Publish your Topical Collection in Science and Engineering Ethics (SEE)

Science and Engineering Ethics is now welcoming submissions for Topical Collections (TCs). 

What is a Topical Collection (TC)?

A Topical Collection is a virtual journal issue that collects papers on a given topic, theme, author, or problem. Topical collections are sophisticated publications intended to shape a debate and to foster dialogue and collaboration around the chosen topic. What we value in TCs is the ability to offer the reader a view on a given problem, issue, or topic such that the reader:

  • Gets a view on the state of the art, particularly either of a newly important issue, or of an important shift in a well-known debate.
  • Can read a group of papers that collectively address the problem or issue.
  • Perceives the nuances of the debate and how the community is working on the problem or issue.
  • Can follow the debate as it continues, and more quickly contribute in so far as it impacts on their own work, individually or collaboratively.

Initiating a Topical Collection

A TC may be initiated, for instance, by the organization of a specialized conference, a symposium, or a project. While a TC might also be initiated when a guest editor[s] already has specific manuscripts for inclusion, we encourage guest editors to also announce an open Call for Papers (CfP) for additional submissions. Closed TCs could be considered if the editors have compelling reasons for keeping the TC closed to outside submissions.

Submitting a TC proposal

Proposals for a TC should be submitted via email to co-EiCs.

A proposal for a TC includes the following information:

  • Names and contact details of proposed Guest Editors. 
  • A short description of the editors 
  • Title and rationale for the topical collection, including: 
    • What questions do you seek to ask or philosophical issues do you aim to develop with the new collection? If the proposal for a TC is approved, this narrative could be used as the text for the CfP. (200 words max). 
    • What are the distinctive and original elements of the new collection that make it of interest to the community? (200 words max). 
    • What do you hope the new collection will contribute towards the development of the literature in its field? (200 words max)
    • Plans to attract submissions, particularly diverse submissions (200 words max)​ 
    • If you are planning an open call, timeline for CfP and associated deadlines; plans for dissemination of call (mailing lists, whether you plan on inviting researchers to submit) 
    • Approximate number of articles in the collection

Assessment of TC proposals

Editors in Chief.

Handling a TC - the role of guest editors

All submissions to a Topical Collection (TC) and all communication with reviewers and authors should be done through the usual Science and Engineering Ethics electronic editorial system (Editorial Manager, EM), and according to the same workflow used by AEs, with EiC having final approval on all decisions.

Guest editors should collaborate with the contributing authors to prepare the first round of internal review and commenting before the papers are submitted to SEE.  When a paper is submitted, EiCs assume that the first vetting has already been done by the guest editors. When a guest editor[s] thinks a manuscript is ready, the manuscript should be submitted by its author through the SEE website. 

The articles that come in through the CfP need to be first approved by the guest editors, both in terms of scope and suitability for the TC and in terms of quality. Authors who plan to submit to a TC will be advised to consult the guest editor[s]. 

Once a paper has been submitted, the EiCs will conduct a preliminary pre-review to ensure that the papers are appropriate for the journal and the peer review process.  Some papers might be rejected at this stage.  For those papers deemed appropriate, we will manage the peer review process and take responsibility for making editorial decisions and providing editorial guidance to the authors, always keeping the guest editor[s] in the loop. 

The usual editorial process

Papers in a TC need to undergo the same review process as any other submission. EiC will brief Guest Editors thoroughly. This means that, typically, at least two reviewers will assess papers, and acceptance for the journal requires at least two independent acceptance recommendations from reviewers, or a thoroughly motivated report by the Guest Editors, endorsed by the EiC, as to why the paper is worthy of publication on the basis of the reports. Guest Editors of a TC can at any time consult with the EiCs about the steps to take in the review process.

Note finally that only original articles ⎯ i.e. articles that have not been and will not be published elsewhere by the authors and have no significant parts that fall under this category ⎯ are accepted for publication in the journal. The originality of all articles should be verified by the Guest Editors before they are submitted to SEE. In case of doubt, the Guest Editors should consult the EiC right away.

The publication process

Please note that manuscripts in a Topical Collection are clearly connected and presented as one collection online. There will not, however, be one print issue of your topical collection and it is also not possible to arrange the on-line articles in any specific way (they are published based on when each article is accepted and comes out of production). This is in line with the Continuous Article Publishing. If you have further questions about the Continuous Article Publishing model of Science and Engineering Ethics, please be in contact with the Editors in Chief.