Information about the review process

The review process is assisted by the Manuscript Central tool, for the author, editor, and reviewers. The steps are outlined below.

Overall Review Process

  1. Paper is submitted via Manuscript Central by an author contact. If the paper is a regular paper, the author chooses 'regular paper' as the paper type and Jeff Gray as editor-in-chief (EIC). The paper may also be part of a theme issue, in which case the author tags it as 'special section paper' and chooses Bernhard Rumpe as EIC. In this case the author needs to specify a preferred editor, if the editor of the theme issue is known. Otherwise, please provide a note telling us which theme issue is expecting this paper.
  2. Paper is received and assigned a reference identifier and acknowledged to the author contact by the automated system.
  3. Paper is assigned an editor to oversee the review process and make a recommendation to the editors-in-chief. Editors are assigned within 2 weeks of paper receipt. Theme issue papers are immediately assigned to the editor(s) of the theme issue.
  4. The editor recruits at least 3 reviewers for the paper and negotiates a timeframe for the review. The goal is to receive reviews within 8 weeks of the reviewers' acceptance of the review task.
  5. Reviewers submit their reviews through Manuscript Central.
  6. Once all reviews are received, the editor makes a recommendation regarding paper acceptance to the editors-in-chief. The goal for the editor to make a recommendation to the editors-in-chief after receiving the completed reviews is 1 week.
  7. The editors-in-chief notify the paper's contact author with the result of the review process, including reviewers' comments. Possible outcomes are that the paper is accepted, the paper is accepted with minor modifications (based on reviewers' comments), the paper is conditionally accepted with major changes (in which case final acceptance depends on results of a second review in which reviewers check that specified concerns are adequately addressed in the revision), and rejection. Note that in the case where major modifications are requested, the editor and reviewers are the same when the paper is re-submitted. (In the case of a major revision, the paper should be resubmitted via Manuscript Central by the contact author, and a note needs to be added that the paper is a re-submission. The note needs to include the original paper identifier.) The goal is for the editors-in-chief to contact paper authors within 1 week of receiving the editor's recommendation.

From an author's point of view the process is

  1. Submit a paper to Manuscript Central. The paper must be in PDF format. Additional information required as part submission includes paper title, authors, abstract, length, category, and author contact e-mail. If the paper is to be considered as part of a theme issue, the author adds a note naming the theme issue, and the editor in charge of it at the time of submission.
  2. Contact author receives almost instant e-mail confirming receipt of the paper and a reference number.
  3. Contact author receives e-mail from editors-in-chief regarding the outcome of the review process, including reviewer comments on the paper. See #7 above for possible outcomes. This mail should be received within 12 weeks of the initial submission.

From a reviewer's point of view the process is

  1. A query is received from an editor via the automated system about being a reviewer for the paper. The query includes a proposed review deadline and an abstract of the paper.
  2. If the reviewer accepts the review task, the reviewer accesses the automated system to obtain the paper.
  3. The reviewer reviews the paper, fills out the SoSyM review form via Manuscript Central and submits it. The editor makes a recommendation to the editors-in-chief regarding the paper.
  4. If the paper acceptance recommendation is a request for a major revision, then when the paper is re-submitted, the reviewer will receive the revised version from the editor, and the process re-commences at step 2.

Sample review form

  1. Review form (can be changed for different types of papers); this review form is part of a reviewer's workspace in the automated system, Manuscript Central.