Special Issue Guidelines

We welcome proposals for Special Issues on topics of significance in contemporary Asia and the Pacific. The themes, topics, and methodologies are open, but we normally require that at least two countries, and preferably two regions in Asia and the Pacific (e.g. East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Pacific islands), be covered. A sample of a Special Issue can be found HERE. We are open to considering historical themes; however, this is only if the editor(s) make a strong case for clear relevance to the contemporary scene.

Each paper in a special issue should not exceed the standard 9000-word limit (including notes but excluding abstract and keywords). Please refer to the Submissions Guidelines and the Style Guide. Special Issues are usually composed of 5 or 6 papers (including the Introduction). All submitted papers should be formatted according to the Article Submission Guidelines, Style Guide, and Romanization Guidelines on the Submissions page.


Proposal Submission

We first require a formal proposal, which should be sent as a Microsoft Word, Open Office, or PDF file to: enquiry@pacificaffairs.ubc.ca. Alternatively, you may submit your proposal online. Please ensure that the formal proposal is sent by one of these routes. If you have questions regarding contents and coverage of the proposed Special Issue and our mandate, please contact our Editor at enquiry@pacificaffairs.ubc.ca.

Your proposal should include the following:

  1. Title of the Special issue
  2. Name(s) and contact information for the Issue editor(s). If there is more than one editor, the primary contact person should be identified.
  3. An Abstract of the entire Special Issue – usually around 250-300 words.
  4. A list of all article titles, author names, and affiliations (including a listing for an Introduction).
  5. The Proposal – usually one of two formats – 4000-4500 words or 7000-8000 words, explaining the significance of the subject and the approach, theoretical and/or methodological approaches, and the questions and concerns that bind the papers together. The proposal should also provide a rationale for division of coverage among the papers, explain the links between the papers, and provide some possible conclusions.
  6. Paper Abstracts – abstracts of 250 words are required for each paper. We do not require one for the Introduction, as we anticipate the Proposal would be incorporated into the Introduction.


The Pacific Affairs board will pre-review the proposal, and assess whether it should move forward as is, or invite a revised resubmission, or decide to decline. Most proposals are asked to make revisions and resubmit. We will usually re-review proposals only once. We strongly prefer that resubmissions or proposals take place within six months of the initial decision.

External Review

If the proposal is accepted (or a revised version accepted), the editor will issue a letter of understanding outlining the duties of the guest editors. Please note that after this stage, the special issue editors will be responsible for submitting masked MS Word versions of all papers (including the Introduction) by the agreed deadline, suggesting reviewers, and later, submitting revised versions of papers. The issue editors will also be responsible for communicating with individual contributors regarding revisions and deadlines. The requirements for regular submissions — empirical depth, theoretical awareness or engagement, clear writing, and adherence to our Style Guide — also apply to Special Issues papers. In addition, cohesion of the entire set of papers (abstracts) and inter-area coverage are crucial to the success of Special Issue proposals.

Then, all the papers, including the Introduction, will be subject to our usual practice of double-blind reviews. The referees will assess the papers as either accept, revise and resubmit, or reject. If a sufficient number of papers pass the refereeing process, the special issue will proceed.

Please note that some papers from the original proposal may have to be dropped and/or replaced at this point, and in the worst-case scenario, the entire Special Issue may have to be abandoned if an insufficient number of papers are deemed acceptable by the referees. Pacific Affairs retains the right to publish individual articles from a Special Issue that has not passed review as a whole.


Pacific Affairs does not guarantee a specific volume and issue of publication until after the final acceptance of the Special Issue (i.e. all previous steps have been cleared). We make every effort to keep the review cycle as close to that of our regular article submissions as possible.

Please also note that in instances where the publication of a conference or edited volume is planned, Pacific Affairs insists on the first right of publication (i.e. right to publish the articles prior to the conference volume). In general, we require the copyright year of any conference volume to be later than the year of publication in PA.

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