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Aims and scope of the journal

AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal. We aim to present scholarly research on Indigenous worldviews and experiences of decolonization from Indigenous perspectives from around the world.  The journal spans themes of transforming places, peoples, communities, cultures, histories and colonialism.

AlterNative seeks to build bridges between the academic study of Indigenous affairs and theory and practical or empirical issues in the modern world. Articles should link theory and practice in a way that sheds light on the present state of Indigenous theory, thinking and practice, and make sense out of concrete issues, whether they are at local, national or global levels.

AlterNative publishes papers that substantively address and critically engage with Indigenous issues from a scholarly Indigenous viewpoint. All papers must address and engage with current international and national literature and academic and/or Indigenous theory, and make a significant contribution to the field of Indigenous studies. 


AlterNative seeks to build bridges between the academic study of Indigenous affairs and theory and practical or empirical issues in the modern world. Articles should link theory and practice in a way that sheds light on the present state of Indigenous theory, thinking and practice, and make sense out of concrete issues, whether they are at local, national or global levels.

The manuscript should offer new, original insights or interpretations that have not been published before or are under consideration for publication at another journal. If the manuscript has emerged from an academic thesis, authors should ensure that it works as a stand-alone article rather than a slightly modified thesis chapter.  Articles should range between 5,000–7,000 words, including title, abstract, keywords, acknowledgments, glossary and references. Articles must include a 100–150 word abstract and have up to six keywords.AlterNative publishes articles in English but also welcomes submissions in Indigenous languages or ones that have previously been published in an Indigenous language and are translated into English. All articles must be original. The work cannot have been previously published in the same form nor can its substance be drawn from previously published books or articles. Submissions to AlterNative must not be under consideration in any form by other publishers.

Authors are asked to submit articles in the correct format, including the APA referencing style. Please download and read the Manuscript submission and the AlterNative house style guidelines below. A sample article can also be downloaded below.


AlterNative welcomes short and timely commentaries on critical issues concerning Indigenous peoples. Commentaries are expected to be sharp in their analysis, thought-provoking and new. Commentaries are peer reviewed to different criteria, allowing novel opinion to be expressed. Commentaries are normally between 3,000-4,000 words long, including references and must include a 100-150 word abstract and up to six keywords.

Authors are asked to submit commentaries in the correct format, including the APA referencing style. Please download and read the Author Guidelines. A sample commentary can be downloaded below.

Situation Reports

We also welcome short pieces of up to 2,000 words that describe a critical issue for an Indigenous people, with no scholarly analysis. Examples could include developments within an Indigenous people with few members, a critical language regeneration project in the Indigenous language, a group under threat or similar. These will only be considered by the Editors if there is no potential for Indigenous scholarly research to describe the situation; for example, a language with few speakers that is under threat. These are reviewed by the Editors and Editorial Board, not by peer review. A sample situation report can be downloaded below.

Book Reviews

Book reviews are up to 1,000 words long and should be guided by a discussion of the engaged debate, position the book in its field of literature and give a few points of information on the author’s background. Book reviewers should neither be uncritically advocating for the book by offering an overly meticulous summary without analysis, nor should they take the book that is to be discussed as an occasion for presenting the reviewer’s own views on a theme or topic. Book reviews are assessed by the Editors.

AlterNative acknowledges the long history of harmful Western research practices that have appropriated Indigenous knowledges and cultures and been enormously damaging to Indigenous peoples and communities. As such, please consider the following questions in writing your review:

 What is the standpoint from which the author speaks in relation to Indigenous peoples? Does the author respect Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing on an equal basis with the knowledge-ways of the West?

 How does the author describe Indigenous peoples and knowledges? Does the author employ language that implicitly assumes that Indigenous systems are inferior to Western systems (for example by describing Indigenous knowledges, cultures and histories using terms such as: irrational, primitive, unscientific, naïve, simple, folklore, stone age, or pre-history)

To the extent that this can be determined, what was the research process for producing the work and was that process ethical? For example, if the work being reviewed includes Indigenous knowledge such as a cultural narrative, the issues to be considered include whether the rights of Indigenous knowledge-holders have been protected (for example, do they hold copyright in their narrative) and what (if any) benefits the knowledge-holders and/or their communities derive from the research. Some jurisdictions will have best practice guidelines for research relating to Indigenous peoples that give an indication of the issues in relation to research – for example, in Australia, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Guidelines for Ethical Research, the Te Ara Tika guidelines in New Zealand,  or in Canada,  the SSHRC Aboriginal Research Statement of Principles. A sample book review can be downloaded below.

Submission Process

Submissions of articles and commentaries must be made through our online submission system and include confirmation of all journal requirements and suggested peer reviewers. Hard copy submissions cannot be accepted.

Peer Review

AlterNative operates a strictly blinded peer review process in which the reviewer’s name is withheld from the author and, the author’s name from the reviewer. The reviewer may at their own discretion opt to reveal their name to the author in their review but our standard policy practice is for both identities to remain concealed.

Peer Review Process: All manuscripts are reviewed initially by the Editors and only those papers that meet the scientific and editorial standards of the journal, and fit within the aims and scope of the journal, will be sent for outside review. Some papers are rejected without peer review owing to lack of novelty, not meeting the standard required for academic Indigenous scholarship or work lying outside the scope of the journal.

AlterNative is peer reviewed to international standards and our aim is for all papers to be reviewed by Indigenous scholars from within the group under discussion as well as by international Indigenous or non-Indigenous experts in the research discipline. All papers are peer-reviewed by a minimum of two reviewers. The editors will use these reviews in making a decision on your paper. All manuscripts are reviewed as rapidly as possible, and an editorial decision is generally reached within 6-8 weeks of submission.

Revised articles are usually sent for re-review to the original peer reviewers if these indicate their willingness to review the article again. Revision of an article gives no guarantee of acceptance and in some cases revised articles are rejected if the improvements are not sufficient or new issues arise. All authors should be prepared to return revised papers and proof corrections to the deadlines required for publication.

As part of the submission process you will be asked to provide the names of 3 peers who could be called upon to review your manuscript. Recommended reviewers should be experts in their fields and should be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. Please be aware of any conflicts of interest when recommending reviewers. Examples of conflicts of interest include (but are not limited to) the below: 

•           The reviewer should have no prior knowledge of your submission

•           The reviewer should not have recently collaborated with any of the authors

•           Reviewer nominees from the same institution as any of the authors are not permitted

You will also be asked to nominate peers who you do not wish to review your manuscript (opposed reviewers).

Please note that the Editors are not obliged to invite/reject any recommended/opposed reviewers to assess your manuscript.

The Editor or members of the Editorial Board may occasionally submit their own manuscripts for possible publication in the journal. In these cases, the peer review process will be managed by alternative members of the Board and the submitting Editor/Board member will have no involvement in the decision-making process.


If authors, peer reviewers or readers suspect any misconduct such as violation of the editorial policy, publication ethics or any or any applicable guidelines/policies specified by COPE, they are encouraged to submit a formal letter of complaint by email addressed to the editors at Suspected cases of misconduct will be investigated according to COPE guidelines.


Rejected papers are given the opportunity for a formal appeal. Appeal requests should be made in writing, and should be addressed to editors at with the word "appeal" in the subject line. If an author remains unsatisfied, he or she can write to the editorial office, citing the manuscript reference number. In all these cases, it is likely that some time will elapse before AlterNative can respond, and the paper must not be submitted for publication elsewhere during this time. Authors should provide detailed reasons for the appeal and point-by-point responses to the reviewers' and/or Editors' comments. Authors should also be aware that priority is given to new submissions to the journal and so the processing of the appeal may well take longer than the processing of the original submission. If an appeal is rejected, further appeals of the decision will not be considered and the paper may not be resubmitted.


The editors will be guided by COPE’s Guidelines for retracting articles when considering retracting, issuing expressions of concern about, and issuing corrections pertaining to articles that have been published in AlterNative. They will take reasonable responsive measures when handling ethical complaints about suspected or alleged research and publication misconduct.


Papers should only be submitted for consideration once consent is given by all contributing authors. Those submitting papers should carefully check that all those whose work contributed to the paper are acknowledged as contributing authors. 
The list of authors should include all those who can legitimately claim authorship. This is all those who:
(i) Made a substantial contribution to the concept or design of the work; or acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data,
(ii) Drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content,
(iii) Approved the version to be published, 
(iv) Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.
Authors should meet the conditions of all of the points above. When a large, multicentre group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship. 
Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship, although all contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section. 
All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, or a department chair who provided only general support. 
Writing assistance
Individuals who provided writing assistance, e.g. from a specialist communciations company, do not qualify as authors and so should be included in the Acknowledgements section. Authors must disclose any writing assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input – and identify the entity that paid for this assistance”).
It is not necessary to disclose use of language polishing services.
Please supply any personal acknowledgements separately to the main text to facilitate anonymous peer review.
AlterNative requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading.  Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements page on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. 
Declaration of conflicting interests
AlterNative encourages authors to include a declaration of any conflicting interests and recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway
It is the policy of AlterNative to require a declaration of conflicting interests from all authors enabling a statement to be carried within the paginated pages of all published articles. 
Please ensure that a ‘Declaration of Conflicting Interests’ statement is included at the end of your manuscript, after any acknowledgements and prior to the references. If no conflict exists, please state that ‘The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest’.
Indigenous research ethics and participant consent
Any submission to a journal that has data collected from human subjects requires ethics approval. Authors should explicitly state that any necessary ethics committee approval was secured for the study reported. Research must have been approved by relevant bodies such as institutional review boards, research ethics committees, and national authorities.  If ethics committee approval was required, authors should state the name, location and the approving ethics committee(s) or provide an explanation of why ethical approval was not required. 
Authors of research that involves Indigenous communities should also have approval from recognized knowledge holders of the band, tribe, sub-tribe or nation involved. The manuscript should reflect the author’s understanding and respect of Indigenous worldviews. If the research reported directly involved an Indigenous community, the author should have ensured the community contributed to the design of the research and interpretation of results in the context of cultural norms and traditional knowledge.  
Authors must guarantee the community and individual participants were given say in the anonymity and use of data. Dishonest, false or culturally incompetent statements and research conduct constitute unethical behaviour and are unacceptable. Authors must declare that appropriate consent was obtained from all research participants and include a statement on the consent procedure in the submitted and published paper. The editor or publisher may require proof of ethics committee approval and proof of participant consent to be produced. 
Publishing policies
Publication ethics
AlterNative is published by SAGE publishing. SAGE is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. We encourage authors to refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ International Standards for Authors and view the Publication Ethics page on the SAGE Author Gateway 
Contributors of AlterNative are expected to meet internationally accepted guidelines on carrying out ethical and culturally competent research involving Indigenous peoples and conform to the standards for authors set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).  Some jurisdictions will have best practice guidelines for research relating to Indigenous peoples that give an indication of the issues in relation to research – for example, in Australia, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Guidelines for Ethical Research, the Te Ara Tika guidelines in New Zealand,  or in Canada,  the SSHRC Aboriginal Research Statement of Principles.  AlterNative has a Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement which provides guidelines for all parties involved in the publishing of the journal: Authors, Editors, Reviewers and the Publisher. To read this please download it below.
AlterNative and SAGE take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article, for example, is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.
Prior publication
If material has been previously published it is not generally acceptable for publication in a SAGE journal. However, there are certain circumstances where previously published material can be considered for publication. Please refer to the guidance on the SAGE Author Gateway or if in doubt, contact the Editor at the address given below.
Contributor’s publishing agreement
Before publication, SAGE requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. SAGE’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants SAGE the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than SAGE. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway. 
Open access and author archiving 
AlterNative offers optional open access publishing via the SAGE Choice programme. For more information please visit the SAGE Choice website. For information on funding body compliance, and depositing your article in repositories, please visit SAGE Publishing Policies on our Journal Author Gateway.
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway