What happens at the editors office Round one

When it arrives at the editorial office, your typescript is logged in, dated, and assigned a typescript number which allows the editor to track its progress through the subsequent steps. The typescript is also given a cursory review at this stage to assure that all the illustrations are included and that it meets the journal's criteria for submission for publication. The editor then identifies two or three external referees qualified to review your typescript, and sends copies of your typescript to each.

Referees usually are requested to return their reviews within three weeks. In an ideal world, all referees would return their reviews promptly, because "peer reviewers" usually are researchers who submit their own work to the same journal and generally they are impatient if they do not receive their own reviews in a timely manner. However, because reviewers volunteer their time, some are less conscientious than others about meeting return deadlines.

Once the editor has all of the external reviews in hand, he or she decides if the paper should be accepted or rejected. The paper then is returned to the corresponding author with copies of the referees' comments and the editor's decision and recommendations.

If the submission is rejected, the author has the option of appealing the decision to the editor or editorial board. Alternatively, the author can choose to reformat the article, incorporate whatever of the reviewers' and editor's recommendations seem warranted, and submit the typescript to another journal, thereby beginning the publication process anew.

Acceptance is nearly always contingent on some revision. Be prepared for this fact. Treat the entire process with respect. As noted by Dizon and Rosenberg (1990), "The peer review process is not a perfect system - just a necessary one."

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