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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

Special issue guidelines

Biogeosciences (BG) and its discussion forum Biogeosciences Discussions (BGD) offer an efficient new way of publishing special issues for measurement campaigns, conferences, etc. The individual papers are peer-reviewed and published as soon as they are available in regular issues;  they are then labelled as part of the special issue and linked electronically.

The specific advantages are the following:

  • Publication date is not delayed by the latest paper, which is behind in the peer-review process: every individual contribution to the special issue is published as soon as it is available.
  • Efficient interactive discussion of the common theme takes places on the BGD website.
  • Prepublication of discussion papers in BGD allows efficient cross-referencing between the final revised papers in BG.
  • All contributions are efficiently linked and coherently presented on dedicated special issue web pages (an appropriate logo is welcome as a *.jpg file) easily accessible from the BG/BGD online libraries.
  • Guest editors can define the order of the published papers on the SI web page.
  • Either a non-peer-reviewed editorial preface or a peer-reviewed scientific paper can be used to introduce a special issue.
  • Print versions are available upon completed publication of all contributions. A minimum order of 20 copies is necessary, and the price will depend on the total number of pages in the special issue.  


    The price per printed copy is calculated as follows:

    number of pages × €0.09
    + softcover and binding (€3.00) (hardcover price on request)
    + priority mail (individually calculated)

    = net price + VAT

    Please contact the Copernicus Publications Production Office for an official offer.

Inter-journal special issues

A special issue can comprise publications in any number of Copernicus’ open-access journals, and the special issue editors can be from the same or different journals. It may, however, be advantageous to have representation from editorial board members from more than one of the constituent special issue journals. One journal should be nominated as the notional lead for administrative purposes. The manuscript processing follows the standard special issue procedure of the journal in which the manuscript is submitted. Afterwards, all published papers are co-listed on a joint special issue web page (in addition to the regular chronological volume of each journal).

If you intend to propose an inter-journal special issue, please first send your proposal to the co-editors-in-chief of the lead journal. If your proposal is accepted, please also contact the co-editors-in-chief of the constituent journals to find out if they want to participate in the inter-journal special issue. Only after all journals have agreed, please send all information (see below) on the inter-journal special issue to the Copernicus Publications Editorial Support.

Special issue proposal & guidelines for editors

BG special issues (SIs) are usually handled by at least 2–3 editors, comprising the guest editors and at least one member of the BG editorial board with experience in the subject area of the SI. The proposers of a SI must contact appropriate BG associate editors directly to find an editor willing to participate in the SI. The role of this editor will be to oversee the special issue as a whole and to assist the guest editors in making decisions and facilitating communication with the editorial office. She/he should not be expected to handle many papers.

If possible, the SI editors (at least some of them) should not be closely involved in the work from which the special issue arises. An editor is not permitted to handle papers in which she/he is a co-author or ones in which there could be a perceived conflict of interest. Situations of real or perceived conflict of interest (e.g. handling papers from present and former students, from colleagues with whom the editor has recently collaborated, from those in the same institution, as well as co-authored manuscripts within the SI) must be avoided.

Each manuscript is handled by one of the SI editors. Each guest editor should handle at least three to five manuscripts. Acceptance to act as a guest editor implies agreement that quality standards of BG will be upheld, that decisions will be made in a timely manner (as described on the BG website), and that emails from the BG associate editor overseeing the SI, the co-editors-in-chief, and the editorial support and production offices will be promptly attended to. All SI editors are given access to the online review system. Proposals for SIs should be submitted to the editors-in-chief and include the following information:

  • name and email address of the guest editor(s);
  • title of special issue;
  • a short synopsis on the purpose of the special issue that will be published on the SI website;
  • BG associate editor willing to oversee the special issue;
  • opening date;
  • closing date (usually 6 months after the opening date; exceptions upon request);
  • tentative list of manuscripts with titles, all author names, and, if available, abstracts;
  • a statement of the purpose of the special issue, whether it arises out of a conference, and whether it will include only invited papers or is open for all submissions within its scope;
  • name of handling editor foreseen for each paper.

After acceptance by the editors-in-chief and implementation of the SI by the editorial office (usually completed within a few days), the SI may be announced by the guest editors, who should inform potential contributors about the BG publication policies outlined above.

Paper submissions that were not listed in the SI proposal can only be included under the following conditions:

  • The BG associate editor(s) responsible for the SI shall decide whether such a manuscript matches the scope of the SI.
  • The associate editor(s) overseeing the SI must approve assignment of the handling editor of the manuscripts.
  • The co-editors-in-chief must be informed.

Responsibilities of guest editors

The guest editors are obliged to ensure the high standard of publication in BG. All manuscripts rated as "poor" in one of the fields "scientific significance", "scientific quality", or "presentation quality" must be rejected. The associate editor overseeing the SI has the responsibility to monitor the quality of the overall editorial process and can be contacted by the guest editor for editorial advice.

The guest editors must ascertain that all manuscripts are within the scope of BG, do not contradict each other, and that they cite each other.

The guest editors can provide a one- to two-page preface to the special issue. The draft has to be sent to all leading authors of the SI and will be read and approved by the chief editors before publication. The preface/introduction is published free of cost. A longer summary providing a synthesis of all papers can be published as a separate article, which however will be treated as a regular contribution: it will be peer-reviewed and also entails payment of article processing charges.

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