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Special Issues

Special Issues & Sections

Special Issues and/or Special Sections of the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology: An Overview of Their Rationale, Preparation, and Delivery

The Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (JCCP) provides for the publication of three types of material: 1) regular unsolicited manuscripts, 2) special issues or special sections of regular issues, and 3) book reviews. The publication of unsolicited manuscripts comprises the great majority of our efforts and space. However, the nature and scope of cross-cultural psychology is such that an important part of JCCP's policies is to publish special issues or spectial sections of regular issues "depending upon current needs, emerging trends, and readership interest" (taken from JCCP's masthead publication policy). Special issues or special sections serve as a vital outlet for all cross-cultural psychologists and others who wish to contribute to state-of-the-art developments in specific domains. Included in such an effort could be (but are not limited to) the discussion or presentation of important trends, the synthesis of a particular theoretical perspective, new formulations that attempt to explain relationships between psychological topics and their cultural variations, innovations in method, and so on. Any topic or perspective that may make a major contribution to cross-cultural psychology will be considered. The overall intent is to provide a forum for the integration of research results, theoretical considerations, and suggestions for future scholarship in a particular area of scholarship and research.

Common Questions and Answers about Special Issues

How Do Special Issues Originate and Who is Involved?

Ideas for special issues normally come from interested and creative scholars in the area. They may see a critical need for special attention to a particular topic, or they may consider it timely to synthesize or summarize a large volume of research in a specific area of inquiry. Occasionally, JCCP's Editorial Board may identify a strong need for a special issue and therefore take the initiative by seeking the advice and assistance of selected scholars.

Special issues may be developed by one person or by several. Usually, one or two individuals will serve as Guest Editor(s) for a special issue. Guest Editor(s) will have the responsibility of putting together the issue, in close consultation with the Founding and Special Issues Editor and other members of the Editorial Board esspecially the Editor and Associate Editors. Recent special issues include 1) "Perspectives on Cultural Transmission" (Vol. 32, No. 2, March 2001) was guest-edited by Ute Schönpflug and included nine separate articles plus an introduction; 2) "Culture and the Self-Enhancement Bias", edited by Jonathon D. Brown and Chihiro Kobayashi (Vol. 32, No 5, September 2003); and 3) "Cross-Cultural Variations in Distributive Justice Perception", edited by Lawrence Alfred Powell (Vol. 36, No. 1, January, 2005). The January 1998 (Vol. 29, No. 1) special issue, "Personality and Its Measurement in Cross-Cultural Perspective", was co-edited by A.T. Church and W. J. Lonner. It contained 12 invited articles plus an introduction. An example of a recently published special section is "Levels of Analysis in Cross-Cultural Psychology: Promises and Challenges" (Vol. 35, No. 1, January, 2004).

How Frequently are Special Issues Published?

Our editorial policies give top priority to the publication of unsolicited manuscripts, but of course after they go through the peer review and evaluation process. Being careful not to exacerbate our publication lag, it is believed that we could absorb the publication of a special issue once every 12-16 months, depending on the nature and availability of suitable material. Preparation time from date of acceptance of a proposal and actual publication will take at least a year, depending upon various factors. The publication of special sections would, of course, normally take much less time than the publication of an entire special issue.

Who Makes Decisions About the Publication of Special Issues?

Once a topic or an idea for a special issue is suggested and outlined in enough detail to be evaluated, the Founding and Special Issues Editor will initiate the review procedure. Others who help review submissions will normally include the Editor, Associate Editors, and possibly one or more external reviewers. The evaluation and review process is extremely important because it is through this mechanism that excellent ideas for a special issue can become even better.

How Much Control or Influence Would a Guest Editor Have in the Overall Production of a Special Issue?

Once a special issue is approved, the Guest Editor(s) will have almost complete responsibility in working with all individuals who are involved. This will include receiving and editing the manuscripts and assembling the entire issue for publication. The Guest Editor(s) will, however, normally work closely with the Special Issues Editor regarding such matters as space allocations, stylistic considerations, difficult challenges in editing certain manuscripts, monitoring overall progress, meeting deadlines set by the publisher, and reading and editing the page proofs. If deemed necessary, the Guest Editor(s), at his or her discretion, will seek advice from external experts. The Special Issues Editor and Editor must approve the final set of manuscripts prior to publication. The common goal is the production of special issues of the highest quality.

What Should I do if I Believe I Have a Good Idea for a Special Issue?

You should contact the Founding and Special Issues Editor. If you prefer, however, to get some preliminary comments before "formally" submitting your idea, you may want to discuss the matter with him, the Editor, or one of the Associate Editors. You should not contact anyone at Sage Publications regarding special issues or special sections, for you will only be referred to the key members of the Editorial Board.  Sage, of course, strongly endorses the publication of special issues and special sections. 

If I Suggest an Idea or Topic for a Special Issue or Section, What are the Chances of it Being Published?

The answer to this question will be based on the careful evaluation of the idea or topic. Obviously, well-planned ideas with solid rationale for their development as a special issue will have a much better chance of being evaluated positively. However, even if an idea or topic is not fully developed it may be well worth reviewing. It is quite possible that members of the Editorial Board could help in developing and refining the initial idea and also suggesting individuals whom the Guest Editor may ask to participate.  It is important to note that all manuscripts that may be part of a special issue or section must be able to stand on their own merits as if the manuscript were submitted alone. 

How Soon Will a Decision on My Submission Be Reached?

Decisions will be reached as soon as possible. Some ideas may have to be rejected outright, while it may take a few weeks to consider more promising submissions.

Is There Any Compensation for Putting Together a Special Issue or Special Section?

The compensation for involvement in a special issue can be summarized in seven words: Scholarly Accomplishment and Contribution to the Field. There can be, and often is, considerable prestige associated with the publication of a special issue. If it does its intended job, a special issue could be a major citation for years to come as a significant contribution to the literature. A quality special issue can have as much influence as a small book, and perhaps even more, because it would be immediately received by a large number of individuals, libraries, and institutions. Any academician knows how vital special issues of key journals can be, for they often herald the beginning of new ways to look at various phenomena -- in our case, the complex relationships between psychology and culture.

You may have other questions. If so, here is the primary contact information:

Walter J. Lonner, Founding and Special        Issues Editor
E-mail: Walt.Lonner@wwu.edu 
Phone: 360-734-8462 (Home)
  Mailing Address:
Center for Cross-Cultural Research Department of Psychology
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 98225-9089 U.S.A.



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