Peer Review Process
The following is the editorial workflow that every manuscript submitted to the journal undergoes during the course of the peer-review process.
The entire editorial workflow is performed using the online review system. Once a manuscript is submitted for publication, the manuscript is checked by the journal’s editorial office to ensure the files are complete and that the relevant metadata are in order. Once this is done, the manuscript is assigned to an Academic Editor on the basis of their subject expertise.
The Academic Editor performs an initial assessment before inviting a number of potential reviewers to provide a peer-review report. (The Academic Editor can reject a manuscript prior to review if not deemed suitable.) On the basis of the submitted reports the Academic Editor makes one of the following recommendations:
- Consider after Major Changes
- Consider after Minor Changes
- Publish Unaltered
If the Academic Editor recommends “Reject,” the authors are sent any review reports that have been received and are notified that their manuscript will no longer be considered for publication in the journal.
If the Academic Editor recommends “Consider after Major Changes,” the authors are notified to prepare and submit an updated version of their manuscript with the necessary changes suggested by the reviewers. This might require new data to be collected or substantial revision of the text. The manuscript is then reassessed by one or more of the original reviewers before the Academic Editor makes a new recommendation.
If the Academic Editor recommends “Consider after Minor Changes,” the authors are notified to prepare and submit a final copy of their manuscript with the required minor changes suggested by the reviewers. Once the Editor is satisfied with the final manuscript, optionally having sought further advice from one or more of the reviewers, the Academic Editor can recommend “Publish Unaltered”.
If the Academic Editor recommends “Publish Unaltered,” the manuscript will undergo a final check by the journal’s editorial office in order to ensure that the manuscript and its review process adhere to the journal’s guidelines and policies. Once done, the authors will be notified of the manuscript’s acceptance.
Why Peer review?
All submitted articles are subject to assessment and peer review to ensure editorial appropriateness and technical correctness. In order for an article to be accepted for publication, the assigned Editor will first consider if the manuscript meets minimum editorial standards and fits within the scope of the journal. If an article is within scope, then the Editor will ideally solicit at least two external peer reviewers (whose identities will remain anonymous to the authors) to assess the article before confirming a decision to accept. Decisions to reject are at the discretion of the Editor.
Our Research Integrity team will occasionally seek advice outside standard peer review, for example, on submissions with serious ethical, security, biosecurity, or societal implications. We may consult experts and the academic editor before deciding on appropriate actions, including but not limited to: recruiting reviewers with specific expertise, assessment by additional editors, and declining to further consider a submission.
Authors may appeal if they feel that the decision to reject was based on: i) a major misunderstanding over a technical aspect of the manuscript, or ii) a failure understand the scientific advance shown by the manuscript. Appeals requesting a second opinion without sufficient justification will not be considered. To lodge an appeal, please contact the journal by email, quoting your manuscript number. Appeals will only be considered from the original submitting author.
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