Peer Review Process

Peer Review Policies:

  1. The Editor-in-Chief completes a preliminary evaluation of each manuscript to assure that if is appropriate for the Journal. If a manuscript is deemed to be inappropriate, it is sent to at least two other editors for verification. Less than 10% of manuscripts are returned to authors without peer review through this triage process.
  2. Authors may request that a particular editor handle their manuscript; this request is honored unless a conflict of interest is present, or the requested editor is unavailable.
  3. Authors may exclude an editor; such requests are always honored.
  4. The Editor-in-Chief personally handles some article types, including Rapid Reports, Letters to the Editor and Reviews. The Editor-in-Chief can be designated by an author to handle their manuscript. The Editor-in-Chief also handles a fraction of manuscripts if the other editors are overloaded.
  5. The assigned editor solicits peer reviewers for the assigned manuscript.
  6. Our intent is to complete reviewer assignments within 1 month of receiving a manuscript.
  7. Typically, reviewers are invited in groups of 4 or more, as the majority of invitees typically decline to review a paper. Sending multiple invitations simultaneously is required to facilitate rapid peer review.
  8. Authors can suggest potential reviewers, and these requests are usually honored unless a conflict of interest is perceived.
  9. Authors can exclude particular reviewers; these requests are honored.
  10. Invited reviewers are instructed to recuse themselves if they cannot complete their review in two weeks. In addition, reviewers receive a number of reminders about the due date for their review, particularly when the review is late. Despite these safeguards, it can be difficult to solicit a review from some referees. Delayed editorial decisions are almost always related to inability to obtain reviews from one or more referees.
  11. If a review is delayed over a week from the deadline date, and an editor is unable to communicate with the reviewer, then an alternate reviewer may be solicited.
  12. After reviewer comments are received, the editor makes a decision about the manuscript. Possible editorial decisions are "accept," "revise," or "reject.
  13. Often reviewers provide differing opinions about a manuscript (i.e., one reviewer is very positive, and another is very negative). It can be challenging for an editor to determine which opinion is correct. For this reason, many editors solicit 3-4 reviewers for a manuscript, to assure that they have sufficient input to make a fair decision.

Conflict of Interest Policies:

A reviewer/editor must recuse themselves if any of the following potential conflicts are present:

  1. The reviewer has an active, planned, or recent collaboration with any of the authors of the manuscript.
  2. The reviewer published a manuscript with any of the authors in the past three years.
  3. The reviewer had a mentor-trainee relationship with any of the authors in the past five years.
  4. The reviewer is in the same academic department as one of the authors.
  5. The reviewer has a long-standing scientific disagreement with one of the authors.
  6. If an editor discovers that a reviewer has a conflict of interest, their review is discounted.

Appeal Procedures :

  1. Authors have the right to appeal an editorial decision. Such appeals should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief, and not the editor who handled the manuscript.
  2. The appeal request should be accompanied by a factual statement of the author concerns about the editorial process, as well as a point-by-point response to the referee comments.
  3. The Editor-in-Chief may solicit feedback from the original reviewers and editor when evaluating the appeal.
  4. One criterion used in evaluating an appeal is potential priority of the manuscript: does it have the potential to be extensively read and cited.
  5. If the appeal is granted, authors may submit a revised version of their manuscript as a new submission, which must be accompanied by: 1- A cover letter designating the original manuscript number, 2- A response to the prior referee comments as a supplemental file.
  6. When resubmitting the manuscript, authors may request that a new editor handle the manuscript, and may recuse one or more of the original reviewers.
  7. There is no guarantee that a manuscript resubmitted using this appeal process will be accepted.

This journal uses double-blind review, which means that both the reviewer and author identities are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa, throughout the review process. To facilitate this, authors need to ensure that their manuscripts are prepared in a way that does not give away their identity.