The scientific editors of each Science Partner Journal (SPJ) evaluate each submission and those manuscripts that warrant further consideration for publication are sent out for in-depth peer review by external reviewers.
All Science Partner Journals operate under a single-blind peer review process. This means that editors and reviewers know the identity of the authors, however, the authors do not know the identity of the editors or reviewers. The reviewers’ identifies are also kept anonymous from each other.
When a manuscript is submitted to a Science Partner Journal, it first goes through a technical check by the editorial office. This ensures all necessary items are included in the submission prior to sending to a scientific editor for evaluation. If the scientific editor deems the manuscript worthy of full peer review, the scientific editor will then send the manuscript out for in-depth peer review by external reviewers.
A decision can be made at any point in the evaluation process to reject the manuscript, whether this be without review, or with one review. The final decision on every manuscript is made by a scientific editor.
The submitted manuscript is a privileged communication and must be treated as a confidential document. Reviewers should destroy all copies of the manuscript after review and not share the manuscript with any colleagues without the explicit permission of the editor. Reviewers should not make personal or professional use of the data or interpretations before publication without the authors’ specific permission (unless they are invited to write an editorial or commentary to accompany the article).
If a reviewer cannot judge a paper impartially, they should not accept the invitation to review it. If a reviewer has any professional, personal, or financial affiliations that are or even may be perceived as a conflict of interest in reviewing the manuscript, they should not accept the invitation for review, or, if this conflict of interest is uncovered after seeing the full manuscript materials, they should recuse themselves immediately and fully inform the journal editors. If there is an aspect of a manuscript that a reviewer does not feel they are qualified to evaluate, they should inform the editor.
If the manuscript’s author is an editor, it will be assigned to another, independent editor for evaluation. It must also meet the same criteria for evaluation as all other manuscripts.
Manuscripts submitted as part of a special issue may be assigned to a guest scientific editor instead of a member of the editorial board to manage the peer review process. A guest editor is an expert in a sub-topic who is invited by an Editor-in-Chief, in consultation with the editorial board, to provide specialized leadership for a particular special issue. Articles published in a special issue must adhere to the same evaluation criteria and publication ethics as a regular article published in the journal. The peer review process for a special issue manuscript also follows the same peer review process as a regular manuscript submitted to the journal. For example, when a special issue manuscript is submitted, it first goes through a technical check by the editorial office before it is assigned to an editor or guest editor to evaluate it and select external peer reviewers. If the manuscript’s author is an editor or guest editor, it will be assigned to another, independent editor or guest editor and it must meet the same criteria for evaluation as all other manuscripts.