Philosophical Transactions B publishes 26 issues a year. Publishing in Phil Trans B is prestigious and the competition stiff, so we can only accept fewer than half of the proposals submitted. To ensure that the best proposals are accepted, the journal operates regular submission rounds per year.
Proposals are peer–reviewed and then sent to a selection of members of the Editorial Board, who compare the proposals against each other. The Editor will make the final decision.
The upcoming dates are:
- Submission by 17th July for a decision in September 2017
- Submission by 16th October for a decision in December 2017
- Submission by 15th January for a decision in March 2018
Pre-submission enquiries and submitting
Before submitting a formal proposal we strongly encourage you to make a pre-submission enquiry to assess whether your proposal would be of interest to our readers. In your email, please include the following:
- a brief summary of the issue and subject background
- why your issue would be particularly timely in the next 18 months
- how your issue is novel and how it would advance the research field
- any implications for the wider scientific community and/or policy
- a list of potential contributors and subject areas/paper titles.
If the proposal is encouraged by the Editorial Board, you should then gain the commitment of all the authors involved before submitting a formal proposal for peer review and assessment. Proposals can be submitted at any time up to the above dates to fall into that submission round.
As the project may be rejected, or you may be asked to revise the proposal, please ensure that all authors are aware that their contribution may not be required.
Tips for preparing a proposal
As we can only accept the very best proposals for issues, please ensure that your proposal stands out by being carefully planned, cohesive, scientifically excellent, and will make a real contribution to your field. Here are some things to consider:
- The journal tries to balance topics across its scope, so please check that your issue is not too similar to any recent or forthcoming issues. For information about projects in preparation please contact the Editorial Office.
- The issue must contribute something new to your field - we will not accept proposals for issues that are purely reviewing an established area of research. Proposals on emerging, interdisciplinary subjects are the most likely to be accepted. We want each Theme Issue of Philosophical Transactions B to be a landmark publication in its field, and set the agenda for future research.
- As our readership is broad and ranges across the entire spectrum of the biological sciences, articles must be interesting and accessible to readers who are not specialists in the field.
- Ensure that the papers provide a comprehensive and balanced coverage of the topic, and avoid overlap. Contributions from different disciplines is encouraged. Invite authors from a wide geographic range. Think carefully about your authorship in terms of diversity.
- Use the broad scope of the journal inventively - this is a unique forum for interdisciplinary work and new collaborations. You could suggest new co-authorships to bring new perspectives to a field.
- If your proposal is based on a meeting or working group the proposal should expand beyond that to give wider coverage of the area. Philosophical Transactions B is not a forum for conference proceedings.
- Think carefully about length - 12-18 papers is usually about right. It can often work well if papers are sub-grouped into relevant subject headings in the theme issue - this helps to navigate the context of the work.
- Ensure a good mix of review articles and original research. We also encourage you to think about including other types of paper such as opinion pieces, future perspectives, theory/ideas papers, retrospectives, mini reviews, debates or policy papers to increase interest in the issue and to tie the papers together. You could also consider including short commentaries on the papers by other authors, reviewers or external experts, but this would have to be arranged prior to publication as all content must appear together.
- Check that the issue title, chapter titles and abstracts are all clear, snappy and appealing to a broad readership. Long, descriptive or very specific titles may put off readers, and we will take this into account when making a decision on the proposal. Abstracts should provide enough information for reviewers to determine the likely scientific novelty and interest of the paper.
- All authors should have been approached and have agreed to contribute before you submit your proposal.
- The Guest Editors may only be involved in one paper each in addition to the Introduction.
- As guest-editing can be a demanding and time-consuming project, most volumes are organized by a team of people rather than an individual. Two or three editors tends to work best. Determine your individual roles and responsibilities before submitting your proposal.
Give as much information in your proposal as possible. Assume that a generalist is reading it - whilst all proposals get reviewed by referees close to the subject, the proposals then get assessed by the Editorial Board. So you will have neuroscientists, ecologists, cell biologists and epidemiologists all reading your proposal. Don't assume that anyone knows the importance of anything!
Write as much as you can about the individual papers - what the paper will include and what this adds to the issue. Pay attention to overall subject coverage and also to geographical spread of the authors, as we like to have an international mix of all experts in a field. If you do not include someone who may be expected, please give reasons why not.
Before preparing your proposal we would recommend that you look at:
To submit a proposal:
For more information or to make a pre-submission enquiry please contact the Editorial Office.