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Editors

Our editors are experts in their respective fields and are responsible for the peer-review process and the content of the journal. Their role is to handle the peer review of manuscripts, make recommendations on the acceptance or rejection of a paper, and attract high-quality submissions.

Choosing reviewers

  • Editors should ensure that appropriate reviewers are selected for submissions (i.e. individuals who are able to judge the work and are free from disqualifying competing interests).
  • Editors should ideally choose at least two reviewers to provide a report (the default on Manuscript Central is set to three) and ensure that not all of the reviewers chosen are recommended by the authors of the paper unless there is strong justification.
  • Editors should cease to use reviewers who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality or late reviews.
  • Editors should use a wide range of sources (not just personal contacts) to identify potential new reviewers (e.g. author suggestions, bibliographic databases).

Review process

  • Editors should deal with any papers assigned to them in a timely fashion so as to aim for an initial decision within 3 months.
  • Editors should endeavor to handle all papers assigned to them, irrespective of the paper’s subject area, and the return of a paper to a Section Editor for reassignment should only be exceptional. Section Editors try to assign papers appropriately but also to balance loads on individual editors across the Editorial Board; sometimes the assignment of a paper whose scope is outside that of the assigned editor is unavoidable.
  • Editors should provide written feedback to authors as regards any decision made even if that decision apparently follows obviously from reviewers’ comments, in which case one or two sentences summarizing the reviewers’ comments is appropriate.
  • Editors should be ready to justify any important deviation from the described peer review process
  • Editors should require reviewers to disclose any potential competing interests before agreeing to review a submission.
  • Editors should monitor the performance of peer reviewers and take steps to ensure this is of a high standard.
  • Editors should encourage reviewers to comment on
    • Ethical questions and possible research and publication misconduct raised by submissions (e.g. unethical research design, inappropriate data manipulation and presentation).
    • the originality of submissions and to be alert to redundant publication and plagiarism

Decisions

  • Editors’ recommendation to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based on the peer reviews and their own view on the paper’s importance, originality and clarity, the study’s validity, and its relevance to the remit of the journal.
  • Editors can recommend to immediately rejecting a paper if the material does not meet the standard of the Journals.
  • Editors should not reverse a decision to accept a submission unless serious problems are identified with the submission.
  • New editors should not overturn decisions to publish submissions made by the previous editor unless serious problems are identified.
  • Editors should flag any case of suspected misconduct or disputed authorship with the editor-in-chief or the publisher.

Editor-in-chief specific guidelines

  • The Editor-in-chief should respond promptly to complaints and should ensure there is a way for dissatisfied complainants to take complaints further. This mechanism should be made clear on the journal’s website.
  • The Editor-in-chief/Editors should make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a proper investigation into alleged misconduct is conducted.
  • The Editor-in-chief/Editors should not simply reject papers that raise concerns about possible misconduct. They should first seek a response from those suspected of misconduct.
  • The Editor-in-chief/Editors have a duty to act if they suspect misconduct or if an allegation of misconduct is brought to them. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers.