BICS: Themed Issues

The ICS regularly seeks expressions of interest from academic colleagues who wish to edit a themed issue of BICS in collaboration with us. Our latest call for expressions of interest was held in summer-autumn 2019, and we shall post more information in due course about future calls.

For those who might be interested in submitting an expression of interest in future, we repeat here the information we gave in summer 2019 about publishing in BICS. All queries about new expressions of interest are welcomed: please contact ICS Publications in the first instance.


Information as given for the summer-autumn 2019 call for expressions of interest:

The ICS will re-launch the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies in January 2020, in partnership with Oxford University Press.

We shall continue to use our journal to publish cutting-edge and interdisciplinary research in all areas of classical studies broadly defined, including archaeology. We shall build on the success of our themed issues, which are guest-edited by academic colleagues. We therefore ask prospective editors of future themed issues to contact us with an expression of interest. We are currently planning issues which will be published in 2021 onwards.

Full information follows below for those wishing to submit a proposal.

BICS Themed Issues: New Proposals

The Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies now publishes themed issues, rather than general issues. These appear twice per year, in print and online.

Why publish with BICS?

A themed issue of BICS combines the advantages of serial and standalone publishing. Each issue is part of an international series with an established readership and subscription base; it is also a distinct publication on a particular theme, which can be purchased on an individual basis.

All issues become part of the BICS series which includes both recent themed issues and the journal’s long history of general issues. Subscribers can also link to related material from BICS supplements. There is scope for promoting some material from each publication in a virtual issue, which will make certain articles freely accessible for a limited period alongside others from BICS and its supplements and, at times, material from other Oxford titles.

Our new partnership with Oxford University Press will give the journal worldwide marketing and distribution, alongside an internationally outstanding classics list and a stable of high-quality humanities journals. The ICS is delighted to offer these publication opportunities to a fresh group of issue editors.

Developing a themed issue of BICS

The subject matter of a themed issue may relate to any area of classical studies broadly defined, including archaeology.

Editors have the freedom to develop their issues as they wish. A themed issue might comprise entirely freshly commissioned papers, for example; it might derive from a conference or seminar series which has already taken place, publishing selected papers from those occasions; or it might represent a mix of papers which have already been presented, and others which are specially invited.

Conferences and seminars often generate excellent material for issues, but BICS issues are not conference proceedings as such. Where an issue has been developed from a conference or seminar series, it will be essential to explain to us how the material has been or will be developed for publication, and why certain papers have been included or excluded. (Editors should note that we have made a strategic publishing decision not to publish conference proceedings as such.)

Each BICS issue should be a high-quality contribution to a thriving, specialist field of research. As a part of a serial, it should also be a publication of sufficient breath that it will offer interest to classicists who are not specialists in that field.

BICS issues have a maximum word limit of 70,000 words. This will make them an ideal venue for some publications, but not for all.

Proposals (for submission by 21 October 2019)

We are currently planning issues which will be published in 2021 onwards, for the following couple of years. In no more than 500 words, prospective editors are asked to specify:

  • The subject area of your issue.
  • Publishing rationale: Why this topic deserves publication at this time, with an overview of the relation of your proposed treatment of the theme to other relevant work in the field.
  • Contents: A list of articles to be included in the volume, and their authors, with an indication of whether each has accepted firmly or provisionally. (We understand that much is likely to be provisional at this stage.) Please also indicate the level of illustration likely to be required. Editors should further specify how they will bring unity and coherence to the issue, and how they expect to solicit, support, and shape individual contributions.
    • If the content is derived from a conference or seminar series, please make very clear how the material will be developed for publication; why certain papers have been included; and please identify any papers that have been freshly commissioned for publication.
  • Length: A complete issue is c. 65-70,000 words; papers in BICS tend to be c. 8000 words, while contributions of over 15,000 words are rarely accepted. 70,000 words is a maximum word limit.
  • Schedule: An indication of when the papers will be ready for peer review. (This might be any time in the next 1-3 years, allowing publication within 2-4 years.)

You are encouraged to discuss any queries about your proposal with ICS Publications.

Our review of your proposal

Proposals for themed issues are reviewed by the Publications Committee of the ICS. The current deadline for submission of proposals is Monday 21 October 2019 (end of the day, in any time zone). The ICS will contact those who made submissions by mid-November 2019.

Once a themed issue is accepted in principle, a detailed schedule will be agreed. At this stage, all proposed authors must be confirmed. Among other things, the schedule will cater for peer review: in line with publication standards, all papers will go through a process of ‘double-blind’ review, and it is proposed that this will be managed in collaboration by the editor(s) and the ICS, in a manner to be agreed in detail once the issue has been formally accepted. The issue editor(s) will take responsibility for delivering final copy in a standard format, of an agreed length (70,000 words max.), by an agreed date, in accordance with BICS editorial guidelines. Copy-editing, layout, and production will then be handled by OUP in partnership with the Institute, with proofs distributed to all contributors before publication.

For reference, the current issue of the Bulletin is available here.

All contacts and queries should be directed to ICS Publications.