Review Policy

Manuscript Submissions
Authors must submit manuscripts to COES&RJ Journal and Conferences in electronic form. Hard-copy submissions will not be considered. Authors should submit both the manuscript and a cover letter in MS-Office format.

After the submission has been made to COES&RJ, the corresponding author receives an e-mail that acknowledges.

After checking the files the author submitted, the COES&RJ office contacts the author to let him/her know that there is a new manuscript that needs to be routed. Note that all contact with the COES&RJ and all subsequent review correspondence with the Section Editor (SE) and Associate Editor (AE) and the COES&RJ office regarding the manuscript will be done via e-mail. The Editor briefly reviews each submission to determine whether it is appropriate for the journal. If so, the editor sends it to the appropriate Section Editor, who decides which AE is appropriate to handle the review. In making this decision, the editor takes into account both the areas of expertise and the current workloads of the editors. If the editor assigns the paper to an AE, he/she does so by letting the COES&RJ office know to whom the submission should be routed for review. The COES&RJ office then contacts the AE. This e-mail provides the AE a direct link to the manuscript and the cover letter. Assuming the AE accepts the assignment, the paper is considered in review. Note that the EIC or the SE can reject papers that are clearly inappropriate for SISC without assigning them to a Review Editor

Note on Manuscript Length
There is a limit of approximately 20 journal pages. The limit can be exceeded; however, substantial deviation from the limit requires that the referees, reviewing editor, and COES&RJ be convinced that a longer paper is required.

Papers authored by Editorial Board Members
Papers authored by Editorial Board members are subject to the same anonymous peer-review process as other papers. Submissions to the journal authored by a Section Editor will be handled by the Editor-in-Chief. Submissions to the journal authored by the Editor-in-Chief will be directed to the Vice President for Publications, who will oversee the review process.

Conflicts of Interest and Rerouting
It is vital to the reputation of COES&RJ and all of its journals that conflicts of interest be avoided. Therefore, it is COES&RJ policy that editors not review papers authored by their friends, colleagues, co-workers, students, or recent former students. The same policy applies to referees: editors should not send papers to referees who work at an author's institution or who are known to have close ties to the author. To help avoid conflicts of interest, it is COES&RJ policy that editors who receive manuscript submissions or who are assigned manuscripts that present a conflict of interest decline the assignment. The Editor can then reassign the paper to another Editorial Board Member.

Status Changes and Communicating with Authors
It is vital that, in all communications with authors, AEs avoid wording that could make the status of the paper seem unclear (e.g., in a rejection message to the author: Is the intent to reject clear, or is a revision being implicitly encouraged?). Please note especially the important distinctions among the following statuses: rejected (RJ), in revision (V), and provisionally accepted (PA).

The Review Editor generates an acceptance letter. This goes to the corresponding author via e-mail. In a follow-up step, COES&RJ staff contacts the author for TeX files to launch the production process.

In revision
When an author is asked to revise a paper, there is no guarantee that the revised paper will be accepted for publication. Usually, in fact, such revised papers must again be refereed. The editor's letter should make this clear.

The author receives referee reports as part of the editor's e-mail requesting revisions. Also, a deadline of no longer than six months for the revision should be stated.

Accepted pending minor revision
Unlike one that is "in revision," a paper that is PA is more likely to be accepted as long as the author(s) makes the changes specified, but there is no promise and the editor may still reject it. The revision is minor; no major changes are necessary in order to make the paper acceptable. The author receives a decision letter and referee reports. The letter may state whether the editor intends that the revised paper will be sent back to the referees or not.

The editor's letter should leave no doubt as to the status of the paper. The author receives a rejection letter and may also get referee reports.

In review, re-routed from one editor to another
This status change can be effected only by the EIC. It occurs in one of two situations:

a. an editor cannot handle a given paper due to heavy workload or other considerations and requests that the paper be re-routed to another editor. The EIC should inform the COES&RJ office of the change in editors.

b. An editor has not handled a paper in a timely or responsible fashion and the EIC determines that the paper must be re-routed to another editor.

An author can withdraw a paper. The Review Editor, the COES&RJ office, and the editor must be notified. A paper is also considered withdrawn when an author fails to revise a paper within a reasonable amount of time. COES&RJ asks authors to revise and resubmit papers within six months. The decision to close a file out is made jointly by the COES&RJ office and the Review Editor or the Editor-in-Chief. Files are never closed without first giving the author ample opportunity to submit a revision.

Manuscripts that are of high quality but are inappropriate for a journal, can be transferred to other COES&RJ journals for consideration. Both EICs involved and the author(s) must approve the transfer. The EICs must agree before the author(s) is consulted.

Various reports can be run by COES&RJ staff. Selected reports are run and distributed to the journal EICs on a monthly and quarterly basis. One report shows all papers in process, while others emphasize papers that have remained in one status for an unusually long time. The Editorial Assistant working with Editorial Board sends Review Editors an Individual Editor Report every quarter. This report shows all papers assigned to that editor, and asks for status updates on all papers that have been in review for six months or longer (flagged). If a paper has gone back to an author for revision (V or PA) and the editor has not received the revision though six months have passed, the Editorial Assistant will point this out in the report and will offer to contact the author to see if the author intends to complete the revision.

It is helpful if the editors respond, within one week, to the Editorial Assistant. If possible, the editor should indicate approximately when the review will be completed. COES&RJ receives the greatest number of author inquiries about flagged papers and it is important that authors be reassured that the review is proceeding.