30th European Conference of the International Telecommunications Society (ITS): "Towards a Connected and Automated Society", Helsinki, Finland, 16th-19th June, 2019
What should academic journals do when the media and communication environment changes so rapidly? Apart from the scholarly rigor, academic journals are increasingly required to respond promptly to social needs and provide preemptive agendas for social discussion. Special issues are often remarked as an alternative for this demand. Embracing topics at stake more instantly and flexible, special issues are expected to contribute both to academia and to the society. No research, however, has focused on the difference between special and general issues. As a result, no discussion has explicitly made on how special issues are special, what distinctive features they have in comparison with general issues, whether criteria people select to use journal papers differently affect special issues from general issues, and so on. Therefore, this study analyzes special issues and their papers to explore these questions. Through a review of the entire articles published in the special issues of Telecommunications Policy (TP) over the period of 43 years, this study aims to clarify the characteristics of special issues in terms of their publications, editors, distinctive features compared to general issues, and factors affecting their citation level. In doing so, we intend to address the implications of special issues as well as the suggestions for special issue editors and authors. The article is structured as follows: after this introduction, we will briefly discuss the role of special issues and why TP needs to be scrutinized. Then, we will specify the research questions and explain how we collect and process data. The following section presents the results with interpretation. The further meanings of the results will be discussed in the last section of this study, with suggestions for future research.