Call for Papers


To Scholars and Practitioners of Futures Studies Worldwide:

I am James A. Dator, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii. I am also Editor-in-Chief of the journal World Futures Review (WFR) published by Sage Publishing.


I invite active researchers of futures studies from non-Western cultures not only to contribute papers to WFR from their unique perspectives but also to become guest editors of special issues in their area of expertise. I am in particular interested in receiving manuscripts from the Middle East and North Africa—and the whole Muslim world. I also request manuscripts from researchers working in languages and civilizations such as Persian, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish, Eastern European, Japanese, Russian, Korean, African, and all the others that are often underrepresented in English-language journals.


WFR is published only in English now. However, if you feel that you do not have an adequate command of the English language to write a scholarly paper in that language, I invite you to write your manuscript in your own native language and then use Google Translate or some similar service to provide a draft machine translation in English of your work.


We have arranged with a professional editor to work with you, for a modest fee, until your manuscript becomes good enough in English to send to reviewers who will evaluate the manuscript for its content and suitability for publication in WFR.


However, it is very important that you understand that the WFR does not publish pieces “about the futures.”  There are many excellent journals that do that. Please send any manuscripts you have about the futures to them.

Instead, WFR publishes manuscripts that are about futures studies itself—ones that discuss the history, theories, methods, practices, and preferred futures of futures studies and of futurists themselves.

While futures studies began in the 1960s as a worldwide activity and exists in various forms everywhere in the world, it was based largely on a few Western languages and cultures. It still remains so, for the most part. However, WFR wishes to help expand the cosmological, epistemological, ontological, philosophical, ethical, moral, cultural and linguistic base of futures studies so that it better reflects the true intellectual diversity as well as unity of the world.

Thus, we are particularly interested in considering manuscripts that discuss issues such as the following:

—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 futures?

—Some futurists 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 disagree, and believe that 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? Futures began to be discussed on a global basis primarily in French, Spanish, or especially English.  Does this matter?  What do “time” and “the future” look like from the perspective of other languages and cultures? We are especially interested in receiving manuscripts that discuss this issue from the perspective of indigenous languages and cultures.

—When does “the present” end and “the future” begin? (When does the past end and the present begin, for that matter?) What ways are there to think about time other than “past, present, future(s),” and what difference does that make?

—Do we need to divide futures studies 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 decision-makers, including planners. Indeed, what are the differences between futures studies 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 acceptable for certain people or institutions to “colonize the future”? Do futurists need a “code of ethics”?


—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 is now done, 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? If not, what about the following: "futures research," simply “futures” (analogous with “history”), "futurology," "futuristics," "foresight," "forecasting," "anticipation," "strategic design," etc.?

—What is the relationship between the academic base of futures studies and the activities of practicing, professional futurists—people who earn their living by helping communities, companies and other institutions think more usefully about the futures?


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, publication, teaching, and consulting; and (3) point the way for the preferred futures of futures studies.

If you have any questions about the English editor, and the fee for her services, please contact:

If you wish to submit a manuscript for consideration, please write it in the Chicago author-date reference style, and submit it to


James A. Dator


World Futures Review








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