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[jox] research threads instead of special issues

hi all,

If it's not too late for this sort of proposal, i'd like to propose to replace special issues with research threads. The idea comes from the work on implementing aspects of open-process in another journal.

I find that calls for special issues annoy me often, since i frequently find the ones i like, but cannot interrupt what i am at that moment working on and write for the special issue, although the topic intrigues me, and i'd love to write on it in near future (happened to me twice only in the past few months). I know i'm not alone in this ambiguous feeling toward special issues, few other colleagues i spoke to regularly have the same problems.

Here's the reasoning: a call for special issues often goes out 9-12 months in advance, sometimes longer. By the time an author hears about it, the author can be faced with few months until the deadline - this frequently seems to be the case - unless authors is already part of circles through which she/he will get informed directly (this also seems to be the pattern). Researching and writing a good academic article requires several months, often much longer.By the current dynamics of special issues, many authors that do think they have something to contribute and are willing to write on the topic, end up missing the opportunity to write and submit.

From the reader perspective, special issues are more of collection of articles of existing clusters/mini-networks of academics, rather then collections of best work that is being done on the given topic at given moment in time.

I don't believe that special issues, as a form, are suitable any more for the best possible production of knowledge.

Instead, i propose a model of _research threads_, with two distinct features:

1) deadlines are minimum of two, perhaps even three years ahead;

2) submitted articles are published within a research thread as soon as they are accepted and peer reviewed, in order to present new research as soon as possible, to make the research thread alive and to not make authors wait for a long time before their accepted article gets published.

I speculate that research threads primary benefit would be higher quality of submissions from wider range of academics.

Additional benefits would be:

a) no need any more to have special issues waiting in a queue;

b) several parallel research threads running simultaneously would give the journal a distinct identity and a sense of constant development through the current research threads;

c) clusters of researchers with common interests might be formed through this more open and wider participatory model

Posted also on my blog at:

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