Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The main editorial goal of the Journal of World-Systems Research is to develop and disseminate scholarly research on topics that are relevant to the analysis of world-systems. We especially want to include works that proceed from several different theoretical stances and disciplines. These include, but are not limited to, civilizationists, evolutionary approaches, international political economy, comparative, historical and cultural analysis. We seek the work of political scientists, historians, sociologists, ethnographers, archaeologists, economists and geographers.

We especially encourage works that take theory seriously by confronting problems of conceptualization and making definitions of concepts explicit, by formulating hypotheses, constructing axiomatic theories and causal models. Theoretical research programs that combine theory construction with comparative research are badly needed to take the world-systems approach beyond the stage of a perspective.

JWSR will consider studies that utilize a wide range of methods, including both qualitative and quantitative research. We also consider studies based on community based research (see Guidelines for Community Based Research). Any empirical study that is deemed relevant to world-systems analysis may be published even if it uses a very different conceptual framework.

And finally we also want to publish discussions of future trajectories and options for the modern world-system and considerations of what can be done to create a more humane, peaceful and just world society.

The purposes of JWSR are:

  • to produce a high quality publication of world-systems research articles
  • to publish quantitative and comparative research on world-systems
  • to publish works of theory construction and codification of causal propositions
  • to publish data sets in connection with articles
  • to publish reviews of books relevant to world-systems studies
  • to encourage authors to use the hypermedia advantages of electronic publication to present their research results.


Section Policies

Research Articles

  • Jackie Smith
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Book Reviews

JWSR does not accept unsolicited book reviews, but we do welcome queries and suggestions of possible books for review. JWSR will consider reviewing books published in languages other than English.

If you are a publisher or author with a book you’d like JWSR to review, please send a query to our book review editor, Jennifer Bair, at jlb5md@virginia.edu. If we decide to review the book, we will identify a reviewer and ask that the review copy be sent to him/her directly.

  • Jennifer Bair
  • Jackie Smith
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

World Historical Information

  • Patrick Manning
  • David Ruvolo
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Symposium: Populisms in the World-System

  • Jennifer Bair
  • David Ruvolo
  • Jackie Smith
Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Book Review Symposium: Counter-hegemony in the Current Conjuncture

  • Jennifer Bair
  • David Ruvolo
  • Jackie Smith
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

JWSR is an American Sociological Association refereed journal under the control of the Editor and the Editorial Board. The Associate Editors are consultants who help to procure and evaluate articles for publication. We follow a double-blind peer review process, and seek three external reviews from recognized experts for submissions that are deemed appropriate for our review process in terms of their content, quality, and form. Our main source of reviewers are JWSR editorial board members, members of the PEWS Section of the ASA, and scholars who have published in peer-reviewed journals on themes related to a paper's content. Revised and resubmitted manuscripts are also peer-reviewed, typically by at least one of the reviewers from the first round and possibly a new reviewer. We aim to provide a decision for authors within 12 weeks of submission.


Publication Frequency

The Journal of World-Systems Research publishes its two annual regular issues in February/March and in August/September. Occasional special issues may be issued at other times of the year.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content. Our publisher, the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh, abides by the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of Open Access:


“By “open access” to [peer-reviewed research literature], we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”

Researchers engage in discovery for the public good, yet because of cost barriers or use restrictions imposed by other publishers, research results are not available to the full community of potential users. It is our mission to support a greater global exchange of knowledge by making the research published in this journal open to the public and reusable under the terms of a Creative Commons CC-BY license.

Furthermore, we encourage authors to post their pre-publication manuscript in institutional repositories or on their Web sites prior to and during the submission process, and to post the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version after publication. These practices benefit authors with productive exchanges as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.


There are no article processing charges, submissions fees, or any other costs required of authors to submit articles to this journal.



This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...


Special Issues

The Journal of World-Systems Research (JWSR) welcomes special issues proposals on themes that fall within the scope of the journal. All proposals should be sent to jwsr@pitt.edu.


All proposals should contain the following information: title; purpose; scope; a list of prospective contributors; timetable (submission and review deadlines); and guest editor(s) address, phone, and email address. Once approved, the guest editor(s) will be fully responsible for the special issue and should follow JWSR formal review & production procedures.



Indicate the thematic focus of the issue and its connection with the editorial policy of the Journal of World-Systems Research

  • How does it advance existing research in the area?
  • Does it connect world-systems with other relevant areas of inquiry?
  • Does it apply world-systems analysis in a novel way or use it to address a contemporary empirical or theoretical puzzle?


In addition, if you can specify any of the following, this will help us work with you on assessing and expanding the potential audience for a special issue. We are constantly working to enhance publicity for the journal, and special editors can play a helpful role in this work.

  • Indicate any special features of the lineup of articles and authors that will appeal to readers of JWSR.
  • Indicate whether and how the special issue might expand JWSR’s appeal to new audiences.
  • Indicate whether and how the special issue might expand JWSR’s appeal to audiences outside the United States.

Contents & Time Frame

• Identify papers and authors for possible inclusion in the special issue, with a brief description of each paper. (These papers do not need to have been written at this time, although our assumption is that most will be based on work already in progress). Where a given author(s) has published extensively on a subject already, please indicate the new contribution to be made by the proposed paper;

• Indicate the time frame in which the special issue could be produced (paper writing, reviewing, submission of final copy) assuming the proposal is accepted.


A special issue should include between 4 and 7 articles, not including an introduction or conclusion by editors. Typical JWSR articles are between 9,000 and 12,000 words long (including abstract, appendices, tables etc). Proposals may include more papers than will be included in the eventual issue; this is so that the refereeing process can select the best papers for final inclusion in the issue and so that the schedule isn’t delayed by a particular contributor.


If more papers are accepted through the review process than can be accommodated in a special issue, they will be considered for possible publication in later regular issues of the journal.


Special issues typically include a short overview introduction that sets out the key research issues in the area concerned (with appropriate reference to existing literature) and summarizes the contributions of the special issue to furthering understanding of them.



Once the Editor has in principle accepted a proposal, it is the responsibility of the Guest Editor(s) to organize a double-blind reviewing process for all papers submitted for inclusion and deliver the submissions (formatted to conform to the style requirements of JWSR) to the journal within the agreed schedule.


Guest Editor(s) are responsible for managing the peer-review process for the papers. JWSR uses double blind peer review, and seeks 3 external reviews of each paper from appropriate reviewers with expertise in the field. A minimum of 2 positive external reviews is necessary before making decisions about whether to accept a paper for publication, and Guest Editor(s) will be requested to suggest qualified referees for each paper. The Editor may suggest additional reviewer(s). Guest editor(s) will manage the process of requesting that authors revise papers according to reviewers’ feedback and ensuring that revisions adequately account for reviewers’ critiques.



The Journal of World-Systems Research was launched in 1994 by our inaugural editor, Christopher Chase-Dunn. It was a pioneer in open access publishing, and is now among the most established open-access, peer reviewed scholarly journals. JWSR publishes work by some of the leading scholars in the field in addition to other high-quality research by less well-known and more junior scholars from a variety of disciplines. In 2008, the JWSR became the official journal of the American Sociological Association Section on Political Economy of the World-System, and it continues to be supported by PEWS Section members and readers.


Journal of World-Historical Information Archive

The Journal of World-Historical Information archive is available here.


Statement on Publishing Ethics

Adherence to ethical standards for the dissemination of research results is critical to the research process. Journal of World-Systems Research adheres to the Code of conduct and best practice guidelines of the Committee On Publication Ethics (COPE), the Code of Conduct of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).