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Being a Guest Editor: Frequently asked questions

Benefits and responsibilities of becoming a Guest Editor  

Qualifications and experience needed 

The process of becoming a Guest Editor  


Benefits and responsibilities of becoming a Guest Editor 

Why should I become a Guest Editor?

Guest editing a Special Collection provides the opportunity to shape discussions in your research field. Guest Editors benefit from increased visibility of the Special Collection platform and grow networks with authors and editors.

As a Guest Editor, you can:

  • Influence the discourse in your chosen field by curating the papers in your collection
  • Boost your profile and the discoverability of your work
  • Gain insights into publishing workflows by working with the experienced editors who oversee our rigorous peer review process
  • Build connections with an international pool of scholars.

Why should I consider guest editing with Sage?

Sage provides Guest Editors with a seamless and enjoyable experience at every stage of the Special Collection journey, to make the process as rewarding and inspiring as possible. We understand that becoming a Guest Editor can come with concerns, but with our strong set of tools and support available as needed, you can be confident that your Special Collection will have the best chance of success.

We provide professional and dedicated support to all our Guest Editors. As a Guest Editor, you will benefit from:

  • A smooth set-up of your Special Collection, as we support you in defining the scope and co-editor team, and launch the collection in a timely manner
  • Targeted communications and a dedicated marketing team to ensure your Special Collection reaches relevant interested academics
  • Time to focus on curating the themes and topics for your Special Collection, as we handle the peer-review of any submitted manuscripts
  • Ensured quality and validity of the research published in your Special Collection through our reputable journals.

Sage is committed to upholding the highest quality and integrity of our journals and the researchers involved in Special Collections. Rigorous peer-review processes, meticulous vetting through pools of proposals, and careful selections of recognized experts are just some of the ways we ensure our Special Collections provide true value to the researcher community. We are committed to providing ongoing support for Guest Editors and paper contributors at every stage of the Special Collection journey, and increasing the reach and impact of the resulting research.

We receive positive feedback from our Guest Editors about their experience with Sage. You can read a testimonial on LinkedIn, and another on our Perspectives blog.

What kind of support do you offer Guest Editors, and how will you help me encourage paper submissions?

We offer a wealth of resources to help you select the right journal for your proposal and set up your Special Collection for success. As well as support from a member of our Editorial team, we provide webinars, guidelines, top tip articles, process information, blogposts, and testimonials from experienced Guest Editors.

We will help encourage traffic to your dedicated webpage by equipping you with all the necessary tools to promote your collection at conferences, in meetings, on social media, and to colleagues. Our Editorial and Marketing teams can provide tailored support to create promotional material and content (such as videos and blog posts) specific to your Special Collection.

Once your Special Collection is published, we will focus on encouraging usage and widening the impact of the collection with ongoing promotions. If your Special Collection reaches certain milestones, it may be eligible for spotlight celebrations across our channels. Your Special Collection will remain accessible on our site for you (and us) to continue to promote over time.

What responsibilities do I have as a Guest Editor?

As a Guest Editor, you will have several responsibilities, including but not limited to:

  • Refining the topic and specific research areas for the Special Collection to focus on, directing the conversations to the areas you feel are most important in your chosen topic
  • Using your experience and knowledge to attract submissions from experts in your network with promotional support from us
  • Reviewing all abstracts and articles for the suitability of scope, in a process independent to peer review
  • Promoting your Special Collection with our support to encourage the content to have a wide impact.

Additional responsibilities may vary depending on the journal. Full details will be provided.


Qualifications and experience needed 

What qualifications and experience are needed to be a Guest Editor?

All our Guest Editors are leading experts in their respective fields, which ensures they have the credibility to invite papers and make initial suggestions about the papers submitted to their Special Collection.

To become a Sage Guest Editor, you should have:

  • A track record of publications in the research area of your proposed Special Collection
  • Professional qualifications consistent with your research area and the proposed topic
  • A verifiable institutional position
  • Well-developed ideas and goals for the Special Collection.

If you are an Early Career Researcher or have a limited publication history, we suggest that you work with a more experienced peer or researcher as a co-Guest Editor. Some journals also offer alternative positions for less-experienced researchers to participate in collections.

To begin the process, we recommend submitting a proposal and working with the Associate Manager Editor. If you are interested in becoming a Guest Editor but unsure about your eligibility, we advise you to still submit a proposal.

Our Editorial team work with researchers at various stages of their career, providing suggestions and guiding them towards alternative journals that may be more suitable if required.

Can PhD students be involved with Special Collections?

PhD students will not be considered for Guest Editor positions. However, they can still propose collections alongside a senior colleague as a Guest Editor and will receive acknowledgment on the Special Collection’s webpage for any support they provide.

We advise talking with your thesis advisor or one of your committee members in a related field. You may also want to connect with people within your institution’s network who have experience in either editing or guest editing.

Seek advice within your network about how to start preparing to work on a collection, see if they have any suggestions for topics, and consider having a more senior researcher as a co-Guest Editor to mentor you through the process. Working with a more senior researcher can provide great opportunities to take advantage of their academic network and relationships with colleagues.

Does Sage consider independent researchers who are not officially affiliated with any university?

While we typically work with university researchers, we may consider proposals from independent researchers on a case-by-case basis.


The process of becoming a Guest Editor

What is the easiest way to become a Guest Editor?

Read about the process and role, and when you are ready, submit your proposal. Our Editorial team will quickly review your proposal and contact you with the next steps.

How do I select the best journal for my collection? 

You can browse all of our Open Access journals, organized by discipline, to learn more about their aims and scope. Our journal recommender tool is intended to help researchers find the right journal for their paper, but it can also be a good starting point to discover possibilities for where to run a Special Collection. Make sure to select Gold Open Access Journals from the Journal Type list to limit the search to journals accepting Special Collection proposals.

Upon receiving your proposal, our Editorial team will liaise with you to determine the most suitable journal for your Special Collection. Please complete the proposal form with as much information as possible to allow for the most accurate journal match.

How can I select a good topic for a Special Collection?

As an expert in your field, you are likely to have an idea on what is currently being researched and where further research is needed. Special Collections should be forward-thinking and focus on the latest research developments. You may be able to identify an appropriate theme by considering topics that fit into the following:

  • Fields that are undergoing rapid advances in new technologies or techniques
  • Areas with highly cited research
  • Emerging research areas with new concepts
  • Topics with great public interest
  • Novel perspectives on established practices
  • Multidisciplinary research
  • Topics of recent discussion at academic conferences.

If you are unsure on the specific scope of your Special Collection but have a research area in mind, our Editorial team will be happy to work with you to refine the topic and scope of your collection idea upon receiving your proposal.

How do you define a successful Special Collection?

A successful Special Collection should provide a comprehensive overview of the latest updates on the collection’s topic, bringing together a range of perspectives from a diverse group of academics and stimulating discussion and ideas for the future.

The total number of articles within a Special Collection will vary across different journals and topics. However, we generally strive to publish 5 or more articles (including an Editorial) per Special Collection. More information about specific journal requirements can be found after submitting a proposal.

We encourage Guest Editors to promote articles within their Special Collection, work with us to create promotional content, and invite colleagues to submit manuscripts to contribute to the success of their collection.

As a Guest Editor, am I able to write an article for my Special Collection?

Yes, if the article is within the scope of the collection. We also encourage you to contribute by writing an Editorial or introductory piece for your Special Collection.

Is it compulsory to have an introduction by the Guest Editor?

No, it is not mandatory to submit an introductory article to your own collection, but we encourage you to do so.

You can also write an Editorial article after the Special Collection is complete to summarize the published articles and findings.

Will I be involved in peer review process?

All Special Collection articles will undergo full, independent peer review, in line with Sage’s ethical and peer review and publishing policies. There is no guarantee of acceptance for any submission. Guest Editors are not involved in the peer review process but will have the opportunity to evaluate each submission and decide on its suitability for the collection based on scope. The journal’s Editor and/or Publisher have final authority on editorial content.

To submit a proposal to run your own Special Collection, complete this form.

If you have any questions or would like support with submitting a Special Collection proposal, you can contact us.