Human Factors Hot Topic Special Issue/Section Procedures

Periodically, an issue or a section of an issue of Human Factors will be published that is devoted to a focused topic. Details for submitting proposals and other information may be found in the following sections.

Selecting A Special Issue/Section

  • Each May, a call for Special Issue/Section proposals will be published in the HFES Bulletin with a July 1 deadline.

  • Prospective Guest Editors also actively solicit proposals on hot topics.

  • Proposals will be reviewed by the Associate Editors (see criteria below).

  • Proposals not selected for current year can be resubmitted next year.

Proposal Guidelines for Special Issues/Sections

Only topics that are extremely timely will be considered (e.g., homeland security). In order to meet the accelerated time line, the work to be described in special issue/section articles must be complete at the time of submission.

Provide 1–2 pages on the topic. Include background, scope of topic (what is and is not included), rationale/importance, recently published Human Factors or other papers that would have been relevant, suggested contributors to the special issue/section. Evidence (e.g., abstracts, authors and titles) of completed or nearly-completed work is a plus.

Note that submissions to the special issue/section must meet the length criteria described in the Information for Authors.

Identify and provide a CV and a paragraph describing review/editorial experience and experience relevant to the proposed topic.


  • Describe procedure for solicitation of papers, including a sample call for special issue/section papers and a distribution list.

  • Provide a list of suggested reviewers.

  • Describe any deviations from standard editorial procedures.

  • Agree to comply with the basic timeline for producing special issue/sections (see below for template).

Criteria for Selection of Special Issue/Section Topics



  • Editorial experience

  • Topical experience

  • HF/E experience


  • Solicitation scope

  • Timeline (see suggestion below)

  • Review procedures

Editorial Procedures for Special Sections

Submit Call for Papers text to HFES August 5
HFES publishes Call for Papers August
Invite individual researchers to submit August
Receive manuscripts November 1 (3–4 months after solicitation)
Assign reviewers November 15 (2 weeks)
Initial review deadline December 15 (4 weeks)
Make decisions and return manuscripts needing revision January 2 (2 weeks)
Deadline for receipt of revised manuscripts February 15 (6 weeks)
Second review and decision April 1 (6 weeks)
Final revision deadline May 15 (6 weeks)
Final decision June 1 (2 weeks)
Submit production-ready manuscripts to HF June 15 (2 weeks)
  • Special Issue/Section Editors ("Guest Editors") function as Associate Editor (AE): assigning reviewers and writing decision letters. However, decision letters must first be approved by the Editor in Chief (EIC).


  • As for other papers in Human Factors, it is anticipated that only the highest-quality papers make it into the special issue/section. Guest Editors are advised to notify invited authors that all submissions are subject to peer review; submitting a paper through direct invitation from the Guest Editor does not guarantee acceptance or publication. Guest Editors should anticipate that special issues/sections may be very short (e.g., 3 papers).


  • Special issue/section papers are expected to adhere to the same page limits as other Human Factors papers, as specified in the Information for Authors. In the event that more manuscripts are submitted and reviewed favorably than can be accommodated in one entire issue of the journal, they will be published in the next available issue.


  • Guest Editors may not participate in the review or decision making of any manuscript of which they are author or coauthor. The EIC will manage the review of such submissions or will assign a regular AE.


  • If final, accepted papers miss a deadline but are otherwise acceptable, they can be published independent of the special issue/section. They should not hold up the entire issue.


  • Authors must indicate that their manuscript is original, has not been accepted for publication (or published) by any other archival outlet, and will not be submitted elsewhere unless rejected or withdrawn. Manuscripts adapted from another published outlet cannot be considered for publication in Human Factors, though HFES proceedings papers may serve as the basis of a longer and more detailed Human Factors paper.


  • The Guest Editor prepares a preface to the special issue/section, which is subject to review by the EIC.


  • In the case of joint Guest Editors, only one person should be designated as the corresponding Guest Editor for purposes of communicating with Susan Marschner, Administrative Assistant.


  • The Guest Editor is encouraged to coordinate with the action AE so as to include as many regular Human Factors reviewers as feasible to perform reviews (normally at least 50%).


  • The Guest Editor may assign reviewers to manuscripts with the provision that each manuscript receives three reviews (but at least two reviews), one of which is from the Human Factors editorial board (preferred) or a "regular" Human Factors reviewer.


  • The Guest Editor is given access to the online submission and review system, Manuscript Central. This system sends periodic reminders to reviewers to ensure they meet the deadline. Susan Marschner, Administrative Assistant, is responsible for following up on late reviews, but the Guest Editor may assist to ensure timely turnaround.