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Manuscript Management Systems: Understanding the Workflow from Submission to Publication


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A brief lecture on what happens in the editorial office between manuscript submission and publication.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Manuscript Management Systems: Understanding the Workflow from Submission to Publication

  1. 1. Manuscript Management Systems: Understanding the Workflow from Submission to Publication 1st PAMJE Convention Journal Editing and Management 101 AMADO O. TANDOC III, MD, FPSP Research Institute for Tropical Medicine *Journal of the ASEAN Federation of Endocrine Societies **Philippine Journal of Pathology
  2. 2. FROM TO Non peer-reviewed Peer-reviewed Occasional publication Regular & timely publication Limited article submission Active solicitation of articles from Endo both local and international Limited subscription Increased readership Non-indexed Inclusion in international journal indexes (ISI, Scopus, WPRIM) No online presence 24/7 online presence for correspondence and submissions
  3. 3.
  4. 4. Pre-Publication PublicationPost-Publication
  5. 5. Manuscript submission Article Publication A B Screening and Peer Review Production
  6. 6. Screening and Peer Review as QC mechanism
  7. 7. Screening and Peer Review as QC mechanism
  8. 8. Screening and Peer Review as QC mechanism Screening • Non-technical initial check • Quality of writing • Compliance with journal’s instructions • Technical check • Fit to journal’s scope and aim • Interest to readers
  9. 9. Screening and Peer Review as QC mechanism Desk Rejection Declined without review Peer Review
  10. 10. STEP 1: Initial Check • Usually performed by the non-scientific staff of the journal. It may include for example: • Checking for missing or broken files. • Checking compliance with length requirements, if any. • Checking central formatting requirements, e.g., line numbers, if required by the journal. • A plagiarism check. • Excluding manuscripts of very low quality, such as automatic translations or manuscripts with very poor language.
  11. 11. Usual Requirements • Cover letter • Authorship declaration • Disclosure of conflicts of interest • Copyright agreements JAFES experience: • Compliance to EQUATOR checklists • ORCID registration of authors
  12. 12. STEP 2: Editor assignment • Based on the topic of the manuscript and/or suggestions by the authors, an editor is assigned to handle the manuscript. • Depending on the journal, the assignment may be done by technical staff, the journal's chief editor, or automatic by submission category or author suggestion. With some journals, editors are invited and not assigned.
  13. 13. STEP 3: Editorial Assessment • Editors decide whether the paper should enter the review process or should be rejected directly • Journal scope and requirements, intended audience • Request for more data, clearer figures • Also known as: with editors, waiting for potential reviewer assignment, under review, assigned to the editor
  14. 14. STEP 3: Editorial Assessment
  15. 15. STEP 4: Peer Review • Reviewer selection • Dependent on a deep pool of reviewers with expertise • Mechanics vary: • Blinded or open • 1-round or multiple rounds • 2 or 3 reviewers • Support reviews: statistics, radiology, pathology blinded-peer-review-in-journals/
  16. 16. STEP 5: Editorial Decision • Based on the reviews, the editors decide whether: • The manuscript shall be rejected. • The manuscript needs to be revised by the authors before it can possibly be accepted. • The manuscript shall be accepted as it is. • A decision requires further reviews. • Template response
  17. 17. Steps 1-5: Summary
  18. 18. Manuscript submission Article Publication A B Screening and Peer Review Production
  19. 19. • Copyediting • Ensure article conforms to the journal’s house style/standards • Correctness of references, figures and lables • Consistency of text, grammar, spelling, punctuations, capitalization • Requests to authors • In-house or outsource STEP 6: Copyediting and Typesetting
  20. 20. • Typesetting • Layout • Preparation of galleys/proofs
  21. 21. STEP 7: Proofreading • Proof correction (with authors) • If corrections are necessary, it goes back to copy editing and typesetting. • In-house or outsource
  22. 22. STEP 8: PUBLICATION! • Options: • Immediate publication online • Queue up the publication for collation into a journal issue with other articles. • The time before this issue is published depends on the size of the journal’s publication backlog and can range anywhere from a few weeks to several years. • Many journals with an issue-based delay provide “online early” access to articles so that they are available to the community before the final issue date. Articles thus often acquire two publication dates: one for online and one for print publication.
  23. 23. Operational timelines longest-wait-to-get-published-1.19375
  24. 24. Manuscript submission Article Publication A B Screening Peer Review Declined without review Peer Review Author Revisions Rejection NOTE: Timelines depend on the journal’s level of operations, copyflow, reviewer “efficiency”, author revision Operational Timelines Production
  25. 25. Process Typical Duration Step 1: Initial Check A few workdays. Step 2: Editorial Assignment A few days to several weeks Step 3: Editorial Assessment This strongly depends on the journal: With some journals, it is less than a week; with others it may take a month, in particular if several people are involved in the decision or the initial quality hurdle is high. Step 4: Peer Review Depends on the field and journal. It typically ranges from a few weeks to several months, but in some cases (particularly for highly theoretical work where intense proof-checking is expected), it may be as long as one to two years. Step 5: Editorial Decision A few workdays to a week. This may take longer with some journals, in particular if several people are involved in the decision. Step 6: Copyediting and typesetting Depends on the journal copyflow. Backlogs may take a few weeks to months Step 7: Proofreading Most journals request proofs to be returned within a certain time, usually between 48 hours and a week.
  26. 26. Journal Management Tips • Set up an office with dedicated staff and equipment • Establish the editorial policies based on international standards • Journal compliance checklists to facilitate screening • Establishment of a deep peer reviewer pool • Standard peer reviewer templates to focus review • Set timelines (deadlines) for screening, peer review, author revisions • Attend APAME, PAMJE! Be on the lookout for innovations • Go online! • Consider automation to facilitate editorial management
  27. 27. Journal Management Solutions • Consider automated editorial management systems • Commercial, proprietary software (EM) • Open-source software (OJS) In 2016, JAFES migrated to Public Knowledge Project. Options: Editorial Manager [5000 USD/year] Public Knowledge Project [2700 USD/year] Locally developed
  28. 28. OJS Experience • Streamlined the processes • Customized templates • Customized timelines • Capture of metadata • Audit trail • Tracking of manuscripts • Journal performance • Factored into the Scopus indexing of the journal and PubMed score
  29. 29. Thank you for your attention! Contact me at: