Editor Guidelines

Editors should do a thorough initial assessment of the manuscript before contacting reviewers. Editors should decide if the manuscript has been submitted in the most appropriate format (e.g., Research Article, Report, Fast Report). If the submission type needs to be changed, then the corresponding author should be informed. If no formatting changes are required, then the submission type can be changed within the Issue metadata section of OJS. Reviews and comments by editors should be documented and included along with other review reports, where required.

Editors may return a manuscript to authors for additional editing prior to sending the manuscript to reviewers. This may happen in case of grammatical or prose clarity issues, insufficient figure quality, or other factors that would prevent a robust peer review process.

Handling Editors should check that they are not in conflict with any authors or others involved with the study, or their institutions, and if any potential conflicts are identified, they should inform the Executive Editor (production) to transfer the manuscript to a different Handling Editor.

Once Editors decide to continue with the peer-review process, they should introduce themselves to the Corresponding Author (via the OJS discussion facility) so that the author knows who is handling their submission.

Handling Editors should ensure that all published reports of research have been reviewed by suitably qualified reviewers. Editors are expected to recruit reviewers representing a diverse range of backgrounds and should use a wide range of sources (not just personal contacts) to identify potential new reviewers. Editors should ideally choose at least two reviewers to provide a report for regular articles, and at least one reviewer for fast reports (with a review by the editor themselves), but should not invite more concurrent reviewers than are needed at any one time. Editors should cease to use reviewers who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality or late reviews.

Editors should provide clear advice and feedback to reviewers, where appropriate.

Editors should flag any case of suspected misconduct or disputed authorship with Seismica's Management Board.

All reviewer reports/editorial decisions should be shared amongst all reviewers of a manuscript once a decision has been sent to the authors.

By default, potential reviewers are given two weeks to respond to the review invitation, and four weeks to complete their review.

Editors should deal with any papers assigned to them in a timely fashion so as to aim for an initial decision within two months. If this deadline is not met, editors should keep the corresponding author updated via the Discussion function in OJS.

Handling Editors should send reviewers' comments to authors in their entirety except for special cases (such as offensive or libelous remarks, see below). Handling Editors should also provide written feedback to authors as regards any decision made, even if that decision apparently follows obviously from reviewers' comments, in which case one or two sentences summarizing the deciding factors from the reviewers' comments is appropriate.

Once a decision on a manuscript has been taken, Handling Editors should share the reports from all reviewers amongst reviewers and the editorial decision should be communicated back to reviewers (via the OJS system) to ensure an ongoing learning process for everyone dedicating their time. Editors may also wish to use that opportunity to provide any constructive feedback to the reviewer about their report.

If a review contains offensive or libelous remarks or other indications of potential bias, the Handling Editor has a few options, in consultation with the Production Editor: (1) they may decline to accept the review; (2) they may pass the review back to the reviewer with a request to edit the review to meet Seismica's community standards; (3) they may inform the reviewer that they are redacting specific text before sending the review to the authors; or (4) they may send the complete review to the authors with commentary.

Although strict timelines are not applied to revisions, if a paper has been awaiting revision for 6 months, the handling editor should get in touch with the authors to see whether they plan to submit a revision, or if the manuscript should be removed from the system.

Handling Editors' recommendation to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based on the peer reviews and their own view on the paper's importance, originality and clarity, the study's validity and its relevance to the remit of the journal. The types of decisions and criteria for these can be found in the Reviewer Guidelines on making a recommendation.

Editorial decisions should not be a matter of counting votes or numerical rank assessments. Instead, editors will evaluate the strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors. Handling Editors should consider any Conflict of Interest statements when weighing reviewers' recommendations

Handling Editors should try to ensure that the efforts of reviewers are appropriately acknowledged (even if anonymous), in the published version of the paper.

Handling Editors may consult Seismica's Mentoring Team, the Production Editor or, with their permission, with another Handling Editor for input on editorial decisions. In such cases, all parties involved in a decision are held to the same confidentiality standards described above.

Once a manuscript is accepted, Handling Editors should verify the uploaded version complies with the submission and formatting checklist, which is summarized below. If the accepted paper does not respect all of the points in the post-acceptance checklist, Handling Editors should ensure a corrected version is uploaded before sending it to the Production stage.

Post-acceptance checklist:

  • Manuscript should be formatted with the Seismica template, either docx, odt or tex, and editable article files are provided (including a.bib file if the tex template is used)

  • All author information is provided (orcid, corresponding author, affiliation, contribution) and is coherent with the information entered at submission (OJS metadata)

  • Data & code availability and reproducibility statement should be provided

  • All figures should be uploaded as separate files, ideally in png or pdf format

  • Supplementary material should be uploaded as a separate file that will not be formatted. Supplementary material should not be included in the main paper.

  • Most (>90%) references should contain DOI information

  • Reviewers should appear in acknowledgements

Optionally, Handling Editors can highlight any grammatical or style issues and upload an additional annotated manuscript, or a list of corrections, for use by the Copy and Layout Editor.

Once a manuscript is accepted and has been formatted in line with Seismica guidelines, Handling Editors will be involved in the Production workflow, and are expected to communicate with the corresponding Author, the Copy and Layout Editor, and members from the Media & Branding team.

The main steps of the Production workflow are:

  1. Handling Editor sends the manuscript to Copyediting/Production stage, and assigns one or both of the Standards & Copy Editing (SCE) chairs. The SCE chairs will assign the Copy and Layout Editor. Specify if any named reviewers should be credited in the metadata.

  2. Handling Editor assigns two members of the Media & Branding team, and specifies if the paper is potentially newsworthy and may require a press release.

  3. Handling Editor uploads one PDF file for Review Reports (and Replies) as final galley on the OJS publication tab (not copyediting, not production).

  4. Copy and Layout Editor produces proofs and exchanges messages via OJS with the corresponding Author until proofs are approved. Then, the Copy and Layout Editor notifies the Handling Editor and members of the Media & Branding team that proofs are finalized and they are moving on to create the galleys

  5. Handling Editor reports submitted and accepted dates to Copy and Layout Editor. Handling Editor defines default target publication date: 7 working days after proof approval for articles, 3 working days for fast reports. Handling Editors checks with Copy and Layout Editor if the default target publication date can be met, or if it can be advanced for a fast report.

  6. Media & Branding Team makes contact with Author for social media posts to promote the paper, using the target publication date as announcement date by default

  7. Copy and Layout Editor uploads final galleys (PDF and XML) to OJS, uploads any supplementary materials provided by the authors, and puts the reference list into the OJS "References" tab in plain text

  8. Handling Editor does final pre-publication checks (see next section of these guidelines)

  9. On the publication date, Handling Editor publishes the manuscript by completing the following steps:

    1. Under the "Publication" tab, navigate to "Issue" and assign the article to the appropriate issue (the most recent one, or a special issue)

    2. OJS will pop up a window asking if you are ready to publish the article. Click the 'X' in the upper right corner to get out of that window.

    3. Next, under "Identifiers, " assign the DOI. Click save on the lower right. Check to make sure that the DOI matches what's in the PDF galley.

    4. Finally, click "Schedule for publication" on the right and then "ok." The article will be published immediately.

  1. After the manuscript is published, Production Editor or an SCE chair registers DOI: Tools--Import/Export--Crossref XML export plugin--articles, tick the article and hit 'deposit'.

Once a manuscript is ready for publication, Handling Editors should effectuate final verifications before publishing.

Pre-publication checklist:

  • Review Reports (and Replies) should be uploaded as galleys

  • DOI in final PDF galley should be correct

  • Contributors (names and affiliations) listed in the OJS publication tab should correspond to contributors listed in the PDF galley

  • Authors (names and affiliations) listed in the OJS permissions and disclosure tab should correspond to contributors listed in the PDF galley

  • Title and abstract detailed in the OJS metadata tab should match the title and abstract in PDF galley

  • References should be listed in plain text in OJS references tab

  • Check that correct Section has been assigned (publication tab -> issue).

Editors should seek, acknowledge, discuss, and take action to eliminate implicit bias and foster broad, diverse representation, specifically when inviting authors and reviewers.

Handling Editors should treat any manuscripts they are dealing with, and the related process, as confidential (see the policies on confidentiality).

Handling Editors should not use information obtained during the peer-review process for their own or any other person's or organization's advantage, or to disadvantage or discredit others.

Handling Editors should ensure that reviews are suitable before passing them on to the authors. This includes checking for inappropriate language or anything that violates either the Reviewer Guidelines or Seismica's Code of Conduct. Any inappropriate content should be reported to the senior editorial team, who will then issue feedback and a warning to the reviewer.