Guidelines for Guest Editors Contemporary Social Science

Editing a Themed Issue of Contemporary Social Science

The policy of the Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences is to encourage specially edited issues on topics of broad interest across the social sciences. To facilitate the editing of these issues I have prepared the following notes.

David Canter, Editor
August 2016


Intent: The journal aims to be fundamentally interdisciplinary of interest and value across the social sciences. However, the social sciences cover a range of disciplines that have different styles, cultures and foci of interest. So although they merge into each other in various ways, providing an open-ended forum for individual papers will have only limited appeal.

The social sciences come together around topics of common concern. Therefore the intention is to frame the journal, in the main, around themed issues that are fundamentally multi-disciplinary. So although any one paper may be clearly within a distinct discipline because it relates to a topic of broad social science interest, that paper will nonetheless be of some value to people embedded within other disciplines. Good examples are given in the list of ten previously published themed issues listed below.   

Content: A themed issue will therefore typically contain between 7  and 10 journal articles drawn from different social sciences, exploring specific aspects of the topic of concern. Each paper will be a formal journal article dealing with a substantive issue, making a contribution to at least one parent discipline. This is a journal, not a book of readings or a textbook, so papers will in general be expected to focus on specific issues, empirically based, although this can be quantitative or qualitative data. Broad ranging, speculative essays will be the exception. It is anticipated that each article will be between 5,000 and 8,000 words, following the journal format as in notes for contributors on the website.

Over-viewing Editorial - An important paper in the issue is the overview of the field contributed by the editor. This is a distinct paper (not just an editorial mentioning the papers or the conference at which they may have first seen the light of day). It has an informative title (not just Editorial), cites the papers in the themed issue as if they are in another journal and puts these papers into the context of the area in general. The purpose of this review is enable readers to appreciate the framework the contributory papers are part of and as an entry point for the domain of the themed issue. It is important to appreciate that this paper may be downloaded independently of any other papers in the themed issue and so needs to stand alone. I will review it before publication and may seek other views as an aid to ensuring it is as effective as possible.

Illustrations – If at all possible a photograph from one of the contributors will be selected for the cover of the Journal. The copyright should be held by the contributor and will be acknowledge inside the front cover of the journal. Further illustrations that contribute to the understanding of journal articles are also encouraged.

Title of issue and papers.

Search engines now put demands on titles to enable readers to find what they are looking for. Therefore the title of the themed issue and any papers within it must follow the following rules:

  1. The must be short, certainly no more than ten words, avoiding punctuation, and sub-titles if at all possible.

  2. The must use non-technical vocabulary wherever possible.

  3. They should avoid idiom or ‘clever’ titles. For example ‘building bridge’ will be picked up by civil engineering, or ‘old wine in new bottles’ will find its way intoviticulture.


Are now crucial aspects of whether the full paper is read. These therefore need to be informative and succinct. They must be no more than 250 words. The must state clearly what the objective of the paper is, the process gone through to achieve that objective and what the results are.

Notes on Contributors
Once a paper is accepted the author(s) is (are) required to produce a biographical note of no more than 50 words.


Process: The usual, although not inevitable, procedure for creating a themed issue goes through the following stages –

1. People interested in editing a themed issue contact me and outlines their proposal.

2. Once we agree the proposal a call for papers, drafted by the proposed themed issue editor(s), is agreed with me. A template from a recent call for papers is attached at the end of this note.

The call crucially contains

a. An outline of the topic, emphasising its multi-disciplinary reach

b. The deadline for submissions, which I will agree with the editor, but typically is about six months from the date of agreeing the call.

c. An indication of how papers are to be submitted, which is discussed below.

3. This call goes quickly on the journal website and is printed in the next available issue of the Journal.

4. The themed issue editor(s) and their colleagues invite people to contribute to the themed issue, and make the call for papers available far and wide.

5. There are two pathways that can be used for processing submitted papers, one of which I will be agree with the themed issue editor:

a. Either the manuscript central online submissions process will be used,

b. Or the themed issue editor(s) will manage submissions directly, probably be email.

The former is preferred because it records all transactions more effectively. If the latter then the guest editor needs to keep a careful record of when papers are first submitted and when accepted.

In either case the guest editor will identify reviewers for each paper and organise reciprocally blind reviews of the papers and feedback directly to the authors, eventually making the decision about the papers and informing me of that decision.

It would be good if reviewers got some feedback on their comments in the form of copies of other reviewers’ comments and the editorial decision, but that can be onerous unless the online, manuscript central system is used.

Along the way I need to be kept informed of progress with submissions and the number of likely papers for the themed  issue.   If the number of papers is greater than a themed  issue has available we can explore the possibility of an extended special issue or other options.

6. Once the final versions of the papers are accepted they go through the normal production process, proofs being sent to the authors and individual authors being required to sign copyright forms.


A book? If the themed  issue lends itself to development as a book of contributed chapters the publisher, Routledge, are very willing to consider that possibility.


Issue themes already published:

The following themed issues have been published as journal issues and subsequently as books –

  • Crowds in the 21st Century – Edited by John Drury and Clifford Stott

  • The Social Dynamics of Web 2.0 – Edited by Charalambos Tsekeris and Ioannis Katerelos

  • Social Science Perspectives on Climate Change – Edited by David Canter

  • Alcohol and Public Policy – Edited by Thom Brooks

  • Knowledge Mobilisation and the Social Sciences- Edited by Jon Bannister and Irene Hardill

  • International and Interdisciplinary Insights into Evidence and Policy – Edited by Linda Hantrais, Ashley Thomas Lenihan and Susanne MacGregor

  • Biologising the Social Sciences – Edited by David Canter and David Turner

  • The Olympic Legacy – Edited by Alan Tomlinson

  • Movements and Dissent in the Social Sciences – Edited by Giovanni A. Travaglino
  • Revisiting the Self – Edited by Charalambos Tsekeris


Example of a Call for Papers:

In total the call for papers should be no more than 350 words.


Themed Issue of

Contemporary Social Science

The Social Dynamics of Web 2.0


The developments widely known as Web 2.0 are mainly characterized by the overwhelming ability of users to collaboratively create content. The impact this is having on a wide range of social processes, as varied as marketing and personal relationships, politics and tourism is making these developments a fascinating focus for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary social science research. This themed issue calls for papers that address the impact of Web 2.0 on contemporary society and its dynamics. It seeks high quality contributions to review and analyse Web 2.0 as the basis for collective action and as a source of societal destabilisation and change. We welcome original articles, including quantitative or qualitative studies, case studies, or critical reviews, dealing with aspects of the influence and potential of Web 2.0 (for better or for worse). Soundly empirically based studies will be emphasised although high quality scholarly essays are also welcome.

Manuscripts should follow the usual instructions for electronic submission of papers to Contemporary Social Science. Authors should indicate that they wish the manuscript to be reviewed for inclusion in the themed issue. The Editors of this issue would be happy to review plans for papersin advance of their receipt. All papers will be peer reviewed. The closing date for submitting papers is 10th October 2011. The corresponding GuestEditor for this issue is:

Dr Charalambos Tsekeris

Department of Psychology,

Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences,

136 Syngrou Ave., 176 71,

Athens, Greece

Corresponding E-mails: ,