Peer review process
- The peer review process for journal publication is essentially a quality control mechanism. It is a process by which experts evaluate scholarly works, and its objective is to ensure a high quality of published science. Peer review is an integral part of scientific publishing that confirms the validity of the science reported. Peer reviewers are experts who volunteer their time to help improve the journal manuscripts they review. Reviewers play a central role in scholarly publishing.
- The peer review process in Mycologia Iranica is summarized into 10 steps:
1. Submission of a paper
- The corresponding or submitting author submits the paper to the journal. This is usually via an online system.
2. Editorial office assessment
- The journal checks the manuscript’s composition and arrangement against the journal’s Author Guidelines to make sure it includes the required sections and stylizations. The quality of the paper is not assessed at this point.
3. Appraisal by the Editor-in-Chief
- The Editor-in-Chief checks that the paper is appropriate for the journal and is sufficiently original and interesting. If not, the paper may be rejected without being reviewed any further.
4. Editor-in-Chief assigns an Associate Editor
- When Editor-in-Chief verifies the manuscript is suitable for peer review, assigns an associate editor. Associate Editors handle the peer review.
5. Invitation to a Reviewer
- The handling editor sends invitations to individuals he or she believes would be appropriate reviewers. As responses are received, further invitations are issued, if necessary, until the required number of acceptances is obtained – commonly this is 3 to 4.
6. Response to Invitations
- Potential reviewers consider the invitation against their own expertise, conflicts of interest and availability. They then accept or decline. If possible, when declining, they might also suggest alternative reviewers.
7. Review is conducted
- The reviewer sets time aside to read the paper several times. The first read is used to form an initial impression of the work. If major problems are found at this stage, the reviewer may feel comfortable rejecting the paper without further work. Otherwise, they will read the paper several more times, taking notes so as to build a detailed point-by-point review. The review is then submitted to the journal, with a recommendation to accept or reject it – or else with a request for revision (usually flagged as either major or minor) before it is reconsidered.
8. Journal evaluates the reviews
- The handling editor considers all the returned reviews before making an overall decision. If the reviews differ widely, the editor may invite an additional reviewer so as to get an extra opinion before making a decision.
9. The decision is communicated
- The editor sends a decision either major or minor revision, via an online system to the author(s) including any relevant reviewer comments. The authors are asked to respond to the questions raised by the reviewers or clarify the ambiguities. The author(s) resubmit the revised manuscript. The editor checks the author(s) feedbacks on the reviewers’ comments. Journal editor/editorial board decides whether to publish.
10. Next Steps
- If accepted, the paper is sent to production and publication.
- If the article is rejected or sent back for either major or minor revision, the handling editor should include constructive comments from the reviewers to help the author improve the article. At this point, reviewers should also be sent an email or letter letting them know the outcome of their review. If the paper was sent back for revision, the reviewers should expect to receive a new version, unless they have opted out of further participation. However, where only minor changes were requested this follow-up review might be done by the handling editor.