Initiatives to bring together related studies on a topic or theoretical turn 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 bring visibility to their work and show the possibilities of new approaches for other scholars in the field. Critical Clusters consist of an introductory essay, written by one or more specialists serving as Guest Editor(s), and between 5 and 7 articles by contributors.
We encourage the Guest Editors to circulate a call for papers, ideally by contacting scholars in the field for possible submissions. Guest Editors may also, if they desire, publish such a call for submissions in La corónica. The Guest Editor will decide which submissions they want to include in the Critical Cluster and work with authors to make sure the articles conform with La corónica style guidelines (we follow the most recent MLA guidelines, as found in the MLA Handbook 8th edition) and word limits (7000-8500 words).
The mission of the Guest Editor is primarily scholarly. The Critical Cluster is shaped intellectually by them. Guest Editors invite scholars to contribute to the special issue, based on their knowledge of the topic and their scholarly profile. Critical Clusters will be Open Access, so available online (not behind a paywall as are articles in our regular volumes unless otherwise designated). As with any article published in La corónica, articles for the Critical Cluster may be in English or in any of the Romance languages of Iberia, including Castilian, Portuguese, Catalán or Galician, and we welcome contributions by scholars outside of the US.
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. The Senior Editorial Board, though, reserves the final say over acceptances. We have as yet never exercised this right, and our Guest Editors have historically done an excellent job in working with contributors to ensure articles conform to the journal’s editorial norms. The Editor also retains an overall fiduciary responsibility for the journal’s cover art, layout, printing, distribution, and the standards of its contents.
The Guest Editor does not have to deal with the 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 very 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.
General work plan we follow in bringing Critical Clusters to final form:
- Guest editors invite contributors and establish a schedule (generally, authors get a title and abstract to the Guest Editor within 3 months and a draft of the essay within 6-9 months; the Guest Editor reviews and makes suggestions about revisions and returns to author for changes, author gets final revisions to Guest Editor within 6 weeks; the Guest Editor submit revised essays with their introduction 12-15 months after beginning process)
- 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. In the case that they do contribute an essay, the Editor can find readers to review it.
- The Editorial team will copy-edit all submissions when he/she is sent manuscript copy by the Guest Editor. The copy-edited version will go back directly to the individual authors 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.
- 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.
- The Guest Editor and Editor will work together to meet deadlines and on timely turn-around of requests for revisions and correction of page proofs. Pressures near press time can be intense and workload may be greater in the weeks before publication.
Updated 30 July 2020.