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Journal of Simulation

Health Systems

Joint Special Issue on

Hybrid Modelling & Simulation

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This call for papers is for a joint special issue of the Journal of Simulation and Health Systems - the journals of the Operational Research (OR) Society. We invite authors to submit original research on the use of cross-disciplinary approaches with computer simulation. The work must extend the theory, methodology, application and/or practice of modelling and simulation (M&S) through its engagement with methods and techniques from disciplines such as Engineering, Computer Science, Data Science, Hard/Soft OR and Social Sciences.

  • Journal of Simulation: As the special issue is on hybrid methods and is for the Journal of Simulation, we are interested in papers that make use of at least one simulation technique used in Operational Research and Management Science (ORMS), for example, discrete-event simulation (DES), agent-based modelling (ABS) and system dynamics (SD). Papers that span the breadth of the hybrid M&S process, including problem formulation, modelling and analysis methodologies, validation and verification, as well as application-oriented papers from domains other than healthcare (e.g., manufacturing, services, defence, supply chain and logistics) are to be submitted to the Journal of Simulation. Healthcare-facing papers should be submitted to Health Systems.

  • Health Systems: Healthcare has always been multidisciplinary and looking at health as a system will require looking into these multiple facets of contributing disciplines. In relation to healthcare decision-making, simulation is one of the most widely used ORMS techniques with applications at both operational and strategic levels. The combined application of simulation methods, or hybrid simulation, is also gaining popularity in this domain (dos Santos et al., 2011). Furthermore, the importance of simulation modelling during a raging pandemic cannot not be overstated (Currie et al., 2020). Given the importance of simulation in healthcare, for the Health Systems special issue, we similarly focus on hybrid papers that include at least one simulation technique. Papers that focus on hybrid methods in the context of healthcare systems (e.g., healthcare operations and delivery, healthcare-focused literature review) should be submitted to Health Systems.

Please get in touch with the Guest Editors if you are unsure of the submission outlet.


Overview of the special issue

Modelling and simulation (M&S) techniques are frequently used in ORMS to aid decision-making. With the growing complexity of systems to be modelled, an increasing number of studies now apply multiple M&S techniques or Hybrid Simulation comprising of a mix of simulation techniques (Brailsford et al., 2019). A parallel but related theme of research is extending the hybrid simulation approach to include the development of Hybrid Models (Mustafee & Powell, 2018).  Hybrid Modelling extends the M&S discipline by combining research approaches, methods, techniques and tools from across disciplines (Tolk et al., 2021) to one or more stages of a simulation study, e.g., problem formulation and conceptual modelling stage, input data collection and analysis, model implementation, verification and validation, development of scenarios, experimentation, output data analysis and recommendation stage (Powell & Mustafee, 2017). An example of a Hybrid Simulation study is the work by Viana et al. (2020), where the authors implemented a hybrid ABS-DES simulation model to plan capacity and patient flow in a post-term pregnancy outpatient clinic in a Norwegian hospital. An example of Hybrid Modelling is the study by Feldkamp et al. (2020), where the authors have used reinforcement learning, which is a Machine Learning/Data Science approach, in combination with DES for controlling automated guided vehicles in modular production systems. For further examples of existing work on hybrid modelling and simulation, please refer to Mustafee et al. (2020).

In the broader OR literature, there are numerous examples of cross-disciplinary approaches in model development. However, within M&S, there is limited evidence of the application of conjoined methods for building Hybrid Models. The focus of the special issue is therefore to attract high-quality papers where the authors have ventured outside the core discipline of M&S and have engaged across disciplines and applied multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary solutions to practice. We also welcome submissions on Hybrid Simulation. Figure 1 illustrates the primary and secondary focus of the special issue. The primary focus is on Hybrid Modelling studies where M&S has been used with cross-disciplinary methods and techniques; the secondary focus is on Hybrid Simulation studies. For this special issue, we will not be considering conventional one-technique simulations.

Figure 1 Hybrid Models and Hybrid Simulation.png

Figure 1: Hybrid Models and Hybrid Simulation are the primary and the secondary focus areas for the special issue (Fishwick and Mustafee, 2019).

Topics that will be considered include but are not limited to:

  • Hybrid modelling studies that are cross-disciplinary and have applied discipline-specific theories, methods, frameworks and tools in one or more stages of a simulation study. For example,

    • Applied Computing – e.g., simulation studies that have used grid/cloud/parallel/GPGPU computing for faster execution of models;

    • Computer Science – e.g., formal methods for building and verifying hybrid simulation models;

    • Economics – e.g., techniques from experimental economics that capture behaviour of agents and which are subsequently modelled as a computer simulation, randomised control trial (RCT) studies designed to test the efficacy of the implementation (of the results of the simulation), vis-à-vis, the existing system;

    • Humanities: e.g., ethnographic studies that better capture the requirements of a simulation study and aid model development;

    • Software engineering – use of software development methodologies (Agile, XP, RAD) and design research in the lifecycle of a simulation study;

  • Hybrid modelling studies with Hard OR and Data Science approaches (e.g., combining forecasting, process mining or machine learning with either DES, ABS or SD)

  • Hybrid modelling studies with Soft OR approaches (e.g., Qualitative System Dynamics + DES, Soft Systems Methodology+ DES)

  • Papers that focus on hybrid methods in the context of healthcare systems (e.g., healthcare operations and delivery, healthcare-focused literature review)

  • Multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary frameworks that enable the synthesis of philosophies, methods and techniques that have developed within the confines of disciplinary boundaries (Tolk et al., 2021) with stages of an M&S study (including conceptual modelling), M&S methodologies and techniques etc.

  • Hybrid simulation studies (e.g., combined application of DES, ABS and SD)

  • Case studies of hybrid modelling

  • Literature reviews (authors interested in writing a review article must first contact the Guest Editors).


Although the list of topics focuses on methods and techniques, the hybrid solution should be motivated by a problem or a gap in the literature or grounded in the primary objective of better representation of the system, compared to what has traditionally been possible using one-technique solutions and/or looking (only) within the M&S discipline.


  • Brailsford, S. C., Eldabi, T., Kunc, M., Mustafee, N., & Osorio, A. F. (2019). “Hybrid Simulation Modelling in Operational Research: A State-of-the-art Review”. European Journal of Operational Research, 278(3), 721-737.

  • Currie, C. S., Fowler, J. W., Kotiadis, K., Monks, T., Onggo, B. S., Robertson, D. A., & Tako, A. A. (2020). “How Simulation Modelling Can Help Reduce the Impact of COVID-19”. Journal of Simulation, 14(2), 83-97.

  • dos Santos, V. H., Kotiadis, K., & Scaparra, M. P. (2020). A Review of Hybrid Simulation in Healthcare. In Proceedings of the 2020 Winter Simulation Conference, pp. 1004-1015. IEEE.

  • Feldkamp, N., Bergmann, S., & Strassburger, S. (2020). “Simulation-based Deep Reinforcement Learning for Modular Production Systems”. In Proceedings of the 2020 Winter Simulation Conference, pp. 1596-1607. IEEE.

  • Fishwick, P. & Mustafee, N. (2019). “Broadening Participation in Modelling”. In Proceedings of the 2019 Winter Simulation Conference, pp. 1316–1327. IEEE.

  • Mustafee, N., & Powell, J. H. (2018). “From Hybrid Simulation to Hybrid Systems Modelling”. In Proceedings of the 2018 Winter Simulation Conference, pp. 1430-1439. IEEE.

  • Mustafee, N., Harper, A., & Onggo, B. S. (2020). “Hybrid Modelling and Simulation (M&S): Driving Innovation in the Theory and Practice of M&S”. In Proceedings of the 2020 Winter Simulation Conference (WSC), pp. 3140-3151. IEEE.

  • Powell, J. H., & Mustafee, N. (2017). “Widening Requirements Capture with Soft Methods: An Investigation of Hybrid M&S Studies in Healthcare”. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 68(10), 1211-1222.

  • Tolk, A., Harper, A., & Mustafee, N. (2021). “Hybrid Models as Transdisciplinary Research Enablers”. European Journal of Operational Research, 291(3), 1075-1090.

  • Viana, J., Simonsen, T. B., Faraas, H. E., Schmidt, N., Dahl, F. A., & Flo, K. (2020). “Capacity and Patient Flow Planning in Post-term Pregnancy Outpatient Clinics: A Computer Simulation Modelling Study”. BMC Health Services Research, 20(1), 1-15.


Subjects covered (keywords)

Hybrid Simulation, Hybrid Modelling (Multidisciplinary, Interdisciplinary, Transdisciplinary), Operational Research and Management Science (OR/MS), Healthcare


Submission instructions

Please submit your manuscript using the ScholarOne™ submission website for either the Journal of Simulation or Health Systems. Please only submit to one journal and select “hybrid modelling and simulation” as the special issue, when prompted. The cover letter should include the following information:

  • Highlight the contribution of your work in extending the theory and practice of M&S through cross-disciplinary engagement. Why is the hybrid approach necessary?

  • Specify the disciplinary theories, frameworks, methodologies, techniques, tools and research approaches used with computer simulation.


  • Announcement of CFP: October 15, 2021

  • Submission Deadline: April 15, 2022

  • First Decisions: July 15, 2022

  • Revision Deadline: September 15, 2022

  • Articles available online: late 2022/early 2023

  • Anticipated print publication: Journal of Simulation (TBC); Health Systems (TBC)


Guest Editors

  • Nav Mustafee, University of Exeter, UK

  • Andreas Tolk, MITRE, USA

  • Varun Ramamohan, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India

  • Steffen Straßburger, TU Ilmenau, Germany


Lead Editor Contact:


Important details

  • Peer review of manuscripts submitted to the special issue is conducted according to agreed and ethical peer review standards ( for the publication of articles, so as to ensure the integrity of peer review and assure the quality of published articles.

  • All authors, peer reviewers, and referees comply with the Publisher's guidelines on the ethics of journal publishing ( and respect the confidentiality of the review process, and that material under review shall be held to be the contributing author's intellectual property unless and until otherwise assigned.

  • Please indicate that your article is for a special issue during the submission process; both in your cover letter and also when asked by the ScholarOne system. You should be able to select the special issue title from a drop-down menu, which will help the Editorial Office and the Editors to correctly allocate your paper for peer review.