Proposing a Special Issue

Many of our journals publish Special Issues – dedicated collections of articles that highlight emerging areas of research within a field, or provide a venue for a deeper investigation into an existing research topic.

As the Lead Guest Editor of a Special Issue, you can be at the forefront of scientific communication, encouraging continued research in important areas while gaining editorial experience and improving your academic profile. There are many other additional benefits to being a Guest Editor.

The sections below will help you in writing and submitting a Special Issue proposal, as well as understanding what will be required of you as a Lead Guest Editor or a Guest Editor of a Special Issue if your proposal is approved.

If you have an idea for a Special Issue that you would like to propose for one of our journals please follow the link below.

Choosing a topic

You should choose a topic close to your own research interests. The topic of the Special Issue should be of increasing interest within your field. If you have noticed a surge in interest in a particular subject at recent conferences, for example, this is a good sign that a related proposal will generate significant interest.

Ensure that the topic of your proposal is within the scope of the journal you are submitting it to. The scope of your 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.

Too broad Appropriate

“The Role of Inflammation in Disease” for Mediators of Inflammation

“The Role of Inflammation in Cardiovascular Diseases”

“Artificial Intelligence and Engineering” for Mathematical Problems in Engineering

“Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Structural Engineering”

“Security and Privacy in Wireless Networks” for Security and Communication Networks

“Security Threats to Artificial Intelligence-Driven Wireless Communication Systems”

We strongly recommend that you look at the open Special Issues in the journal before submitting your proposal. This will provide you with an understanding of the level of specificity we look for in Special Issue topics. It will also help you to ensure that there is no overlap between your proposed topic and any currently open Issues.

    Preparing a Call for Papers

    Your Special Issue proposal should take the form of a Call for Papers, which will be submitted to the Editorial Board of the journal for assessment. If the proposal is approved, the Call for Papers will help researchers to find the Special Issue and submit their manuscripts.

    The Call for Papers 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. You should communicate the Issue’s focus clearly and efficiently in no more than 400 words.

    We strongly recommend that you look at the open Special Issues in the journal before submitting your proposal in order to understand the structure and level of detail to aim for.

    You should structure your proposal according to the following guide:

    1. Write a succinct but descriptive title for your Special Issue in no more than 10 words. Try to avoid phrases such as ‘recent advances in…’ or ‘new insights into…’, and do not phrase the title as a question.
    2. In one or two short paragraphs, you should provide a brief summary of your chosen topic and where it sits within the wider subject.
    3. In another paragraph, you should then go on to explain the main challenges that research in your chosen topic is facing.
    4. In the final paragraph, you should set out your proposed aims and summarise the scope of the Special Issue, explaining what kind of studies you are hoping to attract. You might ‘encourage’ or ‘especially welcome’ submissions relating to a certain concept. You should also suggest what types of articles are suitable, including original research and review articles.
    5. Finally, you should propose a list of ten to fifteen bullet-point topics that you expect to receive submissions on. These topics are ‘signposts’ for the direction of the Special Issue, providing authors with guidance on areas in which they may wish to submit. Each topic should contain more detail than one or two keywords, and should be clearly linked to the scope of your proposed Issue.

    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. You should ensure the text and topics are explicitly linked to the narrower scope of the Special Issue.

    Too broad Appropriate

    For Oxidative Stress and Cellular Longevity:

    ...Potential topics include but are not limited to:

    • Oxidative stress
    • Oxidative signalling
    • Neurological diseases


    ...Potential topics include but are not limited to:

    • The role of oxidative stress in the development of neurological diseases
    • Oxidative signalling as a potential therapeutic target for neurological diseases


    For Journal of Healthcare Engineering:

    ...Potential topics include but are not limited to:

    • Artificial intelligence
    • Internet of Things
    • Big data
    • Healthcare


    ...Potential topics include but are not limited to:

    • Advances in the use of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare systems
    • The use of the Internet of Things in healthcare
    • Processing and analysis of big data in healthcare


      Recruiting an Editorial Team

      Special Issues are led by a single Lead Guest Editor and a team of 2 - 5 Guest Editors. Guest Editors are integral to the success of a Special Issue. They are responsible for:

      • Managing the peer review process of submitted manuscripts
      • Making final decisions on submitted manuscripts

      The Lead Guest Editor is the main point of contact throughout the course of the Special Issue, from submission of the proposal through to the peer review of submitted manuscripts. In addition to editorial tasks, it is the responsibility of the Lead Guest Editor:

      • To liaise with the Content Development team during the assessment of the Special Issue proposal and make any requested revisions to the proposal
      • To communicate with the rest of the Guest Editor team during the assessment of the proposal and beyond
      • To assign submitted manuscripts to the most appropriate Guest Editor based on expertise

      Once all manuscripts have passed peer review, we ask the Guest Editor team to write an Editorial that introduces the Special Issue.

      Your proposal should state the full names and affiliations of the researchers who are willing to act as Guest Editors. All Guest Editor suggestions undergo a routine screening and verification process by the Content Development team. It is therefore important to suggest colleagues with a strong publication record within the scope of the proposed topic to ensure that they meet our criteria.

      If any suggested Guest Editors do not meet our criteria, Hindawi reserves the right to request that Guest Editors be removed and/or replaced.

      The Guest Editor team should include individuals based in different institutions and countries. We have found that this diversity reduces conflicts of interest and helps the issue reach a wider audience.

      It is also important that all Guest Editors have enough time to commit to handling manuscripts throughout the course of the Special Issue. An individual can only act as a Guest Editor of up to two open Special Issues at one time.

      If you are ready to propose a Special Issue for one of our journals, please follow the link below:

      Assessment and Approval of Special Issues

      Hindawi’s Content Development Team carry out initial checks on submitted proposals to ensure that they are appropriate in terms of detail, structure, and focus, as well as to assess the Guest Editor team’s expertise and diversity. The team may request that you make changes to your proposal before it can be considered further.

      Special Issue proposals are then sent to the journal’s Editorial Board for approval. The Board will assess the quality of the proposal and the fit of the suggested topic for the target journal.

      The Editorial Board and/or the Content Development Team may request revisions to improve your proposal. You should carefully consider the feedback provided to increase your proposal’s chance of approval and to help make the Special Issue as successful as possible.

      The final approval of any proposal will be decided by Hindawi’s Content Development Team and the journal’s Editorial Board. Hindawi reserves the right not to proceed with any Special Issue at any time and for any reason and in its sole discretion.

      The Content Development Team will also ensure that Special Issues on similar topics are not launched concurrently. If there is significant overlap between the topic of your proposal and an open Issue, the launch of your own Issue may be delayed until the open Issue has closed to submissions. This is to ensure the success of both Special Issues.

      Typically this assessment by the Editorial Board and the Content Development Team takes two to four weeks from submission of your proposal.

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