Our Model

We are working to change the way in which knowledge is valued. We measure quality by a criterion-based peer-review process, assessing the intellectual excellence and accessibility of the work against clearly articulated disciplinary standards.

Anonymous Review

Our approach to peer review seeks to be inclusive, founded on the most rigorous and merit-based anonymous peer-review processes. What makes us different is that those who write for the On Sustainability Journal Collection and present at the International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability also serve as peer reviewers, creating a sustainable cycle of high-quality feedback. Reviewers are assigned on the basis of subject matter and disciplinary expertise. Ranking is based on clearly articulated criteria. The result is a peer-review process that is scrupulously fair in its assessments and at the same time offers a carefully structured and constructive contribution to the shape of the published article.

Intellectual Excellence

The result of our anonymous peer review is a publishing process that is without prejudice to institutional affiliation, stage in career, national origins, or disciplinary perspective. If the article is excellent, and has been systematically and independently assessed as such, it will be published. This is why the On Sustainability Journal Collection is filled with exciting new material. While many articles originate from well-known research institutions, a considerable amount of brilliantly insightful and innovative material is contributed by academics in lesser-known institutions in the developing world, emerging researchers, people working in hard-to-classify interdisciplinary spaces, and researchers in liberal arts colleges and teaching universities. Each year a top ranked article from the On Sustainability Journal Collection receives the International Award for Excellence.


We believe there are limitations both in high-cost commercial publishing and open access publishing models without professional publishing support infrastructure. At Common Ground, we are working to develop a low-cost commercial approach to academic publishing that supports a professional publishing staff. Our desire is to find a practical middle ground between the idealism of open access and the inefficiencies and high-costs of the big journal publishers. This is the basis of our Hybrid Open Access initiative. Meanwhile, we ensure that subscriber content remains highly accessible through modest subscription charges for libraries and a small per-article charge for electronic access by non-subscribers. We also make all of our journals available in both print and electronic formats, and make new content available online as soon as it is ready for publication.

Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement

Common Ground takes intellectual integrity very seriously. The publisher, editors, reviewers, and authors all agree upon the following standards of expected ethical behavior, which are based on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Codes of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines.

Duties of Publisher

Publication Decisions
Common Ground’s editorial team, in consultation with the journal or journal collection's editor(s), is responsible for deciding which submitted articles should be published. The editorial team may confer with the journal editor and will strongly consider peer reviewers' comments and recommendations as part of this decision-making process.

Fair Play
Submitted articles will be evaluated according to their intellectual merit, without regard to the race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnic origin, citizenship, political philosophy, or institutional affiliation of the author(s).

Editorial staff will not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, or other editorial advisors.

Disclosures of Conflicts of Interest
Unpublished material must not be used in an editor's own research without the written consent of the author.

Duties of Reviewers

Contribution to Editorial Decisions
Recommendations by peer reviewers are the single most important determining factor in whether a manuscript is accepted for publication. They may also help the author improve a manuscript that has been accepted pending revisions.

Peer reviewers are asked to complete their reviews within two weeks of receiving a refereeing assignment. If they cannot complete the report within two weeks, they may ask for an extension. If a peer reviewer feels unqualified to review a particular manuscript, he or she may notify a member of Common Ground’s editorial team to be excused from the assignment.

Any manuscript received for review will be treated as confidential. It must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by Common Ground’s editorial team.

Standards of Objectivity
Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.

Acknowledgment of Sources
Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Reports of statements, observations, or arguments that have been noted elsewhere should be accompanied by a relevant citation. A reviewer should also call the editor's attention to any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.

Disclosure and Conflict of Interest
Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not be used for personal benefit. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, our institutions connected to the papers under review.

Duties of Authors

Reporting Standards
Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed, as well as an objective discussion of its significance.

Data Access and Retention
Authors are asked to provide the raw data in connection with the paper for editorial review, and should be prepared to provide public access to such data, whenever possible. In any event, authors should be prepared to retain such data for a reasonable amount of time after publication.

Originality and Plagiarism
The authors should ensure that they have written entirely original work, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others that this has been appropriately cited or quoted. Articles found to have plagiarized material will be withdrawn from publication consideration. If plagiarism is found after an article is published, the publisher will contact the author for a response to the allegations. In cases of proven plagiarism or non-response/non-adequate response, the offending paper will be retracted and a statement from the publisher will be inserted in its place in the relevant journal issue.

Multiple, Redundant, or Concurrent Publication
Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behavior and it is unacceptable. Manuscripts must only be peer reviewed by a one journal at a time. Common Ground will consider publishing articles that have been published elsewhere previously, provided that they have undergone substantial revision or reworking. In such cases, 70% of the article must consist of new or significantly revised material.

Acknowledgment of Sources
Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work.

Authorship of the Paper
Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who participated in certain substantial aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged are listed as contributors. The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included on the paper, and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and agreed to its submission for publication.

Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest
All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of the manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.

Fundamental Errors in Published Works
When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his or her own published work, it is the author's obligation to promptly notify the publisher and cooperate with Common Ground’s editorial team to correct or retract the paper.