Assessing Special Issue proposals

Hindawi journals frequently publish Special Issues, a collection of articles that concentrates on a topical research area within the scope of a journal, proposed and edited by a team of Guest Editors. This team is responsible for handling the peer review of received manuscripts, and the promotion of the Special Issue.

Before proceeding with the launch of a Special Issue, we seek feedback from our Editorial Board Members on the appropriateness of the proposal in terms of its scope and timeliness, its likely contribution to the journal and field, and the suitability of the Guest Editor team. With the advice of our Editorial Board, Hindawi’s Content Development Team then decide whether to proceed.

The following sections provide guidance on assessing a Special Issue proposal.


Assessing the scope

A Special Issue proposal takes the form of a Call for Papers. If the proposal is approved, the Call for Papers will help researchers to find the Special Issue and submit their manuscripts.

The most important thing is to assess whether the topic of the proposal is within the scope of the journal it is submitted to. The aims and scope of the journal can be found under the ‘About this Journal’ section of the journal’s website.

The scope of a Special Issue should be broad enough to attract a reasonable number of submissions but narrow enough to provide a cohesive collection of articles. The Special Issue should cover a small part of the scope of the journal, but not all of it.

The proposal should also emphasize the current relevance of the subject and indicate why new research on the subject is warranted.

The proposal should provide enough background information to entice submissions but does not need to be overly detailed. Concise proposals are more likely to catch and hold the attention of qualified researchers, leading to higher quality submissions.

The scope of the proposal should be made clear throughout the text and topics. Broad descriptions that cover the entire scope of the journal are not appropriate. The text and topics should be explicitly linked to the narrower scope of the Special Issue.

We encourage Guest Editors to structure their proposal as follows:

  • The title should be succinct but descriptive and no longer than 10 words. We encourage Guest Editors to avoid phrases such as ‘recent advances in…’ or ‘new insights into…’, and ask them not to phrase the title as a question.
  • One or two short paragraphs should provide a brief summary of the chosen topic and where it sits within the wider subject.
  • Another paragraph should then go on to explain the main challenges that research in the chosen topic is facing.
  • The final paragraph should set out the proposed aims and summarise the scope of the Special Issue, explaining what kind of studies the Issue is hoping to attract.
  • Finally, the Call for Papers should include 5-15 suggested topics for authors. These topics are ‘signposts’ for the direction of the Special Issue, providing authors with guidance on areas in which they may wish to submit. Suggested topics are another opportunity to focus the scope of the Special Issue, but this can also result in a very narrow scope.  Each topic should contain more detail than one or two keywords, and should be clearly linked to the scope of the proposed Issue.

    Assessing the team

    All Special Issues are led by one Lead Guest Editor and a team of 2-5 supporting Guest Editors. The proposal states the names and affiliations of all Editors of the proposed issue.

    Hindawi will screen Guest Editors to ensure they meet the journal’s editorial requirements. When assessing the team yourself, determine whether you believe that the Guest Editors have sufficient expertise to handle all incoming submissions, taking into account their publication record and professional history. You can use databases such as Web of Science, Scopus, or Google Scholar to find the Guest Editor’s publications if needed.

    We ask that teams include Guest Editors from multiple institutions and locations, as this diversity reduces conflicts of interest and helps the issue reach a wider audience. 


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