Special Issue: Global Perspectives on Wellbeing


Call for Submissions for Special Issue

Global Perspectives on Wellbeing: Expanding Horizons, Exploring Diversity, and Building Bridges

International Journal of Wellbeing

Editors: Tim Lomas, PhD (Wellbeing for Planet Earth), Alden Lai, PhD (New York University), Dominique Chen, PhD (Waseda University), and Louise Lambert, PhD (Canadian University of Dubai).

Editorial advisors: Professor Tyler VanderWeele, PhD (Harvard University), Professor Antonella Delle Fave, PhD (University of Milan), Professor Shigehiro Oishi, PhD (University of Virginia), and Professor Ed Diener, PhD (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).


The International Journal of Wellbeing (IJW) is seeking articles for a special issue on Global Perspectives on Wellbeing: Expanding Horizons, Exploring Diversity, and Building Bridges. This special issue will provide cutting-edge research and commentary on the nature of wellbeing from a global perspective. This does not only mean assessing wellbeing globally using well-established constructs and metrics (e.g., ‘life satisfaction’). Rather, the emphasis is on how wellbeing may be differently experienced and conceptualised cross-culturally.


The International Journal of Wellbeing (IJW), founded in 2011, is the leading open access, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal on wellbeing. All content is free for everyone to access, and there are no submission or publication fees for authors. In less than 9 years the journal has published 27 issues, 139 articles, with articles averaging 42 Google Scholar citations each. With visitors from over 210 countries, the articles have over 1 million full-text views.


For the parameters of this special issue, wellbeing is broadly construed to include individual (e.g., physical, psychological), communal, institutional, societal, and environmental wellbeing. However, given that the issue aims to explore the nuances and complexities of what wellbeing looks like cross-culturally, we are open to alternative framings and conceptualisations. We encourage submissions that focus on just one cultural context, as well as others that are more cross-cultural (e.g., comparing more than one context). We further encourage submissions that are interdisciplinary (i.e. that draw on research from more than one discipline, and will be of value to wellbeing researchers from more than one discipline). We particularly encourage papers that focus on the following topics:


  1. Culturally-specific constructs. These papers will focus on constructs relating to wellbeing that may be culturally-specific (e.g., primarily associated with a particular cultural context). These may include constructs which have not been expressed or conceptualised in English (so-called untranslatable words), but are only found in specific languages.  
  2. Culturally-specific priorities. These papers will focus on the way cultures may have different priorities and expectations in relation to wellbeing. For instance, some cultures may place greater emphasis on communal rather than individual wellbeing. Relatedly, these papers will look at whether specific constructs have varying degrees of impact or relevance in different cultures (e.g., whether optimism has a varying impact on health outcomes depending on the cultural context).
  3. Cultural universals. As a counterpoint to topics 1 and 2, these papers will consider whether, in addition to cultural diversity, there may be phenomena that are very widespread or even universal.
  4. Cultural complexities and tensions. These papers will focus on the way cultures are not generally homogenous, monolithic entities, but instead can be multi-layered and fractured, leading to internal complexities. For instance, cultures that are relatively individualistic may nevertheless contain subcultures that orient more towards collectivistic perspectives.
  5. Measurement issues. These papers will focus specifically on the issues and complexities that can attend cross-cultural research. For instance, this may include the difficulty of translating questionnaires and other methodological tools into other languages, together with cultural differences in how people respond to research participation (e.g., item response bias).
  6. Theoretical considerations. These papers will focus on how to bring together diverse ideas and perspectives into models and theories that hold some more universal relevance. That is, without losing sight of cultural diversity and difference, what can cross-cultural research tell us about wellbeing as a global phenomenon (with dimensions that are more widely shared and applicable).
  7. Historical considerations. These papers will take more of a historical perspective, looking at how ideas relating to wellbeing may have changed over time in a given cultural context.
  8. Future perspectives on wellbeing. These papers will be forward-looking articles on how to improve our understanding of wellbeing, moving from our current mainly Western-centric knowledge to a more global perspective and vision.


Format for article submissions:

Articles in this special issue will take various forms, including empirical papers (with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods all welcome), review papers (including systematic reviews, meta-analyses, narrative reviews, and meta-syntheses), and theoretical papers. Articles should be approximately 5,000-6,000 words in length (excluding references); however, exceptions where necessary can be negotiated depending on topic and format. In terms of format, please contact Tim Lomas (lololomas@googlemail.com) for a copy of the IJW template, and use this to structure and present your submission. When your paper is ready to submit, please also email your submission to Tim at lololomas@googlemail.com. Your submission should include an anonymous main manuscript (featuring any tables and figures at the end of the document), a title page (featuring all author contact details), and a cover letter (which should include the contact details of three potential reviewers).


Please note, the suggested topics offer examples of research that fit the special issue. However, this list is not exhaustive, and we do not wish to exclude alternative submissions; therefore, please enquire with the editorial team if you feel you have a paper that is unconventional but nevertheless worthy of consideration. Please email your query to Tim Lomas (with the subject line “Submission for IJW Global Perspectives on Wellbeing Special Issue”). Early submissions are welcome, but in most cases submissions will not be formally accepted until the deadline. Authors with submissions under review for the special issue will also be expected to serve as peer reviewers of other submissions for the special issue.


Timeline for the Special Issue

January 1st 2021: Call for submissions open

October 1st 2021: Submissions due

March 1st 2022: Decisions for acceptance or rejection based on peer reviews

July 1st 2022: Final articles due with revisions complete

The Special Issue is expected to be published in September 2022.