by Sarah Bird
26th April 2021

The 21st century world faces interlocking challenges that are complex, pressing, and wide-ranging: from climate change and pandemic to inequality, poverty, and hunger. While the future is not actually knowable it can be conceptualised and shaped, and there are many individuals and groups around the world working to reimagine society – in their communities, through their research and via policy and practice from diverse perspectives.

Can we, as a Press, help to render the possibilities intelligible – so that what can be imagined can also be brought about?

We are delighted to announce a major new open access publishing initiative to provide a platform for this vital work. The Global Social Challenges Journal is a new, interdisciplinary, non-profit open access journal, with a mission to question, explore and navigate our way through the social aspects of the challenges that face us. The initial Call for Papers is now live.

Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the University of Bristol said:

‘I’m proud to see Bristol University Press launching this important new journal, which promises to address the most urgent complexities of global social challenges by drawing together accessible international scholarship across the disciplines to inform policy and practice.’

The Global Social Challenges Journal will be:

The journal will facilitate thinking about futures that are socially and environmentally just and regenerative.

Inter-, Trans- and Multidisciplinary
We believe that the challenges we face can be better explored together rather than separately; there is a need to break down the barriers that divide academics from one another, via the ways in which disciplines are organised, and also from policy makers, practitioners, civil society organisations and groups, and the wider public. The Global Social Challenges Journal will be rooted in the social sciences but will make connections across a wide range of fields including humanities, arts and sciences.

We will welcome and encourage contributions from researchers and practitioners at all career stages from around the world. The editorial team is drawn from across the global north and south and we want the journal to be truly representative of all perspectives.

Critical and evidence-based
The journal will welcome thoughtful and evidence-based contributions from a wide range of theoretical standpoints. It will work to include marginalised, minority and indigenous world views, and to publish work that acknowledges past injustices.

Open Access
All content will be free to access, and we will offer discounts and waivers on Article Processing Charges for those without funding and from low- and middle-income countries.

Responsive to the Sustainable Development Goals
The journal will publish under 16 themes, mapping directly onto the SDGs.

Suitable for publishing traditional and non-traditional outputs
We will offer a range of different formats – with research articles and other shorter topical pieces published alongside video, podcast and blog content.

All our research articles will be accompanied by clearly written short summaries, and we will publish policy papers. We hope to foster dialogue between academics, policymakers, thought leaders, NGOs, practitioners, and the public.

A community
We hope to build a creative network of researchers, public intellectuals and those working through politics, policy and practice who are looking for new ways to collaborate and bring about change.

Importantly, as with all our publishing at Bristol University Press, we operate a non-profit business model.

We will offer comprehensive editorial support to our contributors throughout the submission, review and publication process.

As one of our Editors-in-Chief, Professor Sue Scott, says:

We aim to develop an exciting, challenging and informative space and to encourage and support our contributors and to engage with our readers in the production and utilisation of knowledge for the greater good.

BUP has worked in partnership with academic colleagues from a range of disciplines at the University of Bristol, who have steered the journal’s development and provided invaluable input throughout.

The first content will be published online in 2022. Click here for further information, including the Call for Papers, and sign up to our mailing list to be kept up to date on the latest news about the journal and join our community of readers and writers.

Global Social Challenges Journal banner


Sarah Bird is Managing Editor for the Global Social Challenges Journal.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blog post authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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Image credit: Tim Shepherd on Unsplash