Lean Construction Journal

Lean Construction Journal

Lean Construction Journal

Author Submission Instructions


Published by the Lean Construction Institute since 2004, the Lean Construction Journal (LCJ) is an international refereed journal devoted to Lean Construction practice and research.

All papers will be rigorously reviewed by at least three people, at least one of whom is likely to be an industry practitioner. Reviewers will be asking themselves how the paper will support change in, and/or help to stimulate rethinking of, the construction process on- or off-site. The aim of the review process is to support the author(s) achieve this in an accessible manner. To support this, authors may choose to attach detailed statistical or other technical analyses of findings in an appendix that will be seen by the reviewers and available to readers if they want it.

In Lean Construction, owner, designers, engineers, consultants, construction manger/general contractor, specialty contractors, and suppliers work together to generate value for the owner by producing a desirable, constructable, usable, maintainable, and sustainable built and natural environment. The ends Lean Construction seek are achieved through established and developing practices that rest on sound theoretical cornerstones.

While inspired by the thinking of the Toyota Production System, a common misconception is that Lean Construction is an imposition or grafting of Lean Production practiced at Toyota on to the Construction Industry. Greg Howell, our beloved and late mentor, used to say on behalf of the Lean Construction community that “we found our way to Toyota, but we didn’t start there.” This is easily verified by reading the work (starting in 1992) of the early pioneers in this area such as Lauri Koskela, Glenn Ballard, Greg Howell, and Luis Alarcón.

The primary objective of LCJ is to stimulate a systematic rethinking of the construction process both on and off-site by providing a forum for advancing Lean Construction knowledge and exchanging ideas between industry and academia.

LCJ invites practitioners and academics to submit manuscripts on topics inspired, motivated by and/or grounded in what has been accomplished in Lean Construction since 1993 (see these editorials from Lean Construction Journal here and here ).  Manuscript authors (practitioners, consultants and academics), in any LCJ publication category, are minded to submit writings that are readily accessible to reflective practitioners and clients of the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry and AEC students and faculty.

We encourage authors taking interest in the discipline of Lean Construction to consider prior publications on Lean Construction at the Lean Construction Journal (www.leanconstructionjournal.org) and the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) conferences at www.iglc.net. We welcome outlines from prospective authors who want to check if their ideas might fit the scope of LCJ. As an on-line open-access journal, we are able to publish submissions as soon as they are accepted for publication.  Authors are not charged any fees for publication.

Impact Factors, Rankings, and Indexing

The assessment of the impact of scholarly, scientific work has been a divisive matter in almost all fields of academic pursuits.  It is not an overstatement to say that the methods of assessment have become an obsession, with the more complication of the methods leading to less understanding of what the impact means.   As a representative of the assessment approach, the Journal Impact Factor is calculated by Thomson Reuters (as are many other indices by others , including Google’s h-index).  The signatories to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) have documented and discussed a number of well-documented deficiencies of Journal Impact Factors as a tool for research assessment.

The Lean Construction Journal is a signatory ( along with 25,046 individuals and organizations in 167 countries) to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (read here).  The signatories of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment support research assessment practices that do not suffer from the metrics chasing problem.  The general recommendation of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment is:

  1. Do not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions.
  2. The need to assess research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research is published.
  3. The need to capitalize on the opportunities provided by online publication (such as relaxing unnecessary limits on the number of words, figures, and references in articles, and exploring new indicators of significance and impact).

The LCJ was conceived in 2003, and the inaugural issue was in 2004.  Since our existence, we have resisted making the impact and citations factors be the aim because all that does is makes us captive to the metrics at the expense of something else.  It is illustrative to cite here what British economist Charles Goodhart stated in 1975 about metrics:  “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure”.   Therefore, we have been very selective in what we publish.  Our  acceptance rate is 34% (302 papers submitted, 104 accepted) over the last 20 years.

The editorial staff, advisory board, and reviewers are the gate keepers of quality for LCJ.  The best testimony we can share is captured in a summary of email exchanges  with Prof. Greg Howell (God rest his soul) and Dr. Glenn Ballard about their opinion as to whether we should bring LCJ to a close (~ 2015-2016).  Here is what they said:

Both Lean Construction Pioneers strongly recommended and supported continuation.  The original co-founders of LCI described LCJ to be the exclusive journal that is specialized in Lean in the Construction Industry.  They shared that publishing in it is a reflection of true scholarship and mastery of what they believed was the authentic crux of what they set out to do with IGLC colleagues (Professors Lauri Koskela, Luis Alarcon, and Carlos Formoso) in 1993.  Prof. Howell was of the opinion that getting published in LCJ separated the ranchers from the spectators. ( Dr. Ballard verified accuracy through email exchange).

LCJ is  indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), EBSCO databases, RMIT Publishing, SCOPUS (owned by Elsevier B.V), and ProQuest Academic Database. LCJ was recently selected for indexing into The World Journal Clout Index (WJCI).   We understand the realities of many academic programs and the requirements for considering journal impact factors.  For latest impact factors and rankings, please go to: https://www.scopus.com/sources.uri) — Scopus preview – Scopus – Lean Construction Journal.   For other impact factors consider the SCImago Journal & Country Rank Indicator (SJR).

If you are conducting research in Lean in the Construction industry, would like to share it after it passes through a robust review process for its Lean scholarship, then please send us your manuscript (formatted to the style files provided).  If your institution forces you to publish in specific journals ( this tier or this quartile, etc) for your work to count, then perhaps LCJ is not the right option for you.

If we can assist you with your manuscript, please email us at editors@leanconstructionjournal.org 


LCJ papers are double blind peer reviewed by at least three members of our expert review panel. At least one of your reviewers will be a practitioner.  We may send a paper to 2 practitioners and 1 academic.  Forum Essays are reviewed by the journal editors, or at their discretion sent to one or two peer reviewers (double-blind process).  Revisions may be required before a decision is made to accept or reject the paper. This can involve a further review or reviews.

LCJ considers the following manuscript types for publication (for word limits, see Instruction for Authors):

Full Papers – manuscripts that report archival-worthy basic and/or applied research that provoke new thinking in Lean Construction. Papers are blind-reviewed by at least three peer reviewers. This category is most suited for academics seeking credit for promotion purposes.

Technical Notes – manuscripts (usually has fewer than 5000 word or word-equivalents) that report (1) novel/alternative theoretical construct; (2) innovative practical developments; (3) structured investigations into Lean Construction country/region-based, and/or industry-wide implementation opportunities/challenges; (4) preliminary/partial research findings. Notes are blind-reviewed by at least three peer reviewers. This category is most suited for academics seeking credit for promotion purposes.

Case Studies – descriptions of the application of Lean Thinking to the construction process and the results obtained. We welcome reports of failure, particularly where the authors also record their learning, as well as success. Case studies are welcome from practitioners as well as academics – taken together they can form the basis for research by others. There is no requirement for case studies to be backed up by extensive references to theory and literature. All we ask is that case studies acknowledge their sources – books or people – and are easy to read. At a minimum, a case study will be reviewed by 2 practitioners and 1 academic.

Advanced Research – This category is for established Lean Construction scholars who wish to report on preliminary/partial research findings based on advanced, cutting-edge ideas for reactions and discussions. Advanced Research manuscripts are reviewed by the journal editors, or at their discretion sent to one or two peer reviewers (double-blind process). If blind-reviewed then this category is suited for academics seeking credit for promotion purposes.

Forum Essays – this is an excellent category for practitioners or those seeking to learn how to publish. We look for thought-provoking and stimulating opinion pieces on practices in the field, experiences with or historical chronicles of Lean Construction implementations, reflections on Lean Construction principles and tools. Essays may be founded in fact, conjecture, and/or speculations of the author(s). It is not acceptable that author(s) present opinion, conjecture, and/or speculations as statements of fact. For this category, the review process is seeking to make sure the spirit of a forum essay has been met rather than whether the manuscript is a synthesis of a short/long term research-based endeavor and is of archival value. We instruct reviewers to provide an open-ended and personal reaction to the manuscript [a paragraph or two would suffice, pointing out improvements, if any, such as readability, clarity, arguments presented, methods, references, etc]. Forum Essays are reviewed by the journal editors, or at their discretion sent to one or two peer reviewers (double-blind process).

Process Benchmarks – This is a document that summarizes experiences and knowledge gained from scholarly activities:

  • At Lean Construction Institute affiliated university-based research labs
  • By LCI-affiliated / IGLC-affiliated academics and/or academics-working-with-practitioners
  • Lean Construction Community affiliated academics and/or academics-working-with-practitioners

This document captures the state of practice and theory to date on a particular topic (the current state of standard work), and serves as advice to industry that is grounded in research. The Process benchmark establishes a point of departure from where we can improve on standard work. This category is reviewed by the LCJ editors only. Updates to a published process benchmark are welcome.

IGLC Proceedings in LCJ Issues – IGLC proceeding authors are welcome to submit their manuscripts to LCJ under one of the following options:

Option 1.  Author(s) opts to “publish as is.”  In this case, the IGLC paper is the exact same as that in the proceedings, and we indicate that in the  LCJ paper.  As a courtesy, a  notification email to the Conference Technical Chairs, with a cc to the LCJ editors, is appreciated from the authors.  This  option can be used for all IGLC papers, whether they are regular, plenary, or have received a best paper award.   An Editorial/Advisory Board review may be conducted with the possibility of a rejection or a recommendation to go through the normal double-blind review process.

Option 2.  Author(s) of a ‘regular’ IGLC paper can opt to “re-publish with modifications.”  In this case, the IGLC paper is substantively modified and expanded on such that there is a clear differentiation between the IGLC paper and the LCJ paper.   Editorial and format changes are not considered substantive modifications/expansions.   At the discretion of the Editorial Board, the paper may undergo the  normal (3 reviewers or more) or expedited (1-2 reviewers)  double-blind review process.

Option 3.  Author(s) of a plenary or best paper award IGLC paper opts to “re-publish with modifications.”  In this case, the IGLC paper is substantively modified and expanded on such that there is a clear differentiation between the IGLC paper and the LCJ paper.  Editorial and format changes are not considered substantive modifications/expansions.  The LCJ Editorial Board makes an assessment as to whether the modifications/expansions of the ideas presented allow for a differentiation between the IGLC paper and the LCJ paper.  The modified paper may be accepted or further undergo an expedited  double-blind review process.

Discussions, rejoinders and closures to previous contributions – formal and considered comments, rejoinders and/or questions about the technical content of a paper. Authors’ responses/closures respond to arguments and clarify issues raised in discussions.

Book reviews are also welcome.

Themed Sections – from time to time we will invite papers around a particular theme – if you have an idea for a themed section please let us know here.

We welcome submissions from practitioners, consultants and academics and ask that they be readily accessible to reflective practitioners, owners and clients of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industry, to AEC students and researchers. You will find instructions for authors here.

For many of our readers, English is a second or third language and we want your paper to be readily understandable by them as well as by practitioners and those who are fluent in English. Before you submit a paper, please use an editor and/or proof-reader to ensure that your use of English – including content, style, clarity, organization and grammar – is of the highest order and does justice to the ideas you are presenting.

As an on-line journal LCJ is able to publish submissions as soon as they are approved.


LCJ aims to publish solid, original work that contributes to the body of knowledge with  cases of novel thinking, enhancements, and implementations in the one or more of the following areas:


Area of Interest/Topic


1 Lean Theory Developing new theory; Challenges to current thinking (theory); Bringing in theory form other fields and contextualizing it for Lean Construction.

2 Research Methods How to do lean research; [ISO18404]

3 Lean and Green/Sustainability Research and experiences focused on the integration of lean and green, and how lean benefits the value proposition of green to owners by offsetting first costs.   Moreover, this is such a critical symbiotic relationship that we believe every paper should have reflections/elements about green/sustainability, and climate change and environment  in the implications part of the structured abstract.

4 Health, Safety and Quality As the record shows, we injure and kill more people than any other industry.   Is there any worse waste (unproductive use of resources) than this?  It is first a humane imperative and secondarily an economic one. Quality, and we define it as doing the right things right the first time, is the most direct route to better and sustained safety, health and wellbeing (example of topics:  lean and suicide reduction; lean and mental health; lean and occupational safety and health; lean ergonomic; lean human factors;  safety engineering; resilience engineering, etc.);  Quality is also the way to simultaneously reduce cost and improve productivity (e.g., lean and “fire-fighting”, lean as “fire-prevention”, etc).

5 People, Culture and Change Developing and maintaining a lean culture; research on how to manage the transition from the current dominant culture to a lean way of working; helping people blossom in the transition and in the lean way of working; labor/management training;  linguistic action; lean leadership, lean governance; lean enterprise; strategy and implementation.

6 Learning & Teaching Lean Enhancing Lean Design and Construction teaching using educational simulations (games); Developing a lean curriculum.

7 The role of the customer in (lean) construction [customer = owner, client, employer, etc., depending on where in the world the conversation is] value from the point of view of the customer; the customer has many heads – the buyer, the user, the next-trade(or designer)-in-line, neighbors, society; value depends on the context and who is the customer; opinions in the “customer system” vary; the delivery team may need to help their customer system be clear about what it is they value.

8 Construction project delivery strategy/ procurement  Project delivery method/strategy selection; construction procurement; contract selection (relational contracting, alliancing, integrated project delivery); project governance; selecting and contracting with key delivery team members.

9 Project definition The process in which the customer defines what they want from the project, the business case + the process that the delivery team use to ensure that they have a full understanding of the customer requirements prior to the start of design.

10 Contract Management and Cost Management Managing the contract and managing cost during a project; Financial management.

11 Lean Design  Product Development; Design Management; TVD; Set-Based Concurrent Engineering; Production System Design.

12 Digitalization Information technology; Enabling Lean with Innovative Technology; Industry 4.0 topics (Digital Twins and Cyber-Physical Systems); Lean Construction & Construction 4/5.0.

13 Production System Design [Production system = process for realizing the design; happens in parallel with the development of the design] choosing the construction sequence, method, operating system, logistics; open buildings and tolerances; performance measurement; lean workstructuring.

14 Off-Site Construction OSF; Prefabrication and site installation; Modularization; Modern Methods of Construction; Logistics.

16 Supply Chain Management Lean approaches to the management of the delivery team (subcontractors, specialist trades, suppliers, etc.); developing supplier capability (outside a project); developing new ways to collaborate; using lean tools to built consistent workflow and address bottlenecks as a team; logistics.

15 Production Planning and Control Enhancements and Implementations of the Last Planner System®, TAKT, LBMS, etc

17 Lean Commissioning + Handover Developing lean approaches to the commissioning; commissioning design can start during the design process; requires high levels of collaboration; commissioning as a customer for assembly workers.

18 Lean Operations & Maintenance Development and use of lean in the operations and maintenance of facilities.

19 Lean refurb, renovation & retrofit  Reducing the carbon emissions, etc.,  footprint of our existing built env’t using lean thinking to enable work to flow such that disruptions are reduced to building owners, tenants and users; and neighbors/communities.

20 Other Process of lean paper delivery; Book reviews.

As lean theory takes a whole systems view, which emphasizes, among other things, optimization of the whole rather than the parts to help work flow ever more smoothly, we ask authors to ensure that they show how their ideas contribute to optimizing the end-to-end flow of design, construction & use process.


We want to use our unique position and the opportunities offered by the internet to reinvent what a journal is. We would appreciate your ideas, feedback and comments to enable us to do this. Please send us an email here.

LCJ Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement


LCJ is committed to ensuring ethics in publication and quality of articles. Conformance to standards of ethical behavior is therefore expected of all parties involved: Authors, Editors, Reviewers, and the Publisher.

In particular,

Authors – Authors should present an objective discussion of the significance of research work as well as sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the experiments. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable. Review articles should also be objective, comprehensive, and accurate accounts of the state of the art. The authors should ensure that their work is entirely original works, and if the work and/or words of others have been used, this has been appropriately acknowledged. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Authors should not submit articles describing essentially the same research to more than one journal. The corresponding author should ensure that there is a full consensus of all co-authors in approving the final version of the paper and its submission for publication.

Editors – Editors should evaluate manuscripts exclusively on the basis of their academic merit. An editor must not use unpublished information in the editor’s own research without the express written consent of the author. Editors should take reasonable responsive measures when ethical complaints have been presented concerning a submitted manuscript or published paper.

Editors categorize submitted manuscripts into the topical area(s) they are primarily addressing.  This determines the Associate Editor (co-Associate Editors as well) that will steward the review process.  The topical areas are listed above.

Reviewers –  Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviews should be conducted objectively, and observations should be formulated clearly with supporting arguments, so that authors can use them for improving the paper. Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.

LCJ Open Access Statement

The Lean Construction Journal is committed to real and immediate open access for academic work. You are free to download and use all of the LCJ publications for personal research and study. The publications are free to access immediately from the date of publication. There are no author charges (commonly known as APCs) prior to publication, and no charge for any reader to download articles and reviews for their own scholarly use. The LCJ is free to all at any time and in perpetuity as long as the use is for personal research, scholarly uses, and study. To facilitate this the LCI depends upon the financial underwriting provided by the Lean Construction Institute, the goodwill of its editorial team and advisory board, and the continuing support of its network of peer reviewers.

The papers on this site are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, click here.If you wish to use any of the papers for commercial purposes, such as handouts or discussion materials on courses, please click here for a license to do this, letting us know in what circumstances you will use the paper(s) and how many copies. We may make a small charge for this.