Focus and Scope

ACME: An International Journal of Critical Geographies is an international journal for critical analyses of the social, the spatial, the ecological, and the political, grounded in critical geographic scholarship. We recognize that the scholarship we publish takes place on Indigenous territories across the globe, and that the geographies represented in ACME are themselves formed through imperialism and colonialism. There is diversity in the lands, waters, and Indigenous Nations on whose territories we depend. As a journal of geography, we also acknowledge the imperial and colonial roots of the discipline, and we seek to publish scholarship in solidarity with global and localized struggles. 

We work to make radical scholarship accessible for free as a manifestation of our commitment to collective labor and mutual aid. We are fully open access. We set no subscription fees or article processing charges, we do not publish for profit, and ACME Editors do not receive compensation for their labour. 

The journal provides a multilingual forum for the publication of critical work about space and place in the social sciences and humanities. ACME understands critical analyses to be part of a praxis of social and political change aimed at identifying and challenging systems of domination, oppression, and exploitation, and dismantling the relations of power that sustain them. As such, ACME welcomes work that seeks to build and advance critical frameworks, including, but not limited to, those aligned with anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, anti-authoritarian, Black, feminist, crip, trans, queer, and multi-species perspectives. ACME authors’ work most often bridges multiple radical frameworks, which are situated in specific intellectual and political contexts. As such, ACME’s mission is to challenge and expand what ‘critical’ means to interdisciplinary thinking around space and place (see the images/captions below to understand our current and aspirational focus). We support work that brings together ongoing struggles on the ground with critical scholarship. Thus we understand ‘critical’ in our journal’s name as both contextual and dynamic in its emergence. 

As a Collective, we strive to embody ACME’s mission by fostering transparency, reciprocity, and accountability in the editorial process. In the same vein, ACME publishes work that not only articulates critical perspectives on space and place, but also makes clear the political, social, and ecological commitments that animate authors’ contributions to and engagements with a more expansive set of critical geographies.

ACME is international in scope and is accessed by people from at least 185 countries. The editors especially encourage rigorous creative, academic, and activist submissions from outside the Anglo-Americas, including those presented in formats that go beyond standard academic writing. Grounded in an ethic of mutual aid, ACME understands ‘rigorous’ work as expressing critical commitments aligned with ACME’s core principles of reciprocity, accountability, and transparency. ACME accepts submissions in English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Submissions written in other languages may be accepted for review after consultation with the editors. We publish using Creative Commons licenses, offering authors autonomy and freedom over their work. As a fully open access journal, ACME publishes conceptually bold, theoretically robust, empirically rich, methodologically rigorous, cutting-edge work that spans disciplines and disrupts orthodoxies of all kinds.

 

Peer Review Process

Central to the political project of ACME is our rigorous, constructive, and convivial review process. All articles accepted for publication in ACME must meet the highest standards of scholarly peer review, bearing in mind that ‘highest standards’ may mean different things depending upon the content, context, form, aims, and goals of each respective submission. 

We approach the peer review process as a praxis of critical geographic theorizing. That is, we aim to continually attune to how peer review has been shaped by and continues to participate in processes and systems of power, including racism, neoliberalism, humanism, capitalism, cisheteronormativity, and settler colonialism. In all aspects of the editorial process, we thus seek to foreground peer review’s critical potential to amplify bodies of scholarship and ways of knowing that have traditionally been marginalized in knowledge production processes. 

 

Open Access Policy

Since ACME’s founding in 2002,  our commitment to open access publishing has been based on our ongoing critique of neoliberal policies that impact universities, in particular the most marginalized faculty, staff, and students. The corporatization and privatization of knowledge increasingly restricts public access via paywalls. ACME provides immediate and full open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a more equitable and expansive global exchange of knowledge. We recognize and ask others to recognize the corporatization of publication venues that make claims to ‘open access’ publication. Claims to ‘open access’ by for-profit journals entail the transfer of monies to for-profit corporate entities, either from individual research accounts or from government or foundation funding bodies. 

Our refusal to participate in these processes is shaped by our recognition that they draw on and reproduce hegemonic systems and institutions, which continue to restrict the accessibility and circulation of knowledge outside the Anglo-Americas. Open access is also therefore a commitment to supporting the active and equitable participation of marginalized scholars, editors and readers, particularly from the Global South, in the production and circulation of critical geographical knowledge. 

 

Journal Rankings

The ACME Editorial Collective has been approached a number of times to be included in journal impact factor rankings. Each request for inclusion in these measures has been refused on political grounds. ACME opposes entering into a neoliberal system of audit that includes spurious impact factors and journal rankings. We also oppose the ways that these systems of measurement advance neoliberal competition, rewarding publication venues that are well resourced and systemically connected to hegemonic networks and institutions of knowledge production.

At the same time, the quantification of tenure files and academic job applications, as well as the corporatization of academic knowledge, requires that we support our authors. Therefore, any author seeking to know the total number of downloads may contact us at any time to receive this information; we do and will not publish this information on our website because it entrenches already unequal power relations in knowledge production. Second, library standards require proper organization and encoding of online papers, which then lends itself to indexing for online search engines. The manipulation of academic publishing by search engines--namely Google--requires that we be indexed and made searchable to Google Scholar. Otherwise, search engines only produce mentions of authors’ work as citations or posts to for-profit, academic, document-sharing sites. While we are gravely frustrated that we must partake in the corporate manipulation of knowledge production through our indexing in these search engines, we also believe it imperative to disseminate ACME authors’ work to the broadest audiences possible as a fully online, open access journal committed to challenging the status quo.

 

Sources of Support

ACME is published with assistance from Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and hosted by the University of Northern British Columbia. Our Managing Editor receives an annual course release to oversee the journal from their home institution of the University of Kentucky. We are especially grateful for their support in helping ensure that the journal is published under the Platinum Open Access model that charges neither reader access fees nor author processing fees. ACME is available free to any persons with internet access.