Special Issue Proposals

Sociological Spectrum publishes special issues on topics that fall within the domain of the journal. Special issues are not published more frequent than biannually and only if quality submissions are available. The Mid-South Sociological Association will assist in the call for submissions for special issues via a published call in Sociological Spectrum, as well as related websites of the Association and journal. The Editor(s) and Editorial Board Members will evaluate requests for special issues when they meet at the Annual Meetings of the MSSA. The Editorial Board also will reserve the right to make final decisions regarding the publication of articles in such issues.

Submitting a Proposal for a Special Issue

The person(s) proposing a special issue should submit a 2-3 page prospectus for the issue to the Spectrum Editorial Office. Hard copies are acceptable, but electronic copies are essential for quick dissemination of the prospectus among Editorial Board Members. The prospectus should include the following:

  • Title or topic for the special issue.
  • The name(s) of the proposed special issue editor(s), curriculum vitae, and evidence of expertise in the area.
  • A statement of the purpose of the special issue, including the intended contribution of the special issue, how the special issue fits within the domain of Sociological Spectrum, and why a special issue rather than some other format (e.g., individual articles, a book) is warranted.
  • A draft of the call for papers that will solicit submissions for the special issue.
  • A list of appropriate reviewers for the area.
Review of Special Issue Prospectus

The prospectus will be reviewed by the Editor(s) and Editorial Board Members, who will render a decision based on the expected contribution of the special issue and its appropriateness for Sociological Spectrum.

Responsibilities of Special Issue Editor(s)

The content of special issues and management of the editorial process are the guest editor(s) sole responsibility. This includes issuing invitations to contribute, arranging refereeing of submissions to journal standard, and deciding on acceptance/rejection. An exception is where the guest editor wishes to include a paper of his/her own; such submissions will be subjected to the peer review process under the supervision of the editor(s)-in-chief to avoid a conflict of interest. The editor(s)-in-chief are happy to provide advice to guest editors on request. For a special issue based on an event, it is important to issue invitations promptly, before potential authors submit extended versions of their papers elsewhere. For such special issues, the refereeing process may be shortened by involving members of the event’s program committee who handled the original submission. Although another way of speeding up the review process is to ask authors of submissions to the special issue to referee each other’s papers, judgments of quality that come mainly from within a closed community should be avoided. Once a proposal has been accepted as a special issue, the guest editor should:

  • Coordinate peer reviews of the submissions and work with authors to obtain manuscripts of high quality.
  • Work with the Editor(s)-in-Chief to establish a list of reasonable deadlines for submission of papers, notification of acceptance/rejection, submission of final versions, and submission to the publisher.
  • Approximate number of papers and number of pages in the edition. The number of pages available is subject to Editorial Office approval.
  • Discuss with the Editor(s) any changes that constitute a deviation from the prospectus.
  • Work to keep the special issue on schedule and periodically update the Editor(s) on the progress of the special issue. This includes timely submission of manuscript processing fees to the Editorial Office of all manuscripts processed by the guest editor(s).
  • Obtain properly executed Taylor and Francis Transfer of Copyright Agreements and Transmittal Forms from corresponding authors on each accepted manuscript.
  • Maintain all copies of manuscripts, reviews, and correspondence regarding the special issue until the entire issue is ready to be submitted to the Editor.

Once the entire process is complete, the guest editor(s) forwards the finished product by post, not email, to the Sociological Spectrum Editorial Office: This should include all of the following items:

  • Final versions of all the accepted contributions with an indication of their ordering within the special issue. (The default ordering is alphabetic by author.) For each contribution, provide two hardcopies and an electronic copy on CD, using Microsoft Word. Additionally, two copies are needed of a brief author’s biographical sketch that will be published as part of the front matter of the journal issue. Finally, the completed Taylor and Francis Transfer of Copyright Agreement and Transmittal Forms should be included.
  • Referee reports for each accepted paper, together with an indication of which author is the contact author, with his/her contact information, including email address. Also supply dates of initial submission and final acceptance.
  • Title and author(s) of rejected papers or other evidence that the selection process was diligent and produced high quality submissions.
  • A preface for the special issue that explains the background of the event and/or the importance of the topic. It should be clear from the preface that contributions have been refereed to journal standard and, if the special issue is based on papers presented at an event, that the contributions are extended versions of those papers. The Editorial Office will forward a copy to the editor(s)-in-chief for final approval before the special issue enters the queue for production. At that point the guest editor(s) will be told the expected publication date.

Special Issue Proposals should be submitted to the current Editor(s)

Dr. Kevin D. Breault, Editor-in-chief
Sociological Spectrum
Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU PO Box 10
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

e-mail: kbreault@mtsu.edu