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Refereeing procedure

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Refereeing procedure

All incoming Submissions to SciPost Journals are peer-reviewed using SciPost's peer-witnessed refereeing process, which implements extremely high and stringent standards. The procedure follows this pattern (this is a summary; the official rules are set out in the Editorial College by-laws under section Submissions processing):

  1. Pre-screening: plagiarism and conflicts of interest
    The Submission is checked by Editorial Administration for plagiarism and appropriate action (immediate rejection; request to authors for modified version) is taken if necessary. A thorough scan is performed to flag potential conflicts of interest of authors with Fellows.
  2. Screening: finding an Editor-in-charge
    The Submission is internally forwarded to Fellows of the relevant Editorial College, for them to consider becoming Editor-in-charge. At this stage, qualified Fellows can exceptionally volunteer and immediately formulate a Recommendation for rejection without refereeing (this Recommendation is then processed according to the Editorial Recommendation rules below). As a special provision for our Core-class journals, members of the community can also be approached (in which case they become guest Fellows). If a (guest) Fellow expresses interest in the submission, they become Editor-in-charge. This screening process should occur on a timescale of 5 working days. Authors are contacted by our editorial administration in case of problems, in particular if extensions to the screening period prove necessary.
  3. Activation of the Submission page
    Following successful screening, a Submission Page is activated. The Submission is immediately opened to Contributor Reports, Comments and Author Replies, all of which are vetted by an Editorial Fellow before appearing online.
  4. Refereeing round
    The Editor-in-charge starts a refereeing round (whose duration depends on the Journal, see below), inviting specific Contributors (external referees) to provide an Invited Report. During a refereeing round, registered Contributors to SciPost can volunteer a Contributed Report, and authors can continuously provide Replies to Reports and Comments. The contents of Reports are publicly viewable, but the author of the Report can choose public anonymity (their identity is then known to Editors only). Authors are informed by email if a Report or a Comment on their paper is vetted through and published online (authors are welcome to respond, but should not feel obliged to do so, unless the Editor-in-charge specifically requests it).
  5. Closing of the refereeing round
    At the end of the refereeing round, submission of Contributed Reports on the Submission Page is deactivated (reports from invited referees can still be considered, at the discretion of the Editor-in-charge). If deemed appropriate, the Editor-in-charge invites the authors to finalize their responses to any submitted Reports and Comments before the Editorial Recommendation is formulated.
  6. Editorial recommendation
    Reports, Replies and Comments are assessed by the Editor-in-charge, who formulates an Editorial Recommendation.
    1. If the Editorial Recommendation is for publication or rejection, it is forwarded to the Editorial College, which takes the binding editorial decision by voting of the relevant specialty's Editorial Fellows.
    2. If the Editorial Recommendation is for a minor or major revision, it is communicated directly to the authors, who must then resubmit. Upon resubmission, the Editor-in-charge can either start a new refereeing round or directly formulate a new Editorial Recommendation.
  7. Decision
    After being taken by the Editorial College, the editorial decision (consisting in either a publication offer, or rejection) is communicated to the Authors.
    1. If the authors accept a publication offer, the manuscript is sent to the production team. The final version is published online in the relevant SciPost Journal. The publication page links back to the original Submission Page and its contents.
    2. If the manuscript is rejected or authors withdraw their Submission, the Submission Page is deactivated and removed from public view, unless the authors request it to remain available.

The duration of refereeing rounds depends on the Journal, but is normally 4 weeks for flagship journals, 3 weeks for Core journals and 8 weeks for Lecture Notes-class material.