All Open Exploration journals adopt 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.
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 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 Eeditorial Board and Gueste Editors:
These manuscripts are handled separately by other editors, and the submitting editor is not involved in the decision-making or the review process.
More information can be found at Editorial Process of individual journals.
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.
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 of individual journals.