European Social Work Research: Call for Special Issue Proposals


The editors of European Social Work Research (ESWR) invite proposals for Special Issues in the format described below:

What are we looking for in a European Social Work Research Special Issue? 

  • The aim of a Special Issue is to bring together a set of cutting-edge papers that develops a specific debate or topic on a theme relevant to the development, practice and utilisation of social work research in Europe, and thus to European Social Work Research. Read the Aims and Scope of the journal to learn more.
  • A Special Issue must be integrated around a common theme and must advance scholarship, debate and practice.
  • Special Issues should be European in scope, unless focussing on a particular region, in which case it should be set in European context.
  • A Special Issue should contain 5 to 7 research articles, each between 5,000 and 7,000 words including the bibliography, but not including the abstract, 1 or 2 Reflection, Exchange and Dialogue papers (between 500 and 2,000 words) and up to 2 book reviews.

How to present a Special Issue proposal for European Social Work Research

A Special Issue proposal should include ALL the following information:

  • Title: This should clearly reflect the field and content of the proposal.
  • Details of guest editor(s): Provide contact details, institutional affiliations, and a short academic profile (up to 150 words) for each proposed guest editor.
  • Description: In no more than 750 words, outline the intellectual focus of the proposed Special Issue, stating how its proposed content engages with significant issues, and the contribution it will make to social work research, policy and practice.
  • For Special Issues where abstracts have already been invited:
    • Draft contents page: This should set out the structure of the Special Issue, listing the titles and authors of each proposed research article and other formats.
    • Article abstracts: An abstract for each article provisionally to be included in the collection.
  • For Special Issues proposed BEFORE a call for abstracts
    • Proposed text for a call for abstracts: Proposers should also indicate how they intend to promote this call
    • List of authors (if any) to be invited to submit an abstract
  • Timetable statement: Please include your provisional timetable for call for abstracts (if applicable), invitation to submit full manuscript, initial submission, review, re-submission, copy editing, etc. Securing a full set of papers and other items usually takes 12-24 months from call for abstracts/invitation to progress to acceptance. This includes a three-month production period (e.g. typesetting, final proofing etc.).   Peer reviewed papers normally require at least one set of revisions, and allowance must be made for review processes and for authors to amend drafts of their papers. Guest editors will need to keep to agreed timescales.
  • Maximising impact: Please consider how you intend to promote and disseminate the Special Issue (blogs, events, conferences, other social media, etc.). An editorial statement outlining ten useful ‘top tips for impact’ is available at:

What do we like to see in a Special Issue? 

  • Editorial Article written by the guest editor(s): Special Issues must include an editor(s)’ introduction which will usually be shorter than a full paper. This is expected to introduce and explain the rationale for the Special Issue, what it contributes to the current state of research and practice, and briefly to summarise the individual papers and the contributions they make to the issue as a whole. Guest editors should confirm their intention to provide an Editorial Article which must be accepted for publication at the production deadline for the journal. Guest editorials will be reviewed by the journal editors.
  • A combination of research articles, Reflection, Exchange and Dialogue papers, and book reviews.
  • Articles need not originate in Europe, but must be relevant to contemporary European social work contexts and issues.

How will proposals be assessed? 

The journal editors will review all proposals received and make decisions based on the following criteria: 

  • European appeal and relevance to social work research and practice; this is vital given the focus of the journal.
  • Intellectual significance, originality, and rigour:

-    Does the proposal seek to challenge dominant assumptions?
-    Will it set the agenda in terms of future debates?
-    Does it have novel, timely or innovative dimensions?
-    Does it aim to fill a significant gap in the current literature?

  • Profile of contributors (where these have been agreed)European Social Work Research is committed to supporting scholars from all backgrounds, disciplines and parts of the world, particularly Europe. Proposals that include a mix of established scholars and ‘rising stars’, and which are internationally inclusive, are particularly welcome.
  • Guest Editors

-    Are the proposed guest editors experts in the field?
-    Do they have a track record of producing cutting-edge research?
-    Is their timetable realistic?
-    Have they explained how they will steer and manage the development of the Special Issue?
-    Do they have the time and capacity to dedicate the required level of attention to this project?

  • Timeliness: Proposals for Special Issues will also be considered and prioritised according to their timeliness in contributing to current debates and responding to topical developments within or relevant to the research field.

The editorial process 

The journal editors will aim to announce their initial decisions on proposals received, and indicate those accepted for development and planned publication, within eight weeks of submission. If a proposal is accepted, a timeline will be established between the guest editors and journal editors. Each Special Issue will be edited by one or more guest editor, overseen by the journal editors. It is vital that agreed timelines are met.  

Special Issue editor(s) will be expected to manage the process of: 

  • Initially considering abstracts and papers, in consultation with one or more of the journal editors.
  • Identifying peer reviewers and, using the journal’s ‘Editorial Manager’ (EM) system, sending papers out to review, in consultation with the journal editors (an online tutorial in using EM will be provided, and support is available from the Journal’s Editorial Assistant).
  • Communicating peer reviewers’ comments to the authors, via the EM system.
  • Deciding whether revised papers need to be reviewed again.
  • Making a provisional decision to accept or reject and conveying this, via EM, to the journal editors.

The journal editors will aim to publish the Special Issue according to the original agreed timeline, but proposers should note, and inform all potential contributors, that the journal editors may decide to:

  • Reject abstracts that do not meet the quality standards or targeted content of the journal.
  • Run the Special Issue later than originally planned.
  • Accept only one or two papers and present them as regular contributions to the journal.
  • Decide that none of the papers meets the quality standards or targeted content of the journal.

Please contact the editorial team at with any queries.