Submission Guidelines

RSD submission guidelines are provided so authors can actively participate in publishing articles as a coherent set of proceedings. RSD contributes to the ethos of a shared and collaborative inquiry into the nature and potential of systemic design. The process starts with the submission – and as the saying goes, “the devil’s in the details.”

The RSD brief

Accepted papers and presentations represent a searchable scholarly and leading practice resource in systemic design. The repository currently holds an astonishing 650+ contributions. We have an efficient approval-to-proceedings workflow thanks to the help of host partners – the National Institute of Design (RSD9) and TU Delft (RSD10) – who beta-tested the idea of a dual-purpose event site and repository. This year, we ask contributors to follow protocols that will streamline the approval-to-proceedings online publishing process, improve the collection’s presentation, and reduce volunteer overheads.

The post, Presenting at RSD: Guidelines, provides the details for submissions and describes the review process. In brief, the RSD Scientific Committee reviews and accepts or rejects submissions, and the accepted presentations and papers constitute the online proceedings. The proceedings take two forms: online proceedings published as a page on and a downloadable PDF version comprising all submissions bound together as the proceedings book. The online proceedings are an ongoing RSD series published by the Systemic Design Association (ISSN 2371-8404). When the host organisation creates a downloadable print version, they post it with the online proceedings. (ISBN/EAN).

Why guidelines for preparing a paper?

When authors follow the basic formatting protocols provided here – from the proposal stage (i.e., the call for submissions), to updates, to the final version included in the proceedings – the process works like a collaborative publishing venture between authors and publishers. The digital and print quality of presented work is improved, and the process reduces duplication and intensive editing for formatting and consistency across the RSD repository.

Please take a moment to read through the protocols; they will likely look familiar as they are closely aligned with the accepted standards for academic work and closely adhere to APA (7th edition) conventions.

Featured image (above): A detail from the sketchnote of Design for a Time Between Worlds. Courtesy of Yatin.

Submission Guidelines Summary

Authors should follow the minimum requirements carefully, as their chances for acceptance are improved if their initial submission follows the guidelines. The scientific committee will assess papers before sending them to reviewers, and there may not be time to turn around papers that need to be reformatted to meet the guidelines.

An abstract of 200-400 words

Full paper of 2000 to 5000 words in RSD template
Presentation of up to 1000 words in RSD template

References following APA (7th edition) conventions

Abstract: The abstract on the EasyChair submission form must be the same as the abstract in the paper or proposal (cut and paste from the paper or proposal).

Paper or presentation & report: To be reviewed, you must submit work in the RSD template. Also, references are required and are not included in the word count. A set of references is required for both papers and presentations & reports to help the reviewers to judge the context and novelty of the work.

SEO and indexing: The 200-400 word abstract is posted directly in the article to improve search results across the website and by search engines. We also embed the submitted PDF of papers and presentation descriptions on the same page. Note that a correctly formatted PDF increases the likelihood of your work being indexed on Google Scholar.

Preparing your contribution from top to bottom

Using the RSD11 template

  • The template is a Word (.docx) document but should translate to other systems.
  • If a different format is required, please be in touch via Chat (bottom right).
  • Note that the headings have been set in the template and should be followed.
  • Do not format without using the styles.


  • Use Heading 1.
  • Use Title Case (Capitalise each word, except articles (a, the) and conjunctions (and) in the title.)


  • Use the Subtitle style.
  • The subtitle is optional, do not add a period at the end.

Author names & Affiliations

Use the following format:

first-name1 last-name1, first-name2 last-name2, and first-name3 last-name3

affilitation1 | affiliation2 | affilitation3

  • Authors list: Use the H3 style only and list names with commas; separate author names using a comma, and for the last author “, and” (Oxford comma).
  • Affiliation: (optional) Add your university, company, or organisational affiliation and link to the main webpage. Use the normal font for affiliation(s). Use the “normal” style.


  • Indent abstract and use “Normal” from the Quick Style List.
  • Your abstract must be between 200 and 400 words. Since RSD is an online repository, the minimum ensures search engines will scan it.


  • List 4-6 keywords after the abstract.
  • Do not use a heading style.
  • Format keywords with a colon and commas (see example below).

Keywords: systemic design, holistic diagnosis, agricultural sector, ecosystem services, micro-enterprises

RSD Topic(s)

  • List up to three RSD topic areas.
  • Less is best – pick only the topic areas that fully align with your paper.
  • The RSD topic areas are Architecture & Planning, Cases & Practice, Economics & Organizations, Health & Well-Being, Learning & Education, Methods & Methodology, Policy & Governance, Society & Culture, Socioecological Design, Sociotechnical Systems (see example below).
  • Check the site menu for examples of papers in each category.


RSD: Health & Well-Being

Please be in touch via the Chat if you aren’t sure about topics or feel that SDA should offer another topic category.


  • Use Heading 2 only and sentence case

General notes on submission guidelines

  • Please prepare your submission using Microsoft Word if possible.
  • You will need to have the ribbon enabled to see the Quick Style List (view>ribbon).
  • Using the following naming convention – RSD11_AuthorLastName_Title
  • Use a short title in the file – 3-4 words at most.
  • PS: Best practice is to add your name and other information to the Word file’s Properties> Summary.

Here are some tips for bringing your content into this document.

  • When you are cutting & pasting, put your cursor where you want the content to appear and use Edit> Paste and Match style.
  • If your text is not displaying correctly, you might need to use Edit> Paste special> Unformatted text.
  • Do not use a simple paste, as this will bring formatting from your draft document into this one.
  • You may use bullets and numbers from the home ribbon – make sure your punctuation is consistent for each bulleted or numbered section (i.e., sentence case or not, commas or not, etc.).

Referencing styles and conventions

  • Please use the APA (7th edition) conventions, which are generally followed for RSD.
  • Note that one variance in this document is that we do not indent paragraphs.

Spelling and grammar

  • RSD uses British English for grammar and punctuation, selected because international articles commonly default to the British English standards.
  • Please ensure that your document settings are “English (United Kingdom), and this template should default to this setting.

Consider also using Grammarly or the Hemmingway Editor to check your work.

  • RSD uses Grammarly to line-edit posts, but we only make changes to the HTML version of the abstract (on the web post, not in the embedded document). No changes are made to PDF submissions.
  • RSD uses Grammarly settings expert>formal>academic>[intent as appropriate].


  • Sentence case – no period at the end of the heading.
  • Click on “Heading 1” or “Heading 2” from the Quick Style List to format headings.
  • If you need a lower heading style, use the “normal” style with bold or italics. All caps may also be used in the case of headings in the “normal” style. Do not use H3; this is reserved for authors’ names.
  • If you need to keep a section of text together, do not add a page break. Instead, highlight the text, and use format>paragraph>line and page breaks>keep with next AND keep lines together.


  • Use the “normal” style above. Do not format text using the font and font size options. Apply “normal” by highlighting text and clicking “normal.”
  • Do not add spaces between paragraphs. One space following a period, please.
  • If the font does not look right: highlight the content and click on “Normal” (or the style you want to use) in the ribbon (above mid-right).


Place images inline where you would like them to appear and ALSO provide them as separate files (.png or .jpeg)

RSD style guide

Refer to APA (7th edition) conventions for guidelines on italics and quotation marks.

In-text citations follow APA conventions.

Use lowercase for terms (e.g., gigamap, systemic design, systems oriented design). An easy-to-follow reference can be found on


For convenience, here are examples of reference formats.

Authored book

Krippendorff, K. (2006). The semantic turn: A new foundation for design. Taylor and Francis.

Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1969). The psychology of the child (H. Weaver, Trans.; 2nd ed.). Basic Books. (Original work published 1966)

Edited book

Fischer, T., & Herr, C. M. (Eds.). (2019). Design cybernetics: Navigating the new. Springer.

Chapter within books

Jones, P. H. (2014). Systemic design principles for complex social systems. In G. Metcalf (Ed.), Social systems and design (pp. 91-128). Springer.

Journal articles

Bunnell, P. (2017). Reflections on learning as designing. Kybernetes, 46(9), 1486-1498.

Conference proceedings

When citing a conference paper published in published conference proceedings, cite it as a book chapter if the publication has an ISBN or a journal article if it has an ISSN.

Conference presentations or sessions

Krippendorff, K. (2021, July 7-13). A critical cybernetics [Paper presentation]. The Art and Science of the Impossible: The 65th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, online.

Published proceedings ISSN

Krippendorff, K. (2021). From uncritical design to critical examination of its systemic consequences. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD10) Symposium. Klaus Krippendorff – RSD10 – Uncritical design to critical examinations (

Published proceedings ISBN

Krippendorff, K. (2021). From uncritical design to critical examination of its systemic consequences. In Diehl, J.C., Tromp, N. & van der Bijl-Brouwer, M. (Eds.) Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD10) 2021 Symposium. TU Delft.

Theses and dissertations

Fantini van Ditmar, D. (2016). IdIOT: Second-order cybernetics in the ‘smart’ home [Doctoral dissertation, Royal College of Art].

Posted December 2022