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Working with guest editors

Publishing special/themed issues or supplements can enhance the profile of your Journal, attract new authors and submissions, and potentially boost usage and citations. Many journal editors will arrange for a guest editor to handle the issue on their behalf. Below are some suggestions on managing special issues or supplements and working with guest editors.

  • Appointing a guest editor: they should be a specialist in the chosen subject, and ideally will be sufficiently well-networked internationally to bring top authors to the journal.  They should also be well-organized and have time available to lead the project through to completion.
  • Developing a proposal: ask your guest editor to summarize the rationale for the issue, the approach they envisage taking and the areas they wish to cover.  The proposal should ideally include a list of proposed paper topics and potential authors. You may like to consult your Editorial Board before agreeing to the proposal with the guest editor. The guest editor may wish to publish some of their own research in the special issue. Please make it clear to them papers they are authoring must be dealt with independently and be subject to the same peer review process as all other submissions to the journal.
  • Roles and responsibilities: ensure your guest editor is aware that: 
  • They are responsible for managing the peer review of articles submitted for the special issue in accordance with the journal’s and SAGE’s policies and processes.
  • They should ensure the complete and full peer review of all articles, reviewing peer reviewer comments, communicating necessary changes to the contributor and assessing final contributor changes before final decision making.
  • They will make final recommendations on decisions to you as journal Editor; you will make final decisions on the articles.
  • They will liaise with the SAGE Production department on sending accepted manuscripts for copyediting and typesetting. Your Production Editor can supply a production schedule for the special issue; the guest editor will need to manage the process according to the dates advised.
  • If they do not comply with the ethical and quality standards of the Journal, or the production schedule, this may result in the postponement or rejection of the special issue.
  • Contact your Publishing Editor at the start of the process and they can provide a written agreement (signed by SAGE and the guest editor) setting out roles and responsibilities in order to formalize the arrangement.
  • Peer review: whilst articles in special issues are often commissioned, they must still be peer reviewed in accordance with your journal’s policy. Your submissions system must be used to handle guest-edited special issue submissions. Please let your Publishing Editor know about any forthcoming special issue titles before papers are solicited, so that they can set up a dedicated submission category (having the issue title available to select at submission stage makes it easier for the SAGE Production Editor to identify and batch these papers for publication).