Special Issue Builder Webinars Initiative

Special Issue Builder Webinars poster



The Urban Studies Special Issue Builder webinars (i.e., the Webinars Initiative) aim to assist prospective editors and authors in developing their Special Issue proposals at an early stage of topic development. Researchers interested in developing a Special Issue proposal are invited to apply to receive specialist technical and administrative support in recruiting and hosting webinars with prospective authors.


Special Issues are an important component of the Urban Studies Journal: in bringing together papers on coherent themes, contributions often reach beyond the summation of individual parts. The Webinars Initiative aims to help prospective Special Issue editors identify potential authors by providing structure and an online platform for holding meetings with authors across the world.


The Journal has capacity to support up to two Special Issue proposal developments through this initiative per year, although this figure is subject to change depending on demand and/or team workloads. All proposals related to Urban Studies objectives are welcome. Preference will be given to topic proposals that align with Journal Priority Areas (see below) and to early career authors, although some degree of prior editorial experience is advantageous.


If successful, applicants will work with the Journal to announce calls for participating authors, and to schedule several webinars with potential authors to develop coherent thematic areas and identify suitable topics or questions for individual papers. We anticipate that most prospective editors will apply to host webinars in the early stages of topic development, but it is up to the applicant to propose how the webinars would benefit their proposal.



It can be challenging to develop coherent Special Issue proposals due to barriers in connecting with and interacting with key authors in the field. Academic conferences can and often do provide a first step toward building a Special Issue. However, we recognise that conferences do not always serve as the best forum for in-depth topic development: due to geographic, resource, and disciplinary constraints, conference attendance does not necessarily ensure that key researchers in a particular sub-field come together.


Unfortunately, a common outcome is that some Special Issues proposals never fully materialize, are created with collections of authors from pre-existing or only slightly expanded networks (thus missing key contributions from the field) or lack coherence altogether.


This Webinar Initiative was developed to make it easier for prospective Special Issue editors to:

  • reach and recruit potential authors
  • hold in-depth discussion to ensure coherent topic development
  • connect authors from different parts of the world by providing robust webinar infrastructure
  • connect more easily with Journal editors for assistance during Special Issue proposal development



  1. Prospective Special Issue editors complete Special Issue Builder Webinar Application Form
  2. Application reviewed by Urban Studies Journal editors
  3. Successful applicants invited to submit a call for authors to participate in topic development
  4. Journal circulates call for authors through its existing networks
  5. Prospective Special Issue editor(s) select a preliminary set of authors to participate in webinars
  6. Prospective Special Issue editor(s) and authors participate in webinars to develop topic
  7. Prospective Special Issue editor(s) invite authors to submit individual paper proposals
  8. Prospective Special Issue editor(s) develop full Special Issue proposal for consideration by Journal editors (see full Special Issue Proposal Form)



  • Prospective Special Issue editor(s) will benefit from Urban Studies’ global reach in terms of finding potential authors for Special Issue proposals
  • The Journal facilitates all technical aspects and scheduling of webinars to enable in-depth conversations among prospective editors and authors (up to 4 webinars per year per Special Issue development)
  • Editors and authors are able to hold real-time conversations to build thematic areas of the proposed Special Issue and collectively explore how papers could develop to ensure coherence
  • Urban Studies Journal editors can be invited to attend portions of the webinars for advice
  • Coordinated Special Issue proposal development process increases success rate for final Special Issue proposal



Ruth Harkin, Urban Studies Editorial Assistant


Important Notes

Urban Studies Journal reserves the right to reject any Special Issue proposals following the webinars. Successfully hosting a Special Issue webinar series does not guarantee the acceptance of a Special Issue proposal. Authors may still decide to submit their papers as individual submissions in case of an unsuccessful Special Issue proposal following the webinars. Also, prospective Special Issue editors are not required to apply through the Special Issue builder webinar initiative to have their Special Issue proposals considered (i.e., prospective Special Issue editors can by-pass the webinar initiative altogether).