All the manuscripts (except for those non peer-reviewed types) submitted to Highlights of Science journals will undergo a rigorous single-blind peer-review process by at least two independent reviewers in the relevant field, followed by a final acceptance/rejection decision by the Editor-in-Chief, or another academic editor approved by the Editor-in-Chief.
1. Initial Check by the Editorial Office
Once a new submission is received, the in-house editorial staff (professionally trained managing editors) will do the initial check to determine whether the manuscript:
has been properly prepared following the journal Instructions for Authors;
is suitable for the journal / Special Issue;
meets the standards of the journal.
Obviously poor manuscripts will be rejected before peer review.
2. Academic Editor Assessment
A single-blind peer-review process is applied for the Highlights of Science journals. It means that reviewers know the identity of authors, but authors don’t know the identity of reviewers.
Each submitted manuscript will be assessed by at least two qualified reviewers. Reviewers typically have 10 days to submit their report after agreeing to review. The journal Editorial Office will follow up with late reviewers and keep authors informed if there are any delays.
Reviewers can be suggested by the academic editors at any stage before a final acceptance/rejection decision, or are identified through web searches for related articles by the in-house editorial staff. The final selected reviewers are based on their expertise, publication history, and/or past reviews for Highlights of Science journals. All reviewers must fulfil the following criteria:
hold a PhD degree or be a recognized expert in the field;
have no conflicts of interest with the authors;
not have co-authored publications with the authors in the last five years;
have recent publications in the field of the submitted manuscript.
After peer-review, the academic editors will make a decision based on reviewers’ comments and their own evaluation. The following decision types are available:
Authors are usually requested to revise their manuscript based on reviewers’ comments and editor recommendations within a given deadline. When resubmitting the revised manuscript, authors need to provide a cover letter with point-by-point responses to reviewers’ comments and a detailed explanation of how the manuscript has been revised. The revised version will be returned to the reviewers and the academic editors for further comments.
The following flowchart shows the summary of the editorial process at Highlights of Science.