Call for Editors

What is a special issue?

Special issues draw together a range of contributions on a given theme and allow for more in-depth treatment of a topic than is normally possible within a single journal issue.

Special issues are usually devoted to investigating emerging or “hot” topics, or to exploring alternative perspectives on familiar themes. Special issues usually attract more attention than regular issues, perhaps because the articles may be commissioned. As a consequence the articles are often read more and highly cited.


Guest Editors

Special issues may be handled by the journal's editor(s), but often they are handled by one or more guest editors. Most special issues are developed when a subject expert identifies a demand for an issue in a particular area and approaches a journal Editor to propose an issue.


Proposing a special issue

Once a need for a special issue has been identified, a proposing Guest Editor should contact the Head of the Editorial Team and the Vice Editor in Chief Elena Tikhonova ( with the following details:

  • the scope of the proposed special issue;
  • an indication of how the scope of the issue fits with the remit of the journal;
  • evidence of demand for the special issue;
  • proposed timescale.

The Editor and Publisher will consider proposals, taking into account:

  • the “fit” of the special issue with the scope of the journal
  • whether there is room in the publishing schedule for a special issue.


Why be a Guest Editor?

Editing special issues allows Guest Editors to gain valuable first-hand experience of editing a publication and is a good trial run for those who aspire to edit their own journal one day. Editing a special issue can also be a good way of increasing your profile amongst peers in your subject field. The key stages of guest editing a special issue for publication are as follows.


Making a start

The first step in editing a special issue is for the Guest Editor and Journal Editor to agree the scope of the issue, the likely date of publication and the Guest Editor’s final copy deadline. Using this information, the Guest Editor should be able to create a Call for Papers and to draw up a project schedule which allows sufficient time for:

  • authors to submit papers;
  • referees to review contributions;
  • papers to be returned to authors and revisions made;
  • the Guest Editor to submit final copy on the due copy date.

At this early stage, it is important that the Guest Editor understands clearly how closely the Journal Editor expects to be involved in decisions on the special issue as they are ultimately responsible for the editorial content of their journals.

  • The Guest Editor should also: Familiarize themself with the journal’s “Author Guidelines”. These can be found on the journal’s homepage. These guidelines will indicate the required length of manuscripts and the format in which they should be submitted. These are the standard requirements for the journal and should be adhered to, unless the Guest Editor has agreed different specifications with the Journal Editor.
  • Distribute the special issue Call for Papers.

Guest editors may choose to directly commission papers from colleagues in the field or they may choose to put out a call for papers.

Guest Editors should distribute Call for papers as widely as possible within their own networks. JLE will also distribute Call for Papers so the Guest Editor is advised to work with the journal’s Publisher.

  • Understand the journal’s peer review process. JLE employs a double blind peer review process. Special issues are expected to employ a review process of equivalent rigour to that used for standard journal issues. Any change to the journal’s usual peer review process must be agreed with the Journal Editor.
  • Arrange for training in, and access to our online submission and peer review system.
  • Ensure papers follow publication ethics.


Handling submissions and managing the peer review process

The Guest Editor is responsible for providing clear and timely feedback throughout the editing process to authors who submit papers to the special issue. Receipt of manuscripts should be acknowledged and authors should be given an indication of when they will hear of major decisions on their papers.

Special issues can take 6-12 months to come to fruition. Guest Editors can make the publishing process less frustrating for authors by keeping in touch and providing feedback on the progress of papers. Guest Editors are responsible for managing the peer review process for the special issue and whilst the Journal Editor may be able to help in suggesting referees, the Guest Editor is essentially responsible for gathering together a team of suitably expert referees.

The peer review process is by far and away the most time consuming part of the special issue editing process. It is also the most important part of the process. An effective and thorough peer review is essential for ensuring the quality of the papers accepted for publication.

Guest Editors must ensure that authors address all the concerns raised by referees during the peer review process and modify their papers accordingly.


Submitting copy for publication

Once papers have been reviewed, revised and accepted for publication, the special issue is almost complete.

The Guest Editor will have a few remaining tasks before submitting the special issue copy to the Journal Editor which include:

Writing an Editorial or Introduction to the special issue. This may either be a brief overview of the papers to be published or it may be a longer, more thematically based piece. This latter type of Editorial/Introduction may be published in the journal as an article if 75 per cent or more of its content is devoted to discussion of general themes rather than discussion of the specific articles

Checking that final versions of papers are complete, free of errors (to the author’s best knowledge) and conform to the journal’s house style requirements, that full author affiliations and contact details have been supplied.

Checking that article titles, abstracts and keywords are optimally descriptive, for high quality metadata. This facilitates search engine optimization.

Establishing and recording the Received / Revised / Accepted dates for all papers, for submission with the special issue copy.

Once all these points have been addressed, the issue is complete and is finally ready for submission to the journal Editor.


Post-editing and post-publication

After your special issue has been received by JLE Editor, it goes through our in-house team who check the copyright forms and whether any third party permissions are required. The journal papers then go to the typesetting team who perform quality checks and prepare the proofs. The author receives their proofs which must be returned within 10 days. Once proofs are returned and the corrections are made, the issue is published on

Once the issue has been published it is available to our global readers to download, share and cite.