Editorial Process and Quality Control
Quality is the basis and core of sustainable scholarly publishing. From submission to publication, OBM journals implement a standardized editorial process and comprehensive quality control procedures. All articles, except Editorial or Book Review, published in OBM journals undergo rigorous pre-check, peer review and editorial decision. Editorial and Book Review are checked by Editor-in-Chief or one Editorial Board member instead of standard peer review.
Though being rigid in process and strict in quality, we aim to provide a friendly, fluent and fast service to authors. Authors have a number of opportunities to submit rebuttals against review comments or editorial decision. We take immediate action in response to authors’ inquiries or requests.
The overall editorial procedures are shown in the following flow chart:
We start pre-check as soon as we receive a submission. We check:
- Whether the manuscript falls within the scope of the journal;
- Whether the information regarding authorship is reliable;
- Whether presentation meets our selection standards;
- Whether required information regarding research ethics is included in the manuscript;
- Whether the manuscript potentially suffers plagiarism.
Manuscripts of low quality, or with false author information, or proven plagiarism, or lack of any required information will be rejected directly. Manuscripts considered suitable for further evaluation will be sent to independent reviewers for peer review.
Peer review is thus far the best practice and most important procedure to hunt problems in and contribute suggestions to manuscripts. A journal is not a court that adjudicates a study or a group, but a free forum that provides an opportunity for scholars to equally discuss a topic and broaden a thinking.
Authors may recommend potential reviewers if they wish in order to enrich our review pool. It is at the Editor(s)’ discretion whether to invite the recommended reviewer(s) to review the manuscript. Authors should not suggest colleagues working in the same institution or other recent collaborators due to conflict of interest. Authors should provide reviewers’ institutional email address where possible. Intentionally falsifying information, for example, suggesting a reviewer with a false name or email address, will result in rejection of this manuscript as well as future submission from the same group.
Academic Editors, like the Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board Members and Guest Editors, can also suggest reviewer(s) during pre-check. Alternatively, editorial staff will use our reviewer pool to select suitable scholars.
When inviting reviewers, editorial staff will check and make sure that:
- The reviewers' information is valid and reliable;
- The reviewers are qualified considering expertise and research background;
- The reviewers and authors have no potential conflict of interests.
OBM journals execute single-blinded peer review which means reviewers are anonymous. If interested, after a paper is published, the reviewers can contact the authors for further discussion or future collaboration. Usually, reviewers are given two weeks to complete their review. Extensions might be granted on request. At least two independent review reports are collected for each manuscript.
In cases where only minor revisions are recommended, the authors are usually requested to revise the paper before resubmitting it to the Academic Editor. Manuscripts may or may not be sent to reviewers again after author revision, depending on whether the reviewer requested to check the revised version. Usually we allow at most two rounds of major revision per manuscript.
Decisions can only be made by external Academic Editors, Editor-in-Chief and/or Associate Editor, an Editorial Board member if the former have conflict of interest with authors, Guest Editor if the manuscripts are submitted to the special issue he/she edits.
When making a decision, Academic Editors check:
- Whether the reviewers are qualified and suitable to review the manuscript;
- Whether the reviews were thorough and comments are adequate;
- Whether the authors have properly responded to reviewers’ comments;
- Whether the manuscript now meets the standard for publication.
Academic Editors will check again at this stage whether the manuscript contains plagiarism.
The Academic Editor will make a decision on a paper comprehensively based on all review comments. They can accept, reject, or ask the authors for revisions. Academic Editors can make a decision that conflicts with the reviewers, in which occasion, they must justify their decision.
If a manuscript is rejected, authors have an opportunity to appeal or complain the decision by contacting the Managing Editor of the journal. Subsequent procedures will be take at once.
Production, Proofreading and Publication
Production process contains layout editing, language editing and conversion to other formats for indexing purpose. This process are carried out by our internal professional editors. Only extensive language editing service will be charged if authors confirmed the need. We encourage authors to seek help from native English speaker colleagues prior to our free-of-charge language editing. Before final publication, authors have a last chance to proofread the final version and only make minor necessary corrections.
Correction and Retraction
Corrections on significant errors found after publication will be published separately in Correction form at the end of each issue. Small errors that do not influence the understanding of the study will not be published. We encourage authors to carefully proofread the final version and try to avoid such small corrections after papers are published online.
Retractions are published when authors, audience or editors found honest errors or scientific misconduct, etc., contained in the paper after publication. Editors will investigate the paper in question on a case by case basis, and will contact authors and reviewers before make a final decision of retraction.
Quality of Editors
OBM editors, both internal or external, editorial or academic, are all required to closely adhere to publishing ethics, comply with standardized editorial and evaluation process. We only select widely recognized and leading scholars in the research community to join in our Academic Editor team. For transparency, all editors’ image, name, institute and position in the journal are listed on the page of Editorial Board. All their responsibilities are fully and clearly introduced at the very beginning of participation.
Quality of Reviewers
When selecting reviewers, we carefully check and make sure: (1) the reviewers’ expertise is suitable for the manuscript; (2) the reviewers’ research background is qualified to review the manuscript, usually a PhD or MD degree is necessary; (3) the reviewers should have publishing experience in the same field; (4) there is no conflict of interest between reviewers and the authors. We check each single reviewer before sending an invitation.
Quality of Peer Review
For OBM journals, peer review is single-blinded, so that reviewers can comment straightforward; peer review is independent, so that reviewers do not influence each other and can make the most objective recommendations. When reviewing a manuscript, reviewers are aided and guided by an online evaluation report system that covers all the key points that reviewers need to assess and comment. Peer review is supervised and review comments are checked by Academic Editors.
Quality of Editor Decision
Only external Academic Editor can make decisions. Academic Editor positions are voluntary and honorary. The number of accepted papers does not increase their income. Academic Editors are required to avoid conflict of interest with the authors. For transparency, Academic Editor’s name is listed on the papers that they accepted.
Quality after Publication
OBM journals all publish in Open Access model, meaning that once a paper is published online, it is open to the public. Anyone can get access to the full text without any barrier, so that they can check and re-examine the papers easily and freely. If there is any question concerning a paper, OBM journals welcome comments and suggestions, or Letter to Editor. If there is serious scientific or ethical concerning, we will start investigation and take actions immediately; if proven, we will initiate correction or retraction procedure.