Start the week by considering the key decision categories on manuscripts

After pre-screening of submissions against the aims and scope of the journal, referees and editors are invited to assess the quality of a manuscript. But what are the key recommendation options available to referees and the editorial board?

The recommendation that goes with the qualitative comments about the originality, presentation, relevance, and significance of the manuscript’s subject matter to the readership of the journal is usually one from a range of standard types.

The key decisions are:
Accept – if the paper is suitable for publication in its current form.*
Minor revision – if the paper will be ready for publication after light revisions.
Major revision – if the paper would benefit from substantial changes such as expanded data analysis, widening of the literature review, or rewriting sections of the text.
Reject – if the paper is not suitable for publication with this journal, or if the revisions that would need to be undertaken are too fundamental for the submission to continue being considered in its current form.

Please note that with ‘major revisions’, the editor is usually expecting something more substantial than a long series of minor revisions; in other words, the quality of the manuscript should be substantially improved and demonstrably so on resubmission, e.g. as explained in the cover letter.

This year, the average time to decision based on refereeing has been 33 days. On average, authors may expect 2-3 rounds of refereeing before a paper is accepted, hopefully moving up the ladder of decisions with each round.

NB In the last ten years, of other 1000 submissions, only two papers have been accepted at this journal without any revisions required.

  • Some articles receive a ‘provisional accept‘, e.g. the title, keywords, abstract, or copy editing may also need attending to given the evolution of the manuscript since the original submission, but another round of refereeing is not required. It is not the job of the reviewer to edit the paper for English, but referees may suggest corrections to the English where the technical meaning is unclear. For non-native speakers, our publishers, Taylor & Francis, offers English language editing services –

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