SoSyM

Springer

main page

contact

submission

final papers

review process

editor guidelines

theme issues

pictures

banner

awards

SoSyM online


SE

RWTH Aachen

Guidelines for Editors


Editor Responsibilities

  • To identify and invite reviewers for assigned papers
  • To ensure that papers are reviewed in a thorough, fair, and timely manner
  • To provide a recommendation to the Editors-in-Chief (EiC)
    • Possible Recommendations
      • Accept with no changes
      • Accept with minor changes
      • Major Revision (revision subject to review)
      • Reject
  • To prepare a written summary of the reviews for the authors
  • To supervise the review of major revisions of manuscripts previously supervised by the editor
  • To ensure that accepted manuscripts meet SoSyM quality standards
  • To act in a timely manner and ensure that reviewers do so as well.

Editor Guidelines

  1. Editor assignment:
    1. Editors are assigned by the EiC to supervise the review of papers. An editor can expect to handle four to five papers per year (based on the current rate of new submissions). Only in very rare circumstances this number will be exceeded. This does not concern theme or special section editors who handle all associated papers.
    2. An editor may be asked to supervise the review of a paper that is not in her/his specific area of expertise. We realize that this places an additional burden on the editor, but we are confident that the members of the editorial board are highly capable of supervising the review of papers outside their main areas of research.
    3. It is important that an editor works on an assignment to supervise the review of a paper as soon as possible. In particular, if time constraints prevent an editor from supervising a review then the editor should let the EiC know immediately. This will allow the EiC to find an available editor in a timely manner.

  2. Review process (initial submissions):
    1. An editor should always first assess whether it is worth sending the paper to reviewers. If the paper is clearly below SoSyM quality standard (see SoSyM Publication Quality Guidelines) then the editor needs to summarize the reasons for rejection and issues that make the paper unsuitable for review for SoSyM in the recommendation to the EiCs. This saves scarce reviewing resources and the authors are informed of the rejection in a timely manner.
    2. As editor, you choose ideally only people you know personally and thus strongly trust to get a high quality review. The personally known reviewer is not necessarily already registered in the system, and can be a close colleague. Other potential reviewers are authors of publications referenced in the paper. In any case, please always search for reviewers first to avoid dublicate accounts.
    3. Reviewers should be asked to complete reviews within 6 weeks. It is possible that an expert reviewer may require more time. The granting of extensions is at the discretion of the editor. The relative weight of the reviewer's comments and the need to provide authors' with timely results should be considered when making extension decisions. In some cases it may be better to invite another expert reviewer who can provide a more timely review.
    4. The editor receives automated email from the Manuscript Central system when a review has been submitted. At this time the editor needs to check the review for quality and completeness. In particular the editor needs to check the submitted review against the guidelines in the review form and request any necessary additional clarification or details from the reviewer. The assistant editors of the journal can help if a review needs to be made writable to accommodate changes.
    5. If an editor receives two reviews which recommend rejection for sound reasons, then there is no need to wait for the other reviews to come in.

  3. Review process (revisions):
    1. If a major revision is assigned to a new reviewer (i.e., a reviewer not involved in the previous review process), the reviewer should be encouraged to limit his or her comments to how the authors addressed the problems raised by previous reviewers. On the other hand, if a reviewer points out a significant problem that was missed by the previous reviewers then the editor can take the reviewer's comments into consideration when making a recommendation.
    2. An editor of a minor revision can choose to evaluate the new version in one of three ways:
      1. The editor can check the paper on its own without seeking any additional reviews. This should be the option that is first considered. If the editor cannot make a recommendation based on a self-check then options 2) and 3) should be considered.
      2. The editor invites only a selection of the previous reviewers (usually the reviewers that suggested the most critical changes).
      3. The editor invites all previous reviewers to check whether their concerns are satisfied. This option should be taken if the changes made by the authors border on major changes.
      If the decision is to invite reviewers they should respond within 2 weeks.

  4. Decisions:
    1. The editor is fully responsible for the recommendation made to the EiC. Reviews are inputs to the editor's decision-making process. For example, there is no need for an author to satisfy the requests and concerns of all reviewers if the editor does not think they are relevant.
    2. When recommending a revision, especially a major revision, the editor should clearly and precisely state what the author is expected to achieve in an acceptable paper. This does not mean that the editor must specify the precise actions the authors must take. The editor's comments to the authors will act as a contract between the editor and the authors.
    3. Editors should make encouraging comments when recommending revisions, and should be professional and diplomatic when expressing criticisms. If a review employs an inappropriate tone, the editor must ask the reviewer to modify it before sending it to the authors.
    4. A manuscript can undergo a major revision only once. That is, if a major revision of a manuscript that is a major revision of the first submission is needed then the manuscript must be rejected. The authors can be strongly encouraged to submit a major revision as a new submission (i.e., if the revised manuscript is submitted it will be treated as a new submission and may be assigned to a different editor).
    5. The final decision is made by the EiC. Only in very rare circumstances will the EiC's decision differ from the editor's recommendation. Such a situation may be triggered by an author's challenge that is based on factual inaccuracies in the reviews and the editor's comments to the authors.
    6. If an author challenges the decision on a manuscript and can demonstrate their case, the EiC will act as the arbiter or ask another editor more familiar with the area of the paper to review the case and act as the arbiter. In this case all parties involved will be kept informed of the proceedings.
    7. If a case of plagiarism, self-plagiarism, or simultaneous submission is suspected or identified, inform the EiC immediately. At this point the review process will be suspended (i.e., the editor will inform the reviewers of the situation) and the editor will prepare a statement that will be sent to the authors by the EiC. The authors will be given a week to respond to the allegations. See Process for Handling Cases of Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism and Simultaneous Submissions below for more details.

Process for Handling Cases of Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism and Simultaneous Submissions

Handling Plagiarism Cases

The SoSyM EiCs and the Editorial Board will not tolerate plagiarism in any form. The penalty is severe and involves public exposure of the offending authors.
  1. Editor reports case to EiC and prepares written statement providing evidence.
  2. The EiC contacts the authors and provides them with the statement prepared by the editor.
  3. The authors are given one week to respond to the allegations.
  4. If a response is not received or the response is deemed unsatisfactory by the editor and the EiC then the following actions will be taken:
    1. The institutions of the authors will be informed of the offense (in the case of academic institutions, department heads and the deans will be informed).
    2. The names of the authors will be posted on the SoSyM website so that it can be accessed by other editors and publishers.
    3. The authors will be prohibited from publishing in SoSyM in the future.
    4. Related journals will be informed.
  5. If a response that is satisfactory to both the editor and the EiC is received then the EiC will apologize to the authors and the review process will be restarted (i.e., the editor will inform the reviewers that the matter is resolved in favor of the authors and that the review is to continue).

Handling Self-Plagiarism and Simultaneous Submission Cases

Self-plagiarism occurs when at least 75% of a manuscript's content has been published elsewhere (or 40% if it was a journal publication) as a single publication authored by a subset of the authors. Simultaneous submissions occur when it is determined that a submitted manuscript has been submitted elsewhere and is either under review or has been accepted for publication (but not yet published).
  1. Editor reports case to EiC and prepares written statement providing evidence.
  2. The EiC contacts the authors and provides them with the statement prepared by the editor.
  3. The authors are given one week to respond to the allegations.
  4. If a response is not received or the response is deemed unsatisfactory by the editor and the EiC then the paper is withdrawn from the review process and the authors as well as their senior are warned. Furthermore, the institution is asked what measurements are taken to prevent such self plagiarism.
  5. If a response that is satisfactory to both the editor and the EiC is received then the EiC will apologize to the authors and the review process will be restarted (i.e., the editor will inform the reviewers that the matter is resolved in favor of the authors and that the review is to continue).