Peer Review Process
The corresponding or submitting author submits the paper to the journal. This is usually via an online system. Occasionally, journals may accept submissions by email.
The Editorial office checks the paper’s composition and arrangement against the journal’s Author Guidelines to make sure it includes the required sections and stylizations. The quality of the paper is not assessed at this point.
The Editor-in-Chief (EIC), checks that the paper is appropriate for the journal and is sufficiently original and interesting. If not, the paper may be rejected without being reviewed any further.
The EIC sends invitations to individuals he or she believes would be appropriate reviewers. As responses are received, further invitations are issued, if necessary, until the required number of acceptances is obtained – commonly this is 2, but there is some variation.
Potential reviewers consider the invitation against their own expertise, conflicts of interest and availability. They then accept or decline. If possible, when declining, they might also suggest alternative reviewers.
The reviewer sets time aside to read the paper several times. The first read is used to form an initial impression of the work. If major problems are found at this stage, the reviewer may feel comfortable rejecting the paper without further work. Otherwise, they will read the paper several more times, taking notes so as to build a detailed point-by-point review. The review is then submitted to the journal, with a recommendation to accept or reject it – or else with a request for revision (usually flagged as either major or minor) before it is reconsidered.
The EIC considers all the returned reviews before making an overall decision. If the reviews differ widely, the editor may invite an additional reviewer so as to get an extra opinion before making a decision.
The editor sends a decision email to the author including any relevant reviewer comments.
If the 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. Only the editor reviews the revised manuscript after the minor changes have been made by the authors. Once the editor is satisfied with the final manuscript, the manuscript can be accepted.
If the reviewer recommends “Consider after Major Changes,” the recommendation is communicated to the authors. The authors are expected to revise their manuscripts in accordance with the changes recommended by the reviewers and to submit their revised manuscript in a timely manner. Once the revised manuscript is submitted, the editor can then make an editorial recommendation, which can be “Publish” or “Consider after Minor Changes” or “Reject.”
If the EIC recommends rejecting the manuscript, the rejection is immediate. Additionally, if the reviewer recommends rejecting the manuscript, the rejection is immediate
The EIC has the authority to reject any manuscript due to the inappropriateness of its subject, lack of quality, or incorrectness of its results.