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How to Publish in the System Dynamics Review

How to Publish in the System Dynamics Review

In this webinar, we had an overview of the System Dynamics Review – the journal of the System Dynamics Society. We learned about its growing positive performance and impact. We reviewed the process of submitting, revising, and eventually publishing your manuscripts in the Journal, including some tips on what works and what doesn’t work. Andreas answered several questions about the process.

“If you’re a system dynamicist, the System Dynamics Review is your Journal.” Andreas Größler

We had over 150 attendees from around the world which reflects the high interest of our community to disseminate high-quality System Dynamics work through the System Dynamics Review.

Since its beginning thirty-eight years ago, the Review has covered advances in systems thinking and System Dynamics domains.  Today, the editorial staff and reviewers are providing enhanced levels of support for new and experienced contributors. The flow chart for publication in the Review was discussed in detail during the presentation, and there are several ways for those interested to provide material.

During his discussion on contributions to the System Dynamics Review, Andreas provided the following tips about your work when submitting it to the System Dynamics Review

  1. It should be relevant to the System Dynamics community and its principles, its debates, and the existing literature.
  2. Include elements of System Dynamics or discuss System Dynamics from a methodological perspective.
  3. System Dynamics Review papers support a profession and its development. The System Dynamics Review is not a place for social media content.
  4. Before submitting a paper, review the documents covering related or similar materials to learn from past contributors.
  5. Plan to invest time in the submission process as there could be constructive criticism requiring rework on a document throughout the process.

The Journal staff provides guidance to any practitioner interested in contributing using four tips for authors. These tips were covered in detail by Dr. Grossler in the webinar.

The System Dynamics Review welcomes contributions from anyone working with qualitative and quantitative System Dynamics-related work. Get guidance and learn more about the Journal here.

“This is a peer-reviewed journal where editors and reviewers provide constructive criticism for authors.” Andreas Größler

Andreas Größler is a full professor at the Operations Management Department at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, teaching in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Andreas is the Executive Editor of the System Dynamics Review and holds several other leading positions in academic associations, including in the European Operations Management Association, the System Dynamics Society, and the Society for Business and Social Cybernetics. His research focuses on operations strategy, behavioral operations management, and System Dynamics.


Questions answered by Andreas 

1. Do you have any tips for qualitative model papers?

“Qualitative” papers are welcome (as also indicated by an upcoming special issue on the topic) but should follow the same rigor as papers applying quantitative models (regarding argumentation, documentation, and the like).

2. If I am intending to submit a research paper to the upcoming International System Dynamics Conference, but also considering publishing it in the System Dynamics Review (maybe 1-2 months later, and with a few improvements), what is the recommended procedure?

Papers submitted to apply for the conference are not public, so no problem here. After the conference, you’ll be asked to put your paper in the conference record. If you intend to submit your paper to any journal (including the System Dynamics Review), I suggest uploading an extended abstract or a clearly abbreviated version of the paper only.

3. Can the submitted paper only include a Causal loop diagram and be considered for publication in the System Dynamics Review?

In principle, yes but see my comment about qualitative papers above.

4. In the past, the System Dynamics Review seemed less interested in practitioner perspectives, insisting on well-researched and citation-rich submissions. Has that changed?

We do encourage the submission by practitioners. But also for these papers, we would clearly like to see the novelty and quality that we require for academic papers. However, there’s no such thing as a minimum number of citations, for example.

5. How long will it take to publish a journal in the System Dynamics Review? (reviewers to review, getting feedback)

This depends a lot on the topic and the work of the reviewers (but also on the authors’ turn-around time for revisions). I would guess, half a year is a minimum, maybe with some exceptions for “fast track” papers.

6. I’ve been a practitioner of System Dynamics in supply chain management for a few years and modeled many inventory and replenishment policies but I think it’s hard to propose a brand new methodology in terms of academic development. What would be the criteria in terms of publications in his view?

You don’t need to propose a methodological innovation but, for instance, need to clarify how your policies are “better” than those usually discussed in SCM, or how you can do something with System Dynamics that usually isn’t done in SCM.

7. When you say it needs to be about System Dynamics, it doesn’t mean it needs to be a “methods paper” on System Dynamics, right? (So the scope is any paper using System Dynamics as a methodology?)

Yes, correct, it doesn’t need to be a paper about the System Dynamics methodology but it should use it in another domain.

8. If a paper is rejected, and we decide to do a major revision on our own, can we attempt re-submitting it?

Sure. Technically, it will be a completely new submission. Anyhow, might be good to indicate that it was submitted before and what was changed.

9. Is there any template we can use?

No. We are quite flexible when it comes to the formatting of the initial submission (exact formatting can come later). However, this doesn’t mean it can be full of typos, unclear references, etc.

10. If our paper is accepted, can we also submit it to another journal as well in an unrelated field?

No, not the exact same paper as it might be considered plagiarism. But you might consider writing two papers based on one research project.

11. It would be great to see some examples of practitioner papers that the System Dynamics Review has previously published – any chance that could be put together and sent out as an email or something? The discussion around practitioner papers always ends up sounding very vague

Well, there is no general answer, unfortunately. We had some quite practice-oriented papers about online modeling sessions recently, for example. Homer’s 2019 paper about best practices in System Dynamics modeling might be another good example.

12. The submission system states that main articles should be approximately 5,000 words (some years before, we were asked to resubmit below this limit). In your presentation, you have mentioned that it should be less than 10,000 words. Could you kindly clarify better about the article limit?

We are currently overhauling the information about paper types. Please remember that I said, the shorter it is the more likely a paper will be accepted.

13. What is the System Dynamics Review publication frequency?

Four times a year (every quarter) but accepted papers are published online continuously.

14. Other than the length, what is the difference between notes and insights vs the main paper?

Main article: clearly explaining a novel phenomenon; N&I: often a descriptive account, without the intention to explain fully.

15. Architecture is a specific area and discipline, but there is no topic for this except the Urban category. Is it a chance or not for publishing in a journal and also in a conference presentation?

Yes, why not, no general restrictions.

16. What do we know about the spread/balance of topic areas published, also the geographical and discipline mix of authors?

In principle, quite widespread. The System Dynamics Review is listed in the “Management” and “Social Sciences/Mathematical Models” journal categories; this should give an indication.

17. In which quartile is the System Dynamics Review currently?

The first issue of 2022 should be published these days.

18. “2022 Qualitative aspects” – could you send a link to the call, please?

The deadline has passed for initial abstracts. Nevertheless, you can always submit your work on a regular issue.

19. Is there a maximum length that a paper definitely should not exceed?

Papers tend to grow during the review process. So, please do not exceed the limit already for the initial submission.

20. Do you prefer active or passive voice?

Well, active but don’t try to slavishly change your text.

21. What are the parts of the paper that need to be completed before submitting? Abstract plus Introduction or it is necessary to have the complete paper and models?

For the System Dynamics Review, you need a complete submission.

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The Society Seminar Series consists of periodic online meetings on topics of interest to the systems thinking and System Dynamics communities. These virtual activities cover a wide range of topics that cross many domains while bringing together academics, practitioners, and students together for learning and lively discussion. Send your seminar proposal here

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