1. Submission of Paper
The corresponding author submits the manuscript to the journal. This is done via the online Manuscript Tracking System.
2. Editorial Office Assessment
The journal compares the manuscript’s format with the journal’s Author Guidelines to make sure it complies with the journal’s requirements. Manuscripts that do not comply with the Author Guidelines may be rejected. The quality of the paper is not otherwise assessed at this point.
3. Appraisal by the Editor-in-Chief (EIC)
The EIC checks that the manuscript is appropriate for the scope of the journal and is sufficiently original and interesting. If not, the paper may be rejected without further peer review.
4. Invitation to Reviewers
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. All manuscripts are reviewed by two referees.
5. Response to Invitations
Potential reviewers consider the invitation in light of their expertise, conflicts of interest, and availability. They then accept or decline. If possible, when declining, they might also suggest alternative reviewers.
6. Review Is Conducted
The reviewer sets time aside to read the paper several times. The first reading 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 readings. Otherwise, they will read the paper several more times, taking notes 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 with a request for revisions (usually flagged as either major or minor) before it is reconsidered.
7. Journal Evaluates the Reviews
The EIC considers all the returned reviews before making an overall decision. If the reviews differ significantly, the editor may invite an additional reviewer to get another opinion before making a final decision.
8. Decision Is Communicated
The editor sends a decision email to the author including any relevant reviewer comments. The identity of the referees is also kept anonymous as part of the double-blind review process.
9. Following Steps
If accepted, the paper is sent on for further processing. If the article is rejected or returned to the author for either major or minor revisions, the EIC should include constructive comments from the reviewers to help the author improve the article. At this point, reviewers should also be sent an email letting them know the outcome of their review. If the paper was sent back for revisions, the reviewers should expect to receive a new version, unless they opt-out of further participation. However, where only minor changes are requested, the follow-up review might be done by the EIC.