TCS Special Issues - Instructions for Guest Editors
Special issues of
may be based on a conference, workshop, or other event, where the aim
of the special issue is to publish extended versions of selected
papers presented at that event.
Alternatively, a special issue on a focused topic may consist of
papers by selected experts, where the aim is to give a picture of
recent developments in a particular area.
Hybrids of these are also possible, for instance a special issue based
on a number of related events or a special issue based primarily on an
event with additional papers from other sources, including papers
submitted in response to an open call for contributions.
Production of special issues is only possible with the agreement of
the TCS editors-in-chief,
for TCS-A (Algorithms, Automata, Complexity and Games),
for TCS-B (Logic, Semantics and Theory of Programming),
for TCS-C (Theory of Natural Computing).
TCS's electronic counterpart,
Electronic Notes in
Theoretical Computer Science, publishes proceedings of
conferences and other events, and volumes in ENTCS may lead to special
issues in TCS; however permission to produce a volume of ENTCS
(contact Mike Mislove) is no
guarantee of permission to produce a corresponding special issue of
A list of past special issues of TCS is
On request from the guest editor - who must supply address labels -
up to 150 free copies of the completed special issue will be sent by
Elsevier to participants in the event in question.
Proposals for special issues of TCS
should be sent by email to either
Giorgio Ausiello for TCS-A,
Don Sannella for TCS-B,
Grzegorz Rozenberg for TCS-C,
or to some combination of these for a special issue that includes
aspects of more than one of TCS-A, TCS-B and TCS-C.
A proposal does not need to be long or presented in a highly polished
fashion, but it should include the following information:
A special issue will normally be around 200 pages long, containing
perhaps 10-12 papers, and will occupy a single issue of TCS.
In rare cases, a special issue may occupy a double issue but this is
TCS sets no limit on the length of individual papers but the
length of a paper must be justified by its contents.
- Information about the topic or event in question and why this is
a suitable basis for a special issue of TCS.
- Name and contact information of the guest editor(s).
- Planned schedule with dates for submission of papers,
notification of acceptance/rejection, submission of final versions,
and when the final manuscript will be ready for printing.
Please be realistic, while taking into account the importance of
- Approximate number of papers and number of pages overall.
- Something to justify an expectation that there will be
sufficient high-quality papers to fill a special issue. For a special
issue based on an event, this would normally be the final programme of
the event in question with abstracts of accepted papers.
(Only in exceptional circumstances will a proposal for a special issue
be accepted before the final programme of the event is available.)
For a special issue on a focused topic, this might include a list of
authors who have tentatively agreed to contribute papers.
- Pointers to the proceedings and/or special issues (of TCS
or other journals) that have been
published or are being put together for previous versions of
the same event, if any.
Once a proposal has been accepted
The content of special issues and
management of the editorial process are the guest editor(s) sole
This includes issuing invitations to contribute, arranging refereeing
of submissions to journal standard, and deciding on
An exception is where the guest editor wishes to include a paper of
his/her own; such submissions will be handled by the editor-in-chief
to avoid a conflict of interest.
The editors-in-chief are happy to provide advice regarding other
submissions to guest editors on request.
In cases where an open call for contributions is to be issued, you can
arrange to link a copy of the call from
the main TCS web page
by sending email to Jessica Bradley at Elsevier.
For a special issue based on an event, it is important to issue
invitations promptly, before authors decide to submit extended
versions of their papers elsewhere.
For such special issues, the refereeing process may be shortened by
involving members of the event's programme committee who handled
the original submission.
Although another way of speeding up the review process is to ask
authors of submissions to the special issue to referee each other's
papers, judgements of quality that come mainly from within a closed
community should be avoided.
Authors who use LaTeX should be encouraged to use Elsevier's
document style which can be downloaded from
The standard required for papers appearing in special issues of TCS is
the same as that of regular TCS papers.
A difference with respect to regular TCS submissions
is that there is no time for lengthy iteration in the refereeing process.
Any paper that will require substantial revision to be acceptable,
delaying the completion of the entire special issue,
may (with the author's agreement) be forwarded to the
editors-in-chief, together with referee reports, for consideration as
a regular TCS submission.
Once the entire process is complete, the guest editor(s) forwards the
finished product by e-mail to the TCS editorial office at
firstname.lastname@example.org, stating which
section of the journal the issue is intended for (A, B, C, joint A/B, etc.)
The following is required in two separate zip or tar files:
- Final versions of all the accepted contributions. For each
contribution, provide both printable form (pdf or ps) and source form
(LaTeX or Word).
- Title of the special issue and the name and affiliation of the
guest editor(s). For a special issue based on an event,
the title of the special issue would normally be the full name of the
event, not an acronym, minus words like "International", "Conference",
"47th", "2003", "Colloquium" etc. For example: the special issue of
TCS on ICALP 2002, which was the 29th International Colloquium on
Automata, Languages and Programming, has the title: Automata,
Languages and Programming. For a major event, the title can include
the acronym and year as well. For example: Automata, Languages and
Programming (ICALP 2002).
- An indication of the ordering of the accepted papers within the
special issue. (The default ordering is alphabetic by author.)
For each contribution, provide the corresponding author's email address.
- A preface for the special issue that explains the background of the
event and/or the importance of the topic. Again, printable form and
source form are required. It should be clear from the
preface that contributions have been refereed to journal standard and,
if the special issue is based on papers presented at an event, that
the contributions are extended versions of those papers.
A summary of the contribution of each paper is optional but welcome.
The editorial office will forward the relevant files to the
editor-in-chief for his final approval before the special issue enters
the queue for production. At that point the guest editor(s) will be
told the expected publication date. Once the copy editing process is
complete, final manuscripts will be placed on
ScienceDirect (click on "Articles in Press") so that they are accessible to readers in advance of publication.
- Referee reports for each accepted paper. Please supply dates of
submission/revision/acceptance if available.
- Number of rejected papers or other evidence that the selection
process was taken seriously.
Questions concerning the delivery of the final manuscript should be
addressed to the TCS editorial office at email@example.com.
Timely publication of special issues is very important. Elsevier has
accelerated the TCS publishing schedule in order to reduce the backlog
to six months (plus time for copy editing, proof reading etc.).
But this countdown does not begin until the final
manuscript of the special issue is received by the TCS editorial
office. Guest editors of special issues, authors and referees need to
work together to avoid delays. Serious slippage of the
schedule with respect to the original proposal might lead to
permission to produce a special issue being withdrawn or final
approval being denied.
Last modified: Mon Dec 5 09:30:53 GMT 2011