In general, we prefer special sections to special issues. Special sections consist of 3–5 peer-reviewed articles on a particular topic, with an invited editorial by the guest editor(s). A special issue is more like a curated collection of articles (6-8), think pieces, photo essays, relevant book reviews, etc., with a shared theoretical focus. We aim to put out 1–2 special issues a year, whereas a special section can be published as soon as the papers are completed. If you need additional guidance on this issue, we are happy to discuss possibilities via email or Skype.
A full proposal for a special issue or section, with an explanation of what the issue would contribute, and authors and abstracts of solicited articles, should be submitted to our managing editor, Erin Martineau (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Eileen Moyer (E.M.Moyer@uva.nl), the Special Section/Issues editor.
The length of articles published in MAT are normally between 8,000 and 10,000 words. Exceptions can be made for exceptional articles, but this should be discussed with the editors prior to submission.
Once a proposal is accepted, we work with the guest editors to fine-tune the timeline. In our experience it generally takes six months to a year for an article to go from submission to publication. We generally turn around think pieces and other essays within three months because these are reviewed and edited in-house. We expect editorial introductions to be submitted at least one month ahead of publication to allow for editing and revisions.
Guest editor responsibilities
Guest editors are expected to work with authors to ensure that papers submitted for a special issue/section are of high quality, would be expected to be well reviewed, and that they adhere to the technical requirements set out in the journal guidelines, which can be found on our website.
Papers are handled by MAT for peer review; guest editors are expected to provide us with a minimum of three suggested reviewers for each paper to facilitate the process.
Papers may be rejected, and submission for inclusion in a special issue is therefore not assurance of acceptance. If we have other papers ready for publication that fit with the theme of the special section/issue, we may suggest to the guest editors that they include them.
Timeline and review process
After the guest editor has ensured that contributions are of high quality and adhere to the journal style, each contribution must be submitted by individual authors through our online system, with a note tying them to the special issue so that we can track them appropriately.
The submissions are briefly reviewed by the editors before being sent for review. We ask reviewers to return their evaluations within 4 weeks. This does not always happen. Mean turnaround between submission and response is probably two months, but occasionally a good bit longer, especially if we need to send invitations to additional reviewers.
The editors will make a decision on the basis of the reviewers’ comments and inform the author(s) directly, copying in the guest editor(s). Eileen Moyer will discuss contradictory reviews with guest editors. If the reviewers suggest that an article be rejected, the guest editors may appeal, but MAT retains the right to make the final decision. Articles that are provisionally accepted are reviewed by MAT’s editors, and it is desirable that guest editors assist in this. If an article requires further external review, this is again handled through our editorial office.
Once an article is approved for publication, we do a tight copy edit, which will be sent back to the author(s) for further revisions.
An editorial introduction should be prepared as soon as we know which papers are accepted and will appear in the special issue. This should be submitted at least one month before publication to allow time for copyediting and revisions.
In the case of a special issue, we will publish when all of the contributions are complete and ready for publication. Special sections will be included in one of our regular issues. We publish in December, April and September, and do not have a page limit for any issue. This means when the special section is complete, we will publish it online within four months.