Aims and Scope

Community Science is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal that publishes articles on community science, articles that describe the results of community science, and articles that present scientific findings that are useful for community science.  “Community science” refers to transdisciplinary science including social and public health science that is conducted in partnership with communities and is intended to address community challenges while contributing to scientific theory and methodology.   

Community Science encourages contributions across scientific disciplines and is particularly interested in work that is relevant to -- or the product of -- multiple disciplines. Submissions should generally speak to more than one scientific discipline or build bridges from a single scientific discipline toward multiple scientific disciplines.  

All contributions to Community Science should include a community perspective or respond to well-demonstrated community priority and explain the benefits of the study to that community.  We strongly encourage contributions authored by or with community leaders and community members. The work represented must have been ethically conducted without any conflict of interest or negative impacts on the community.

To support open-access publication and publications led by communities, Community Science asks researchers whose institutions or grants cover open-access author publication charges to pay a modest publication fee (or APC, article publication charge). 

Articles submitted to Community Science will be reviewed for scientific integrity, community leadership or co-leadership, ethical community engagement, community participation and outcomes, and contributions to science. Submissions will generally be reviewed by both scientists and community leaders before being accepted. All articles should follow leading authorship guidelines, have community leadership or co-leadership, approval of all authors to be listed, and include an abstract, plain-language summary, and references. Further information is provided on the journal submission site. 

The journal welcomes a range of academic style articles, review articles,  and commentaries. All contributions should be accessible and meaningful to people from a wide range of professional, educational, and cultural backgrounds. 

Community Voice Requirements

Authorship. Authorship on a scientific peer-reviewed publication provides some individuals with needed career "currency," including early career scientists and academics. Peer-reviewed article authorship may be viewed as an asset or as  less relevant, irrelevant or even a burden to those whose career and life path do not depend on this mode of communication as evidence of success. The inclusion of community members as authors is strongly encouraged when appropriate.


Inclusion of Community Representation and Voice. Articles in Community Science are required to include and describe authentic community representation and voice. To elevate and celebrate the unique and central role of community members, organizations or (local) government officials in community science, Community Science invites authors to consider including as many of the following as are appropriate given the work and manuscript type submitted. Note that if community members are not authors, alternative forms of representation are required

  1. Authorship to individuals performing one or more of the roles listed below. Note that organizations or participant avatars (e.g., GardenRoots Participants) may be listed as authors.
  2. Naming of community members, partners and organizations in the Acknowledgments.
  3. Explicit mention of the community(ies), organizations or projects/programs in the Abstract or Keywords so that they are searchable under the topic field.
  4. Inclusion of a description of the community(ies), which may include a map for geographically-defined communities, either in the Methods section, or as a stand-alone section - Community Description - between the Introduction and the Methods.
  5. Inclusion of a Roles Statement at the end of the manuscript and preceding the Acknowledgments, indicating who is responsible for what aspects of the work, which may include but not be limited to:
  • Conceptualization
  • Data curation
  • Facilitation (of meetings, workshops, etc.)
  • Community organization and facilitation of data collection
  • Providing training and support 
  • Formal analysis
  • Funding acquisition
  • Investigation
  • Liaison (e.g., between community and scientist)
  • Methodology
  • Project administration
  • Resources
  • Software
  • Supervision
  • Validation
  • Visualization
  • Writing – original draft
  • Writing – review & editing
  1. Inclusion of quantitative and qualitative data/information summarizing community thought, uptake of work products, change or impact, and where community members are clearly involved as partners in the work rather than subjects of the work.
  2. Inclusion of a stand-alone manuscript section - Community Impact - situated between the Results and the Discussion, which could include both how the community has advanced scientific understanding as well as how the work of the project has affected the community.
  3. Direct representation of community voice and opinion in the Results and/or Discussion; for instance, in quotes.


Accessibility Requirements

All articles published in Community Science must include a plain language summary written expressly to communicate:

  • the context of the work specific to community, and to science
  • the problem statement
  • the methods, or approach taken to accomplish the work
  • the findings, or main results of the work
  • the impacts, or importance of the findings to community and to science

Plain language summaries are written for a broad audience, in a style that is approachable, clear, and readily accessible. Please avoid unnecessary technical or discipline-specific language.

Article Types

Editorials. Editorials are thought-provoking essays providing guidance, inspiration, vision, and direction to the practice of science in, with, for and by communities.
800-1,000 words; 1 figure or image (optional); maximum of 10 references. 


What I Know (a type of Editorial). Essays from boundary spanners: two-eyed seers with a foot in both worlds (community and mainstream science) discussing what actually happens on-the-ground when boundary spanners help weave together a braided path of Indigenous, traditional or local with Western or mainstream. Ideally, essays are focused on a particular story, project, problem or event, and can be about success; but could also be about failure. 

750-1,500 words; may include a relevant figure; does not require references and may include up to 10.


Commentaries. Short, timely discussions of when, why, where and how people participate in and create science, with a particular focus on impacts on and by communities.  

1,000-2,000 words; up to 2 relevant figures or images; maximum of 15 references.


Research Articles. Papers on the continuum from discovery science (new knowledge) to actionable science (application of knowledge to explore solutions), and ranging widely across disciplines. Projects at all scales are welcome as long as they clearly document active community participation. Sections include: abstract, introduction, community description (optional), methods, results, community impact (optional), discussion, conclusion (optional), roles statement, acknowledgments. 

Two categories of research articles, based on depth of work, include: short articles (up to 3,000 words, 2 relevant figures or tables, maximum of 20 references); long articles (up to 8,000 words, 6 relevant figures or tables, maximum of 50 references).

Review Articles: Broader experience and/or literature-based overviews of community science projects and practices. Review articles assess the state of knowledge within a particular facet of community science and public participation in and creation of science more broadly. Meta-analyses are a type of review that collates and synthesizes existing studies to produce emergent results. Both may rely on peer-reviewed literature, gray literature, and other curated sources of community science data. 
Up to 10,000 words, 6 relevant figures or tables, maximum of 100 references. Meta-analyses must provide links or other pointers to all data sources.


Additional Materials

In addition to an article submission, additional materials can be submitted, and/or pointed to:

Supporting Information: Any information needed to provide additional context for the methodological approach and/or science findings. Note that the main paper must be fully understandable without reference to supporting information Thus, supporting information relies on the main paper to provide context; it cannot stand on its own.  

Complementary Materials: Any information or presentation that provides additional and complementary ways of knowing the work, with a special focus on community voice. Unlike supplementary materials, complementary materials can stand alone as a complete narrative, description, or resource. The Community Science Exchange Hub houses all complementary materials attached to articles in Community Science. See the Community Science Exchange for further information about submission procedures.