Peer Review—Magazines


Guidelines for Proposing a Special Issue

At times throughout the year Computer may publish special issues. These issues address some focused aspect of computer systems in a timely and accurate manner. Special issues are guest edited by experts knowledgeable in the specific area who are willing to coordinate the collection, review, and editing of papers to be included in the issue. A prospective guest editor must submit a special issue proposal that will be evaluated by a panel established by the Editor in Chief. If a proposal is accepted, the guest editor will work in collaboration with the EIC to prepare the issue for publication.

A special issue will vary in length according to perceived interest and importance to the readership. The maximum length will have an introductory article plus four or five other articles. A smaller special issue will contain a similar introductory article and perhaps two to three other articles. The exact size will be agreed upon when a proposal is approved and will be specified in a Document of Understanding.

Here are some suggestions to increase the chances of your proposal being favorably reviewed:

  • The objective section of your proposal should clearly state the goal and intent of the issue. It should also include names and contact information for the guest editor(s).
  • The perspective section of your proposal should explain why the topic is important and also address any recent published activity in the area (for example, existing special issues and conference proceedings, if any). A case should be made for why the special issue is needed relative to existing publications and how the issue will address the practical concerns of Computer's readership. This section of the proposal should be 3-5 pages long.  
  • An outline or description of the structure of the issue should be included.
  • A schedule that addresses the logistics of coordinating the issue is required. The schedule should include target dates for publishing the call for papers, paper due date, review completion date, acceptance date, and publication date. Expect the whole process to take from six to 12 months.
  • A description of possible types of articles that may be included in the issue, along with a list of potential authors, must be included. Ensure that your potential author list includes contributors from industry. Demonstrate that you have access to the most important names in the field, especially those in industry. In particular, both a description of and potential author(s) of the introductory article should be included.
  • A list of potential referees and a description of the review process that you intend to use to select the papers is necessary. The review process should be tied to the schedule.
  • An example Call for Papers is required. The CFP should be written to encourage papers appropriate to Computer's readership.
  • A curriculum vitae or résumé for each guest editor is required. It should detail past publication activity and clearly demonstrate the guest editor's expertise in the proposed topic.

A proposal checklist is provided below. Proposals should be sent to the special issues editor at the address given below the checklist. Your proposal will be promptly distributed to the review panel and a decision to accept or reject your proposal should then be forthcoming within a couple of months. The special issue editor will inform you of the decision as soon as practical. If your proposal is approved, the final schedule for publication will be established by the special issues editor and Computer's editorial staff.

Computer Special Issue Proposal Checklist

The following checklist is provided for your convenience only; it does not guarantee that your proposal will be approved.

  • Have you read the submission guidelines for authors of Computer articles?
  • Have you included contact information (including phone numbers and e-mail addresses) for each guest editor involved with the issue?
  • Have you clearly stated the goal and intent of the issue in the objective section of your proposal?
  • Have you explained why the topic is important to our readers and addressed any recent published activity in the area?
  • Have you identified from 12 to 15 potential authors, contributors, or articles? Have you demonstrated that you have access to these authors?
  • Have you outlined the structure of the issue?
  • Have you provided a realistic publication schedule?
  • Have you provided a list of at least three potential reviewers for each article or paper which you anticipate receiving?
  • Have you included a sample Call for Papers?
  • Have you included a curriculum vitae or résumé for each guest editor?

Please send an electronic copy (MS Word or similar) of your proposal to:

Bill Schilit
Special Issues Editor

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