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Guidelines for Critical Clusters

Initiatives to bring together thematically linked studies have generated considerable interest –and some healthy debate– in our pages. Critical Clusters help bring a timely area of study into better focus and provide something of a “state-of-the-question” for future scholarship. They can provide a way for scholars of a new generation with fresh approaches to make a more concerted impression on their specialization. Critical Clusters will be comprised of an introductory essay, written by one or more specialists serving as Guest Editor(s), and between 5 and 7 articles by contributors

The Editor of the journal may invite other scholars to serve as Guest Editors or scholars may come to the Editor with proposals for Critical Clusters. We encourage the Guest Editors to circulate a call for papers, ideally by publishing it in La corónica, and/or contacting scholars in the field for possible submissions. The Guest Editor will select from among the submissions generated for a proposed set of articles, and pass those articles on to the journal’s Editor. Individual manuscripts for Critical Clusters are not sent out for peer review by the journal: it is the responsibility of the Guest Editors to scrutinize submissions and call on additional readers to evaluate and help perfect the manuscripts received as needed. Most crucially, Guest Editors do not replace the existing Editor for that issue. The Senior Editorial Board has the final say over acceptances. The Editor also retains an overall fiduciary responsibility for the journal’s cover art, layout, printing, distribution, and the standards of its contents.

Articles published in Critical Clusters must follow La corónica style guidelines and word limits. Guest Editors invite scholars in the specific subfield to contribute to the special issue. However, solicitation of such pieces is not a guarantee of acceptance, since manuscripts should be submitted without the name of their authors according to La corónica’s “Guidelines for Articles”. The solicitation is a sign of respect and an expression of hope that a piece by the author solicited can make its way into the issue as finally published; but this outcome is not assured. Moreover, only the Senior Editorial Board of the journal has the final power to accept or reject an essay, no matter how enthusiastically it may have been welcomed by the Guest Editor.

The mission of the Guest Editor therefore is primarily scholarly. The Guest Editor does not lay out the journal, nor are they involved in a detailed way with line editing or sub-editing. What they are doing is, in effect, editing a scholarly anthology of essays on a specialized topic. This is not far different from an edited book, and should not be seen as less relevant than an edited book in circumstances of faculty assessment, tenure and promotion. The scholars and teachers who give of their time, energy, and wisdom to assemble special issues of journals should receive appropriate honor and recognition from peers and institutions alike.

Ground rules and expectations for Critical Clusters and the general work plan we follow in bringing them to final form:

  • Authors should send in their contribution (as hard copy and/or as an electronic attachment in a PC program file only) to the Guest Editor as soon as it is ready.
  • Guest Editors are responsible for selecting 5 – 7 essays from those submitted to the Cluster.
  • Guest Editors are responsible for keeping contributing authors on schedule, and for composing the introductory essay that presents and frames the Cluster. They may also contribute essays to the Cluster, although this is not required, but their essays should be peer-edited by readers of the Editor’s choice.
  • The Editor will copy-edit all submissions once more when he/she is sent manuscript copy by the Guest Editor. The Editor’s copy-edited version will go back directly to the author if substantial changes are required; all authors receive page-proofs to correct as soon as they are generated.
  • Individual authors are responsible for securing copyright permissions for graphic images associated with their essays. Illustrations should be submitted as image files with resolution of at least 300 dpi.
  • If there are funding sources available to support the Cluster, the Guest Editors should work with the journal’s Editor to apply for them. Rising publication costs make fundraising a constant concern for the Editorial staff, but are not a determining factor for publication of a Cluster.
  • Once the Cluster has appeared, the journal’s Editor may invite responses in the form of Letters to the Editor for the Forum section in a subsequent issue. That list will be developed and reviewed with the Guest Editors, and authors who contributed to the original Cluster will be provided advanced copies of outside letters so they can reply in the same issue.
  • Meeting deadlines and timely turn-around of requests for revisions and correction of page proofs are crucial to keep the journal on schedule and to help the Editor in balancing workload, publication or postponement of articles and reviews by other authors, length of issue and cost of press run. Pressures near press time can be intense when schedules are not met.
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A Journal of Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
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