Journal of Games, Self, & Society (JGSS) is a peer-reviewed journal created and edited by iThrive Games and published by ETC Press. The goal of JGSS is to encourage interdisciplinary research, conversation, and community around games-related scholarship. The journal highlights work focused on how games, game design, and gameplay contribute to a deeper understanding of learning, health, and humanity. Scholars from all disciplines are encouraged to participate.

Our Editorial Review Board

  • Kelli Dunlap – Editor-in-Chief of JGSS and Manager of Mental Health Research & Design at iThrive Games
  • Owen Gottlieb – Assistant Professor of Interactive Games and Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Matt Farber – Assistant Professor of Technology, Innovation, and Pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado
  • Heidi McDonald – Senior Creative Director at iThrive Games
  • Gabriela Richard – Assistant Professor in the Learning, Design and Technology program at Penn State
  • Susan Rivers – Executive Director and Chief Scientist at iThrive Games
  • Doris Rusch – Associate Professor at DePaul University and Founder/Director of Deep Games Laboratory
  • David Simkins – Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Games and Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Josh Tanenbaum – Assistant Professor at the University of California: Irvine
  • Ricardo Washington – Special faculty member at the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center
  • Moses Wolfenstein – Senior Interaction Developer with the Media Team at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s division of Continuing Education Outreach and eLearning

JGSS was inspired by feedback from a Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) workshop at the Game Developers Conference in 2017. Games scholars and developers identified the scarcity of peer-reviewed publications printing human-centered game-related works as a major obstacle to furthering the scholarship in the field. To address this issue, iThrive Games edited a special issue of Well Played, an academic journal within ETC Press, as a pilot for creating its own journal. The special issue was a resounding success and helped inform the creation of JGSS.

iThrive Games really listened to the game developers and scholars in the HEVGA workshop, quickly brainstorming ideas with people in attendance, and stepping up to try and help the field grow with a new forum for scholarship focused around human-centered game design.” – Drew Davidson,  Director of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon

I am delighted that the editorial board is a set of very accomplished scholars in the field from a wide range of member institutions, and firmly believe that iThrive, given their philanthropic mission to understand these issues and status as a non-profit committed to furthering human knowledge, is the right group to help establish this important effort.  It is the first in what I hope are a series of new academic venues for work in various sub-disciplines and knowledge domains as our understanding of games and immersive media continues to expand.. – Andrew Phelps, President of HEVGA and founder and Director of the RIT Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity

Frequently Asked Questions
How often do you publish JGSS?
Once per year.

When does the next issue of JGSS come out?
New issues of the journal are published in early Spring.

When is the next call for papers for JGSS?
The current call for abstracts is open until April 30, 2019.

How much does it cost to submit to or publish in JGSS?
There is no cost to submit a paper or to have one published. All manuscripts are published digitally through ETC Press and therefore free to all. If you want a physical copy of the journal, ETC does charge a small fee for printing and shipping, simply to cover the costs of printing. There are no institutional or subscription fees.

How and where are calls for JGSS papers distributed?
The best places to hear about future calls for papers are our website, the iThrive monthly newsletter, and our Twitter account @iThriveGames. We also publish our call for papers on the Games Network and HEVGA listservs.

How do I know if my paper is a good fit for JGSS?
The goal of the JGSS is to encourage interdisciplinary research, conversation, and community. As such, we do not have requirements for research to be in a specific field of study. If your research – either theoretical or empirical – is focused on how games, game design, or gameplay contribute to a deeper understanding of learning, health, or humanity, you’re in a good place. Works focused on teens are especially encouraged. If you’re not sure about your paper’s fit, you can contact Kelli Dunlap, the journal’s editor-in-chief, at

Do you publish null results in JGSS?
Yes! Null results are still results and an important part of healthy science and scholarship.

Will JGSS also consider publishing results-blind Registered Reports?
Yes. JGSS is committed to the advancement of publication methodology and observing best practices — embracing results-blind and pre-registered reports is an important step toward more transparent and ethical research.

What is JGSS’s stance on republishing translated work?
We welcome texts that have been previously published in a different language provided that, in addition to translating the paper into English, they have made noticeable changes to the text to differentiate it from the previously published text. It’s the responsibility of the authors to secure all permissions from initial publication to republish an article. Demonstrated proof must be provided upon submission.

How does the JGSS review process work?
JGSS uses a double-blind review process which means that reviewers do not know the identity of the authors and vice versa. Each paper is reviewed by two members of the editorial board and is assigned a mark of Strong Accept, Accept, Weak Accept, Weak Reject, and Reject.

  • Strong Accept – The work meets or exceeds the standards of a top paper in any reputable journal.
  • Accept – The work is of value and the paper is worth publication; some minor revisions may be required.
  • Borderline – The work may have value, but it is unclear if there is adequate time to make revisions necessary to clarify that value in the paper; OR unclear if it is appropriate for this venue.
  • Reject – The work may have value, but significant re-writes are necessary before it should be considered for publication; OR it is reasonably sure this venue is inappropriate.
  • Strong Reject – Neither the work nor its articulation appear to be ready for publication; OR this venue is inappropriate.

Reviewers’ comments will be provided when authors are notified of their paper’s status. Papers receiving an evaluation of Borderline (i.e. those requiring major revisions) will be required to submit a revised paper addressing the comments and concerns of reviewers in order to be considered for publication. Should a situation occur where a paper receives conflicting reviewer scores (e.g. one accept and one reject) a third reviewer will evaluate the paper.

My JGSS submission received an overall mark of Borderline. What does that mean in terms of acceptance to the journal?
Papers marked as requiring major revisions will be provided feedback from the reviewers and required to resubmit their paper for review. The paper will be reevaluated upon re-submission. If the work fails to comprehensively address the requested edits or does not meet publication standards during reevaluation, JGSS retains the right to decline the paper.

Who is on the editorial review board of JGSS?

How do I contact someone about JGSS?
Please email us at

Who owns the copyright of JGSS articles?
Authors retain all rights to their work.

Does JGSS have an ISSN?
Yes. ISSN 2641-9785.

Will JGSS articles be indexed and available on sites like Google Scholar?