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Regular version of the site

Article

Communication clarity in calls for papers issued by journal special issues: First impressions matter

Learned Publishing. 2021. Vol. 34. No. 2. P. 156-163.

The purpose of this study was to examine communication clarity in calls for papers issued by peer reviewed journals for special issues. I wanted to explore what could hinder and help guest editors to communicate their intent to potential contributors. I searched peer reviewed journals in the field of human resource management published by five leading publishers, including Emerald, Sage, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and Elsevier. Forty-seven journals were identified, and the sample included 33 calls for papers that I examined using content analysis. The results showed that many guest editors include a problem statement; purpose statement including explicative statements and specifications; and research questions, topics, or themes. Based on this result, I created a composite profile that describes how guest editors typically craft their calls, including the average number of sources, topics, and paragraphs. I also identified eight additional tools guest editors use to increase clarity of their calls. Additionally, my analysis indicated that guest editors vary greatly in their approaches to crafting calls for papers. I identified a number of inconsistencies, inaccuracies, omissions, and redundancies that could confuse or discourage potential contributors. Journal editors could use the results of this study to examine their editorial strategies and practices and revise and improve their guidelines and templates related to special issues and their calls. Special issue guest editors might use the study results to increase the chances of receiving quality submissions.