As clearly expressed in the journal’s ‘Aims and Scope’ the goal of the editorial team is to maintain the highest professional standards, to ensure that the practice of double-blind review is both rigorous and fair, and at the same time to keep the submissions process efficient and to expedite it whenever possible. In our efforts to maintain these standards and achieve these goals, we do the following:
- insist on completely anonymous submissions from authors
- ensure that all materials sent to reviewers are anonymous
- in turn, ensure that reviews passed on to authors are also anonymous
- attempt to complete any internal review (see below) of a submission within two weeks
- ask reviewers, whenever possible, to complete their reviews within four to a maximum of six weeks
- after two reviews are received, make our editorial decision within two weeks
Overall, then, our goal, once a manuscript is submitted in appropriate form, is to complete a full double-blind review within three months. Obviously, as with all peer-reviewed journals, we depend enormously on the generosity and hard work of reviewers. Because their work for the journal is completely voluntary, there are times when difficulties in finding reviewers or receiving reviews will delay the review process beyond the three month timeline. In those cases, we make every effort both to communicate clearly with authors and to hasten the review process to whatever extent we can.
We will not pre-screen manuscripts for area, field, or content. However submissions that are clearly below the standard of quality peer-reviewed work or that are otherwise clearly unsuitable for the journal will be rejected internally, and the editors will explain this decision in their response to the author. In the case of manuscripts rejected after external review, we make every effort to provide authors with full referee reports that not only explain clearly the reasons for rejection, but also give authors substantive feedback that can be helpful for them in future work.
For manuscripts that have been accepted subject to conditions whether ‘minor’ or ‘significant’, we attempt to make very clear what the needed revisions are, and we encourage authors to take their time in revisions and make the manuscript the very strongest it can be. All manuscripts that are accepted subject to conditions will, upon receipt of the final version of the manuscript, be reviewed internally by the editors to ensure that the reviewers’ criticisms have been answered and editorial suggestions have been heard.
In the case of manuscripts that receive a ‘revise and resubmit’ decision, we do not have any formal deadlines for the resubmission of revised manuscripts. We think the most important concern for revision should be that authors take the criticisms and comments of the reviewers and editors very seriously and strive to make as full and complete a set of revisions as possible.
We emphasize to all authors that given the rigors of our review process and the extremely high number of submissions we receive, an ‘r & r’ does not serve as a guarantee of future acceptance. Obviously all resubmitted manuscripts will go back out for another round of external review; thus, manuscripts that have not been truly and thoroughly reworked prior to resubmission are very unlikely to be accepted. For these reasons, we are not concerned to rush authors to resubmit their work. However, after 18 months we will assume the author has chosen not to resubmit and will close the review process on the manuscript.
After receiving referees’ reports on resubmitted manuscripts, the editors will make a final accept or reject decision (there are no second r & r’s).
Obviously in this brief statement we cannot cover all the permutations of the review process. We therefore encourage prospective authors to contact the editors with any questions they may have about potential submissions.