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Special Issues

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About Special Issues

Special Issue is a collection of articles focused on current research areas within the scope of the journal. 

These issues provide a space for research in emerging areas, highlight important sub-disciplines or describe new inter-disciplinary applications. 

The following sections explain the advantages and responsibilities of managing a special issue as guest editor and the benefits of submitting your manuscript as an author to a special issue.

Becoming a Special Issue Guest Editor

If you wish to run your own special issue, the following resources will guide you through the process: from assembling your guest editorial team and writing your proposal, advertising your call for papers, managing submissions, and celebrating the published issue.

Benefits of being a Guest Editor

The whole guest editor team receives three APC exemptions that can be used to submit up to three research and/or reviewing manuscripts for its own special issue. The team can also use APC waivers to commission research and review articles by experts in this area for its own special issue. 

Once all manuscripts have passed peer review, we ask the guest editor to write an Editorial on special issue; this type of article is exempt from the APC. 
In order to ensure an impartial review process, the submissions to the special issue of guest editors will be handled by members of the editorial board of the journal. See the information in this section for more information. 

In recognition of the efforts of the guest editors and to provide full transparency in the review process of the journal, the name of the guest editors who accept a manuscript will be included in the published version of the article.

Additional benefits of being a Guest Editor include:

  • Improving your academic profile and marking you out as influential within your discipline
  • Increasing the visibility and impact of work published in the Special Issue thanks to Red Flower Publication’s immediate, worldwide, and barrier-free Open Access
  • Being at the forefront of scientific communication
  • Exerting creativity in the inception and development of a topic
  • Assembling and working with a strong team of Editors
  • Network with colleagues of similar opinion around the world and establish new contacts with field leaders
  • Manual handling near your professional interests and better understanding of editorial process.
  • Seeing articles in your special issue referred to and cited in future articles
  • You feel that you have contributed to the development of the journal.

Proposing a Special Issue

Many of our journals publish special issues, dedicated collections of articles highlighting emerging areas of research in the field or providing a platform for further investigation of existing research topics.

As a guest editor of a special issue, you can contribute to the forefront of scientific communication, promote research in important fields, gain editorial experience, and improve your academic profile. There are many other additional benefits to being a guest editor.

The following sections help you write and submit proposals for a special issue, and will help you understand what you will need as a Lead Guest Editor or guest editor for special issues if your proposal is approved.

If you have ideas for a special issue that you would like to propose for one of our journals, please click the link below.

List of our journals

Choosing a topic

You should choose a topic that is close to your research interests. The topic of the special issue should be of increasing interest in your field. For example, if you have noticed an increase in interest in a specific topic at a recent conference, this is a good sign that a related proposal will generate a great deal of interest.

Ensure that the topic of your proposal is within the scope of the journal to which it is submitted. The scope of your special issue should be sufficiently broad to attract a reasonable number of submissions but sufficiently narrow to provide a coherent collection of articles. Special issue should cover a small part of the journal's scope, but not all.

Before proposing, it is highly recommended to look at the special issues of the journal. This will give you an understanding of the level of specificity we are looking for in the special issue topics. It will also help you ensure that there is no overlap between your proposed topic and any current issue.

Preparing a Call for Papers

Your proposal for special issues should take the form of an invitation to submit papers to the editorial board of the journal for assessment. If the proposal is approved, the call for papers will help researchers find the special issue and submit their manuscripts.

The call for papers must provide sufficient background information to attract submissions, but should not be too detailed. Concise proposals are more likely to catch and hold the attention of qualified researchers and lead to higher quality submissions. It should be communicated clearly and effectively the focus of the issue in no more than 400 words.

We strongly recommend that you consider the special issues of the journal before submitting your proposal to understand the structure and level of detail that you want.

You should structure your proposal in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Write a short but descriptive title for your special issue in no more than 10 words. Try to avoid phrases such as "new progress in..." or "new insights in..." and do not use the title as a question.
  • In one or two short paragraphs, you should briefly summarize the chosen topic and its place in the broader subject.
  • In another paragraph, explain the main challenges you are facing in researching your chosen field.
  • In the final paragraph, set out your proposed objectives, summarize the scope of the Special Issue and explain what type of study you hope to attract. You can encourage or particularly welcome contributions to certain concepts. You should also suggest which types of articles are appropriate, including original research articles and review articles.
  • Finally, propose a list of ten to fifteen bullet point topics that you expect to receive submissions. These topics provide guidelines for the direction of the special issue and provide the authors with guidelines on areas they may wish to submit. Each topic should contain more than one or two keywords and be clearly linked to the scope of the proposed issue.

The scope of the proposal should be clearly defined in the text and topics. Large-scale descriptions that cover the entire scope of the journal are inappropriate. You must ensure that the text and topic are explicitly linked to the narrow scope of the special topic.

Responsible For Recruiting an Editorial Team

  • The Special Issue is led by a single guest editor and a team of two to five guest editors. Guest editors are an integral part of the success of special issues. 
  • Management of peer review processes of submitted manuscripts
  • Making final decisions on submitted manuscripts
  • The Lead Guest Editor is the main contact point during the course of the Special Issue, from the submission of the proposal to peer review of the manuscripts. In addition to editorial duties, the Lead Editor is also responsible for:
  • To liaise with the Content Development Team when assessing the proposal for a special issue and make any requested revisions to the proposal.
  • To communicate with the rest of the Guest Editor team during the assessment of the proposal and beyond
  • To communicate with other guest editors during the assessment of proposals and beyond. 
  • To assign the manuscript submitted to the most appropriate guest editor on the basis of expertise.

Once all manuscripts have been reviewed by peer reviewers, we ask the guest editor team to write an editorial introducing the special issue.

Your proposal should include the full names and affiliations of the researchers who want to act as guest editors. All guest editor suggestions are routinely reviewed and verified by the Content Development Team. Therefore, it is important to suggest colleagues with strong publication record in the proposed field to ensure that they meet our criteria. If any proposed guest editor does not meet our criteria, Red Flower Publications reserves the right to remove or replace guest editor.

The guest editor team should include individuals from different institutions and countries. We have found that this diversity reduces conflict of interest and enables the issue to reach a wider audience.

It is also important that all guest editors have enough time to dedicate to handling manuscripts during the course of the special issue. Individuals can only serve as guest editors for two special issues at the same time.

If you are ready to propose a special issue of our journal, follow the following links.

List of our journals

Assessment and Approval of Special Issues

The Content Development Team of Red Flower Publication conducts initial checks on the proposals submitted to ensure that they are appropriate in detail, structure and focus, and to evaluate the expertise and diversity of the guest editor team. The team may request that you amend your proposal before further consideration.

Afterwards, the special issue proposal is sent to the editorial Board of the journal for approval. The Committee will assess the quality of the proposal and the relevance of the proposed topics to the target journal.

The editorial board and/or the Content Development Team may request revisions to improve your proposal. You should carefully consider the feedback provided to increase the chances of approval of your proposal and contribute as much as possible to the success of the special issue.

The final approval of any proposal will be decided by the Content Development Team of Red Flower Publication and the editor's committee. Red Flower Publications reserves the right at any time, for any reason, at its sole discretion, not to publish any special issue.

The Content Development Team will also ensure that special issues on similar topics are not launched simultaneously. If there is a significant overlap between your proposal's topic and the issue, the start of your own issue may be delayed until the issue is closed to ensure the success of the two special issues.

Normally, this assessment by the editorial board and the content development team takes two to four weeks from the submission of your proposal.

Curating a Special Issue

If a special issue is approved, it will be available online and open for submission through the journal's website.

This page provides information on the responsibilities of leading guest editors and guest editors to help ensure the success of their special issue.

Publishing Special Issues

Once approved and finalized, the Special Issue will be open to submission and the call for papers will be posted on the Journal's Special Issues page. A promotional PDF version of the Call for Papers is available on the website of the special issue. Editors can distribute this PDF to contacts via e-mails, social media, and other channels.

Our marketing team will send an email call for papers to researchers in the field. We will also promote your submission call to readers on our website. In some cases, we can share it through our social media channels to ensure the largest possible visibility.

Promoting your Special Issue

The marketing team of Red Flower Publications will conduct initial outreach on your behalf by sending a letter of invitation to researchers in the relevant fields.

Red Flower Publications, as publishers, is engaged in important promotional activities to increase visibility and reach, but the most successful special issues are supported and promoted by its guest editors.

Any of the following techniques will increase the likelihood that your special issue will receive high-quality submissions:

  • Send your proposal directly to the researcher. Invited friends and colleagues are more important than invitations from publishers. Red Flower Publications provides a PDF version of your call for papers that can be sent as email attachments. Consider submitting personalized requests to contacts who know they are working in the relevant areas.
  • Add a short description of the call for the papers and an online version link to your email signature.
  • Include a one-page slide at the end of the conference presentation, informing colleagues of the call for papers and inviting them to participate.
  • Use social media to promote the link to your Call for Papers. Tag Red Flower Publications - for example, using @Red Flower Publications on Twitter - and we will amplify your promotion.
  • Maintain contact with authors interested in participating in your special issue. Provide them with any support they need or send them to Red Flower Publications for assistance. However, be careful to avoid developing potential conflicts of interest.

Handling papers submitted to your Special Issue

Special issue articles follow the same peer review process as other articles in Red Flower Publications. The guest editors serve the same function as the academic editors of the special issue submission.

Guest editors are responsible for tasks that require their specific expertise on a particular subject, such as selecting appropriate reviewers for submitted papers and making final decisions on acceptance or rejection of papers based on reviewer reports.

Our editorial staff can provide any administrative assistance to guest editors.

Red Flower Publications staff members are responsible for contacting late reviewers, sending reminder emails to authors and reviewers, notifying authors of guest editor decisions, and tracking missing materials, as well as various administrative tasks.

Key points from our editorial policy

Submitting to your own Special Issue

The guest editor can publish three articles in its special issue, in addition to an editorial article if the issue succeeds. In order to avoid potential conflicts of interest, it is not permitted that papers written by guest editors be handled by any member of the guest editors' team. Therefore, these manuscripts are processed by members of the journal's editorial board and are not visible to the lead guest editor. In order to ensure that this function is working correctly, we request that you submit a manuscript to your own special issue using the email address associated with the editorial role. If you notice that you are assigned to a manuscript written by you or a member of your team of guest editors, please contact the editor immediately.

Being aware of conflicts of interest

During the processing of manuscripts submitted to your special issue, it is important to consider the risk of potential conflicts of interest. If you recently co-authored with the author, you may perceive that your relationship is influenced. Similarly, if you recently share information or employment with the author, you may not be able to handle their work. Red Flower Publications aims to avoid assigning papers to editors who may have conflicts, but we also expect our editors to declare any conflicts. If you believe that there is a conflict when you are informed about a paper, you should not handle the manuscript and notify the editor so that the manuscript can be assigned to another editor. If all guest editors have a potential conflict of interest, or if the conflict of interest belongs to the lead guest editor, the manuscript must be handled by a member of the journal's permanent editorial board. This aims to ensure the impartiality of the peer review process.

Furthermore, you must ensure that the reviewers you invite do not present potential conflicts of interest. The above considerations should also be taken into account when selecting reviewers to assess a manuscript.

Avoiding citation manipulation

As an editor, you must not ask the author to include references only to increase citations to the work of your own or colleague, to the journal or to another journal with which you are associated. Furthermore, manuscripts must not be submitted with the primary aim of increasing the number of citations for works or articles published in particular journals, and such articles may be punished.

Publication of articles in a Special Issue

Manuscripts can be submitted as soon as the special issue opens. Accepted articles will be published immediately in the special issue.

You can wait four months from the first call for papers to the final deadline for submission. After the deadline, the Special Issue will no longer accept new submissions, but as manuscripts pass the review process, new articles will continue to appear in the Special Issue.

When all manuscripts have been vetted by the peer review panel, we ask the Guest Editor team to write an editorial for the special issue.

In general, Article Processing Charges (APC) are paid by the authors of each published paper. The APC is the same as the regular subscription to the Special Issue.

If the guest editor wishes to provide financial support to the contributors to cover of APC, either for themselves or through third parties, this must be requested by Red Flower Publications staff at the time of the proposal for the special issue or immediately after the Call for Papers is issued. If approved, this may be required to be mentioned in the Statement of Conflict of Interest of the articles and should be declared in the editorial that accompanies the Special Issue.

Submitting to a Special Issue

A Special Issue is a collection of articles that concentrates on a topical research area within the scope of a journal. Special Issues are targeted, timely, and insightful collections, meaning that they are often very well received.

Red Flower Publications actively promotes special issues for relevant researchers through several channels and discovery platforms such as email, social media, and search engines. This makes your paper very accessible and widely shared with readers all over the world. 

By submitting your next manuscript to a special issue, you can contribute to discussion between colleagues in a highly interested field and maximize the visibility of your research.

This page provides further information and brief overviews on the process finding and submitting to a special issue.

Finding the right Special Issue for you

Special Issues provide more focused and specialized topics that are of high interest in the current journal in which they are published.

To find the best suitable special issue for your manuscript, begin with the best journal for your manuscript.

Once you find the right journal for your manuscript, go to the "Special Issues" section on the journal's page to see a list of all the special issues accepted by submission.

Selecting the right journal for your research

Submission of papers to unsuitable journals is a key reason for rejection of articles. When choosing a Red Flower Publication, carefully examine the aim and scope of the journal and confirm whether it is appropriate for your manuscript. The sections and questions below will help you make the best decision when you decide where to publish your research.

Journal focus

Does the journal cover a wide range of topics or is it more focused? 

In topical journals, only relevant manuscripts are considered for publication. If the article is cross-disciplinary or covers multiple subjects, a broader journal is more suitable for publishing the article. You can easily find our journals' objectives and scopes on their websites, which will give you a clear understanding of what research will be taken into account.

Journal content

What type of content has the journal published previously? 

As a reader, would you like to see your article alongside existing articles? Are they articles you may have read during your research? It is also important to check whether the journal publishes special issues relevant to your research field, as these targeted, timely, and comprehensive collections of articles provide a very good indication of the type of content the journal publishes.

Journal metrics

How long does it take to receive decisions on a submission to the journal?

It is important to know the average time it takes for the submission to receive a final decision or how long it takes for the acceptance of the article to be published. Knowing this information about the publication process means understanding when to expect to hear from a journal editor or when to publish your article. It is also important to understand the proportion of journals that accept your work so that you can best estimate the likelihood that your work will be accepted for publication. All our journals clearly show this information so that you can make the most informed decision on where to publish.

Journal impact

What is the impact of the journal? 

Journal impact factors are considered by authors, but many journals without impact factors are also important. Impact factors are usually aimed at specific fields or types of publications, and journals without impact factors are often more relevant to practitioners or very specific readers. To help you make the best decision, consider alternative statistical indicators such as Eigenfactor and Citescore in your decision-making. Readership is also an important indicator of impact, and all of our journals are now publishing article-level metrics, such as usage statistics, to help you better understand the impact of an article.


Will the right readers be able to easily find your articles? 

Consider where the journal is distributed and whether it is indexed in the service you use to find articles. Because of their improved discovery, journals indexed in major databases such as Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed are likely to receive more downloads and citations.

Journal cost

What are the costs of publishing? 

Like many other publishers, Red Flower Publications pays an Article Processing Charges (APC) to cover publishing costs. This makes the articles we publish freely accessible to all readers. We adhere to transparent pricing structures and can always find current publishing costs in our journals before you submit your manuscript. If you meet a certain criteria, you may also be eligible for exemption, which allows you to publish freely in one of our journals. See our guide, "What are article processing charges?" For more details on APC, click here.

Once you have chosen a journal that meets your needs, you can begin the submission process. Refer to the "Ready to submit" page for instructions on the submission of your manuscript.

Peer Review of Special Issue submissions

The special issue articles follow the same peer review process as the other articles in Red Flower Publications.

Guest editors serve the same functions as academic editors in the submission of special papers.

We only publish articles that have been approved by highly qualified researchers with expertise in a field appropriate to the topic of the article.

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Article Processing Charges

All papers submitted to Special Issues are subject to an Article Processing Charge (APC) if the manuscript is accepted for publication after peer review.

For more details on article processing charges, please follow the "Article Processing Charges" section of the associated journal for the Special Issue.

Publication of Special Issues

Manuscripts submitted to special issues will be published upon acceptance, regardless of the date of publication of the special issue. They will be published immediately online on the relevant Special Issue pages and on the journal website's table of contents.

The manuscripts published in special issues are indexed in the same way as the articles published in the regular issues of the journal. They appear in the relevant databases of that journal is indexed.

We give four months from the first call for papers to the final submission deadline. After the deadline, the Special Issue will no longer accept new submissions, but new articles will continue to appear in the Special Issue as manuscripts make their way through the review process.

All completed special issues are listed under "Published Special Issues" on the journal website.

If a special issue is cancelled, all under consideration and published manuscripts within the Issue will be transferred to the regular issue of the journal.