format

Manuscripts should be submitted in Microsoft Word format (*.docx). Please do not submit PDF files.

Title page

To ensure blind peer review for research articles, please only list the title and abstract on the submitted manuscript file. Please inspect the document and remove the author name from the document properties.


All articles must have the main text prefaced by an abstract.

For research articles and case studies, include brief summaries of:

  • The context of the work presented in the article.
  • The specific questions or issues the article addresses.
  • The methods or approaches taken by authors in the work presented.
  • The findings presented in the article and the value that these findings have.
  • The role and purpose of cybernetics in your research.

For peer commentaries, author responses, and insights articles, the abstract should concisely summarise the text.

Do not include any citations within the abstract text. Within the manuscript, place the abstract at the beginning before the start of the main text. Research articles, case studies, and insights should be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 300 words. Open peer commentaries and author responses should be accompanied by abstracts of no more than 100 words.

A list of up to six key words may be placed below the abstract (optional).

The abstract and keywords should also be added to the metadata when making the initial online submission.

Ethics and consent (if applicable)

Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Where applicable, studies must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee and the authors should include a statement within the article text detailing this approval, including the name of the ethics committee and reference number of the approval. The identity of the research subject(s) should be anonymised whenever possible. For research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study must be obtained from participants (or their legal guardian) and added to this statement. If a study involving human subjects/tissue/data was exempt from requiring ethical approval, a confirmation statement from the relevant body should be included within the submission.

Acknowledgements (optional)

Any acknowledgements should be placed after the main text but before the reference list.

Funding Information (if applicable)

Should the research have received a funding grant then the grant provider and grant number should be detailed.

Competing interests

If any of the authors have any competing interests then these must be declared. A short paragraph should be placed before the references. Guidelines for competing interests can be found here. If there are no competing interests to declare then the following statement should be present: The author(s) has/have no competing interests to declare.

Authors' contributions (multiple author contributions only)

A sentence or a short paragraph detailing the roles that each author held to contribute to the authorship of the submission. Individuals listed must fit within the definition of an author, as per our authorship guidelines.

Reference list

All published references cited within the submission must be listed at the end of the main text file, following the formatting guidelines provided below.



The author is responsible for obtaining all permissions required prior to submission of the manuscript. Permission and owner details should be mentioned for all third-party content included in the submission or used in the research.


Language & Text

Writing for a transdisciplinary readership

Authors should strive to make their work as accessible as possible to non-specialist readers, bearing in mind the transdisciplinary context of cybernetics. Assumptions and methods should be made explicit. Unnecessary jargon should be avoided. Bear in mind that terms that are obvious in one context may be ambiguous or difficult to understand in others, and so may benefit from clarification.

First person

Use first person rather than third person when describing your own work. Use “I” for sole authored papers and “we” for multiple authored papers. Do not refer to yourself as “the author(s)”. Do not use “we” to refer to people in general, as this causes confusion. However, where possible, try to word your sentences in a manner that does not require repetitive pronoun use.

Inclusive language

Avoid referring to a person’s gender where this is unknown or where it is not relevant in the context of your writing. Gendered pronouns can be avoided by using names, plural nouns, or rephrasing. They/ them /theirs/ themselves/ themself may be used as generic third-person singular pronouns. Do not use “her or she” or “s/he”.

Author biography

Enter a brief author biography can be added on the submission system. This should be phrased in the third person. Within this, you may explicitly or implicitly make your own gender pronouns clear, which can be helpful to other authors when citing your work.


Use title case for the submission title, all headings within the manuscript, and titles of books, reports, and other works appearing in the main text:

Capitalise all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, all words of four letters or more, and the first word follow a colon or em dash.

Capitalise the first word after a colon if what follows the colon is a complete sentence.


Submissions must be made in English. Authors may use American or British spellings as long as they are used consistently throughout the whole of the submission.

When referring to proper nouns and normal institutional titles, the official, original spelling must be used.

  • World Health Organization, not World Health Organisation


Up to three level headings may be present and must be clearly identifiable within the manuscript. First heading: bold, 14-point font with numbering. Subheadings have no numbering. Second level heading: bold, 12-point font. Third level heading: italics, 12-point font. Use title case for all headings.


Use bullet points to denote a list without hierarchy or order of value. If the list indicates a specific sequence then a numbered list should be used. Lists should be used sparingly to maximise their impact.

Quotation marks

Short quotations: If a quotation consists of fewer than 40 words, incorporate it into the text and enclose it within double quotation marks. If the passage you are quoting contains quoted material, indicate this using single quotation marks within the double quotation marks.

Long quotations: If a quotation contains 40 words or more, format it as a block quotation. Do not use quotation marks, start the block quotation on a new line, and indent the whole block. If there are additional paragraphs within the quotation, further indent the first line of each paragraph. If the passage you are quoting contains quoted material indicate this using double quotation marks within the block quotation.

It must be clear from the text and/or citation where the quote is sourced. If quoting from material that is under copyright then permission will need to be obtained from the copyright holder.


Do not use acronyms in article titles. Spell out almost all acronyms on first use, indicating the acronym in parentheses immediately thereafter. Use the acronym for all subsequent references.

  • Research completed by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows …

A number of acronyms are so common that they do not require the full text on the first instance. Examples of these can be found here.

Acronyms should usually be in capital letters without full stops.

  • USA, not U.S.A

Common examples from Latin origin do not follow this rule and should be lower case and can include full stops.

  • g., i.e., etc.


Use of notes should be minimised. Use footnotes rather than endnotes.

All notes should be used only where crucial clarifying information needs to be conveyed. It is preferable to include clarifications within the main text whenever possible.

Do not use notes for purposes of referencing, with in-text citations used instead.


Use an em dash to denote emphasis or digression from the main clause of a sentence. Do not use a space before or after an em dash.

Use an en dash to indicate numerical ranges, such as a page range. Do not use a space before or after an en dash.


In general, for numbers zero to nine spell the whole words and for numbers 10 or higher use numerals.

In the following cases, however, numerals should also be used for numbers below 10: numbers that immediately precede a unit of measurement; all numbers that represent time, dates, ages, scores, exact sums of money; when a numeral is being referred to as numerals (“the numeral 7”); and when the number represents a specific place in a series (in this case the preceding noun should also be capitalised: “Row 4”).

Use words for numbers above 10 where a sentence, title, or heading starts with a number.

Do not use a comma for a decimal place.

  • 43 NOT 2,43

Numbers that are less than zero must have ‘0’ precede the decimal point.

  • 24 NOT .24

Units of measurement

Symbols following a figure to denote a unit of measurement must be taken from the latest SI brochure. See for the full brochure.


Formulae must be proofed carefully by the author and numbered with square brackets starting with [1].


Figures & Tables


Figures, including graphs and diagrams, must be professionally and clearly presented. If a figure is not easy to understand or does not appear to be of a suitable quality, the editor may ask to re-render or omit it.

All figures must be cited within the main text, in consecutive order using Arabic numerals (e.g. Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.).

Each figure must have an accompanying descriptive main title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the figure image. A short additional figure legend is optional to offer a further description.

Figure 1: 1685 map of London.

The above title for the figure does not add enough information for the reader.

Figure 1: 1685 map of London. Note the addition of St Paul’s Cathedral, absent from earlier maps.

Figures should be placed within the text document after the paragraph of their first citation.

The source of the image should be included, along with any relevant copyright information and a statement of authorisation (if needed).

Figure 1: Firemen try to free workers buried under piles of concrete and metal girders.

Photo: Claude-Michel Masson. Reproduced with permission of the photographer.

If your figure file includes text, then please present the font as Cambria with a font size of no less than 9-point but not larger than 11-point. This will mean that it matches the typeset text.

NOTE: All figures should be included within the manuscript submitted for review. They must be at least 300dpi but your single manuscript file size should not exceed 10MB. Figures should be in colour where applicable and must be clear. If you are later requested to provide the original images/figures, each image/figure should not be more than 20MB. Standard formats accepted are: JPG and PNG.


Tables must be created using a word processor's table function, not tabbed text.

Tables should be included in the manuscript. The final layout will place the tables as close to their first citation as possible.

All tables must be cited within the main text, numbered with Arabic numerals in consecutive order (e.g. Table 1, Table 2, etc.).

Each table must have an accompanying descriptive title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the table.

Tables should not include:

  • Rotated text
  • Colour to denote meaning (it will not display the same on all devices)
  • Images
  • Vertical or diagonal lines
  • Multiple parts (e.g. ‘Table 1a’ and ‘Table 1b’). These should either be merged into one table, or separated into ‘Table 1’ and ‘Table 2’.

NOTE: If there are more columns than can fit on a single page, then the table will be placed horizontally on the page. If it still can't fit horizontally on a page, the table will be broken into two.



In-text citations

If the author is already mentioned in the main text, then the year should follow the name within parenthesis.

  • Both Jones (2013) and Brown (2010) showed that …

If the author’s name is not mentioned in the main text, then the surname and year should be inserted, in parenthesis, after the relevant text. Multiple citations from different authors should be separated by semi-colons and follow alphabetical order. When citing multiple works by the same authors, list the years of publication consecutively separated by commas.

  • The statistics clearly show this to be untrue (Brown, 2010; Jones 2008, 2013).

If three or fewer authors are cited from the same citation, then all should be listed. If three or more authors are part of the citation, then ‘et al.’ should follow the first author name. If different works with multiple authors shorten to the same in-text citation, include as many authors as necessary to avoid ambiguity.

  • (Jones & Smith, 2008)
  • Jones and Smith (2008)
  • (Jones et al., 2008)
  • Jones et al. (2008)

When citing a reprinted or translated work, include both the date of the original publication and the date of the reprint or translation:

  • (Piaget, 1966/1969)

If citations are used from the same author and the same year, then a lowercase letter, starting from ‘a’ in the order of the reference list (see below), should be placed after the year.

  • (Jones, 2013a; Jones, 2013b)

If specific parts are being cited, then include this within the in-text citation.

  • (Brown, 2004, p. 65; Jones 2013, pp. 143-152)
  • (Smith, 2008, paras. 2-4)
  • (Jones, 2017, Chapter 4)

For publications authored and published by organisations, use the full form of the organisation’s name on first mention with abbreviation in square brackets, and its abbreviation thereafter.

  • (International Committee of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies [ICRC], 2000) and thereafter (ICRC, 2000)

If the first authors of multiple references share the same surname, include the first author’s initials in all in-text citations to avoid ambiguity.

  • (G. Bateson, 1972; M. C. Bateson, 2005)

Reference list

All citations must be listed at the end of the text file, in alphabetical order of authors’ surnames. Works by the same author should be ordered by year of publication, with works with no date first and in-press works last.

Works with multiple authors should follow single authored works by the same first author, even when they were published earlier. Multiple authored works with the same first author should be ordered alphabetically by surname of second (and if necessary subsequent) authors.

  • Jones, P. (2015)…
  • Jones, P. & Brown, R. (2008)…
  • Jones, P. & Smith, J. (2007)…

All reading materials should be included. Works which have not been cited within the main text, but which the author wishes to share with the reader, must be cited as additional information in footnotes explaining the relevance of the work. This will ensure that all works within the reference list are cited within the text.

NOTE: If multiple works by the same author are being listed, please re-type the author’s name out for each entry, rather than using a long dash.

NOTE: DOIs should be included for all reference entries, where possible.

Reference format

This journal uses the APA 7th system – see below for examples of how to format:

  • Authored book:

Krippendorff, K. (2006). The semantic turn: A new foundation for design. Taylor and Francis.

Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1969). The psychology of the child (H. Weaver, Trans.; 2nd ed.). Basic Books. (Original work published 1966)

  • Edited book

Fischer, T., & Herr, C. M. (Eds.). (2019). Design cybernetics: Navigating the new. Springer.

  • Chapter within books:

Jones, P. H. (2014). Systemic design principles for complex social systems. In G. Metcalf (Ed.), Social systems and design (pp. 91-128). Springer.

  • Journal articles:

Bunnell, P. (2017). Reflections on learning as designing. Kybernetes, 46(9), 1486-1498.

  • Conference proceedings:

When citing a conference paper published in published conference proceedings, cite it as a book chapter if the publication has an ISBN or a journal article if it has an ISSN.

  • Conference presentations or sessions

Krippendorff, K. (2021, July 7-13). A critical cybernetics [Paper presentation]. The Art and Science of the Impossible: The 65th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, online.

Note that the full dates of the conference should be given, not just the date of the presentation. The square brackets following the title should contain a label that matches how the presentation was described at the conference.

  • Theses and dissertations:

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2016). IdIOT: Second-order cybernetics in the 'smart' home [Doctoral dissertation, Royal College of Art].

For other types of reference, see the APA 7th style guide.

This will need to be edited, if not a double blind review process


Research articles articulate the outcomes of unpublished original work that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge and understanding. Given the transdisciplinary character of cybernetics, research may take a variety of forms and authors should make their approach and assumptions explicit. Research articles should be between 4,000 and 8,000 words in length and are double blind peer reviewed.

Case study

Case studies analyse and critique tangible instances of cybernetics’ enaction in the world, making insights about these available to others. Authors will usually be involved in the case study, either reflecting on their own practice or as a participant observer. Case studies that develop substantial contributions to knowledge should be submitted as research articles. Case studies should be between 3,000 and 4,000 words and are single blind peer reviewed.

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