Recently I have had a paper accepted by peer review (4 reviewers!) and received an invitation to have it included as part of a 'special issue' (which, of course, I accepted).

The question is: how to emphasize in a CV that the paper is published in a special issue (without being too pretentious about it)?

Related question: is it even worthwhile to emphasize this?

This is related to the question: How best to present publications in different areas on a CV?, would it be best placed in its own section or emphasized as part of the normal bibliographic record.

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    I think you don't really have to to anything special in order to emphasize the "special issue" (no pun intended). Simply because, per most publication style guides (check the one you use, just in case), you have to (or, at least, can) provide that information as a part of standard reference entry. Sep 29 '15 at 4:57
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    Thank you for the edit @AleksandrBlekh but it should be noted that where I am from, emphasise/emphasize is spelt with an 's' rather than a 'z' - is there a style guide for here?
    – user41783
    Sep 29 '15 at 5:04
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    You're welcome. I'm sorry about the 'emphasise' change - while my version is a standard in US English, your original variant is indeed a valid one in some countries and SE, being an international community, should be open to using such alternative forms. Please let me know, if you want me to revert the change. Sep 29 '15 at 5:18
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    Not a problem at all - no apology needed! I think I get into the mindset of following a style guide.
    – user41783
    Sep 29 '15 at 5:22
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    @Wrzlprmft: For corresponding APA Style guidelines, see this post and this page. For relevant guidelines for both APA Style and MLA Style, see this Harvard Guide section. Sep 29 '15 at 7:13

How to present this information may depend on your field. In mathematics, special issues are uncommon, and they carry no additional prestige. (A special issue might attract stronger papers than usual, or it might be forced to accept weaker papers due to an insufficient supply of thematically appropriate submissions.) On the other hand, in computer science particularly strong conference papers are sometimes invited to special issues of journals.

  1. You should emphasize the special issue on your CV only if this is a widely recognized concept in your field and it is generally considered prestigious.

  2. I'd recommend listing papers in special issues together with other papers (but with a special indication if appropriate), rather than in their own section.

  3. If you can give a short but compelling description (e.g., the program committee invited the top 30% of the papers at Conference X to the special issue), that could help people from other fields make sense of the designation. This can be valuable in both hiring and tenure cases.

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    This: "or it might be forced to accept weaker papers due to an insufficient supply of thematically appropriate submissions." is an important point. In fact, in my field (one of the quantitative social sciences) this is why special issues do not carry any additional positive weight. If there is any difference with 'normal' issues, than it is that they actually have the reputation that you get easier accepted because of exactly this possibility that they do not get as many submissions as they had anticipated.
    – damian
    Sep 29 '15 at 8:52

Unless your field has other traditions, I would strongly suggest not distinguishing it in any way. In the fields where I have interacted, being part of a special issue / special collection provides no different prestige than anything else in that journal. Instead, they are typically used more as organizing points for synchronizing a thematic collection of articles---more a publication opportunity and a promotional focus on a particular area of a discipline that the editors think is worth highlighting. As such, they're definitely good to be part of, but not appropriate to significantly distinguish on a CV.

  • 1
    In the parts of computer science where (peer-reviewed) conferences are the primary publication venue, it is common practice for the program committee to invite the most significant publications to a special issue of a journal dedicated to the conference. In this context "special issue" means "this paper was considered among the best papers in this (already prestigious) conference." Sep 29 '15 at 13:22
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    @SashoNikolov I am aware of this---and I stand by my judgement. The value of inclusion in the special issue is at least as much about the quality of the journal.
    – jakebeal
    Sep 29 '15 at 13:29
  • If you are aware of this I cannot see that from your answer. Special issues of the type I talk about are usually published in the same journal year after year. The point is to facilitate the publication of full versions of significant new results, not to promote a particular area. And I disagree about the no added prestige part. For example, conferences like STOC and FOCS are already very competitive and a paper being in the top 10% of STOC accepts is a much stronger signal than being published in SICOMP. Many STOC special issue invitations are in fact declined in favor of submitting to JACM. Sep 29 '15 at 13:45
  • @SashoNikolov That may be true for that particular pairing, but there are many other computer science conferences for which it is not true.
    – jakebeal
    Sep 29 '15 at 14:19

As per my knowledge, in the following fields

  • Computer science
  • Electronics and communications
  • Information technology

the reputation of special issues are no different from the regular journal under which it is published. That is unless it is being issued through a top tier conference. Hence no differentiation is necessary in this regard.

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