What are they about?
A special issue enables a journal to publish papers focusing on specific themes, often related to a “hot topic” in that particular field of research. A special issue can deliver a number of benefits to the journal, such as:
- Generating publicity and raising awareness of the scope of topics covered in the journal
- Encouraging new authors to submit their work
- Attracting new readers and new subscribers to the journal
- Boosting downloads and citations
- An opportunity to experiment with innovative or unusual content
How do they work?
If you are interested in publishing a special issue, get in touch with your Taylor & Francis Managing Editor to discuss your ideas. If you don’t yet have a topic in mind, you could encourage authors, board members, and even readers to put forward their ideas through direct invitation or an open call for proposals. Taylor & Francis can also offer assistance in identifying suitable topics by analyzing keyword and citation trends within the field.
When selecting a topic for a special issue, ask yourself the following:
- Is the suggested topic appropriate given the journal’s aims and scope?
- Is the topic of significant interest to the journal’s primary reader base?
- How “hot” will the topic be by the time the issue is published?
- How many special issues has the journal already published in recent volumes?
And remember the logistics. Consider:
- The time required for any “call for papers” to circulate around the research community
- An appropriate submission deadline
- The journal’s page budget (where necessary)
- The time taken for papers to be peer-reviewed and any required revisions to be made
- The publication schedule of forthcoming issues or subsequent volumes
The role of a guest editor
Many journals appoint a specialist in the subject area to act as guest editor of the issue. It is important that guest editors understand the commitment they are making to the journal; they must be in a position to dedicate themselves to the project. In order for the process to run smoothly, communication is key – the guest editor should maintain regular contact with the editor and their Taylor & Francis contact, providing updates on the progress of the issue.
The specific tasks assigned to a guest editor will depend on the journal in question; however Taylor & Francis provides documents specifically created for guest editors which contain detailed information and guidance on their role.
If you are interested in publishing a special issue, contact your Taylor & Francis Managing Editor who will be able to discuss and plan the next steps with you.
You can also view some of our existing special issues for inspiration here.