A manuscript submitted to the Journal will go through a confidential peer-review process. Chief Editors, Section Editors and Reviewers are informed that the manuscript will be considered confidential. After a manuscript is received, it is assigned by PhD scientists on staff to a Section Editor, whose expertise is considered to be appropriate. The Section Editor will prepare a list of expert reviewers (4- 6 reviewers), which may include some suggested by the corresponding author of the manuscript. The authors may indicate specific individuals with conflict of interest and request to exclude these as reviewers. The section editor should take cognizance of the request, and generally the requests to exclude certain potential reviewers should be honored.
The potential reviewers suggested by the section editor will be contacted individually by the journal staff, to determine availability and agree for the reviewing of the manuscript within a stipulated period of time. Manuscript files will be sent to at least two expert reviewers. Reviewers will be asked to complete the review of the manuscript within two weeks and to return a short review form. The reviewer’s comments will be sent to the section editor. Based on the reviewers’ comments, the Section Editor recommends a course of action and communicates the reviews and recommendations to the Journal office for a final decision by one or both Chief Editors.
Based on the general comments and the recommendation of the Section Editor, the relevant comments and the decision concerning the manuscript will be shared with the authors. The journal secretariat will prepare the decision letter for signature by an Editor-in-Chief. If revisions of the manuscript are suggested, the Section Editor will also recommend who should review the revised paper when resubmitted. Authors are informed of the decision by e-mail; appropriate comments from reviewers and editors are appended.
There will be four categories for initial decisions: accept, accept with minor revision, return for revision, and reject. Some manuscripts are accepted provisionally, pending relatively minor revisions. In this case, the Section Editor may conduct the rereview. For many manuscripts, authors are invited to resubmit if revision or additional experimentation can address major criticisms. Typically, one or more reviewers will then be asked to consider the adequacy of the revisions. All revised manuscripts will be reexamined, and ultimate acceptability is not guaranteed on revised manuscripts. The journal does not provide for an advance determination of the acceptability of a particular manuscript for publication, nor does it promise expedited review of selected manuscripts.
To minimize the possibility of misinterpretation or errors in verbal communication, the Editorial Office will provide information, in writing, only to the corresponding author and will not provide extensive details (e.g., exact status of a review or a predicted time to final decision). The Section Editors will not take calls from authors concerning decisions or other related matters. All such inquiries should be addressed in writing to the Editor-in-Chief, who will discuss concerns with the section Editor. This policy has been established to provide for uniformity and fairness in addressing concerns about the review process.
Manuscripts submitted from the institution of any Section Editor or the Editors-in-Chief will be reviewed by other editors from outside the particular institution. The Editorial Office ensures confidentiality and equity in reviewing all manuscripts.
If the authors believe that a serious scientific error occurred during the review, a letter of rebuttal may be sent to an Editor-in-Chief, explaining the reasons why the decision should be reconsidered. Letters of rebuttal must be received by the Editor-in-Chief within six weeks of the date the decision letter was sent. When appropriate, the matter will be taken up with the Section Editor, or additional reviewers. Rebuttals that challenge rejections that were based on priority alone are rarely successful, since the assignment of priority is necessarily a matter of opinion. If the authors of a rejected manuscript are able to make new advances that go far beyond the original submission, they will often expedite consideration of their paper through the submission of a completely new manuscript.
Selection of reviewers is the responsibility of the Section Editor, although the PhD scientists on staff may make recommendations to the Section Editor from a database of individuals who have reviewed manuscripts previously. This database includes self-identified areas of expertise as well as information about the perceived usefulness and timeliness of past reviews. Individuals who consistently have provided tardy or unhelpful reviews are removed from the database. Every effort is made to avoid both real and apparent conflicts of interest with respect to research activities or collaborative or personal interactions. Reviewers are asked to withdraw from considering any manuscript in which they identify a conflict that has escaped the attention of the Section Editor.
Information contained in manuscripts is considered confidential and should not be shared or distributed. If necessary, a reviewer can consult with others for an adequate evaluation of the research findings if all individuals involved maintain confidentiality, objectivity, and avoid conflict of interest. The editors are not responsible for acts and conduct by reviewers that are not in accordance with accepted professional standards. Reviewers are asked to be objective in their evaluations and to judge primarily the novelty and soundness of the information presented.
Although reviews are anonymous, all comments should be capable of withstanding public scrutiny. Except in very unusual circumstances, the identity of the reviewers and Section Editors involved in the review of any given manuscript will be kept confidential.
The Journal Editors-in-Chief will hold a term for a period of five years, with provision of one of the editors completing the tenured term or resigning from the post due to certain exigencies, and one of the Chief Editors terms renewed for a period of three years. The Section Editors are nominated by the Editors-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief, the Section Editors and the Members of the Editorial Board constitutes the Operational team of the journal. The Section Editors are appointed for variable terms. The Section Editors are appointed for one five year term, with a renewable term of two years in most circumstances. The Editors-in-Chief are responsible for the specific editorial conduct of the journal.