Guidance for Guest Editors

Making a proposal for a special issue

BeJLT regularly publishes collections of papers around a specific theme. Previous special issues have included:

  • Live projects practices across the academy: Vol 8, Issues 1 & 2, edited by Jane Anderson, Harriet Harris and Christina Godiksen
  • Higher Education Institutional Research: Vol 7, Issue 2, papers arising from the 2014 Higher Education Institutional Research Conference, Vol 7, Issue 1, edited by Ian Scott
  • Communicating Computer Science, edited by Nigel Crook, David Duce and Clare Martin
  • Academic Writing Development, Vol 6, Issue 2, edited by Mary Deane.
  • Education for Global Citizenship: Vol 5, Issue 1,  edited by Juliet Henderson, Acting Chair of the Centre for Curriculum Internationalisation

If you would like to make a proposal for a special issue, email the Editor, organising your ideas under the following headings.

  1. What is the scope of the proposed special issue? Explain how it is relevant to the Aims and Scope of the journal.
  2. Who are the proposed editor(s)? What is your/their experience in the field of the special issue? What previous experience do you/they have in reviewing and editing? The Editorial Board can provide support to less experienced editors. However, it is helpful to know this in advance.
  3. Special issues should include a mix of the paper types accepted by the journal: research papers, short articles and book reviews. How many of each type do you expect to include in your issue? How will you encourage a mix of paper and media types?
  4. How will you elicit papers for the issue? For example, special issues may be collected from papers from a conference, commissioned by members of a research group or be submitted in response to an open call for papers. If you are planning an open call, attach a draft call for papers to your email. Here are some examples:
    1. Live project practices across the academy
    2. Internationalised curricular
    3. Communicating computer science

If the papers will form the proceedings from a conference or symposium, there may be a fee payable for publication. This will cover formatting suitable for proceedings e.g papers formatted to facilitate print on demand.

Your proposal will be discussed by the Editorial Board. The Editor will keep you informed of progress.


Support you can expect from the Editorial Board

If your proposal is accepted, the Editor will contact you to discuss a way forward. The Editor and/or other members of the Editorial Board will be available to:

  • Plan a realistic timetable, based on experience and capacity of the journal production team. It typically takes a year from a call for papers being accepted to publication of the special issue.
  • Make suggestions for bringing together a reviewing panel and advertising the call for papers.
  • Provide templates to support the reviewing process e.g. request to review, reviewers’ feedback form, decision letters to authors.
  • Provide a shared, secure, Google space and tracking spreadsheets to store all communications related to the special issue.
  • Final copy-editing of papers and uploading to the journal’s website.


Responsibilities of the guest editor(s)

If your proposal is accepted, you should make yourself available to discuss a way forward with the Editor and/or other members of the Editorial Board.

The tasks of the Guest Editor(s) are to:

  • Produce a final call for papers, taking into account feedback from the Editorial Board. This must be agreed by the Editor prior to circulation.
  • Agree a production timetable with the Editor, and completing their duties in line with this this. Any changes to the timetable must be agreed in advance.
  • Keep accurate records in the shared Google space of papers and reviews submitted, decisions made and communications with authors.
  • Ensure that all submitted papers conform to the paper types and word length guidelines accepted by the journal.
  • Allocate a minimum of three reviewers to each research paper, make a decision informed by the reviews, and let the author(s) know the outcome.
  • Keep authors updated as to the progress of their submission.
  • Handover final copies of papers to be published which follow the journal’s Style Guide for Authors. See Papers which are not formatted correctly, or which require numerous proof-reading corrections, will be returned to the Guest Editor by the production team.

The Guest Editor(s) should, in all their dealings in relation to the journal:

  • Maintain the academic standards of the journal, through for example, selecting reviewers who are to judge the work of their peers knowledgeably and fairly.
  • Be alert to the possibility of academic misconduct, and alert the Editor if they have any concerns. For example, editors should be alert to: papers that have been previously published elsewhere, plagiarism, falsifying data, not acknowledging the contributions of co-researchers, assurances of ethical approval cannot be provided.
  • Treat all authors and reviewers with fairness and courtesy.
  • Respond in a timely manner to communications from authors, reviewers and other Editors.

The Committee on Publication Ethics has provided a guide for editorial best practice, which guest editors may find useful background reading.

Last updated March 2016


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