Pre-review process

Time to completion

Maximum 7 days from acknowledgement of receipt.


Managing editor

Action required

Review article to check that it is broadly appropriate for the journal and mechanically ready for review.

This involves:

  1. Reviewing the abstract (if any) and contents for broad relevance to the journal’s subject area and approach
  2. Reviewing the article as a whole for completeness, lack of typographical errors, and broad adherence to the journal’s preferred submission style.
  3. Writing to the editor/editorial team with a quick summary of the article’s content and your opinion as to whether it is broadly on topic and mechanically ready for review.┬áIf there is an abstract, and this is a suitable summary, you can include that. If there is no abstract or the abstract does not not adequately represent the content of the submission, summarise the article in no more than two or three sentences (e.g. “This article is about the use of gaming and the techniques of gaming in libraries and art galleries”; “this article is about the participation of Canadian settlers, as opposed to professional British soldiers, in combat in the war of 1812. it argues that ‘Canadians’ played a relatively insignificant part”). Make sure to say specifically whether or not the article has a lot of typos, and (broadly speaking) whether it conforms to the journal’s expectations for format and style (especially bibliographic style, since this is often the most expensive to fix). {{Link to sample emails}}.

The final responsibility for determining suitability for review is the editors’. Because this is primarily a mechanical decision (manuscripts that are off topic or full of typos rarely do well and can usually be sent back to the authors), your recommendation and evidence will be extremely helpful to them, however.

Although your comments will be helpful to the editors, you should not spend too much time on them: if the article appears to be unsuitable, your effort is wasted; if it appears to be suitable, the appropriate time for detailed comment comes after the referees have reviewed the piece. A quick read, impressionistic response, and brief statement of your opinion is all that is necessary at this point.

Background and further details

Each Journal in the incubator has a different submission procedure. Typical procedures include

  • Authors must submit via an on-line form (e.g. in OJS run journals)
  • Authors submit by emailing a member of the editorial team directly
  • Authors submit by emailing a catchall address for the journal (e.g. or

Acknowledging receipt in a timely manner and introducing yourself is very important in establishing your (and the journal’s) professionalism. Editorial processes can be very opaque to outsiders, and anything that can reduce this makes subsequent steps easier.

If you are upfront with people about processes and deadlines (and stick to them), you’ll find that things go much easier later in the process.

Leave a Reply