Skip to main content
Log in

Behavior Analysis in Practice - General Guidelines when Developing a Special Issue for Behavioral Analysis in Practice

General Guidelines when Developing a Special Issue

for Behavior Analysis in Practice

May, 2022

A special issue of a journal is a collection of papers that are organized around a topic or theme of research within the scope of mission in the journal.  The topic addressed should have broad appeal to the readership of the journal and should:

  • Expand the scope of the journal to include 
    • developing issues/experimental or analytical approaches,
    • important trends areas, or
    • areas that are sometimes underrepresented in the journal;
  • Address understudied areas;
  • Re-examine a topic or issue from a novel perspective;
  • Recognize or honor prominent figures in the field, or
  • Coincide with a scientific conference.

Special issues require substantial support from Guest Editors, including identifying a topical area of interest, recruiting manuscripts, supporting the peer-review process, editing manuscripts, organizing the collection of papers into meaningful structures, and writing an introductory editorial piece to introduce and frame the special issue. 

The Editor in Chief of Behavior Analysis in Practice welcomes proposals for special issues of the journal.  The following guidelines are provided to give guidance to potential Guest Editors for how to make a proposal for a special issue.  Potential Guest Editors should write a proposal, as described below, and submit it via email to the Editor in Chief.  The Editor in Chief will then facilitate a peer-review process with the Associate Editors to (a) determine whether the proposal is acceptable, and (b) provide feedback to either further strengthen the proposal or explain why the proposal is not accepted.  If potential Guest Editors have any questions during the process, they should contact the Editor in Chief for assistance.

Preparing a Proposal

Proposals for a Special Issue will be reviewed by the Editor, in concert with the Associate Editors.  Feedback on the quality of the proposal will be provided, as well as a decision on whether to move forward with the special issue.  Factors considered in approving a Special Issue include (a) “fit” with the journal, (b) identified need for a focus on the topic at this time, (c) quality of the plan for including appropriate manuscripts devoted to the special issue topic, (d) commitment to the peer review process, and (e) publication schedules for the journal (i.e., consideration of timely availability of an open issue to be used for this purpose).

A brief proposal should include the following:

  1. A tentative title for the special issue, along with the names and qualifications of the proposed Guest Editors.
  2. A brief description of the focus of the special issue and a brief rationale for why the issue is needed and would make a valuable contribution at this time.  If other special issues on the topic have been published recently in Behavior Analysis in Practice or other similar journals, please indicate this and discuss how this special issue will complement the proposed special issue.
  3. A tentative timeline for the issue, including the peer review process and expected date of completion for all manuscripts.  
  4. An overview of the expected number and length of manuscripts.  (See details below for guidance.)
  5. A tentative list of manuscript topics and, when known, potential authors.  If listing potential authors, note whether the author will be invited or has agreed to participate.  If authors will be invited to participate, please make it clear that authors will be notified their papers will still undergo the peer review process.  It is not expected that authors will be known up front.  A call for papers can be posted on the Behavior Analysis in Practice website to solicit papers, so do not feel obligated to provide a list of authors.  If proposing to put a call for papers on the website, please include here the verbiage you propose be posted on the website.
  6. A tentative (or confirmed) list of Guest Associate Editors and/or Guest Reviewers who will assist you with the review process.
  7. Please indicate how the proposal considers matters of diversity and equity throughout the process, from manuscript recruitment to peer review and to manuscript content.

When a proposal is accepted, the call for papers for the special issue will be posted on BAP’s website and in ABAI’s newsletter.  In addition, the Editor will work with Springer to create a Guest Editor portal in Editorial Manager so that the Guest Editor(s) can access manuscripts and facilitate the review process. 

Peer Review

Special issue Guest Editor(s) will handle the peer review process.  It is expected that all manuscripts will be reviewed by at least two – preferably three – peer reviewers.  These peer reviewers may consist of the Special Guest Associate Editors and/or Guest Reviewers nominated by the proposers.  In addition, it is fine to utilize members of the BAP review board as reviewers as well.  Manuscripts will be submitted to Springer’s online portal, as with other BAP manuscripts.

Manuscripts may be “invited” for inclusion in a Special Issue but all manuscripts undergo peer review before acceptance.  Again, please make sure any invited authors are aware of this.  An invited manuscript is not guaranteed publication, though the assumption is that the Special issue Guest Editor(s) will work with the authors to produce an acceptable manuscript through feedback and revisions.

Manuscript Number, Length, and Preparation

Special Issues generally include six to ten manuscripts and a brief introduction/overview by the Special Issue Editor(s).  Manuscript length may be up to 30 pages, including title page, abstract, figures, tables, and references (about 225 manuscript pages to give about 150 published pages per issue).  (Because the journal is electronic, there is wiggle room on this. These are guidelines and not hard and fast rules for manuscript length.) Manuscripts must be prepared according to the latest edition of the APA Publication Manual. Authors will have the opportunity to proof their manuscripts in final form prior to publication.

The Special Issue Editor(s) should prepare a brief introduction/overview to introduce the special issue.  Generally speaking, this paper should be submitted as a Word document directly to the Editor, who will review it and submit it to Springer for publication.  This introduction must be in final form and to the Springer production people on the first of the month at least two months before the special issue will appear in the journal.  For example, if the special issue is slated to appear in the December issue of the journal, the final version of the introductory piece must be in Springer’s hands by October 1st of that year.