Special Issues: An Overview

Special Issues are a key component of our journal contents, focussing on emerging areas in the discipline, or providing detailed analysis of a key research topic. They are organized by recognized experts in the area and attract articles of the highest quality. Special Issue proposals are welcome at any time during the year, and should be submitted to special.issues@hindawi.com.

Hindawi invites researchers, whose work is well-aligned with the aims and scope of one of our journals, to act as Lead Guest Editor for a Special Issue.

Guest editing a Special Issue not only helps to promote research on the chosen topic, but also helps to establish the Lead Guest Editor as an authority on the subject. In addition, the Guest Editorial Team can write an Editorial and publish one review article for free.

This guide sets out the steps involved in proposing, preparing and launching a Special Issue. You can also watch our video explaining the Special Issue process.

1. Concept Development

As an expert in the field, Hindawi relies on the Lead Guest Editor’s specialist knowledge to determine which topics warrant the thorough investigation and analysis that a Special Issue entails.

The topic must be within the Lead Guest Editor’s area of expertise, such that they feel confident when handling manuscripts focused on the subject. It should also be in keeping with the aims and scope of the journal.

2. Creating a Proposal

Once a topic is decided, the Lead Guest Editor is asked to assemble a small team of Guest Editors, and prepare a proposal.

The Lead Guest Editor typically invites two to four appropriately qualified Guest Editors to join the Special Issue Editorial Team. These Guest Editors will be responsible for handling the submitted manuscripts, and managing the peer review process. Guest Editors should work in an appropriate field, and have sufficient time and capacity to handle manuscripts. The Lead Guest Editor is responsible for contacting and confirming the participation of Guest Editors.

The proposal itself takes the form of a draft Call for Papers, which should include:

You can use our Call for Papers template document and consult our guide ‘Writing a Call for Papers’ to assist you in preparing your proposal.

When submitting a proposal, an explanation of (i) why the subject is important and timely, (ii) what communities are expected to contribute to the Special issue, and (iii) how the expertise of the Guest Editors is aligned with the proposed topic of the Special Issue, should be included.

When the proposal is ready, it should be sent to special.issues@hindawi.com.

3. Proposal Validation

Once a proposal is submitted, Hindawi’s Editorial Team begins the validation process.

We will ensure that the Special Issue’s proposed Title, Aims and Scope are broadly suitable for the selected journal. We also ensure that the team of Guest Editors is suitable. This prevents conflicts of interest between team members and the subject of the Special Issue. See our guide ‘Managing Conflicts of Interest’ for more information.

Hindawi’s Subject Analytics Team assesses whether the proposal is likely to attract sufficient submissions from researchers working in a relevant field.

If the proposal requires amendments as a result of any of these assessments, it must be reworked and resubmitted. We may also ask you to recruit new Guest Editors.

4. Editorial Board Approval

The proposal is presented to the Editorial Board of the journal for their consideration. The Editorial Board is responsible for making the final decision on the suitability of a Special Issue.

The assigned Editorial Board member may have comments or concerns about the proposal which mean that amendments have to be made. Providing the Editorial Board member is satisfied, the proposal is approved.

The original Guest Editor assumes the role of Lead Guest Editor for the Special Issue.

5. Publishing and Promoting the Call for Papers

The Call for Papers is published on the journal’s page of Hindawi.com, appearing in the ‘Open Special Issues’ section.

The Guest Editorial Team are encouraged to share the Call for Papers widely. Promoting awareness early in the process helps to ensure that the Special Issue receives a sufficient number of high quality submissions.

See our guide ‘Promoting your Call for Papers’ for more information.

6. Managing Submissions and Peer Review

When manuscripts are submitted to the Special Issue, they will be checked by the Hindawi’s Editorial Team to ensure that they are suitable for consideration. Providing they meet these essential checks, the manuscripts are sent to the Lead Guest Editor.

The Lead Guest Editor assigns a Guest Editor to act as handling Editor for that manuscript. Alternatively, they may opt to personally act as handling Editor. The handling Editor assesses the quality and relevance of received manuscripts, ensuring that they are aligned with the topic of the Special Issue.

Submissions to the Special Issue are processed in exactly the same way as any other submissions to a Hindawi journal. They are thoroughly assessed for scientific rigour, and must go through full peer review before they can be accepted for publication. See our guide ‘Peer Review at Hindawi’ for more information.

For assistance with managing submissions, see guide ‘Handling a Manuscript’.

Note that Guest Editors cannot act as reviewers for manuscripts submitted to the Special Issue. If a Special Issue fails to attract sufficient numbers of submissions to be successful, all accepted articles will instead be published in the regular section of the journal.

7. Contributions from the Guest Editorial Team

Guest Editors are also able to submit manuscripts to be considered for inclusion in the Special Issue. Note that any manuscripts submitted by a member of the Guest Editorial Team will be handled by an Editorial Board member.

When the final manuscript has been accepted, the Guest Editorial Team will be asked to produce a short Editorial piece to be published as the opening of the Special Issue. This Editorial should briefly highlight the topics of each article in the Special Issue and discuss the issue’s general focus. The Editorial’s title should be the same as the Special Issue’s title. It should also include the Guest Editorial Team’s current affiliations and email addresses on the front page.

The Editorial should be co-authored by the entire Guest Editorial Team and their names must be listed in the same order as they appear in the Call for Papers. The references of the Editorial papers must not include any of the articles that make up the Special Issue.

There is no Article Processing Charge for the Editorial. One review article from the Guest Editorial Team is also eligible for a total waiver. The final Special Issue may contain no more than four articles (including the Editorial) authored by members of the Guest Editorial Team.

8. Publication and Promotion

The Special Issue is published and made freely available on Hindawi.com, as well as appearing in the relevant databases and repositories, leading to the maximum possible dissemination within the scientific community. Special Issues can be viewed and downloaded on the individual article level, but are also available in an edited volume format as a single PDF published with a custom cover.

We also ensure that the articles are added to the appropriate abstracting and indexing services, such as the Web of Science and PubMed Central. See our guide ‘Abstracting and Indexing at Hindawi’ for more information on this process.

Hindawi notifies the contributing authors and sends alerts to registered readers. Guest Editors are also encourage to share and promote the Special Issue. When using social media to promote a Special Issue, Hindawi should also be tagged (for example, by using @Hindawi on Twitter). Doing so allows us to amplify these messages through our own channels. When tweeting about a Special Issue, relevant Twitter handles for contributing authors and guest editors should also be included, where available. This helps to achieve greater circulation via social networks.

A Special Issue’s impact, including the number of readers, downloads and citations for each article, can be monitored by checking each article’s page.