Guidelines for Proposals: Symposia and Spotlights

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PS Symposia & Spotlights: Guidelines for Proposals

PS: Political Science & Politics welcomes proposals for symposia and spotlights.



A symposium consists of a set of articles focused on a single topic or set of related topics. Symposia are popular among our readership and provide one of the few outlets in the discipline for a group of authors to write on a single topic.

They are published under one of three headings: Politics, The Profession, and The Teacher.

Symposia can be particularly beneficial to the progress of our discipline, as they encourage a more comprehensive and integrated focus on a particular question. Symposium and spotlight proposals and all symposium and spotlight contributions are peer reviewed.

Symposia include five to seven original research contributions, with each article being 3,000 words or fewer (inclusive of references, notes, tables, and figures). Appendices in the form of supplemental materials which are hosted by Cambridge University Press and published online alongside the article do not count toward the word limit. Proposals with more than seven potential contributions should consider our spotlight format.



Spotlight contributions should be under 1,500 words in length. They should limit their use of references, notes, and technical material.

Spotlights will generally have five to ten contributions, including an introductory essay and a concluding piece. If the proposal includes an introduction and/or a concluding article, those are included in the total number of contributions.


Best Practices

PS strongly encourages symposium organizers to consider writing or soliciting a concluding article that places the symposium in a broader context or provides a critical perspective on the contributions.

Achieving diversity and inclusion is a priority for the APSA. As part of this commitment, symposium and spotlight proposals must include a diversity statement. The statement should describe the ways you sought out junior scholars, graduate students, international scholars, or scholars from traditionally underrepresented communities, and assured that appropriate methodological and epistemological perspectives are represented. The statement should also include ways in which you reached out to any individuals or groups who may have otherwise been unaware of this opportunity.


Proposal Structure

For consideration by PS, a proposal for a symposium or spotlight should be submitted to Editorial Manager. During submission, when the system prompts you to select an article type, choose “Proposal—Symposium or Spotlight.”

You will receive a confirmation email upon successful upload and submission. Then, the article will be assigned a PS handling editor and be sent out for review, generally to a member of the PS Editorial Board or to a subject matter expert.

To upload, you will need to prepare two documents: (1) a cover letter with your contact information and rationale for submitting the symposium or spotlight, and (2) a file labeled “manuscript”, which should include the elements below. This is the proposal itself and the document that will be sent out for review. The proposal should not be anonymized.

Proposals must include the following elements:

1. The name and affiliation of the guest editor(s)

2. A one to two-paragraph description of the topic of the symposium or spotlight

3. A list of authors and paper topics with brief (2-3 sentence) abstracts

4. A diversity statement

5. A list of 4-6 potential external reviewers

6. Intended date of submission

All articles submitted to PS must adhere to the general publication guidelines of the journal, and we remind proposers of the word limit (i.e., 3,000 words per symposium contribution; 1,500 words per spotlight contribution). One method to reduce overlapping coverage is to commission an annotated bibliography to prevent the need for each author to review the same materials.


Guest Editor Responsibilities

Guest editors provide subject matter expertise and also manage the peer review process, in partnership with the editorial team. Guest editors should work to ensure all manuscripts are within the word limit and offer suggestions to edit material as needed. All material in PS is peer-reviewed, including symposia and spotlights. Additional details about the review process are provided after the proposal is accepted and are available upon request.


Special Issue Proposal

A submitted Special Issue Proposal is internally reviewed by the PS editors. The proposal should outline:

1. The proposed guest editors' names and institutions

2. Rationale for the topic being of broad enough interest and importance to warrant a special issue

3. The importance of an open call for papers

4. A draft of the proposed call for papers

Editorial Manager

All manuscripts must be submitted and reviewed through Editorial Manager. This tool is critical for helping the managing editor work efficiently with the guest editor.


Thank you again for considering a symposium or spotlight for PS: Political Science & Politics! We look forward to working with you.

—Lina Benabdallah, Justin Esarey, Peter Siavelis, & Betina Wilkinson, Editors of PS: Political Science & Politics