EPJ Topical Collections Procedure

The European Physical Journals encourage the submission of Topical Collections proposals.

A Topical Collection (TC) is a set of articles devoted to a particular aspect of a journal's aims and scope. Collections can be proposed and defined by Guest Editors - which may or may not belong to the editorial board of the journal.

Topical Collections may emerge from a dedicated workshop, from ongoing or newly formed research collaborations, or on any other occasion where the rapid and collective publication of a number of articles on a particular subject matter is considered timely and relevant for the research community concerned.

Topical Collections proposals are assessed and reviewed by the Editorial Board of the journal of choice and the final decision on whether or not to accept the proposal rests with Editor-in-Chief or with the appointed Editorial Board member.

1. Proposal Submission and Evaluation

Topical Collection proposals should be sent to the journal Editorial Office contact using this template.

For additional options and journal specific rules, please consider consulting the journal website at https://www.epj.org/.

In case of doubt on which journal to approach, please send the proposal to Sabine Lehr at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

A Topical Collection proposal should include:

  • Title and, if applicable, subtitle
  • Name(s), affiliation(s) and institutional email addresses of all guest editor(s)
  • Rationale for the collection with a focus on how it fits within the journal aim and scope
  • List of topics covered
  • Tentative list of invited contributions (contributing authors, affiliations, titles, abstracts)
  • Explicit statement that all guest editors have read and endorsed the “General Rules” listed in section 3 of this document

Collections can be by invitation only or open to unsolicited contributions. Depending on journal and proposal, the best format will be decided together with the Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editors or appointed Editorial Board member.

Regardless of the format of choice, only complete proposals including a list of invited contributions will be considered.

Proposals will be assessed – possibly through several rounds of revision – by the journal’s editorial board on the basis of their quality and relevance.

Typical reasons for rejection can be, but are not limited to:

  • Proposals being too broad or generic: Collections should be focused on a specific subject matter that allows for a limited set of papers that reasonably covers both the topic and the relevant research community.
  • Guest editors not having themselves published relevant papers in the fields proposed: Proposals should be centered around the Guest Editors' own fields of expertise.
  • Guest editors proposing too many co-authored papers: The contributors list should be diverse and representative of the topic, not limited to the Guest Editors' own research networks.

In view of the very many proposals received, the journal reserves the right to reject proposal without providing justification. It is not possible to appeal rejection decisions.

Should you not receive a positive response from the journal team within 4 weeks, you can assume that your proposal has not been accepted.

2. Accepted Proposals

Once the proposal has been accepted, all Guest Editors will be required to sign a letter of agreement.

At this stage, the list and order of guest editors is final and cannot be changed.

Guest Editors and Editors-in-Chief/Managing Editors will agree on and define:

  • The timeline for the collection - including the opening date and the deadline for submission
  • Whether the collection will be by invitation only or open to unsolicited contributions (and advertised with a public call for papers on the EPJ portal and via relevant social media channels)

Before opening submissions to the collection, the journal will typically request a finalized list of invited contributions including authors, titles and abstracts.

Should this list deviate significantly from the list in the accepted proposal, the journal reserves the right to reassess the updated proposal before committing, if warranted, on continuing the submission process.

3. General Rules

1) As for any regular paper submitted to an EPJ journal, each and every article submitted to a Topical Collection will be checked for suitability. Articles deemed to be 'out of scope' or below the journal’s standards of publication will be desk-rejected.

2) All articles that have passed the initial screening process will be peer-reviewed according to the very same high standards as any regular article submitted to an EPJ journal (this applies according to article type: original paper, review article,…).

This explicitly rules out the publication of proceedings where the quality assessment of the individual contributions typically remains in the hands of the conference organization.

3) Collections are led by a team of expert Guest Editors assembled for the occasion. The Guest Editors team might include external editors but also Editorial Board Members. It is intended that, collectively, the diversity and complementarity of each Guest Editors’ expertise will cover the intended scope of the Topical Collection in its integrality.

4) Depending on journal and proposal, the role of guest editors may go beyond proposing the collection and inviting contributing authors.

The Guest Editors’ involvement in the handling of papers and the relative decision making process will be agreed on a case-by-case basis and depends on the specific journal. Please refer to Section 4: “Guest Editor Tasks and Responsibilities”.

5) The final decision on each and every article submitted to a Topical Collection will always rest with the Editors-in-Chief of the journal or with the appointed Editorial Board member.

6) Guest Editors may co-author papers submitted to their own Topical Collection but this is expected to be strictly limited in numbers. Articles authored by Guest Editors will be assigned and handled by an independent editor selected by the Editor-in-Chief or by the appointed Editorial Board member.

7) Prospective Guest Editors are required to comply with the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors

For further information, see the webpages of the EPJ Publishers:

4. Guest Editor Tasks and Responsibilities

Guest Editors must ensure the timely submission of invited contributions.

Depending on the journal, Guest Editors might or might not be involved in the refereeing of collection articles (both invited and unsolicited).

Some EPJ journals will appoint Lead Guest Editors, whose primary role will be to dispatch articles among all members of the Guest Editor’s team once the articles start to be submitted.

The specifics will be agreed on a case-by-case basis with the journal editors or will be described in detail in the editorial guidelines provided by the Editorial Office.

Guest Editors responsibilities might include:

  • Handling some or all collection papers (as long as there is no conflict of interest)
  • Making recommendations for publication that will be approved by the Editor-in-Chief / Managing Editor / appointed Editorial Board Member
  • Suggesting relevant referees for collection papers
  • Preparing an Editorial upon closing the Collection
  • Preparing a short descriptive paragraph, aimed at promoting the Collection on our EPJ portal

Open calls for papers