The editor is the person in charge of overseeing the manuscript submission process until it is accepted for publication by their scientific discipline. To acquire a high-quality article, editors also make comments, recommendations, and judgments to change, approve, or reject the article. Here are some guidelines for editors, this policy is based on the COPE code of conduct as well as best practice guidelines.
- Editors should ensure that appropriate reviewers are selected for submissions (i.e. individuals who are able to judge the work and are free from disqualifying competing interests).
- Editors should ideally choose at least two reviewers to provide a report and ensure that not all of the reviewers chosen are recommended by the authors of the paper unless there is a compelling reason.
- Editors should cease to use reviewers who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality, or late reviews.
- Editors should use a wide range of sources (not just personal contacts) to identify potential new reviewers (e.g. author suggestions, bibliographic databases).
- Editors should respond to any articles allocated to them as quickly as possible, aiming for an initial decision within a month.
- Editors should endeavour to handle all papers assigned to them, irrespective of the paper’s subject area, and only in extreme cases may a manuscript be returned to a Section Editor for reassignment. Section Editors try to assign papers appropriately but also to balance loads on individual editors across the Editorial Board; yet, sometimes the assignment of a paper whose scope is outside that of the assigned editor is unavoidable.
- Editors should strive to ensure that peer review at their journal is fair, unbiased, and timely.
- Editors should provide written feedback to authors as regards any decision made even if that decision apparently follows obviously from the reviewer’s comments, in which case one or two sentences summarising the reviewer’s comments are sufficient.
- Editors should be ready to justify any important deviation from the described peer review process
- Editors should require reviewers to disclose any potential competing interests before agreeing to review a submission.
- Editors should keep an eye on peer reviewer performance and take actions to guarantee that it is up to par.
- Editors should encourage reviewers to comment on:
- Ethical questions and possible research and publication misconduct raised by submissions (e.g. unethical research design, inappropriate data manipulation, and presentation).
- The originality of submissions and to be alert to redundant publication and plagiarism.
- Editor’s decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based on the paper’s importance, originality, clarity, and the study’s validity and its relevance to the remit of the journal.
- Editors should make decisions on which articles to publish based on quality and suitability for the journal and without interference from the journal owner/publisher.
- Editors should not reverse decisions to accept submissions unless serious problems are identified with the submission.
- New editors should not overturn decisions to publish submissions made by the previous editor unless serious problems are identified.