Peer-review Process

Overview

This page contains the process submitted manuscripts go through before they are published and the various activities and considerations at each stage. Feel free to contact us for any additional information or go through our frequently asked questions to see some of the questions scholars like yourself approach us with. We also encourage you to read about our journals and make a submission to start off the peer-review process.

Submission

Authors, after following the submission guidelines specified by our journals, send their manuscript to the Editor-in-Chief through either our submission system or official email. Our internal structure is designed in such a way that it allows the different journals to take advantage of a common platform for communication with their respective scholars. This structural organization is important because it encapsulates the communication protocols within the EANSO Journals internal environment and ensures that our authors have only one email address to remember across all our hosted journals.

Editorial Review

When the submission reaches the Editor-in-Chief, it is first logged into our tracking system and automatically assigned a five characters alphanumeric code. The code can be used to retrieve the metadata for the submission from our tracking system at any time by the respective authors. The code can also be used to check the publication stage a manuscript is currently in and make payment for accepted manuscripts.

Once the code has been assigned, a less thorough editorial review is done to check whether the submission conforms to the submission guidelines. The quality and the academic standard of the submission is also assessed at the editorial review level. Manuscripts that pass this stage are promptly forwarded to the respective journals for the next stage of the peer-review process. On the other hand, manuscripts that for one reason or the other do not pass this stage must be returned to the authors with a list of requirements that need to be fulfilled before the peer-review process continues.

This stage typically takes between 30 minutes and 24 hours after the manuscript has been submitted. The corresponding author will know when the manuscript passes this stage because an email will be sent with information to this effect. If a manuscript does not make it through this stage, an email with the required adjustments will again be received by the corresponding author(s). At this stage, we are neither accepting nor rejecting your submission, we are simply subjecting it to our guidelines and making sure that they have been complied with.

Blinding the process

All our journals review manuscripts using the double-blind peer-review policy. In its basic, this is a peer-review policy where the reviewers have no idea who the authors of the submitted manuscripts are whereas the authors have no idea who the exact reviewers for their manuscripts will be. The advantage here is that reviewers will complete their reviews objectively and without being biased whereas authors will as well accept the corrections from the reviewers without contempt.

The blinding process is, therefore, the process that ensures the double-blind peer-review will be successfully carried out. This process involves removing data that can be used to identify authors from submissions. The manuscript is then given a seven digits review code that is used to identify it during the double-blind peer-review process. It is important to note that the review code is not the same as the tracking code. Reviewers will not know the tracking codes assigned to manuscripts whereas the authors will not know the review codes assigned to their submission. After the blinding process, the manuscripts are sent to reviewers for detailed review. The blinding stage takes less than 30 minutes per manuscript.

Sending to reviewers

Blinded manuscripts from the previous stage are assigned to five different reviewers. The assignment is accompanied by editorial instructions that vary from one journal to the next. This assignment is done strictly based on the qualifications of the prospective reviewers with respect to the topic explored by the manuscript. Reviewers will not only examine the accuracy of the information provided in the manuscripts, but also the academic quality of the presented information. Inconsistencies, contradictions, omissions and possible additions will be noted by the reviewers. Each reviewer types a report about the reviewed manuscript after the review is completed.

Reviewers’ report

This is what editorial decisions are based on. It entails a list of items that a reviewer grades with respect to the manuscript reviewed. The title, abstract, introduction, conclusion and references are graded as per the opinion of the reviewer. The topic relevance, language use, cohesiveness, flow and contribution to the existing knowledge are also rated. The reports from the different reviewers are combined at the respective journals' level. The combined report is then sent back to the Editor-in-Chief with decision recommendations. Any matter that requires the input of respective authors is also included in the report. The report is accompanied by a compiled review manuscript. This is the reviewed version of the submission that merges all the comments, changes and recommendations made by reviewers.

Editorial decision

Based on the content of the reviewers’ report, the Editor-in-Chief can either accept the submission for publication, reject the submission or send the submission back to the author(s) for improvement before a decision is made.

If major revisions are required

This is a scenario where your submission has neither been accepted nor rejected. In this scenario, reviewers have recommended a number of changes that are crucial to the quality of the manuscript. How the authors handle the revisions affect the decision that will be made about their manuscript. For example, reviewers might challenge the models used in the work. In such a case, authors will either be required to revise the work to make the models clear or look for other models to base the work on. Resubmissions after a major review must again go back to reviewers for another round of peer review, reporting and one again editorial decision making on whether to accept or reject the submission for publication.

If Rejected

If the submission is returned to the authors four times with major revisions, it gets rejected the fifth time reviewers recommend major reviews. The reason for this is that the manuscript would have undergone the peer-review process five different rounds without success. This process takes up a lot of the organization’s resources and this is why it is limited to 5 attempts per manuscript. In such a scenario, you can either submit your manuscript to a different journal with a review process that is less strict or completely rewrite and reorganize your submission for resubmission as a different manuscript.

If Accepted

A manuscript can either be accepted without any revision requirement or accepted pending revisions recommended by reviewers. It is important to note that your manuscript being accepted without requiring any revision from your side does not mean that it has no corrections that require addressing. Minor corrections are usually done in-house during the copyediting and production stage. If your manuscript is accepted pending revision, you can proceed to pay the publication fee. However, the publication process will not continue until you send back a revised version of your manuscript addressing the comments reviewers made pertaining to your submission.

Payment

If your manuscript is accepted, you will be required to pay the respective publication fee to proceed to the next stage of the publication process. You should only make payment after the manuscript has been accepted to avoid scenarios where a manuscript that has already been paid for gets rejected. The details on how to make your payment will be available in our submissions tracker and accessed using the tracking code assigned to your submission. The payment process is automated. You should, therefore, follow the procedures correctly to enable the system to correctly assign the payment to your manuscript.

Copyediting

After the payment is made for a particular tracking code, the manuscript referenced by the code is automatically moved by our publication system to the copyediting stage provided that it has already been accepted for publication and there are no pending revisions from the authors. It is at this stage that the changes made by reviewers are accepted and the submission is proofread for spellchecking, grammar and consistency. Grammarly for grammar checking and Turnitin for plagiarism checking are used at this stage. Any grammar errors will be corrected without returning the manuscript to the authors. Manuscripts that do not comply with our similarity threshold for plagiarism, on the other hand, are returned to the authors for rewriting. The information present in the manuscript finally undergoes graphical editing and is templated into the specifications of our journals before being sent to the production stage.

Production

This stage focusses on the licensing and distribution of the final copy from the copyediting stage. A manuscript is assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and scheduled for publication in the next available issue of the relevant journal. For online publication, the time between scheduling and publication is usually one week. For print publications, the duration will depend on when the next print issue shall be out.

The manuscript is finally published and the authors are notified about it through email with the publication letter, a copy of the published article, certificates for the participating authors and the Turnitin originality report attached. The only remaining activity after the notification of authors is to index the already published manuscript in scholarly databases and optimize it for search engines for improved access and impact. This will usually take not more than 2 weeks after the article has been published. Authors are also supposed to proofread their publications just to make sure that everything is accurate and in order. The submission status will change to ‘published’ in the tracker and that will mark the end of the editorial process for that particular manuscript.