The journal provides immediate open access to all published content; all content is freely available without charge to users or their Institutes. Users may read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without obtaining prior permission from the publisher or the author.
Authors retain the copyright and full publishing rights without restrictions and they agree to make their original work completely available and free to use, copy and redistribute in all formats without permission as long as the authors and the original source are properly cited. A copyright statement is published on full text files including HTML, PDF and XML formats. Authors grant the right of first publication to Open Exploration by signing a License to Publish agreement before formal publication. Authors must declare that there are no duplicate submissions, or manuscripts already published, or being processing by other journals in the cover letter submitted with the manuscript. A similar statement must be made when authors complete their checklist prior to submission. Permission for use of copyrighted materials (Figures or Tables) from other sources in the work, including re-published, adapted, modified, or partial tables from the internet, must be obtained.
The journal does not charge APC from authors before January 31, 2028, during which time the APC is wholly financed by Open Exploration. From February 1, 2028, the journal charges an APC fee of $2,000 per article (excluding tax). Detailed information of APC waivers and discounts can be found at Article Processing Charges.
Peer Review Model
The journal adopts a single-blind peer review model meaning that reviewers' identities are concealed from authors, but authors' identities are known to reviewers. All accepted articles (except for some Editorials released by the Editors) will have undergone a rigorous and thorough review process to evaluate their novelty, scientific content, academic integrity, etc.
Peer Review Process
Each submission is subject to an initial check operated by the managing editor and the Academic Editor. The managing editor conducts the plagiarism check and reviews the manuscript for suitability versus the scope of the journal and appropriate format. Manuscripts that pass this initial check are assigned to an Academic Editor after disclosing conflicts of interest according to the Checklist. The Academic Editor is usually an Editor-in-Chief although an Editor-in-Chief may assign the role of Academic Editor to another Editorial Board member, a Guest Editor, or another expert who is active in this field for certain papers. The Academic Editor first takes a decision on whether the manuscript is sent for full peer review. If the Academic Editor finds that the manuscript is not of sufficient quality or that the subject of the manuscript is not appropriate for the journal, the manuscript will be rejected with no further evaluation. Manuscripts which pass the Academic Editor’s initial evaluation are passed on to experts for full peer review.
Peer reviewers should have considerable expertise/experience in the subject of the article, who focus on the manuscript and are invited to evaluate the manuscript’s quality with regard to significance, novelty, integrity, presentation, scientific soundness, etc. Reviewers complete the review by providing a constructive report within 14 days of acceptance of the invitation. Each manuscript usually requires at least two external review reports comprising detailed comments and an overall recommendation (“Acceptance”, “Minor Revision”, “Major Revision” or “Rejection”).
The review reports will be submitted to the Academic Editor for decision on publication. In some cases, more than two review reports will be required:
★ When two initial reports indicate opposing opinions.
★ When the Academic Editor thinks more reports are necessary to guide decision making.
Manuscripts submitted by the Editorial Board and Guest Editors:
These manuscripts are handled separately by other editors, and the submitting editor is not involved in the decision-making or the review process.
Processing of special issue manuscripts:
Special issue manuscripts are required to meet the same quality standards for publication as regular papers, and all special issue manuscripts (invited or un-invited) must undergone a rigorous and thorough review (except for some Editorials released by the Editors). The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the content control of all special issue articles and the supervision of all theGuestEditors. More information can be found at Guest Editor Guidelines and Editorial Process.
Suitable reviewers are selected based on the following points:
★ They are independent of all the authors and their institutions;
★ They focus on the same or similar research with the manuscript, and they are able to impartially assess the manuscript based on originality, validity, and significance;
★ They have recent publications in the same research area as the manuscript;
★ They can complete peer review within the required time;
Authors Suggest Reviewers
Authors may suggest reviewers who they believe are especially suited to review their works. This is particularly welcome when the review work requires highly specialized expertise. However, the journal retain the discretion as to whether to invite these suggested reviewers. Authors should provide a potential reviewers’ list including names, e-mail addresses, research areas, institutions, and ORCID (if available). Suggested reviewers:
★ should have a recent publication record in the area of the submitted paper;
★ should not have a recent publication/submission with any author;
★ should not share or recently have shared an institutional affiliation with any author;
★ should not be a current or recent collaborator of any author;
★ should not have a close personal connection to any author;
★ should not have a financial interest with the work.
Notes for Peer Reviewers
★ Declare any relevant conflicts of interest before starting the review. If a relevant conflict of interest exists, reviewers may withdraw from the review;
★ Respect the confidentiality of peer review. Peer reviewers should not divulge any information about the manuscript or contact authors without prior permission from the journal editors;
★ Destroy copies of the manuscript after completing their review reports;
★ Provide an objective and unbiased evaluation regardless of nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors, origins of a manuscript or other commercial considerations;
★ Report potential misconduct. Reviewers should alert the editorial office if they come across any potential research or publication misconduct, such as duplicate publication, plagiarism, or breaches of research ethics;
★ Do not request that authors cite the peer reviewer’s own papers, unless there is a strong scholarly rationale for this;
★ Submit review reports in a timely manner. It is acceptable to request an extension.
Other Participants and Their Responsibilities
The managing editor is responsible for the first stage of initial check (including suitability of the scope, format integrity, and plagiarism check through iThenticate), seeking suitable reviewers, and coordinating the communication among authors, reviewers, and the Academic Editor.
The Academic Editor assesses whether a manuscript is qualified for peer review, and makes the final decision to accept or reject the manuscript according to the review reports. The Academic Editor takes charge of the whole review process and evaluates the academic value of a manuscript.
The Academic Editor is usually the Editor-in-Chief, and sometimes the Editor-in-Chief assigns another Editorial Board member, a Guest Editor or another expert who is active in this field as the Academic Editor for certain papers.
The name of Academic Editor will be listed together with the paper once it is published.
For more information about peer review, please refer to Peer Review Guidelines.
We believe it is important that the peer-reviewed and published version of a paper should be available when the work is discussed in the public media, allowing the press to provide informed comments based on this version. Authors may respond to requests from the media in response to a preprint or conference presentation by providing explanation or clarification of the work, or information about its context. In these circumstances, media coverage will not hinder editorial handling of the submission. Moreover, we suggest authors to make it clear if the paper has not yet undergone peer review, and the findings are provisional and that the conclusions may change.
Readers, authors, and organizations are encouraged to contact the editorial office when they find errors and ethical issues in the published articles. The editorial office will investigate and address this issue carefully with the support of Academic Editors, Editorial Board, or Reviewers, and may decide to publish a Correction or Retraction to the published article. Also, readers are encouraged to submit their critique to the editorial office or write a Commentary or Letter to the Editor on the published articles, that will provide their reflection and discussion and will be reviewed.
To ensure long-term digital preservation, all published articles will be archived on the Portico platform. Authors are also encouraged to deposit their articles in PubMed Central/Europe PMC, and other appropriate archives. It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that any Institutional or funders’ requirements for archiving are met.