Guide For Submitters

To begin the submission process, you must first Sign Up on the website.

As an open-access journal, Ground Works does not charge a subscription fee and is freely available for all readers.

Ground Works welcomes submissions that integrate research and practice in the fine, performing, and applied arts and design with other disciplines. You can find details on Calls for Submissions on the home page, and examples of successful projects can be found on the Journals page.

Submissions go through two stages before publication: a short Stage 1 Suitability Review and then a longer, more in-depth Stage 2 Project Review. Details on each stage can be found in their respective sections below.

Ground Works employs a 'single blind' review process. Both Stage 1 Editors and Stage 2 Reviewers remain anonymous, but the identities of the authors are known to the editorial staff. When submitting to the journal, there is no need to attempt to remove information about the author(s) or institutions referenced in the work.

Please read and understand the General Guidelines and Policies for Submission and Style Guide carefully before submission. Click below links to read more.

An overview of Ground Works Submissions

Ground Works welcomes submissions that integrate research and practice in the fine, performing, and applied arts and design with other disciplines. You can find details on Calls for Submissions on the home page.

Publication Criteria

Stage 1 looks at three basic criteria to assess a project’s fit with Ground Works:

  • The arts are essential to the project.
  • There is a dynamic and equitable exchange between the arts and other discipline(s).
  • The project has attained a level of maturity; it has received some external recognition.

Stage 2 review takes into account the following criteria as well:

  • Significance: the problem space matters, and merits an arts-integrated approach
  • Context: there is some understanding of the lineage of a project, and of relevant contemporary work.
  • Innovation: the project sets a precedent or poses a generative challenge to one or more fields.
  • Research process: the project is framed as research. Note that “research” has many definitions; see a2ru’s publications What Is Research? and What Is Arts Research?
  • Impact and contribution.

Note: These criteria may be different for Special Collections.

Review Process

  1. Suitability Review - New submissions are reviewed by Editors to check they fit the scope of the journal and showcase interesting interdisciplinary explorations. Submissions to this stage are brief, requiring only a short summary of the project, a statement of relevance, and appropriate links.
  2. Project Review - Projects that progress to the second stage are asked to provide a 1,000 word narrative and media for their project. This is examined by two external reviewers. Successful projects are included in our online compendium of projects and invited to contribute reflections and best practice on process.

You can see examples of successful Ground Works projects on our Journal page. Refer to the remainder of this document for detailed information about permissions, file formats, and more.

Ground Works Editors are happy to discuss submissions in any stage of development, even very early. Contact an Editor

Ground Works strives to make its content accessible to a broad general readership/viewership.

General Guidelines And Policies For Submission

Copyright and Creative Commons:

Authors of accepted articles assign to Ground Works the right to publish and distribute their work electronically, including publication on the web and in print formats, and to archive and make it permanently retrievable electronically. Authors retain their copyright interest in their work, however, so after their project has appeared in Ground Works, they may republish their text in any manner they wish—electronic or print—as long as they clearly acknowledge Ground Works as its original site of publication.
We ask authors to place on their work a Creative Commons license, which allows authors to declare what rights (if any) they are willing to grant to others to make use of their work. If no CC license is declared on the work, then the author(s) retain traditional copyright to their work except for the rights granted to journal to publish and archive as listed above. In all cases, the publication agreement with Ground Works supersedes any other licensing provided by the author(s) of the work.

Fair Use:

Ground Works encourages authors to exercise their fair use rights when appropriate. However, we expect authors to educate themselves about the law and, accordingly, to make judicious decisions about whether to seek permission for the use of copyrighted works in their article. The editors recommend that authors review the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication by the Center for Media and Social Impact at American University for guidance on copyright and fair use decisions.
If the author(s) of a submission cannot craft a persuasive fair use argument that works within the structure of current copyright and intellectual property law, then the author(s) should err on the side of requesting permission. Authors bear full responsibility for their choices at all times.

Human Subjects:

Authors submitting work to Ground Works are responsible for securing and archiving any human subjects permissions pertaining to their research.


Before publication of any article on Ground Works, authors will be asked to certify that all material is original, utilized with permission, or utilized under fair use. Ground Works is not responsible for securing these permissions. The lead/contact author is also responsible for gaining permission from the full list of contributors to add their biographical information (name, affiliation and email address) to any submission.


Submissions to Ground Works should represent original scholarly contributions not directly featured in other journals or under consideration elsewhere. Equally, it should not represent duplicate presentation of work already published by the authors elsewhere. A rule of thumb for content reuse from prior articles is that no article submitted should feature more than 30% of its content from previous sources (and this content should appropriately cite the original articles). In some cases authors may reuse content from other sources under fair use; egregious copying of significant portions of content from other sources is not permitted.
Concerns about plagiarism may be reported via the online contact form (click 'Get Help'). Depending on the severity of plagiarism, the article may be withdrawn without notice.

Style Guide

Design Requirements:

All articles go through a design-edit to ensure they are ready for publication. The design edit consists of checking for readability, accessibility, usability, and sustainability. Design-editing, just like copy-editing, is a practice in negotiation with the author's design-voice. Authors of Ground Works are required to follow these design requirements.

General Considerations:

  • All media and design elements should be non-gratuitous and facilitate the argument of the text.
  • The journal does not charge submission or publication fees of potential or published authors. Ground works does not publish advertisements, announcements of events or publication, or links to resources that are not provided in published articles. Once an article is published, no additional materials or links will be added; however, the editorial staff will attempt to redirect defunct links to the appropriate dated entries in the Internet Archive where available.
  • All links should contribute to the possible meanings and readings of the texts. Linking for the sake of linking is discouraged.
  • Authors should attempt to make clear where links are going so that readers may make informed navigational decisions. This can often be done by linking from descriptive phrases rather than individual words.
  • Links to external nodes should point, to the best of the author's knowledge, to stable sites and resources.
  • Care should be given in linking to commercial sites in order to avoid promoting any particular companies or their products. If links must be made to commercial sites for the purposes of the webtext, they should be made to informational documents rather than sales pages when possible.
  • Offsite/external links should open in a new browser window.
  • Links to other Ground Works articles should open in the same window.
  • Do not link terminal punctuation.


Projects need to be accessible to the broadest possible audience in two ways:

  1. Digitally accessible. Authors will be asked for accessible media content in their Stage 2 submissions. Specifically, this entails the inclusion of alt text for images and WebVTT subtitle transcripts for video files. The Managing Editor will assist the Submitter in creating WebVTT subtitle files.
  2. Understandable for a broad, non-specialist audience. This has to do with the tone of the writing and the terminology used, but also with unpacking and explaining concepts and with the use of supporting media. Do the media help a lay-person understand the project? Is there accompanying explanation (i.e. captions for media)? Does a submission show (not tell)?

What is Alt Text?

Alt text is shorthand for “alternative text”: shorter text (often 140 characters or fewer) associated with a specific visual resource, accessed via assistive technology. The description of visual resources is a crucial component of accessible digital publications, as it affords access to the information contained in images for the many people with disabilities that affect vision, and for all the technologies that interact with publications when indexing, searching, or converting text to speech. You can find some examples of alt text usage HERE.

Alt text is different from captions in that captions are explanatory info for all users, whereas alt text is descriptions of images for visually impaired users (which may then later be read by special software).

Captions and alt text for still images should appear in the body of the final submission before it is added to the website, and are written in the following format:

[insert image 
    file = filename.jpg
    alt-text =
        Alt text description of the image.
    caption =
        Caption description of the image.]

For an image of three people sitting around a rock, for example, the alt-text might take the following form:

[insert image 
    file = SpringerFarm.jpg
    alt-text =
        Three people stand around a large rock, gesturing. They are all wearing long green raincoats. It is raining.
    caption =
        Geologists Mary Sue, Akiko Tanaka, and John Smith discuss potential origins of Springer farm sample.]

Citation Style:

Ground Works recognizes that different disciplines have different preferences for citation styles. As such, Ground Works does not dictate a citation style, but authors must choose a citation style (APA, MLA, and so on) and their submissions should be consistent with the rules of the chosen style. The chosen citation style must be communicated to the Managing Editor during the Final Editing stage of the submission process.

We do request that authors adhere to some shared standards:

  • For consistency across articles, the final listing of sources is called “References”, not “Works Cited” or “Bibliography.”
  • A reference should include the name(s) of the author(s), publication date, and page number (when applicable).
  • References to online sources include the full and original link to the source material and a date on which it was retrieved in preparing this article. This will allow us, should the source become unavailable, to redirect the link to web archive. See examples below.

    1. A YouTube reference:

      Edutopia. (2012, March 21). James Paul Gee on learning with video games [Video file]. YouTube. Retrieved September 1, 2015, from

    2. A Soundcloud reference:

      Anthology. (2015, July). The tell tale heart by Edgar Allan Poe [Audio file]. Soundcloud. Retrieved September 1, 2015, from

    3. A blog post reference:

      Colby, Richard. (2014, March 29). Sparklepony drama [Blog post]. Games, writing, rhetoric. Retrieved July 18, 2014, from

    4. An image reference:

      Cassidy, Kathy. (2013, March 4). Race for a flat [Photograph]. Flickr. Retrieved June 27, 2014, from

References must include the necessary information, but the format shown in these examples may be adjusted to adhere to the author's chosen citation style.


Upon acceptance of a submission, Ground Works requires copies of all embedded media files, and all 3rd-party sites that host files or digital media must be shared with the journal in order to facilitate editing and archiving.

Stage 1: Suitability Review

Stage 1 Overview:

The Stage 1 submission is a 250-word abstract, short statement of relevance, and links to evidence of impact. Submissions must contain each of the listed components and will be evaluated on the submission criteria below. Successful submissions progress to Stage 2.

The submission process is carried out on the website after signing up.

Turnaround Time:

~20 days

Stage 1 Submission Components:

During Stage 1 Submission, each of the following five components must be completed before the project can be submitted for review. Each of these components is to be entered through the prompts on the Ground Works website.

  1. Overview

    The Overview is a 250-word abstract that provides a succinct summary of the project. Please consider the Submission Criteria below when writing this section.

  2. Lead Contact

    By default, the Submitter is listed as the Lead Contact.

  3. Contributors

    Add a list of contributors and creators for this project (the Lead Contact is included by default).

  4. Relevance

    How does this project exemplify a Ground Works approach? This should be written in 100 words or less. Please consider the Submission Criteria below when writing this section.

    In particular, it is important to add supporting documentation in the form of web links to provide Evidence of Impact. This speaks to the Maturity of the work, one of the Stage 1 Submission Criteria. Please provide up to five links that provide examples of the work and its recognition so far.

    Examples include:

    • Peer reviewed publication (conference or journal).
    • Document of a performance or exhibition.
    • Coverage of the work in popular, trade, independent, or academic press.

  5. Metadata

    Please enter a list of keywords and/or disciplines that broadly define the project, as well as a link to the project website, if there is one.

Stage 1 Submission Criteria:

Editors read and view all elements of an assigned submission, including linked material. They rank the submission according to the three criteria listed below. These criteria have to be intrinsic to the project; if they’re not present, they can’t be layered on later.

  1. Arts-Integral Focus

    Is an arts area core to the project?

    Fine arts, performing arts, digital or electronic arts, design, or architecture are critical to the process. They are not added on as “icing” or as a late-stage means for communicating to different audiences.

  2. Interdisciplinarity

    How interdisciplinary is this project?

    Ground Works is a space for work that is extraordinary, but doesn’t fit in traditional venues. Could the project be comfortably accepted by a disciplinary journal/venue/publication/exhibition? Would the submission to said venue capture all facets of the work? If so, the submission may not be sufficiently interdisciplinary.

  3. Maturity

    Are there enough/mature outcomes?

    This is not the first time the project has seen the light of day; it has been presented and accepted at least once before submission to Ground Works. This might be publication, exhibition, performance, inclusion at a conference, or some other external recognition. If the project was self-produced (i.e., not curated or selected for presentation), audience metrics might count as external recognition.

Stage 2: Project Review

Stage 2 Overview:

Projects that progress to Stage 2 are asked to provide a 1,000 word narrative and media for their project. This is reviewed by the Managing Editor and two Peer Reviewers. Successful projects are included in our online compendium and may be invited to contribute reflections on effective practice and process.

Turnaround Time:

~1-3 months. Note: Special collections may have a longer review time.

Stage 2 Submission Components:

During Stage 2 Submission, each of the following six components must be completed before the project can be submitted for review. Each of these components is to be entered in the appropriate tabs on the Ground Works website.

The process may include:

  1. Summary

    The Summary is basic information about the project imported from Stage 1. It may be updated for Stage 2.

    • Overview
    • Lead Contact
    • Contributors
    • Relevance
    • Evidence of Impact

  2. Metadata

    The Metadata section includes some background information on the project. Some metadata such as Tags and Disciplines will carry over from Stage 1.

    Project Status Is the project completed? If so, please include both start and end dates. If the project is not yet completed, only the start date needs to be included.

    Acknowledgements Provide acknowledgements and supporting funders to be recognized if published.

    Sites and Institutions Provide a list of institutions and sites in which the work was produced. This might include universities, institutions, research labs, design or architectural studios, makerspaces, residency programs, etc.

    Tags and Descriptors Add a list of keywords and terms that broadly describe this project. These will be used to match the project with reviewers and to categorise the project if published in the archive.

    Disciplines Involved in the Project Add a list of disciplines core to this project and its collaboration. At least one must represent an arts and/or design area.

  3. Media

    Provide supporting materials (e.g video, audio, data, code, documents). These materials will be considered in the review process alongside the project narrative, and if the project advances through Stage 2 review, select media files will be part of the project entry in the Ground Works compendium.

    Accepted File Formats

    Still Images

    In order of preference, please deliver the highest quality version (highest resolution, bit-depth and uncompressed) in the following formats:

    • TIFF
    • PNG
    • JPEG (For JPEG compression, use the highest quality option available; not including JPEG 2000)
    • SVG

    Video (Direct File Upload)

    In order of preference, please deliver the highest quality version (H.264 codec if possible) in the following formats:

    • MPEG-4 (.mp4)
    • Quicktime (.mov)
    • AVI (.avi) formats

    Video files:

    • Should not exceed 2 GB each
    • Resolution: 1280x720 (720p)
    • Framerate: 30 fps
    • Video bitrate: 1500 kbps, Audio bitrate: 125 kbps
    • Video codec: H264, Audio codec: AAC

    The video must include a WebVTT transcript.

    Video (YouTube or Vimeo)

    You may add video from an online sharing platform. In this case, it must be of the highest resolution possible (minimum 1080p).

    The video must include a WebVTT subtitle file.


    In order of preference, please deliver the highest quality version of your audio in:

    • Wave (.wav)
    • MPEG 3 (.mp3)

    Aim to have audio files less than 1GB.

  4. Media Accessibility Please note: Ground Works is committed to meeting the highest standards for accessibility. If your submission advances through Stage 2, you will be asked to provide “alt text" (a brief verbal description) for any images, and subtitles for any video that are published as part of your project. The Managing Editor can provide guidance on alt-text and subtitling. (See “Accessibility in the “Style Guide” section for an explanation of alt text.)

  5. Narrative

    Provide a 1,000-word narrative that describes your project. Projects published on Ground Works have compact and compelling narratives that clearly address the following aspects of arts-integrated research: Significance, Research Process, Innovation, Context and Precedent, Impact and Contribution, and Disciplinary Integration. These are also the Stage 2 Submission Criteria, and are detailed below. Each criterion should be clearly addressed somewhere in the narrative. Note that the 1,000 words is a limit rather than a suggestion!

  6. Process

    Occasionally, our Managing Editor will select a project for further exploration of its interdisciplinary process. Provide a supporting statement on your process as it relates to this submission.

    100-word Statement

    What do you consider the most interesting aspects of your collaborative process? What aspects would merit future inquiry? What aspects of your process would benefit others in the community and why?

  7. Reviewers

    Your project will be reviewed by up to three reviewers. We invite you to recommend up to two reviewers who can rigorously assess your work. Note this person must not be connected (directly or indirectly) with this or other work by project members (i.e. there are no conflicts of interest.) One of your recommendations may be selected and paired with additional reviewer(s) selected by the Managing Editor.

Stage 2 Submission Criteria:

Editors read and view all elements of an assigned submission, including linked material. Stage 2 submissions are reviewed holistically based on the following criteria. The Narrative and Media sections should work together to answer each of the following questions:

  1. Significance

    Why does this project matter? How does this work highlight the potential impact on a compelling exploration space?

    Has the submission sufficiently made a case for why it merits an arts-integrative approach?

  2. Research Process

    Has the approach to research as it pertains to this project been defined, and is it placed in context with other arts-integrative research processes?

    In line with a2ru’s publication What Is Research?, research is broadly defined and can include artistic practice. However, the submitter must demonstrate an understanding of how research is operational, or what it means, in this project.

    Submitters must consider how their work might be research, whether qualitative, quantitative, or performative research. They must reflect upon how the work is engaging in knowledge creation.

  3. Innovation

    Does the project set precedents or pose generative opportunities or challenges for any of the fields represented, or for conversations between those fields?

    This does not imply that a project necessarily needs to break new ground, but it should not be overly derivative. It should bring something new to the table, whether a new way of looking at things, an expansion in some direction, or an expanded conversation.

  4. Context and Precedent

    Does the submission demonstrate an understanding of how it is situated within the context of other relevant work?

    In addition to contextualizing information in the narrative, the submission’s reference list should include relevant sources from the field.

  5. Impact and Contribution

    Does the project (stand to) contribute to any of the fields represented? To any other populations?

    This is “impact” in the sense that something is affected. This might be one of the disciplines represented or our understanding of how disciplines are in conversation, or it might be culture, community, or the world at large.

  6. Disciplinary Integration

    How does the project integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives? How is the project both a deep exploration of the arts and a conversation across multiple disciplinary perspectives?

    This is a deeper look at the “interdisciplinary” criterion of Stage 1.

    The project brings the arts into conversation—via methodology, practice, epistemology, etc—with other fields or disciplines. The arts don’t merely communicate principles from another field or use the work from another field as inspiration; the arts and that field are influencing and advancing each other through their dialogue. The project does not necessarily need to involve multiple players or a team collaboration; a single person can be fluent in more than one discipline.

    Artworks that explore, narrate, express, or communicate scientific research are not interdisciplinary unless there is evidence of that two-way conversation between art and science. How was science an active partner in the research? How did the act of creating the artworks influence the science side?

Final Editing

Final Editing and Accessibility Checks:

If a project is accepted to Ground Works, the materials that were submitted for review are then shaped into an entry in the Ground Works compendium. This is done collaboratively between the Submitter and the Managing Editor, sometimes with input from the Reviewers assigned to the project. At this point, the Submitter must specify what citation style they are using.

The process may include:

  • Balancing between narrative/media
  • Editing for length/structure
  • Copy editing/grammar checks
  • Double-checking file size and image resolution
  • Citation style consistency and citation accuracy
  • Confirmation of bibliography
  • Ensuring accessibility of media with alt text and subtitles
  • Confirming email addresses for all authors

The Managing Editor will generate transcripts for video subtitles, but it is the responsibility of the Submitter to check and approve the final transcripts. At this point alt text and captions should also be added to project media (see “What is Alt Text?” under “Accessibility” in the Style Guide section).

Author Agreement and Publication:

Final Editing is ideally a 2-3 week process, after which the Managing Editor sends the Submitter a final author agreement for signature. The Submitter must confirm that all standards for publication have been met and sign the agreement. Once signed, the submission will then be published on the Ground Works website.

The standard author agreement may be viewed HERE.