For Organizers

Proceedings vs Special Issue

The proceedings as well as the special issue, both get published in relation to an academic meeting such as workshops, seminars, conferences, symposiums, etc. Proceedings are collections of papers presented in an academic meeting in a book format (e-book and/or printed version), more precisely, as an edited volume. On the other hand, the special issue gets published as a journal issue to include only selected articles after rigorous peer-reviewing.

Proceedings vs Special Issue

In most cases, the proceedings get published before the meeting, and hence the proceedings are accessible to participants at the time of the event. In this way, the participants can look at the papers they are interested in and find out better insight during the presentation of that particular paper. However, in some cases, the proceedings get published after the conference and hence the authors utilize the opportunity to improve the paper based on the received feedback during the meeting. To have proceedings of the academic meetings are generally considered as good and always preferred, either before or after the event.

Publishing the selected articles in a journal is different, as the inclusion of an article to the journal’s special issue cannot be known in advance. Journal always need to ensure that the submitted papers meet certain quality criteria that might not be necessary for a conference article. Regardless of the organizer’s standard and peer-review process implemented by the organizing committee, the journal should always be considered and conduct independent reviewing.

It is a common practice for journals to publish special issues from an academic meeting to include selected high-quality articles. However, some journals also publishing proceedings as a journal issue/volume which is inappropriate. Proceedings and special issues, both are entirely different things and hence a crucial distinction shall always be maintained. Few common differences are tabulated below-

ProceedingsSpecial Issue
Published as an edited volume; either individually or through a dedicated proceedings series. A single conference can have multiple volumes of the proceedings.Published in a scholarly journal as a separate Issue. Articles from the same conference may be grouped into many issues to publish in different journals (based on the scope of the journal).
Includes all full-length peer-reviewed articles that were presented in a particular academic meeting.Includes only selected full-length peer-reviewed articles on the basis of its quality.
Peer-reviewing gets done by the reviewing committee set by the organizer.Initially, peer-reviewing gets done by the committee set by the organizer; the journal’s editor also conducts its own peer-reviewing to ensure the quality.
Usually takes 4 weeks for final publication. Usually takes 3-6 months (or maybe longer in some journals) for final publication.
Identifiers are ISBN, ISSN, & DOI for each article.Identifiers are ISSN & DOI for each article.
Responsible individuals from the organizing committee to manage the reviewing process, communicating to authors, and publishers are included as Volume Editor of the Proceedings.Responsible individuals from the organizing committee to manage the reviewing process, communicating to authors & publishers, etc. are included as Guest Editor of the Issue.
Considered as a conference article.Considered as a journal article.
The author can further submit the extended version to a peer-reviewed journal. Most of the journals accept an extended version of a conference paper with the addition of up to 30% additional work. The author shall clearly mention in the cover letter that its extended paper which has been published in the proceedings, also cite the conference paper in the extended version.The author can not submit the extended version to another journal because it already appeared as a journal article which is considered as prior publication.
It is preferred to publish proceedings of an academic meeting by including all accepted articles.It is preferred to select few high-quality articles from the meeting to publish as a special issue.
Normally, get published prior to the event and order hard copies for distribution to the participants. Proceedings also can be published after the event and hard copies may not be required for the distribution.Always get published after the event and the hard copies depend if the journal is publishing with online-only or both online as well as the print version.
Proceedings publication fees are low and hence economical. (considering open access which will be freely available for the readers)Special Issue publication fees are high, depends on the selected journal. (considering open access which will be freely available for the readers)
Publish Proceedings with AIJR Proceedings SeriesPublish Conference Issue with AIJR Journals
Difference between proceedings and special issue of an academic meeting

Comments and suggestions are invited to make this post exhaustive (through our social media profiles)

Additional Reading

AIJR Publisher