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World Futures Review
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World Futures Review


Editor
James Allen Dator University of Hawaii, USA
Associate Editor
Aubrey Yee University of Hawaii, USA


eISSN: 21692793 | ISSN: 19467567 | Current volume: 9 | Current issue: 4 Frequency: Quarterly

WFR seeks to encourage and facilitate communication among researchers and practitioners in all related fields and from all geographic, social, political, and economic sectors. It is also intended to promote public understanding and education in the methods and use of futures research. The concern of the editors is thus not only with specific techniques and planning tools; we also wish to include analyses of the role of futures research in the larger context of decision-making.

In addition to full-length articles, WFR will publish, from time to time, responsible reactions to articles and the ideas presented in them; short notices from Editorial Board members; news items; reprints of pertinent classic papers; interviews with prominent futurists, and abstracts or more detailed reviews of selected new books and reports. Because it is not always possible to present all viewpoints within the confines of a single issue, we rely upon WFR readers to provide the necessary balance through their responses to controversial or one-sided material.

In brief, it is our intention that this journal shall provide a forum for all who are professionally involved with the theory, methodology, practice, and use of futures research.

This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Statement of focus of the World Futures Review for writers and readers.

We intend WFR to be the source for information about futures studies as an academic and applied discipline. When people want to know about what futures studies is, in all its many and diverse parts, we want them to turn to WFR.

That is, what distinguishes WFR from other futures journals is that (as a rule) it will not have articles about “the future” or “the futures of x”, but rather about futures studies as an academic and applied discipline—the roots of futures studies, the basic concepts, theories, and methods, how it has changed over time, its present state, alternative and preferred futures for futures studies itself.

We are especially interested in anything that identifies and problematizes the intellectual roots of futures studies, not only in terms of other futurists, but more generally: what scholars, schools of though, ideologies, cosmologies, ontologies, ethical concerns, social theories, methods, underlay what the early futurists thought and wrote? What now? What should underlie them?

Is there a common core of theory, methods, and substantive concerns—a “knowledge base”—that all, or most, futurists agree should be taught and applied?

What assumptions do futurists make about “time”? “Where” is the future? What is the role of human agency vs. other forces (such as technology, for example) in shaping the futures. I maintain that while it is impossible to “predict” the future, it is possible and necessary to forecast alternative futures and to envision, design and move towards preferred futures, on a continuing reflexive basis. Others may disagree and believe through increasingly powerful quantitative methods it is, or will soon be possible to predict even the most complex of social and environmental systems.

What is the role of language in shaping ideas about futures? Though people from many countries and cultures all over the world contributed to its birth, futures began as primarily being discussed on a global basis in French, Spanish, or especially English. Does this matter? I think so, and Ilhan Bae has already discussed how difficult it is to express certain English-language concepts about the future in East Asian languages. What about other languages? Is this important, or not?

When does “the present” end and “the future” begin? (When does the past end and the present begin, for that matter?) Do we need to divide futures into two sub-disciplines, one focusing “on the horizon”—short-run future—and the other on “over the horizon”—long-term futures? That distinction seems important to many practicing futurists and their clients who often prefer very short horizons that are nonetheless longer than those typically considered by “planners.” Indeed, what are the differences between futures and long-range planning? Should futures studies focus primarily on the short run or the long run, or both? Or is the distinction simply a confounding illusion; ideas about the futures are nothing but ideas in the present about something that doesn’t exist, called “the future”.

What ethical obligations do consulting futurists have towards their clients who may act on the advice of futurists and fail, or succeed in unexpected and undesirable ways? Are there ethical or other concerns about doing proprietary research for a client who uses the secret information in ways detrimental to the common good? Is it OK for certain people or institutions to “colonize the future”? Do futurists need a “code of ethics”? There is not one now.

Or do we even need futures studies as an academic and/or applied discipline at all? Aren’t all humans futurists by biology? Are some people “better” futurists than others? Should applied futurists professionalize, establishing standards of both education and performance, or can anyone, as now, call themselves a futurist (or whatever other term they want) with no standards or formalization?

What is the preferred name of the field? Is “futures studies” best, or not? What about futures research, simply “futures” (analogous with “history”), futurology, futuristics, foresight, forecasting, anticipation, strategic design, etc.?

These are the sorts of issues WFR will focus on. Not on “the future” in general, nor on the future of some particular place or institution, but on futures studies itself, as an academic discipline and as a practical, consulting activity.

Thus, as a rule, manuscripts submitted for consideration in WFR should (1) discuss the theoretical, philosophical, ethical, academic bases of futures work, (2) demonstrate how these bases are exemplified in applied futures work, such as research, publications, teaching, and consulting, and (3) point the way for the preferred futures of futures studies.

None of this is meant to suggest that there has been no prior interest in these subjects. To the contrary, they existed from the beginning of the field, and have been discussed from time to time in each of the major futures journals. But WFR will be the first journal to focus on futures studies per se, and in both its academic and applied aspects.

If you wish to submit a manuscript for consideration, please write it in the Chicago author-date reference style, and submit it to: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/wfr

We prefer manuscripts of about 6,000 words, but those longer or shorter will also be considered.

Jim Dator
Editor, World Futures Review

Editorial Board
Antonio Alonso-Concheiro Analitica Consultores, Mexico
Guillermina Baena Paz National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico
Wendell Bell Yale University, USA
Guillermina Benavides Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico
Clement Bezold Institute for Alternative Futures, USA
Peter Bishop University of Houston, USA
Marcus Bussey University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
Stuart Candy OCAD University, Canada
Kua-Hua Chen Tamkang University, Taiwan
Andrew Curry The Futures Company, UK
Hugues de Jouvenel Futuribles, France
Jake Dunagan Design Futures, US, USA
Jay E. Gary Oral Roberts University, USA
Tamás Gáspár Budapest Business School, Hungary
Jennifer Gidley President, World Futures Studies Federation, Australia
Jerome C. Glenn The Millennium Project, USA
Fabienne Goux-Baudiment proGective, France
Sirkka Heinonen University of Turku, Finland
Andy Hines  
Kwang Hyung Lee Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology, South Korea
Sohail Inayatullah Tamkang University, Taiwan
Lane Jennings Former Managing Editor of World Future Review
Timothy C. Mack AAI Foresight, US, USA
Riel Miller UNESCO, France
Ruben Nelson Foresight Canada, Canada
Ryota Ono Aichi University, Japan
Ziauddin Sardar East West University, US, USA
Wendy L. Schultz Infinite Futures, UK
Richard Slaughter Foresight International, Australia
David Pearce Snyder The Snyder Family Enterprise, USA
Mei-Mei Song Tamkang University, Taiwan
Petri Tapio University of Turku, Finland
Victor Vahidi Motti Vahid Think Tank, Iran
Ian Yeoman Victoria University at Wellington, New Zealand
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  • Manuscript Submission Guidelines
    For World Futures Review

    The editors of World Futures Review invite manuscripts from contributors worldwide whose essays fall within the broad spectrum defined as “futures research.” This encompasses both an evolving philosophy and a range of specific techniques primarily aimed at assisting decision-makers to better understand the potential consequences of present and future decisions by developing images of alternative futures.

    We are especially seeking the following types of material:

    1. Methodological and conceptual papers regarding futures study techniques;

    2. Papers based on research, analysis, and modeling of presumed causes and potential developments affecting current social, economic or political conditions;

    3. Papers evaluating the actual outcomes achieved by government and corporate planning efforts and/or assessing the common practices of professional futurists;

    4. Papers about futures research practitioners (whether individual, corporate, or governmental) and their contributions to the art and science of futures research; and

    5. Scholarly reviews that compare past efforts at forecasting and/or depictions of future societies in fiction or popular media, with actual events and current trends.

    This is a journal primarily by and for professional futurists. But, because we seek to promote dialogue between communities of theoreticians, practitioners, and beneficiaries, assumptions as to the technical knowledge and sophistication of readers should be minimized. We urge contributors to avoid, or at least explain, any specialized terms or jargon not commonly used outside a specific discipline.

    We believe that “serious” futures study can fruitfully draw upon material created by writers and other artists whose primary aim was entertainment. Such works often have considerable impact on public perceptions and expectations of future life. However, to be useful to researchers exploring possible, probable, and preferable futures, we expect that speculative fiction will be examined with the same degree of critical thought applied to historical records and scientific papers. Our primary criteria for “good futures writing” are relevance and quality, and our overriding needs: clarity and simplicity of expression.

    All manuscripts are evaluated anonymously by at least two members of our editorial board and may be subject to minor editing to meet standards of our journal. Any substantive revisions will be returned to the author for approval prior to final acceptance.

    Articles should be submitted to http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/wfr, and should not normally exceed 6,000 words. Reference citations should be numbered in sequence, and placed after main text beginning on a separate page. Follow the Chicago Manual of Style (Author-Date Style)* regarding orthography and word usage.

    All manuscripts submitted should be Microsoft Word files. Illustrations, pictures and graphs should be supplied with a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Please note that color images will be published in color online and black and white in print (unless otherwise arranged); therefore, it is important that you supply images that are legible in black and white.

    *Chicago Manual of Style (15th Edition). For ex.,

    Crews, Drew W., Walter R. Gartska, Ming-Ho Yoo, R. J. Kalter, Bob J. C. Owen, Richard T. Doe Jr., and Xavier Zed. 1981. The physiology of the garter snake: An analysis. Scientific American 245: 158–59.

    Voet, D., and J. G. Voet, eds. 1990. Basic biochemistry, 3rd ed.New York: J. Wiley.

    For more detailed information see CMS, sec. 14.14

    If you or your funder wish your article to be freely available online to nonsubscribers immediately upon publication (gold open access), you can opt for it to be included in SAGE Choice, subject to the payment of a publication fee. The manuscript submission and peer review procedure is unchanged. On acceptance of your article, you will be asked to let SAGE know directly if you are choosing SAGE Choice. To check journal eligibility and the publication fee, please visit SAGE Choice. For more information on open access options and compliance at SAGE, including self/author archiving deposits (green open access) visit SAGE Publishing Policies on our Journal Author Gateway.

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