The Co-Editors-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society (IEEE TTS or Transactions) are calling for special issue proposals from interested members of the international community: informed academics, practitioners, government representatives, and third sector advocates and volunteers, inclusive of independent researchers . This call pertains to special issues that will be scheduled for publication in 2025-26. The special issue proposals should be in line with IEEE TTS’ fields of interest and address an interdisciplinary space or theme with researchers who have strengths in two or more fields, and, more broadly, in technology and society . The special issues must address contemporary, real-world challenges of significance to individuals, communities, organizations, industries, and or society more broadly. The challenges or special issue themes proposed should transcend borders and demonstrate complexity, while relying on multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary approaches. The focus of topics identified in the special issue proposals should deal with the prominent areas of consideration relevant to the identified special issue theme, and the call should be layered allowing for theoretical and methodological contributions, and diverse empirical analysis that is qualitative, quantitative, or experimental, with clearly identifiable objectives.
Special Issue Submission Components
Developing calls for special issues requires a substantial investment of time. Researchers are not only trying to demonstrate that their ideas are valuable and have not been covered previously in the corpus of the Transactions; but that their special issue has potential academic, societal, economic, and other broader impacts for the community in question and the IEEE TTS readership [A1]. Guest editors who collaborate on a special issue proposal should have diverse interests but be bound together thematically to cross-examine an area from a variety of perspectives. Each guest editor should be a subject matter expert in two or more areas and must have a demonstrated ability to work across fields of interest [A2]. As such, there is an expectation that the guest editorial board models interdisciplinarity and or transdisciplinarity in some respect; for instance, demonstrating transinstitutional, transectoral, and/or transnational elements and considerations. Guest editors should have a track record as collaborators, and ideally co-authors.
A special issue proposal is typically 5–6 pages in length. The components of the proposal include: (1) the working title for the special issue; (2) details of guest editors with international standing, noting affiliation and evidence of track record; (3) the provision of an abstract / description of about 350 words; (4) an overview of topicality and significance; (5) an establishment of the need for the theme, evidenced through current scholarship and a suitable and extensive bibliography; (6) details of potential authors and reviewers to be approached; and (7) defined strategies for sharing the call through online and other channels. Examples of special issue calls can be found on the IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology web site .
Submitting Your Special Issue Proposal
Candidates can address their cover letter to Katina Michael and Roba Abbas and submit their special issue proposal to email@example.com for consideration on a rolling basis. All special issue proposals that are submitted will be carefully reviewed considering several elements, including, the: (1) timeliness of the proposed special issue theme; (2) alignment and fit of the special issue guest editors and their respective track record in the chosen fields of interest; (3) completeness of the special issue proposal; (4) depth of seminal works cited in the description of the call, both historical and contemporary; (5) identifiable peer reviewers suited to review for the Transactions special issue; (6) potential target researchers with whom the call will be shared given their professional expertise and diverse network; and (7) channels for sharing the open call with the global academic and non-academic communities. Authors should abide by the IEEE’s Diversity Statement when assembling a guest editorial team . Proposals are assessed for an 18-month lead time. We look forward to receiving and reviewing your special issue proposals.
Once the special issue has been approved, the guest editors take on the equivalent responsibility to an IEEE TTS Senior Editor for the duration of the special issue call, which will involve all activities relevant to the handling of received manuscripts and related communication with authors through the IEEE ScholarOne System . Access to the IEEE TTS ScholarOne review system is granted to the guest editors upon approval of the special issue proposal, and its subsequent release via the Transactions website . It is at this time that authors may register their profile and submit their manuscripts in response to the call using the IEEE Author Portal , which works seamlessly with ScholarOne, where guest editors will handle the papers through peer review.
Special issue guest editors are expected to meet internal production deadlines. This means that final review cycles must be completed three months before the date of publication of the special issue, to allow authors to go through the proofing stage during the production process. It is also at this stage that authors may create multimedia that accompanies their accepted manuscript, such as video files summarizing the main contribution of a paper. Additionally, authors may deposit their collected field data providing further evidence of their findings in their manuscript to IEEE DataPort for storage and search, and any source code that accompanies their manuscript to IEEE’s Code Ocean. These artefacts will appear in the relevant IEEE Xplore manuscript record. As IEEE TTS provides Early Access, a pre-print document will be made available and citable with a corresponding DOI, as soon as the final files are received and processed by the production team. A special issue in IEEE is typically a collection of four or more papers, in addition to a guest editorial that may be optionally peer-reviewed. In cases where four papers are not accepted, a special section option will be offered.
A special section in IEEE is typically a collection of three papers inclusive of a peer-reviewed/non-peer reviewed guest editorial. Guest editorials may be between two to six pages in length, with longer editorials requiring approval from the IEEE TTS Co-EICs. The Transactions accepts manuscripts from guest editors and their respective collaborative teams, in addition to EIC, senior editor and associate editor contributions, in general. However, conflicts of interest must be declared immediately to allow for independent manuscript handling. Adequate evidence must be maintained for all author interactions and corresponding decision-making using IEEE ScholarOne, for IEEE and external auditing purposes.
The length of a special issue ranges from between 45–80 pages, accommodating between 4–8 articles. These full-length articles are typically 10 pages each, with an option for the submission of brief papers of 2 pages. For every page that an author(s) exceeds 10 pages, an IEEE page fee will apply. A special section ranges between 30–40 pages, allowing for 3 full-length articles. It is expected that special issues and special sections are accompanied by a guest editorial that incorporates the original call for papers and presents a vision or future direction based on the presented themes. Guest Editorials can also incorporate empirical research.
Manuscript Pre-Screening and Initial Review
When a manuscript is submitted by an author or authors for consideration in a special issue, a preliminary assessment of the paper will ensue by the IEEE TTS Administrator. This pre-screening phase may result in for the following reasons: (a) failure to comply with the IEEE style guidelines; (b) violation of IEEE policies; (c) lack of comprehensibility; and (d) the paper is outside the IEEE TTS scope as per the application of the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board (PSPB) Operations Manual, Subsection 8.2.2 [7, p. 103]. Upon receiving all of the pre-screened manuscripts, the guest editors will be required to create a spreadsheet of submitted papers and associated metadata by generating a report in ScholarOne.
The next phase of the peer review process then begins in the form of the guest editor desk review. At this point, a paper may be instantly desk rejected by the guest editors on the basis of a lack of technical rigor [7, p. 103] or lack of inclusion of societal implications, among other integrated considerations. In this case, the guest editors will confer with one another and one Co-EIC to determine whether the paper is rejected outright or placed in the general IEEE TTS queue of papers to be peer reviewed. If a manuscript proceeds through the review cycle for a given special issue, it will be subject to multiple review cycles, as required, until an adjudication (accept or reject) is made.
The Co-EICs and IEEE’s Publishing Operations team will support the guest editors throughout the end-to-end process, however, the responsibility for a rigorous review process lies solely with the guest editors. The Co-EICs will provide oversight and have the right to recall or rescind actions that may not meet IEEE publishing guidelines, which may result in the delay, postponement and/or withdrawal of the special issue depending on the context.
Appendix: Related Articles
- R. Abbas et al., “Publishing for impact: Interdisciplinary reflections,” IEEE Trans. Technol. Soc., vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 201–217, Sep. 2023.
- K. Michael and R. Abbas, “Call for Senior Editors and Associate Editors of the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society,” IEEE Trans. Technol. Soc., vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 199–200, Sep. 2023.
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