Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The journal of space syntax is a peer-reviewed, open access academic journal focused on research investigating relations between society and space. While grounded in the research field known as space syntax, from which the journal draws its name, the journal considers its field of inquiry in a broad sense and invites articles of a wide range of theories, approaches and methods addressing its broader scope. The journal accepts both quantitative and qualitative research, empirical, theoretical, methodological and other kinds of articles, where the inclusion is based on the quality of the contribution and its relevance for the journal's scope.

Thematically, the journal accepts regular research articles as well as articles on education, practice, software, method development, and many other kinds of articles. The journal encourages a variety of themes and topics ranging from architecture to geography, the smaller scale of local places or small buildings up to the larger scales of cities, regions and beyond. Articles on relations between space and use, interpretation, meaning, practice, culture, and any other conception of how space and society interrelates are welcome, where choice of section should be based on rigour of research, depth of investigation, thoroughness of contextualisation, and type of contribution. All topics and themes are therefore possible to all sections, providing they meet the high quality standards expected by the journal for each section.


Section Policies

Full Article

Full articles will normally describe previously unpublished, original and potentially significant research, or present important new data or case studies, or shed fresh light upon an established subject. The article can concern theory, methodology, empirical research, conceptual development, or many other questions, characterized by providing a rigorous article with substantial contributions to the journal’s field of investigation. Empirically, topics may range from an in-depth study of a single space, place or building to the analysis of entire towns, cities, landscapes or regions and the narrative may shed light on the past, inform the present or shape the future. The author/s need not use space syntax theories or methods directly in their research, rather, the criteria is whether the subject matter is of interest to the journal readership. The account should be reasoned, coherent, logical and well organised, and should conform to the academic principles of rigour, precision, economy and replicability. The journal accepts contributions using both qualitative and quantitative methods, and a wide range of different analytical and interpretative research. The paper should be written in the active voice, the third person and the past tense, except when presenting generally accepted facts. Gender-neutral language should be adopted. Contributions should be clearly describing the background to and purpose of the research, the main research question or hypothesis, provide account of the actual research that was conducted, and key findings or results should be spelled out, together with any important conclusions or further questions that arose out of the research. Papers submitted to this section of the journal should normally be between 6000 and 8000 words long. See also Instructions for Authors.

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Short Article

Short articles will normally describe previously unpublished, original and potentially significant work. Short articles can cover the same range of issues and types of articles as full articles, but can be more experimental or explorative, or characterised as reporting and reflecting articles on conducted work.
Short articles can for instance be on approaches to research methodology or innovative software developments, descriptive articles on design work either as unbuilt competition entries, design proposals, or recently completed, fully realized and built projects. They can also be on pedagogical approaches and educational research. What characterizes short articles is that they take a more descriptive, reporting character and can focus the contextualization of the knowledge presented to more narrowly and specifically concern that which is addressed. They can furthermore be characterized by presenting methods and software, pedagogical approaches, or design work that is yet to be fully tested empirically or otherwise. Papers should still be rigorously written and presented, clearly describing the research question and the case—whether it is a piece of software, a methodology, a design work, a pedagogical approach, or any other issue—clearly present the knowledge context and similarities and difference to other work, the theoretical basis of the work, findings and conclusions. A short article in the Journal of Space Syntax will be rigourously peer-review and academic standards will be upheld just as for full articles, while having a higher acceptance for preliminary, development and experimental work or design-focused contributions. Papers submitted to this section of the journal should normally be between 3000 and 5000 words long. See also Instructions for Authors.

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The Forum is an arena that gathers together written pieces with personal opinions, points of view and considered reflections on the state of the field, responses to previously-published papers and rejoinders that rebut or deny the assertions made in a previously-published response, and any other matters that are likely to be of interest to the space syntax community. Contributions to Forum should not usually exceed 1500 words. Forum articles are subject to editorial review and if deemed appropriate an additional double-blind review. See also Instructions for Authors.

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News articles are brief reports of news of interest for the journal readership. News are expected to hold academic significance and report on, for instance, events, new software, workshop results or similar that researchers seek to disseminate with the readership while not writing a paper. News articles should not exceed 800 words. News articles are subject to editorial review for relevance and quality, and will be published continuously as added articles to the latest issue up until ca. one month before the release of the next issue.

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Book Reviews

Book reviews should present and critically discuss books of relevance for the journal readership. Generally, a book review therefore always presents strong and weak points of a work, and contextualises the work in the overall field of inquiry of the journal. A book review submission is subject to editorial review, and it is advised to contact the editorial team in advance if planning to submit a review.

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JOSS Extended

JOSS Extended submissions are subject to similar rigorous peer-review as all other submission forms, but recognising the wide scope of the journal it is clear that there are valuable contributions that would not be suitable within the standard submission formats. Rather than creating a wide range of different submission formats, ‘JOSS Extended’ allows other types of articles to be submitted, where the length is not pre-defined. A submission to JOSS Extended will be evaluated so that character, length, and type of argument must follow from one another to provide a solid and qualitative whole, and is not a place to submit an article that just happened to be too long; editorial screening and decisions will be made on suitability on a case-by-case basis. JOSS Extended will be published in regular issues, but due to the format and process it may take longer between submission and publication. The primary submission format to JOSS remains the standard article formats, and JOSS Extended will be open only for submissions that for discernible reasons require deviation from these formats.

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Peer Review Process

The journal of space syntax practices a double-blind review process for all articles, and editorial review for forum, news, and book review contributions. The double-blind reviews are conducted by experts in the field, and the journal consistently recruits reviewers to ensure that all contributions get a fair and high-quality peer-review for its theme, topic, type, and method. The Journal of Space Syntax strives to review papers that pass through double-blind review within two months of submission, but the review times may vary depending on how close to the next issue a submission is made.

JOSS Review Process
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1. The Journal of Space Syntax follows a standard procedure where a suggestion of a minor revision is reviewed by the editorial team and a major revision is sent on a renewed double-blind peer review. However, reviewers are given the option to suggest deviations from this: a reviewer can suggest major revisions, but consider the requested revisions to be of a kind the editorial team can review. A reviewer can also suggest minor revisions but request to receive the paper to review amendments. Generally, the Journal of Space Syntax requests revisions based on all reviewer comments. All papers pass through a final editorial review which is aimed at smaller editorial revisions or completions.

2. Copy-editing is always sent to the author to confirm or reject the copy-editor’s suggestions. In this process it is also possible that the editorial team will request additional material such as improved figures or clarified diagrams, etc.

3. Full lines represent the general case; for instance, the journal generally follows reviewers’ suggestions unless there are specific circumstances, or the editor considers the requested amendments to be either smaller or larger than the reviewers. If the author decides to submit a paper after a notification of rejection, the paper will be considered as a new submission; the initial screening will also make sure that such a resubmission holds revisions enough to be considered a new submission. Resubmitting a rejected paper with only some revisions will lead to immediate editorial rejection.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.


Publishing Plan

JOSS 8 – Models and Measures
Ever since the first publication carrying the name of ‘space syntax’ in Environment and Planning B in 1976 (Hillier at al.) how we describe and model the physical environment has been of central importance for space syntax research. A wide range of different models have been developed, tested, refined, and discussed, including convex space graphs, interface maps, e-, p- and s-partitions, axial lines, segments, isovists, VGA, justified graphs, continuity lines, and so on—and similarly, a wide range of measures have been applied and developed in order to analyse the resulting graphs. But, models have not solely been subject to mathematical analysis; indeed, qualitative discussions of graphs as well as theoretical discussions of what they might represent or capture have been a notable strength of the field. Joss has had theme issues treating various aspects of the subject, such as 5(1) Models and diagrams in architectural design, 3(2) Methodological developments, and volume 4 on Urban Challenges, in addition to a continuous publication of articles addressing these questions.

JOSS 8(1): Models and Measures in Architecture and Geography
Continuing this tradition, JOSS 8 will focus on models and measures, and the first issue (8:1) will focus on the theme models and measures in architecture, geography and planning research, acknowledging the strong tradition within the field as well as in other fields, but also recognising the need to continuously refine, revisit, challenge, and develop all aspects of modelling and/or measuring built form. But models and measures are not restricted to built form: diagramming, modelling, measuring, and otherwise analysing other phenomena are arguably of equal importance for interpretation, analysis, conceptualisation and theorisation of research findings and research challenges.

Target publication: September-October 2019

JOSS 8(2): Models and Measures of Space and Society
Continuing this tradition, JOSS 8 will focus on models and measures, and where the issue (8:1) focus on the theme models and measures in architecture, geography and planning research, the issue 8:2 shifts the focus slightly to models and measures of space and society. Again, we acknowledge the strong tradition within the field as well as in other fields, while recognising the need to continuously refine, revisit, challenge, and develop all aspects of modelling and/or measuring.

Paper deadline: November 30 2019
Target publication: April-May 2020

JOSS 9: Refining the Social
Space syntax as a theory and research field has from its outset concerned relations between spatial and social practices and organisations, where both aspects have been considered intrinsically interconnected. Or, as stated in the Social Logic of Space, if there is a relation between space and society, it is because society is intrinsically spatial (and vice versa). JOSS Volume 9 focuses on the ‘social’ side of this aspect, challenging researchers and practitioners to refine, challenge, and develop the ideas and models through which we make spatial analysis relevant and informative for queries regarding the social.

‘The social’ here, as in syntax research, covers a wide range from collective to individual, from social processes to cognition, from use to experience, from individual action to social structures, from ecologies of practice to urban economies, and so forth—in as far as these can be separated. The call claims that the field simultaneously have continuously sharpened the means of describing and discussing these aspects and face a situation where, to an extent, the refinements, variations, and precision in the spatial descriptions outmatch those of ‘the social’ on both theoretical and methodological levels. This is not a claim that there is lack of quality work on the topic—on the contrary, the reason JOSS 9 can focus on the question is the extent and quality of work on the subject positioning the field ready to re-address and refine concepts, approaches, methods and theories in new and important ways.

9(1): Advancing theory and method
The first issue of JOSS 9 focuses on methodological and theoretical advances concerning describing the social and relating it to the spatial, novel findings of under-studied phenomena, or new results challenging earlier expectations. The issue challenges the field to further interrelate methods, findings, and theories addressing architecture and geography as well as buildings and urbanity in how they interrelate or differ, and how this conditions and challenges explanatory models, interpretations, and research questions.

Full call: September 30 2019
Paper Deadline April 30 2020
Target publication: October 2020

9(2): Individuals and collectives in spatial configurations
JOSS 9(2) continues interrogating ‘the social’ as begun in JOSS 9(1) but focuses more consistently on discussions concerning how individuals and/or collectives relate to, perceive, arrange, experience, inhabit, or otherwise form practices in and of space. Authors are here tasked to address either side specifically (individual, collective) or the interrelations, mechanisms, and processes connecting the two. How does individual movement relate to movement flows? How does individual perception relate to societal formations of space? How do collective processes and negotiations relate to formations of subjects and individuals, individual practices, or specific behaviours? And not to forget—what is the role of and effects on space and spatial configurations in such queries, and is there a further need for differentiated theories and methods?

Full call: April 15 2020
Paper Deadline November 30 2020
Target publication: April-May 2021

JOSS 10: Anniversary volume
JOSS 10, being the 10th volume of the journal, will focus on the dual challenge of presenting a retrospect and a future of the field, where gathering and discussing the knowledge produced and from there identifying towards what directions the field could or should go are key questions. This may include unresolved questions, new challenges, refinements of methods and theory, or other types of challenges, but emphasis will be put on how trajectories of research extend back into the field’s (and neighbouring fields’) history and forward into the future. As the earlier volumes it will consists of two thematically linked issues given a differentiated emphasis, where the differentiation will be clarified with the call for 10(1) at the latest.

JOSS 10(1) Anniversary issue 1
Full call: October 31 2020
Paper Deadline: April 30 2021
Target publication: October 2021

JOSS 10(2) Anniversary issue 2
Full Call: April 30 2021
Paper Deadline: October 30 2021
Target publication: April-May 2022


ISSN: 2044-7507