Assessing Special Issue proposals

Hindawi journals frequently host Special Issues, which are focused collections of papers on topics of increasing interest within a discipline, edited by a team of Guest Editors. This team is responsible for the promotion of the Special Issue in order to attract submissions, as well as for handling the peer review of received manuscripts.

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, our internal staff then decide whether to proceed. Here we provide details on what to look out for when assessing a Special Issue proposal.

Assessing the scope

A Call for Papers should concisely describe the intended focus of the Special Issue. It should emphasize the current relevance of the subject and indicate why new research on the subject is warranted.

Striking a balance between length and detail is key. Too little detail could result in a Call for Papers that lacks focus or scientific merit. Too much detail can be overly descriptive and limit interest in the Special Issue. We recommend a length of approximately 400 words for the focus statement.

In addition to the statement of focus, a Call for Papers should include a number of 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 Special Issue, but this can also result in a very narrow scope. We typically expect 5-15 topics in a single Call for Papers. 

Finally, all Call for Papers require a concluding paragraph which clearly summarises the scope of the Special Issue and the types of manuscripts that the issue welcomes.

    Assessing the team

    All Special Issues are led by one Lead Guest Editor and a team of 2-4 supporting Guest Editors. The proposal should state the names and affiliations of all editors of the proposed issue. When assessing the team, ask yourself if the Guest Editors have sufficient expertise to handle all incoming submissions. Ideally teams to include editors from multiple institutions and locations. This diversity reduces conflicts of interest and helps the issue reach a wider audience. In addition, Hindawi will also screen these editors to ensure they meet the journal’s editorial requirements.