After your manuscript has been sent to EIJ, the Editorial Process begins. The editorial Board comprises of several Editors, including the Editor-in-Chief, 5 Deputy Editors, a Guest Editor and a number of Advisory, Section, Consultant and Statistical Editors. The Editors adhere to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) code of conduct and are responsible for maintaining the high standards of the Journal and providing the Authors with specific comments.
Each submitted manuscript undergoes an initial quality check by the Editorial office. Should the Instructions for submission not be adequately adhered to, the manuscript will be returned to the Authors in order for them to address any pending issues. If the manuscript successfully passes through the editorial office pre-screening, it will move to the screening phase.
In the screening phase, the manuscript is read by one or more Editors and internally checked for quality, originality, impact and priority in competition with other submissions. The Editors require a Cover Letter that specifies concisely the significance of the paper, the novelty of the message, the relation to daily practice and the incremental value compared with the existing literature, as well as the strengths of the article and why the Authors feel it is relevant to EIJ and worthy of publication.
The screening phase is primarily focused on the match between your manuscript and EIJ rather than a judgement on the merits of your work. Due to the large volume of annual submissions, a large proportion of manuscripts receive a rapid decision of rejection (Reject-up-Front). In fact, general EIJ criteria must be fulfilled to warrant further consideration and peer review. General reasons for the decision to reject upfront typically include i) circumstances where EIJ has other papers already accepted or recently published in a given subject area and therefore the Editors wish to reserve more of the limited journal pages for other subject areas; ii) circumstances where some papers are focused outside the scope of what the Editors feel is appropriate for EIJ; iii) circumstances where it is the Editors’ judgement that the paper does not offer enough novelty or a strong enough confirmation of prior findings to assign publishable priority.
If the manuscript successfully passes through the screening phase, it moves to the peer-review phase. Alternatively, a decision letter of rapid reject (Reject-up-Front) is sent.
When your manuscript is flagged for review, the manuscript moves to one or more Editors with expertise in the topic area. This is a second screening stage during which the handling Editor(s) may feel that the manuscript does not meet the Journal’s standards and recommend a reject. Should an Editor wish to decline a manuscript without peer review, the manuscript will move to another Editor upstream in the process for a second opinion. If the manuscript is considered to be of sufficient potential interest and quality to enter the external review phase, external Reviewers who are experts in the field are invited. Typically, EIJ invites 3 to 4 Reviewers, but additional Reviewers may be invited at the discretion of the handling Editor if it is felt that the existing reviews are insufficient. External Reviewers are normally given 2 weeks (after accepting the invitation) to provide their written report. During the single blind peer review, all manuscripts are considered privileged communications. Reviewers are also asked to refrain from accepting the review task if they have personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest with authors, institutions or related to a paper’s topic. When the comments and recommendations of the external Reviewer are returned to the Office, all handling Editors are asked to formulate a recommendation. The manuscript is then further discussed during the Editorial Board meeting in which all deputies and handling section editors are present.
The Editorial Board, including the Editor-in-Chief, the Deputy Editors and the Section Editors meet digitally once a week to discuss all pending manuscripts that are ‘decision-ready’.
During the meeting, the discussion is around the scientific merit of the papers and the standards and priorities of the Journal. The discussion is informed by the comments of the external Reviewers and the handling Editors to reach a final agreement and collegial decision. Frequent decisions at this stage are to reject the paper, request re-submission on a de-novo basis or ask the Authors to revise. If the discussion does not reach a consensus, extra reviews/statistical reviewers or field experts may be requested, and the manuscript is re-discussed at a later stage. Finally, all decisions must be seconded by the majority of the Editors.
Only about 10% of the manuscript initially submitted are eventually accepted by EIJ.
At the end of the review process and after the Editorial Board discussion, the Corresponding Author receives a decision letter. This process normally takes less than 4 weeks from initial submission.
If the Authors are asked to revise their manuscript, instructions for resubmission are provided and a timeline is indicated by the Editorial Office. The Authors are asked to respond with a revised manuscript and a rebuttal letter detailing their changes.
By submitting their revised manuscript to EIJ, the Authors confirm the acceptance of all 3 of the following conditions:
After the review process is complete, if the manuscript is finally accepted, a decision of final acceptance by the Editorial Board is sent to the Corresponding Author, and the production process begins.
A Guest Editor is designated to handle the Editorial Process in case of potential conflicts of interest (e.g., when a submission comes from the Institution of the Editor-in-Chief or the Deputy Editors). Editors who have a potential conflict of interest with a given submission do not handle it, and recuse themselves from the discussion of the paper during the Editorial Board meeting to avoid influencing the discussion and the final decision.