Proposing a Special Issue
Many of our journals publish Special Issues – dedicated collection of articles that aim to highlight emerging areas of research within a field, or provide a venue for a deeper investigation into an existing research topic.
If you are an experienced researcher with an idea for a Special Issue that you would like to propose for one of our journals please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 the Lead Guest Editor of a Special Issue if your proposal is successful.
How do I choose a topic for my proposal?
You should choose a topic close to your own research interests. The topic of the Special Issue must be of increasing interest within your field and within the scope of the journal you are proposing it for. It should be broad enough to attract a reasonable number of submissions, but narrow enough to provide a cohesive collection of articles.
Special Issues often focus on the interface of two or more traditional disciplines, a recent advance in the field, or an emerging societal challenge. If you have noticed a surge in interest in a particular subject at recent conferences, this is a good sign that a related proposal will generate significant interest.
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 approval. This Call for Papers should provide a brief summary of the area the Special Issue will cover, and where it sits within the wider subject, before going on to specify the topics and concepts that submitted articles should cover. If the proposal is approved, the Call for Papers will help researchers find the Special Issue and submit manuscripts.
You can get started by downloading our Call for Papers template.
Describing the Scope
The Call for Papers should state 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 prescriptive and limit interest in the Special Issue. Hindawi recommends approximately 400 words for the focus statement.
Researchers face many demands on their time. Concise proposals are more likely to catch and hold the attention of qualified researchers, leading to higher quality submissions.
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 Editors should be wary of excessively narrowing the scope.
Setting a Deadline
The Call for Papers should include a proposed submission deadline. Hindawi staff will assist editors with choosing an appropriate date, which is typically 6 months from the date the Call for Papers appears online.
Recruiting an Editorial Team
All Special Issues are led by a single lead editor and a team of 2-4 supporting editors. The proposal should state the name and affiliation of all editors of the proposed issue. This team ensures the Special Issue team will have sufficient capacity and expertise to handle all incoming submissions.
Hindawi will review these editors to ensure they meet the journal’s editorial requirements. Hindawi encourage teams to include editors from multiple institutions and locations. This diversity reduces conflicts of interest and helps the issue reach a wider audience. Once a proposal is approved, our editorial team can help find qualified editors.
Approval of Special Issues
Special Issue proposals by Guest Editors must receive approval from the Editorial Board, who will assess the fit of the suggested topic for the target journal. In addition, Hindawi’s Subject Analytics Team will assess the viability of the Special Issue, by measuring the topic’s potential to attract sufficient numbers of submissions for a successful issue. The team will also ensure that Special Issues on very similar topics are not launched concurrently. Typically this assessment by the Editorial Board and the Subject Analytics Team takes two to three weeks from submission.
Refining the Proposal
The Editorial Board and/or the Subject Analytics Team may suggest revisions to your Special Issue to improve the proposal – we recommend incorporating these changes to increase your proposal’s chance of approval.
Guest Editors should carefully consider the feedback provided to help make each Special Issue as successful as possible. The final approval of any proposal will be decided by the Hindawi's Editorial team and the journal’s Academic Editors.
Publishing the Proposal
Once approved and finalized, the Special Issue will be open for submissions and a Call for Papers will be posted on the journal’s Open Special Issues page. The Call for Papers will link directly to Hindawi’s Manuscript Tracking System (MTS), where authors can submit manuscripts to the issue.
Our marketing team will issue the Call for Papers via email to researchers working in the field. We will also promote your Call for Papers to readers on our website. In some cases, we may also share it using our social media channels, ensuring the widest possible visibility.
Finally, we will prepare a promotional PDF version of the Call for Papers that editors can distribute to their contacts using email, social media, and other channels. See our Curating a Special Issue page for more information on promoting a Special Issue, as well as what else is required of a Lead Guest Editor when leading a Special Issue.