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Over roughly the last ten years, special topical issues play for an important part in the publication record of Cytometry Part A. The intention of topical issues is to highlight a specific research area or technology field in cytometry that is either a central focus of interest in the community or a new area from where we would like to attract new authors to send us high quality articles.

Generally, a special issue only contains publications that belong to the topic of interest such as stem cells [1, 2] or advanced microscopy [3]. This means that the guest editors have to collect a minimum of eight manuscripts for such an issue. It requires recruitment of more than eight submissions because experience shows that not all manuscripts will make it to the special issue, and may not match the set deadlines. Even so, until an issue can finally be published the whole procedure usually takes more than a year to assemble and is a workload on the Guest Editors that cannot be underestimated. Therefore, I wish to express my greatest thanks to all who took the burden in the past and produced outstanding issues.

Special issues are also important to us for another reason. In general they attract observable, substantially higher attention as compared to regular issues. So, it is a magnet for readers, with high download and citation rates. However, due to the long time period it takes from invitation to production, it is not appropriate for timely highlighting of the latest hot topics.

We therefore decided to try something new and innovative. In this month's issue, we officially present the new format of the Special Section which was compiled by our Associate Editor György Vereb. Special sections can consist of two to four topically related manuscripts that are summarized in an editorial written by the guest editor(s). The advantage of such a section is that it can be more rapidly compiled and published allowing a quicker reaction to actualities. Further, it is less work for the editors and we can publish several of them in a year. We have recently published two such Special Sections [4, 5], although at that time we did not plan on making them a regular feature. Now, as a regular Cytometry A feature, I'm positive that the redefined Special Sections will bring a new power into the journal. My hope is that you as readers and authors of the journal will come up with proposals of hot-topics for special sections that you would be willing to compile.

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