Editors should do a thorough initial assessment of the manuscript before contacting reviewers. These reviews 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, etc.
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, transfer the manuscript to a different Handling Editor.
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, but should not recruit more concurrent reviewers than are needed. 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.
Editors should deal with any papers assigned to them in a timely fashion so as to aim for an initial decision within two months.
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.
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 comment acknowledging and addressing the problematic text with instructions on how to address it.
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 in the published version of the paper.
Handling Editors may consult the Production Editor or, with their permission, with another Handling Editor for input on editorial decisions. All parties involved in a decision are held to the same confidentiality standards described above.
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.