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Submissions Guidelines

Please note: Innovations is not accepting submissions at this time.

This section includes criteria for each category of articles, guidelines for authors, and instructions for how to submit proposed articles.

Criteria by Article Category

Lead Essays

These articles are authored by globally recognized thought leaders who present provocative or far reaching arguments concerning recommended courses of action for policymakers, philanthropists, and other major decision makers. Illustrative examples of lead essays published in Innovations include "Beyond Lending," co-authored by Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, the world's largest NGO; and "Social Innovators with a Business Case," co-authored by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Detailed guidelines for lead essays can be downloaded here.

Word Count: 2,500 to 5,000 word

Cases Authored by Innovators

Cases are authored or co-authored by the innovators themselves and combine on-the-ground innovative narrative—from ideas hatched to solve problems, to barriers overcome and the impact and unintended consequence of their work—with broader reflection of the wider social problem addressed through their innovations. Cases must describe the role of technology in the innovation; the social, political, and economic context for the work; and how the innovations may have influenced governance at the local, or national or even global scale. Illustrative examples include "Kiva and the Birth of Person-to-Person Microfinance" by Matt Flannery, founder of Kiva; and "Income Is Development: KickStart's Pumps Help Kenyan Farmers Transition to a Cash Economy," by Martin Fisher, founder of KickStart.

Detailed guidelines for case authors can be downloaded here.

Word count: 5,000 to 10,000 words

Case Discussions

For each Innovator-authored case (above), we present commentary by an academic discussant. The discussant highlights the aspects of the innovation that are analytically most interesting, have the most significant implications for policy, and/or best illustrate reciprocal relationships between technology and governance. Illustrative examples of Case Discussions include (lined to the above-referenced cases): "Kiva as a Test of Our 'Societal Creativity,'" by Robert Austin, Harvard Business School; and "Expanding Possibilities at the Base of the Pyramid," Case Discussions of KickStart, by Erik Simanis and Stuart Hart, Cornell University.

Authors are typically invited to write Case Discussions based on their expertise related to specfic Cases Authored by Innovators under development.

Word count: 2,500 to 5,000 words

Analysis Articles

These should be accessible, policy-relevant research articles that emphasize links between practice and policy—alternately, micro and macro scales of analysis. The development of meaningful indicators of the impact of innovations is an area of editorial emphasis. Illustrative examples of Analysis articles include: "Everyone a Changemaker" by Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka; and "Genome and Nation: Iceland's Health Care Sector Database and Its Legacy," by David Wineckoff, University of California, Berkeley.

Detailed guidelines for analysis articles can be downloaded here.

Word Count: 5,000 to 10,000 words

Perspective on Policy

Authors are expected to be recognized public actors whose articles address both success and failure of policy, informed by both empirical evidence and the experience of policy innnovators. The development of improved modes of governance to facilitate and support innovations in an area of editorial focus. Illustrative examples of Persepctives on Policy articles include: "The Next Innovation Revolution: Laying the Groundwork for the United States, " by James Turner, Chief Democratic Counsel on the House Science Committee; and "Will China Become a Science and Technology Superpower by 2020?" co-authored by Xue Lan, Tsinghua University, and Nancy Forbes, independent researcher and author.

Word Count: 5,000 to 10,000 words

Detailed guidelines for perspectives on policy can be downloaded here.


Readers are invited to comment on essays and papers published in previous issues of the journal.

Style Guidelines

  1. Grammar and punctuation rules should follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition.
  2. Submissions should be written, co-authored, or edited by a native English speaker or level thereof.
  3. Acronyms should also be spelled out when introduced.
  4. Avoid jargon
  5. Citations and reference rules should be placed as end notes only.

Submissions Process

Interested potential authors should first submit a short (less than 500 words) proposal summarizing: a) the proposed article's topic, argument, or if case, the innovation and its impact; b) the author's relevant credentials according to article category. Please do not submit full papers prior to invitation to do so by the editors.

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