Special Issues of Limnology and Oceanography

Limnology and Oceanography publishes occasional Special Issues (SIs) that deal with topics that are both timely and of interest to a significant number of ASLO members. L&O special issues have historically been valuable, comprehensive treatments of major issues such as eutrophication, iron limitation, and, more recently, harmful algal blooms, shallow water optics, and biodiversity. Special issues are highlighted in the on-line version of L&O and are widely downloaded. Proposals are welcome.

Special Issues must be approved by both the L&O Editor-in-chief and the ASLO Board of Directors. The first step in getting approval is for the organizer to informally contact the L&O Editor-in-chief regarding the proposed SI. If editorial support is obtained, the organizer(s) will be invited to submit a formal proposal to the ASLO President for consideration by the ASLO Board. This proposal must:

  1. State the scientific justification for the SI.
  2. Provide a rough outline of the probable contributions.
  3. Nominate qualified guest editors. In addition to documenting their scientific credentials, it is important to demonstrate that these individuals are free of any conflict of interest with the SI organizer(s) or probable contributors. Because of the work they are already doing for the journal, current L&O Associate Editors should not be nominated.
  4. Identify source(s) of funding.



A written contract between the funders of the SI and ASLO is required before the Editorial Office can proceed with the SI. The organizers are responsible for all publication costs associated with the SI, and facilitate the contract between the funders and ASLO. Funds must be available to cover all costs; recent Sls have cost $50,000-$70,000.

The ASLO Business Office controls all financial aspects of the SI. They work with the organizers and funders in drawing up the contract, setting a payment schedule, invoicing for intermediate payments, and reporting to the ASLO Board and L&O Editorial Office regarding compliance with payment schedules.

The L&O Editorial Office assists the Business Office and the organizers by providing cost and time estimates to develop the funding contract. Updates on the status of manuscripts, completion of intermediate phases, etc., are provided throughout the project on request to the organizers and the Business Office.

Call for abstracts:

Submissions to the SI are accepted only in response to an "open" call for papers on the L&O web site; i.e., anyone working on the topic is free to propose a submission. This call for papers invites authors to submit an abstract and paper outline for consideration by the SI organizers and guest editors. If the proposed submission fits within the parameters of the SI, the authors are asked to submit a paper. Once the paper is submitted, acceptance depends on the same rigorous peer review process as all other manuscripts submitted to L&O; i.e., the invitation to submit a paper in no way guarantees acceptance of the paper.

Review papers that could serve as overview papers leading a section or the issue as a whole are strongly encouraged. The number of such papers depends on the structure of the issue, breadth of topic, etc.

Role of organizers:

Organizers play an important role in the initiation of the SI by proposing the issue to the Editor-in-chief and ASLO Board, encouraging submissions, finding funding, and helping the Editor-in-chief find guest editors. They are involved in the selection of papers that are accepted for review through the abstract vetting process. They may not act as guest editors (select reviewers or make decisions as to which papers are accepted or rejected). They contribute to the completion of the issue by consulting with the Editor-in-chief and the guest editors regarding the organization of the issue and the composition and/or invitation of review and overview papers; i.e., as the bulk of papers are approaching acceptance or final revision, the Editor-in-chief initiates discussion among the guest editors and the organizers to determine whether an overview paper is required (one may not be if submitted review papers serve the purpose), who writes, and who reviews it.

For more information on Special Issues, contact the L&O Editor-in-chief (lo-editor@aslo.org).