Special Issue Guidelines

Special issue topics are important for the MECS journals, which deal with extremely focused topics within current interest in a wide variety of journals they get published in. These special issue topics should be well crafted by recognized experts in the field of the highest quality. These proposals are welcome at any time during the year and should be submitted to service@mecs-press.org.

The number of special issue editors needs to be limited to 2–5, and all editors should come from different countries. Editors should have a Ph.D. title with an associate professor or higher title. The number of accepted papers needs to be calculated according to the editor's country. If there are editors from 3 different countries, the papers from any one of these 3 countries cannot exceed 30% of all papers. 

Proposal topics for special issues should be submitted by the lead guest editor of the special issue and should include the following information upon submission:

1. Journal Special Issue intended
2. A suggested title for the special issue (which should not exceed 15 words)
3. Proposed aims and scope, giving an overview of the special issue's intended focus and a list of the topics to be covered
4. A list of the guest editors who will join the lead guest editor in managing the special issue, including their names, emails, affiliations, and a short biography (one paragraph) of each of the guest editors.
5. A proposed timeline and schedule that includes:

   - Deadline for submission (2–6 months from the initial call for papers)
   - First round of review (2 months after submission deadline)
   - Tentative publication date (2 months after the first round of review)

The journal's editorial board will discuss the journal before deciding whether to accept it for the MECS. If approved, a call for papers on the topic will be issued. All special issues will be issued and posted online, which are free to view by all interested readers, to maximize dissemination and recognition within the scientific community. These documents can be viewed or downloaded by individuals, but they are also available in an edited volume formatted as a single PDF with a custom cover, as well as being available for print for all readers interested.

As far as the guest editor is concerned, his main editorial task is to manage the peer review of all submitted manuscripts. His job is to recommend papers for publication only on the basis of academic merit and the appropriateness of the subject. In order to ensure the success of these special issue topics, MECS generally aims to have over 20 submissions, which allows for a higher rejection rate. If the special issue topic receives fewer than 15 submissions, we will unfortunately have to move papers to the regular section of the journal.

Once an article is submitted to a special issue, the lead guest editor will read over the article as an initial screening, and if the paper is of superior quality, they will need to assign it either to themselves or to one of the guest editors for further examination. The guest editor in charge of handling the manuscript will then assign it to an external referee for peer review, which consists of a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 6 independent external referees for each special issue topic paper. This will take about a week from the time they receive the manuscript. Reviewers are expected to submit reports within 7 weeks. Once the reviews come back, the guest editor will make a decision on either:

   - Publish Unaltered
   - Consider after minor changes
   - Consider after major changes
   - Reject

The manuscript is accepted for publication if the guest editor selects "publish unaltered," and the author(s) will be notified. When reviewers suggest a few minor changes, "Consider after minor changes" is the instruction for the author(s) to prepare and submit a final copy. After the paper is resubmitted, the guest editor will re-read the manuscript, and once they believe it is ready, they will accept it.

"Consider after major changes," the author(s) are expected to revise and correct the manuscript according to the recommended changes by the reviewers. The paper was to be resubmitted in a timely manner, and once it is, the guest editor will then make an editorial decision based on the previously mentioned choices. The guest editor can even decide to reject the paper outright.

The guest editor, however, cannot review special issue manuscripts, which is done to ensure a high-quality, unbiased peer review of each manuscript submitted to the journal. This won’t be a problem since these types of manuscripts must be recommended by one or more (usually two) external reviews before publication is considered.

The peer review process is single-blinded because the reviewers know who the authors of the manuscript are, but the authors do not know who has access to their manuscripts. Every journal that MECS publishes has an acknowledgement page for the researchers who served as peer reviewers on at least one manuscript over the previous year. Without the significant contributions made by these researchers, the publication of the journal would not be possible.