Review decision

Time to completion

Next editorial meeting after the pre-review recommendation.


Academic editor/Editorial team

Action required

  1. Decide whether article is ready for review
  2. (If yes) Assign a member of the Academic editorial team to oversee the article’s progress through the review process
  3. Provide an initial list of potential referees.

Background and further details

On the basis of the managing editors recommendation (and personal reading of the article if required), the academic editor(s) must decide whether a submission is ready to be sent out to review.

This decision should be largely mechanical. Articles that are obviously off topic or full of typos or badly formatted bibliography tend to do badly with referees and can also reflect poorly on the journal. In such cases, the submission should be rejected by the academic editors.

Whether or not the author is invited to resubmit is up to the editors: if the problem is largely one of style or typographical errors, it may make sense to invite resubmission (experience shows authors are generally pleased to have been spared the embarrassment of having a badly proofed submission sent out for review). Likewise, an off topic paper that has aspects that could be interesting to the journal may also be invited to resubmit.

In general, however, editors should not devote too much time to reading or commenting on papers at this point. The review decision is primarily one of mechanics and subject matter rather than an intellectual vetting. Articles that are on topic and mechanically sound should probably be sent out for review, even if the editors have some concerns about their argument or evidence. Articles that are off topic or mechanically unsound should be rejected/invited to resubmit with only the briefest of notes indicating the rationale: save your energy for articles that have passed review.

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