If a quarterly journal wants to publish a special issue, should it be published as an additional issue or it should replace a regular seasonal issue? Are there any guidelines on this or it's a matter that depends on the journal's policies?

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    What do you mean by "should"? It's entirely up to the journal. They can publish as often or as rarely as they please. Oct 3, 2015 at 9:58
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    @DavidRicherby: In some countries, there are legal bodies that set regulations on publishing and oversee them. Moreover, there are other subtleties. For example, if you're a subscription journal, how should you price the extra issue? Should you include it in the annual membershib package? Is it accepted that you publish a special issue instead of a regular issue? I'm asking for the best practice in this case.
    – user246836
    Oct 3, 2015 at 10:31

2 Answers 2


Both ways are possible, but usually they are called differently. If the issue is replacing a regular issue, it is called special issue.

If the issue is added to the standard set of issues, making an extra one, it is usually called supplement. And even here the conventions differ; some supplements are published with a regular issue, and some are published separately. Most often, they are numbered as 1S, 1A or alike, but form an integral part of the volume.


As far as I know, special issues replace regular issues. Sometimes a special issue may have a part dedicated to regular papers.

To make an example, this webpage lists the special issues of the journal Metrologia (a monthly journal): you can see that those issues follow the regular numbering.

  • This has been my experience as well.
    – jakebeal
    Oct 3, 2015 at 12:32
  • I don't suppose this is always the case, Mr. Ortolano.
    – Ébe Isaac
    Nov 29, 2016 at 16:41

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