What is a Special Issue?
A Special Issue is a collection of articles that focuses on a topical research area within the scope of a journal. Each Special Issue is managed by a dedicated team consisting of one Lead Guest Editor and up to five Guest Editors. Editors are tasked with assessing the quality of submitted manuscripts and making publishing decisions.
Why run a Special Issue?
Leading a Special Issue can certainly be a rewarding experience for researchers, as it enables them to contribute to the advancement of a research field at a wider scale compared to publishing individually. We asked some of our Editors for their view on why leading a Special Issue could be instrumental to maximizing the impact of their work. Here’s what they said:
“Special Issues curated by established experts in a certain research field are very valuable. The experience of being involved in a Special Issue helps researchers get more editorial experience and self-promote. The Special Issue also gives some recognition to their field, as well as authors contributing to the field. It highlights the expertise and scope of the journal. Once you lead one Special Issue, you often want to lead more Special Issues!”
Expanding your network and building relationships
Networking is an important skill every researcher needs to acquire. Building relationships with peers across the world can be pivotal to establishing a strong reputation and advancing your career. Special Issues bring together high-quality articles from leading academics and top scholars around the world and lays the groundwork for expanding your professional network.
“Being involved in a Special Issue is a great opportunity to widen your network, as well as to get to know more about other colleagues and their work. It’s also a chance to evaluate the work of others, combined with specialist colleagues. It gives you a better perspective of how your own work is usually evaluated by your peers.”
Special Issues are often home to interdisciplinary research, giving you the chance to expand your network even further.
“I have been invited by other colleagues to publish with them because of leading my Special Issue,” says Dr. Marta Laranjo.
Guest Editors who have run successful Special Issues with Hindawi are invited to run an Annual Issue on the same topic.
“Our Special Issue was very successful and published articles clearly highlighting the importance of the topic. We were contacted by the Content Development Team to run an Annual Issue based on the Special Issue.”
Advancing research in your area of expertise
Leading a Special Issue could prove to be a valuable asset when applying for grants. Special Issues highlight the importance of a specific topic of research and - more often than not - the need to secure research funding for it. Like-minded researchers that you have connected with while running your Special Issue could help enhance your prospects of obtaining that funding.
“I submitted a grant proposal in the hope of securing more research funding. I used my Special Issue to highlight why this topic is important and worth exploring further. The grant was approved and I am confident that the Special Issue played a role in the final decision.”
A Special Issue serves as a platform for discussion for both academic and industry researchers. It opens a conversation around why it is important to start and/or continue research in a specific area by highlighting key environmental, health, or societal benefits deriving from it.
In particular, your Special Issue can help advance the theory and synthesis behind your chosen topic. It can also showcase new experimental results and, therefore, calls attention to the efficiency of methods currently used by experts in the field.
“As I am leading the Analytical Cellular Pathology Journal, I thought I would create a Special Issue alongside two senior scientists, Dr. Mehrnoosh Saghizadeh Ghiam and Dr. James W. Foster, highlighting current and future research in corneal biology, alongside commemorating three experts in the field Prof. James Funderburgh, Prof. Thomas Linsenmayer, and my post-doc advisor Prof. James Zieske.”
How to get involved
Leading a Special Issue is a rewarding experience that helps you maximize the potential of your research and opens up new doors for you. Our in-house Content Development Team will support you throughout the process, from proposal to publication and promotion. If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are ready to start your journey as a Lead Guest Editor, feel free to submit your Special Issue proposal.
This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). The illustration is by Hindawi and is also CC-BY.