Special issues are collections of articles centered around a subject of special interest, which are organized and led by subject experts who take on the role of the guest editor. Authors should be aware that articles included in special issues are subject to the same criteria of quality, originality, and significance as regular articles. Articles in special issues are published in the regular issues of the journal when they are accepted, and these articles are additionally labeled to indicate that they belong to a special issue. This makes them discoverable within the special issue's collection.
The special issue will be composed of a lead guest editor and a team of guest editors. The lead guest editor is encouraged to invite researchers from related fields to join the special issue as guest editors. Whether you serve as the lead guest editor or one of guest editors, you will be entitled to the following benefits while also shouldering corresponding responsibilities:
|Lead Guest Editor
|Be awarded a certificate of honor (electronic version)
|Get your name listed on the journal's website
|Be at the forefront of scientific communications
|Contribute to and receive recognition from the academic community
|Assemble and work with a strong team of editors
|Lead Guest Editor
|Recruit a guest editor team to review the manuscripts submitted to the special issue
|Promote your special issue and invite authors to submit manuscripts
|Make decisions on the acceptance or rejection of submitted manuscripts
|Cross-check the manuscripts and ensure their quality
|Conduct peer review for the manuscripts submitted to the special issue
|Ensure that the peer review process is fair, unbiased, and timely
Publishing articles in a special issue presents authors with many substantial advantages. By contributing to a special issue, researchers can not only increase their visibility within their field but also have the opportunity to present their work to amplify its significance. Furthermore, being part of a special issue fosters collaboration and networking among experts, while providing a platform to explore cutting-edge developments and contribute to the overall advancement of the field.
Special issue articles are often published more quickly than regular articles.
Positive Citation Impact
Special content articles attract 20% more citations in the first 24 months than articles published in regular issues.
Special issue articles published in open access journals attract twice as many citations than the others.
Publish with Peers
Harness your network and benefit from multiple expert perspectives on the same issues.
Rigorous Peer Review
Special issues are fully committed to rigorous, independent peer review.
Longer-term Impact for Your Work
Special issues offer longer-term impact as your article collection means readers will easily find your work.
Unlike regular issues, special issues will be promoted online to ensure the issue and its content is easily found.
Expand Your Research Work
Special issues are a great place to find new collaborators among the authors of other manuscripts published within the collection of articles.
The following sections will guide you on how to successfully propose a special issue. A well-structured special issue should encompass an appropriate title, a comprehensive description, and a proficient editorial team.
Propose a Special Issue Title
Your proposed title should closely align with your research interests, while also fitting within the scope of the journal. The title should strike a balance-being broad enough to attract a reasonable number of submissions, yet focused enough to curate a cohesive collection of articles. Special issues often revolve around the intersection of multiple disciplines, recent field advancements, or emerging societal challenges. If you've noticed a surge of interest in a particular subject, this is a promising indicator that a related proposal will attract significant attention. When proposing your special issue title, there are specific rules to follow:
|The title should be a polished phrase in an academic style;
|The title should be concise yet descriptive for your special issue;
|The title should signify the primary research focus, which is the core element of the title;
|The title is advised to incorporate two or three core terms.
Write a Description
The description of the special issue needs to introduce the background of proposing your special issue, the aims and significance of this special issue, and the research subjects that this issue will focus on, which can attract more scholars to participate in your special issue. Specifically, the description should include at least 3 components:
|The background of this research (such as environmental background, an introduction of research object, research frontiers, the existing issues/challenges or the significance/importance of this research, etc.);
|The aim of this special issue (such as the problems to be solved, etc.);
|The subjects of this special issue (such as a list of key subjects or topics to be covered, together with a description of the types of papers accepted, etc.).
Special issues need to be planned well in advance; it can take between 6-12 months from issuing a call for papers to publication. Taking longer than 12 months might mean that the special issue loses timeliness, although some journals plan several years in advance.
Recruit an Editorial Team
The special issue will be composed of a lead guest editor and a team of guest editors. This team should be sufficient of capacity and expertise, and take on the following responsibilities:
|Promote your special issue;
|Submit papers / Invite authors to contribute papers;
|Maintain contact with authors who are interested;
|Organize peer review for submitted papers.
The qualification of guest editors will be reviewed to ensure they meet the editorial requirements of this journal. The lead guest editor is also encouraged to recruit team members from multiple institutions and locations, which can reduce conflicts of interest and help the special issue reach a wider audience.
SciencePG's editorial staff conducts initial evaluations on all submitted special issue proposals. The purpose is to confirm the proposal's detail, structure, and focus, as well as the diversity and expertise of the proposed guest editor team. If necessary, our team may request modifications to your proposal before it proceeds to the next stage.
Once the preliminary checks are completed, your proposal will be submitted to the editorial board of the journal for approval. The editorial board will carefully assess the quality of your proposal and evaluate the alignment of the suggested topic with the scope of the target journal. It is possible that the editorial board may request revisions to further enhance your proposal. You should take this feedback into account to improve your proposal’s approval chances and ensure the potential success of the special issue.
The final approval is jointly decided by SciencePG's editorial staff and the journal's editorial board. Please note that SciencePG reserves the right, at its sole discretion, not to proceed with any special issue proposal at any time and for any reason.
Our editorial staff also ensures that special issues on similar topics do not overlap. If your proposal significantly overlaps with an open issue, the launch of your special issue may be postponed until the existing issue closes for submissions. This is to ensure the successful execution of both special issues.
Typically, this comprehensive assessment by the editorial board and the editorial staff takes two to four weeks from the submission of your proposal. We thank you for your patience and your interest in contributing to the diversity of research on SciencePG.
Once a special issue is approved, it will be made available online and open for submissions through the journal’s website. The lead guest editor’s name may be used in promotional activities for the issue.
This section offers insights into the diverse roles and responsibilities of both the lead guest editor and guest editors, contributing to the success of their respective special issues.
List Planned Articles or Potential Authors
To ensure the success of a special issue, a minimum of 5 articles must be published. To achieve this, the lead guest editor and guest editors are expected to provide details for at least 10 planned articles or propose 10 potential authors. It's important to note that not all planned articles may be suitable for publication after the peer review process, so having more than 10 planned articles or potential authors is recommended. The details should include the corresponding author's name, email, and, optionally, a tentative title for the planned article.
Download the form to provide details for planned articles or potential authors.
Prepare the Call for Papers Letter
As the lead guest editor, one of your key responsibilities is preparing a tailored Call for Papers letter. This letter will be used to invite scholars to submit their research to your special issue. It should contain a brief description of the special issue and inspire potential contributors to participate in your research endeavor.
To create an impactful Call for Papers letter, we suggest incorporating the Benefits of Publishing in a Special Issue. Highlighting these benefits can help emphasize the value and advantages of contributing to your special issue, thus attracting a broader array of high-quality submissions.
Promote Your Special Issue
Publications in a special issue are generally gathered by an invitation from the lead guest editor and guest editors or a wide call for papers from the editorial office. Nevertheless, submissions from the wider community to any special issue should not be neglected. An effective way to maximize the visibility of a special issue and increase submissions is to promote your special issue from the very beginning.
Examples of effective promotion from the lead guest editor and guest editors' side include, but are not limited to the following:
Add the Title and URL
To start, simply add the title and URL of your special issue to your email signature.
Social media, with its instant dissemination and wide coverage, is also a convenient yet highly effective tool for advertisement. You are encouraged to publish a post on Twitter and LinkedIn, together with a special issue banner provided by the editorial office, or to announce the project on ResearchGate. Thus, more peers will be aware of the special issue.
Announcing Your Special Issue
Announcing your special issue on the homepage of your website is another way to increase its visibility. We will gladly send you images or text in all formats that suit your needs. In addition, you can inform us of related research websites that could list your special issue or relevant mailing lists which are applicable.
Introducing Your Special Issue Onsite
Introducing your special issue onsite at academic events to colleagues is recommended. Special issue flyers and posters can be delivered to you. If you are going to give a presentation at a conference and are willing to broadcast the open call for submission to your audience, a slide about the special issue can be prepared for you.
Assessment and Handling Articles Submitted to Your Special Issue
Once a manuscript is submitted, the lead guest editor of the special issue and the journal's editorial staff will review it based on their availability. This evaluation assesses the manuscript for academic value and the relevance of the subject, ensuring a smooth peer review process.
After confirming the manuscript's suitability, the lead guest editor ensures that it does not raise any conflicts. Subsequently, a quality-based review of the manuscript is conducted by the lead guest editor. In this process, they assign the manuscript to guest editors and external referees for the review. The final decision to accept or reject an article is then determined by the lead guest editor, based on the reviewers' reports.
SciencePG's editorial staff provides extensive administrative support to guest editors, encompassing tasks such as contacting delayed reviewers, sending reminders to authors and reviewers, conveying a guest editor’s decisions to authors, monitoring missing materials, and managing various additional administrative responsibilities.
The (lead) guest editors may contribute articles to their own special issue. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, articles authored by the (lead) guest editors cannot be handled by the (lead) guest editorial team. These manuscripts are managed by members of the journal’s editorial board.
Any potential conflicts of interest should be considered when handling manuscripts for your special issue. If there's any relationship with the author(s) of the manuscript, such as a recent co-authorship or shared affiliation, it may appear inappropriate for you to manage their work. SciencePG aims to avoid assigning articles to editors with potential conflicts, and we also expect our editors to declare any conflicts. If you think there's a conflict when you receive a manuscript, you should refuse to handle it and notify the editorial assistant so the manuscript can be assigned to another editor.
Avoid citation manipulation. Do not ask authors to include references merely to boost citations to your work, to the journal, or to another journal you are associated with.
Article Processing Charges (APCs) are typically paid by the authors of each published paper. If the lead guest editor wishes to provide financial support to contributing authors to cover the APCs, this must be discussed with SciencePG's editorial staff when proposing the special issue, or as soon as the Call for Papers has been issued. If approved, this may need to be disclosed in the articles’ Conflicts of Interest statements and declared in the editorial accompanying the special issue.