Special Issue Guidelines

Society & Natural Resources
Official Journal of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources


Society and Natural Resources (SNR) strives to publish one special issue each year, though there is no definite maximum or minimum the number of special issues in each annual volume. Previous special issues have focused on issues such as sustainable agriculture politics and policy, water conflicts, and the relationships between the fields of environmental sociology and natural resource sociology.

The following are guidelines for proposal, submission, and review of special issue papers.

1. SNR special issues must be devoted to a particular theme, and that theme should be of broad interest to SNR readers (and to IASNR members, the vast bulk of whom are social science researchers in universities, resource/environmental agencies, and private research organizations or NGOs).

2. SNR is especially interested in special issues that (a) represent new avenues of theoretical development in resource/environmental social science, (b) open up new areas of inquiry within natural resource/environmental social science, (c) report new findings that challenge the conventional wisdom, or (d) provide a comprehensive theoretical view and empirical assessment of a major resource policy issue.

3. The co-editors recommend that a preproposal, consisting of a list of authors and titles of manuscripts, and a set of tentative manuscript abstracts, be submitted prior to review of articles. SNR, however, will be pleased to consider full submissions that have not gone through the preproposal submission process.

4. In large part, articles submitted under a special issue rubric are considered by the SNR editorial group according to the same criteria as regular research articles. That is, reviewers and editors will generally be looking for papers that either represent significant theoretical advances in natural resource/environmental social science, or that utilize empirical data to evaluate important theoretical ideas and propositions. In some cases, special issue proposals may be rejected by the co-editors without proceeding to peer review if, in their judgment, the proposed papers do not appear to meet the criteria for special issues set forth above.

5. A special issue will normally consist of an introductory chapter and six or so additional papers. The introductory chapter, which is normally written by the person(s) who proposed the special issue, should provide an overarching theoretical and empirical context for the topic and an overview of the papers published in the special issue. Special issues must be of the same length as a regular issue (approximately 100 journal pages, or about 160 double-spaced manuscript pages). SNR has a firm annual page limit, and therefore the page limit for special issues must be firm as well. It is possible that SNR’s firm page limit for a special issue might lead to rejection or to reassignment of a paper that would otherwise meet the criteria for acceptance as a SNR article (see below).

6. All papers submitted for special issues will go through a review process, which will normally be similar to that utilized for regular research manuscripts. Generally, one of two procedures will be followed. In most cases a single reviewer will be asked to prepare reviews of all submitted papers, to be followed by a supportive or negative signal by the co-editors about the publishability of the special issue. A positive assessment at this stage will lead to peer review of revised and resubmitted manuscripts. An alternative procedure will be to send out all papers for review following the standard procedures for regular articles submitted to SNR.

7. It is almost always the case that one or more manuscripts submitted in connection with an SNR special issue proposal will not move successfully through the review process. Special issue proposers have an obligation to inform their authors that the entire special issue may not receive a favorable review, or that one or more papers will likely be omitted even if the special issue is accepted.

8. There are several possible outcomes other than acceptance or rejection of a special issue. A set of special issue papers may be too small to fill the space of a full SNR issue, and subsets of two or three papers might therefore be published in one or more issues of SNR as “thematic sections.” Individual papers that proceed successfully through the review process may be published in SNR even if the proposed special issue within which they were submitted is not accepted for publication. Also, articles that are not included in a special issue because of length constraints may be published in another issue of SNR if the quality of the manuscript merits publication.

9. The SNR co-editors reserve the right to include reviews of books related to the special issue topic in a published special issue.

10. There may be opportunities for re-publication of special issues as books by Taylor and Francis, the publisher of SNR. In most instances the publication of a book will permit additional papers to be included.