RA-L Special Issues

The purpose of RA-L Special Issues is to provide a timely and concise account of recent advances in a scientific, technical, or application area by collecting several papers organized in a coherent theme.

Special Issues publish peer reviewed papers responding to an open call. A Special Issue is proposed by one or more organizers, who – upon acceptance by the RA-L Editorial Board, and under its supervision - also act as Guest Editors.

Optionally, Special Issues can be associated with a RA-L Conference Option. In this case, all submissions to the Special Issue will also be considered for presentation at the Conference. In this case, perspective authors must agree to present the paper at the Conference if accepted.  

When published, a RA-L Special Issue contains an Editorial article introducing the topic and the different contributions of articles. The Editorial is authored by the Guest Editors. RA-L also allows, and indeed encourages, Guest Editors to submit a more extended Survey paper containing a critical review of research work in the field, which would then replace the Editorial article.

Topical areas where Special Issue proposals are welcome include those listed here.


 Submission of Special Issue Proposals

Prospective organizers of a Special Issue makes a proposal to the Editor in Chief indicating:


  • The proposed title of the Special Issue
  • A description of the topical area and of the community of researchers and practitioner to which the Special Issue is directed as audience
  • The motivation of the proposal, e.g. a workshop, special session or other event held or to be held
  • A list of other Special Issues on similar topics published in other robotics journals in the last 10 years, with comments on how the proposal differs or adds to them
  • A list of at least 6 proposed papers, along with copies of commitment letters (with title and abstract) from authors interested in submitting
  • Plans to submit either a Survey paper or an Editorial article to be published in the same Special Issue
  • The proposed Special Issue editorial timeline, consistent with the RA-L policy of publishing in max. 6 months from submission.
  • If the Special Issue proposal is associated with a RA-L Conference option, the timeline should be consistent with that option. The Special Issue submission deadline should be the same or few days earlier than the RA-L Conference Option deadline. Also, in their commitment letter perspective authors of this type of Special Issues should explicitly consent that accepted papers are presented by one of the authors at the Conference. 

A template for Special Issue proposals is available at this link (PDF). and here (MSWord).

 If the Special Issue proposal is accepted, Guest Editors will prepare a draft of the Call for Papers to be published in the RA-L website and of a message to be sent to relevant email distribution lists.

Editorial Process

Upon acceptance of a complete Special Issue proposal as specified above, the RA-L Editorial Board selects one of the RA-L Editors as the Supervising Editor and issues a call for papers for the Special Issue.

The Board also nominates the Guest Editor(s), who will act as RA-L Associate Editors for all papers submitted to the Special Issue. Review procedures are identical to those usually followed in RA-L. Review of any paper co-authored by the Guest Editors, and any other conflict of interest situation, are supervised directly the supervising Editor and/or by the Editor in Chief.

If a sufficient number of papers submitted to the Special Issue is eventually accepted, then the Special Issue is accepted. Guest Editors will prepare a lead Editorial article, introducing the Special Issue area and illustrating the different contributions and their relations. The Editorial will contain references to all Letters published in the Special Issue, with links in the PDF that will take to the corresponding Letter. Reciprocally, all Letters published in the Special Issue will have a link to the Editorial article, which thus functions as a hub for the electronically-published Special Issue.

Editorial articles are two pages long at maximum, and are not peer-reviewed. However, if the Guest Editors have an accepted Survey paper, this will subsume the functions of the Editorial article.

If the number of papers accepted is insufficient to accept the Special Issue, the accepted papers will appear as regular Letters.

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