Journal of Industrial Ecology

Call for Papers:

Special Issue on

Frontiers in Socio-Economic Metabolism Research

Deadline: April 1, 2014

It has been more than three decades since industrial metabolism became a core concept in industrial ecology and environmental science, and over the past twenty years an enormous number of socio-economic metabolism studies have been published in the scholarly literature, many of them in the Journal of Industrial Ecology. While initially studies were descriptive, the analytical depth and breadth of industrial metabolism research has grown extensively in recent years. The industrial ecology research community now distinguishes between whole of economy, urban, and sectoral studies and has a focus on total materials or particular material flows such as metals or biomass. While at first many studies employed a production (territorial) accounting approach or focused on the flow of toxic substances or quantified material flows to support waste management, recently more and more research has taken a consumption perspective of material use. The analytical sophistication has grown rapidly and the policy implications of industrial metabolism research have been an increasing focus as well, improving the uptake of research findings through the community of policy and practitioners. At the same time, the notion of industrial metabolism has increasingly been adopted outside of the industrial ecology research community and has entered the main stage of the sustainability scholarly and political debate. More recently, new linkages with environmental impacts including climate change, resource depletion, water scarcity and food security have been explored and the nexus between major resources has become an important focus.

This special issue looks back at the success of the concept and explores new science frontiers for socio-economic metabolism research. It explores the discourse between industrial ecology, environmental science and engineering, political and social ecology, human geography, ecological economics, and urban ecology that have emerged around the industrial metabolism concept. Contributors to the special issue explore the potential of socio-economic metabolism as a guiding analytical framework for analysing global environmental change and globalization that invites interaction among social, economic and biophysical scientists to analyse the profound interface between society and nature, and the potential for sustainability.

The Journal of Industrial Ecology is an international peer-reviewed bimonthly, owned by Yale University, headquartered at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and published by Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Topics:

Issues addressed may include (but are not limited to):

·         The rising importance of socio-economic metabolism as a key concept for environmental science and sustainability analysis;

·         Reviews of scholarship on various facets of socio-economic metabolism including historical analysis, modelling of future resource use, unpacking of drivers of resource use, resource efficiency, the role of consumption in resource use, linkages with climate change and biodiversity loss;

·         Review of methodological innovations in material flow analysis, including analysis of stocks and flows, footprints and modelling;

·         Resource governance, institutional analysis of resource use systems, systems innovation, policy implications of metabolism research; and

·         Comparison of socio-economic metabolism findings to research addressing similar topics using other approaches

·         The nature and efficacy of the metabolism analogy


How to Submit

Manuscripts should be original, previously unpublished, in English, and between 3,500 and 6,000 words in length excluding references. Ancillary data relevant to articles can be posted on the journal's web site in the form of supporting information.  Submission implies that the manuscript has not been submitted for publication elsewhere and that it will not be submitted elsewhere while the review process is underway. All submissions will be reviewed according to the Journal's standard single-blind peer review process. Provide a list of 4 recommended reviewers and a list of any potential reviewers that you would prefer that we not use (e.g., with conflict of interest). Papers should be submitted electronically via ScholarOne Manuscripts (formerly called Manuscript Central) at Please indicate that this is a submission for the “Metabolism Research” issue on the author checklist during the submission process. Details about the preparation of the manuscript can be obtained from the Journal's Web page or from the editor.


The Journal of Industrial Ecology invites you to submit articles for this special issue by April 1, 2014. The Guest Editors for this issue are Heinz Schandl (CSIRO), Yuichi Moriguchi (Tokyo University) and Daniel Mueller (NTNU).


Send inquiries to:

Reid Lifset
Editor, Journal of Industrial Ecology
Yale University
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT, 06511-2189  USA

Return to JIE News & Announcements
Return to the JIE homepage
Return to Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies