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As a researcher and author, at some point you might get the opportunity to contribute to a special journal issue. Many academic authors ask, “Is it good to publish in special issues?” The short answer is a resounding “yes”!
In this article, we’ll discuss different aspects of publishing in special issues, including what you need for a journal special issue proposal, the special issue vs regular issue, and even how you can be a guest editor of a special issue.
Read on to learn more about this valuable tool to advance the visibility of your work and opportunity to collaborate with other researchers in your field.
What is a special issue?
A special issue is different from a regular journal issue since it focuses on a specific topic of research that usually has a broad appeal. The special issue still falls within the scope of the research journal, and is an outstanding way to explore a particular theme, review unaddressed previously not examined, and even propose or develop brand new approaches to the topic. A special issue can also launch new ideas for research.
Some special issues are commissioned by research bodies and institutions, while others are proposed by researchers in the field. In addition, a special issue may be published to commemorate or recognize a researcher or a research group’s contribution to the field or topic.
Is it good to publish in special issues?
The answer to this question is simple. Yes! Here are some of our favorite reasons.
First and foremost, there’s visibility. Most articles from a special issue are published on ScienceDirect. This research platform has more than 2.5 million visitors every day, and almost 40 research article downloads every second. Of those, special issue articles are downloaded twice as much as regular journal articles within 24 h of publishing on the platform.
Another essential benefit of publishing in special issues is fast publication times. In general, these issues are published much more quickly than regular journals.
Your exposure is also increased by publishing in a special issue. It’s not unusual for articles in special issues to be referenced more often than regular issue articles. In fact, special issue articles are cited up to 20% more in the first two years over articles that are published in standard journal issues. Additionally, special issues are typically promoted through social media platforms, further increasing your visibility and potential audience.
Another important benefit to publishing in a special issue is that your article will be reviewed by at least two independent experts in your field. This is to ensure the originality and quality that a special issue demands. Special issues also often have highly regarded editorial teams.
Collaborating and publishing with your peers is a great way to utilize your network and tap into different perspectives in your field. This can also contribute to your work having a long-term impact since your article in a special issue can often mean that more readers will find your research.
How can I publish in the special issue?
If you are interested in proposing a special issue, first decide on what topic or theme, and then select a journal. It’s best to do some preliminary research on any specific guidelines required by the journal you select. Also, check the Guide for Authors of the journal you are considering.
When putting together your proposal, make sure you follow the template provided by most journals. Usually there is a proposal form that you can fill out. For Elsevier journals, you can submit your proposal here. Simply follow the system prompts, including the proposal type, the name of the journal you’d like to publish to, and completing all steps for submission including attaching any mandatory files.
From there, your proposal will be forwarded to the appropriate editors, who will let you know if your proposal requires revision, is accepted or rejected. If it’s ultimately accepted, you’ll be invited to act as a Guest Editor. Most journals, and journal platforms like Elsevier, utilize a specialized online Editorial Manager system. Every special issue, and all of its articles, also undergo a peer review by at least two independent field experts.
There are additional guidelines that you will need to follow, so make sure you are aware of your responsibilities before you take on this important task.
The Bottom Line
There’s no better way to increase your visibility, and the visibility of your work, than to publish in a special issue of your chosen journal. Not only will you be able to reach a much larger audience, you’ll also be collaborating with other experts in your field, and starting important conversations that can advance topic-specific knowledge. Publishing in special issues is, most certainly, good for your academic and professional career.
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