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Guidelines for Special Issues

Language & Cognition:

An interdisciplinary journal of language and cognitive science

Language & Cognition is an open access venue for the publication of high-quality empirical research focusing on the interface between language and cognition. It is open to research from the full range of subject disciplines, theoretical backgrounds, and analytical frameworks that populate linguistics and the cognitive sciences. We aim to cover a wide range of interdisciplinary research focused on theoretical issues surrounding the language system.

We specialise in empirical work that is quantitative in nature, especially work that uses experimental or corpus methods.

In addition to the traditional areas of cognitive linguistics (e.g., construction grammar, metaphor theory, linguistic relativity, sensorimotor simulation), we especially welcome research which considers theoretical linguistic questions within a broader cognitive context. We also strongly encourage submissions investigating iconicity, multimodality, signed languages, gesture, or language evolution. We consider human language from a multimodal perspective, including research on either verbal or visual aspects of language, or a combination thereof. We generally do not consider applied work, such as classroom based research, or studies focused on education, language aptitude or language teaching.

Language & Cognition is the official journal of the UK Cognitive Linguistics Association.

Special Issues considered

We consider special issues that broadly fit within the remit of our journal. When proposing a special issue, it is important that the majority of papers that form the special issue are empirical with a largely quantitative focus, i.e., using experimental or corpus methods. That is, we will not special issues that primarily contain theoretical, review, or argumentative papers.

Open call requirement

We are open to special issues where a set of authors has already been pre-determined, for example, as part of the outcome of a workshop or symposium. However, we require that even if there are target authors, you also release an open call. We have found that this helps to increase the diversity of papers and authors, and it has the additional advantage that open calls act as free advertisement to the special issue. Moreover, having a broader range of submissions allows you to impose stronger selection criteria, thus helping in raise the overall quality of the special issue.

Proposing a Special Issue

Pre-submission inquiries should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief (email: If the Editor-in-Chief deems the special issue as promising and falling broadly within the remit of the journal, they will consult the team of General Editors for additional advice. If General Editors and Editor-in-Chief jointly agree that the special issue is a good fit for Language & Cognition, it can proceed to the next stage.

Ideally, a pre-submission inquiry includes information about:

  • The topic and why it is relevant for Language & Cognition.
  • The identity of the Guest Editors (ideally, all Guest Editors should be cc'ed in your pre-submission inquiry).
  • If some authors are pre-determined, a list of all authors that you have in mind for your special issue.
  • How many papers you anticipate will be part of the special issue.
  • An approximate timeline.
  • Whether you already know a General Editor that you prefer would be a suitable L&C contact person for your special issue (see more below).


We will not accept special issues that are obviously biased towards Guest Editors and authors of only one characteristic (e.g., 12 papers out of which 10 are male first authors). It is crucial that Guest Editors consider diversity with respect to their own team, as well as with respect to the full profile of authors.

Open call text and first round of advertisement

After the special issue has been approved by the team, we need a text for the open call that clearly identifies the topic, Guest Editors, and all relevant submission deadlines and criteria. We recommend that authors should submit abstracts of at least 200 words to the special issue, from which you then make a pre-selection. It is up to the Guest Editors to judge what abstract length is necessary to be both feasible to review as well as be enough to judge the quality of the proposed submission. The open call should direct authors to the email address of the Guest Editors.

Once the text for your open call is complete, please forward this to the Editor-in-Chief (, who will forward it to CUP. We will notify you once the call is visible on the webpage.

Once the open call is visible on the webpage, we are happy to help you advertise the call on social media platforms. It is, however, the Guest Editors’ joint responsibility to ensure that the call is distributed widely, ideally via a mixture of direct emails to relevant authors, social media posts, and mailing lists.

Example timeline:

  • March: Abstract submission
  • May: Notification of authors
  • September: Authors submit papers to ScholarOne.

Pre-selecting papers and length of Special Issue

For selecting papers, please jointly consider topical fit with the theme of your special issue, quality, and diversity.

The pre-selection process is the principle means through which you can also control the length of the special issue. We have little restrictions with respect to how many papers you may wish to form your special issue. Successful special issues generally have about 8-12 papers, but we are open to smaller or larger special issues. The most important consideration is feasibility: as Guest Editors will be solely responsible for handling all papers (see below), we recommend that each Guest Editor should not handle more than 3-4 papers. If the total number of papers exceeds these recommendations, you may wish to recruit additional Guest Editor(s).

Importantly, we expect you to notify all authors who have submitted an abstract to your call. Please make sure to use kind and constructive language when rejecting papers.

Spreadsheet of all selected submissions

Once you have completed your pre-selection process, please submit a spreadsheet with a list of all proposed papers. This spreadsheet should contain at least three columns: the title of the submission, the authors of the submission, and which Guest Editor should be assigned which paper. This information is crucial for our Managing Editor to assign papers to the Guest Editors, as otherwise we may be erroneously treating the submission as a general submission.

Please send the spreadsheet to the Editor-in-Chief (, your contact General Editor (see below), and the Managing Editor (

Guest Editor responsibilities

We believe that it is important to extend trust to Guest Editors and give them full autonomy about decision making processes, which also serves to decrease administrative overhead. Our goal is that Guest Editors can realize the vision they have in mind for the special issue.

Guest Editors will be onboarded onto our ScholarOne system and have autonomy on all editorial processes, barring that all decision letters have to be approved by the contact Guest Editor (see below).

Guest Editors also seek reviewers on their own terms. At Language & Cognition, we require an absolute minimum of 2 reviewers per paper, ideally 3 reviewers. For any one paper, this should be at most one author-recommended reviewer. It is possible that the second or third reviewer is an author from another submission to the special issue, which has proven to be a useful model for recruiting reviewers. However, please keep in mind that there may be conflict of interests, in which case other authors from the special issue may not be suitable reviewers.

Your activity as Guest Editor should be broadly in line with our general processes and principles. As part of this, please familiarize yourself with our author guidelines and requirements, which also pertain to special issue papers, e.g., we require open data, and papers should not exceed our standard length of 10,000 words including references.

In addition, please make ensure that your decisions are fair, and that the language you use in your decision letter is kind and constructive. We do not tolerate overly harsh language or decision letters that are written in a disparaging tone without constructive feedback.

In addition, we require that in case of textual issues (e.g., lack of clarity in writing, grammatical errors etc.), neither you nor the reviewers make reference to texts having to be proof-read by native speakers. This is in line with our internal policy, according to which we consider such language biased against authors whose first language is not English. It is entirely possible, and in fact easy, to talk about textual issues without framing these in terms of a deficiency of non-native speakers.

Once the pre-selection process is complete and you have submitted your spreadsheet of all expected submissions, please let the Editor-in-Chief ( know which email address you want to be associated with your ScholarOne account. The Editor-in-Chief will share their General Editor document with you that details all processes that also pertain to Guest Editors. Cambridge University Press can offer additional ScholarOne training sessions. Please let us know if this is of interest to you.

Choosing a contact General Editor

Please select one or two General Editor(s), which can also be the Editor-in-Chief, as your contact person. This contact General Editor should ideally do research in an area relevant to the special issue. You can contact the General Editor for any queries about the editorial process.

Importantly, each decision letter by Guest Editors should be approved by the contact General Editor to ensure that Guest Editor’s decisions are broadly in line with what expect from General Editors as well. This means that you should draft the decision letter within ScholarOne and share the text of the letter via email with the contact General Editor. We expect this to be only a light-pass review that ensures that decision letters are at least broadly in line with our general editorial processes.

Rolling publications and introductory piece

Papers that are part of the special issue will come once the editorial process is complete. This means that special issues are ‘rolling’, with different papers coming out at different times. This ensures that authors do not have to wait on other submissions. We recommend that you continue advertising papers of the special issue on social media as soon as they are published.

Once the special issue is nearing completion, we invite you to write an introductory piece that summarizes the special issue. This introductory piece can do more than merely introduce the papers of the special issue, and we recommend that you consider opportunities to set the agenda for the topic of the special issue, or provide a unique perspective on the topic at hand. For a successful example of such an introductory paper, consider Dingemanse, Perlman, and Perniss (2020):

This piece is optional, but we highly recommend that you consider it.

If you do decide to write an introductory piece, we recommend that you first recruit feedback from your contact General Editor. After this, please submit your paper to ScholarOne as an author and immediately notify our Managing Editor ( that the paper has been submitted. It will then be reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief.

Open Access

Language & Cognition is a Gold Open Access journal. From the perspective of Open Access, there is no difference between special issue papers and regular submissions, which is that usual Article Processing Charges (APCs) apply. For more information, including on waivers, please see:

Last updated:
 02 January 2024