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Guidelines to make process as collegial and constructive as possible

Guidelines for Editors

Editorial boards are an essential and valuable resource for OA Text journals. Our editors are experts in their respective fields and are responsible for the peer review process and the content of the journal. Their role is to handle the peer review of manuscripts, make recommendation on the acceptance or rejection of a paper and attract high-quality submissions. Below are some guidelines for editors, based on COPE Code of Conductand Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors.

We ask all journal editors to make every reasonable effort to adhere to the following ethical guidelines for OA Text journal articles that seem worthy of peer review.

Choosing reviewers

Editors should ensure that appropriate reviewers are selected for submissions (i.e. individuals who are able to judge the work and are free from disqualifying competing interests). Editors should ideally choose at least two reviewers to provide a report (the default on Manuscript Central is set to three).

Editors should cease to use reviewers who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality or late reviews. Editors should use a wide range of sources (not just personal contacts) to identify potential new reviewers (e.g. author suggestions, bibliographic databases).

Review process

Journal editors should give unbiased consideration to each manuscript submitted for consideration for publication, and should judge each on its merits, without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, seniority, or institutional affiliation of the author(s).

Editors should be ready to justify any important deviation from the described peer review process. Editors should require reviewers to disclose any potential competing interests before agreeing to review a submission.

Journal editors must keep the peer review process confidential; information or correspondence about a manuscript should not be shared with anyone outside of the peer review process.

Journal editors should make all reasonable effort to process submitted manuscripts in an efficient and timely manner.

Editors should monitor the performance of peer reviewers and take steps to ensure this is of high standard. Editors should encourage reviewers to comment on

-ethical questions and possible research and publication misconduct raised by submissions (e.g. unethical research design, inappropriate data manipulation and presentation).

-the originality of submissions and to be alert to redundant publication and plagiarism.

Decisions

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.

Journal editors may reject a submitted manuscript without resort to formal peer review if they consider the manuscript to be inappropriate for the journal and outside its scope.

If a journal editor receives a claim that a submitted article is under consideration elsewhere or has already been published, then he or she has a duty to investigate the matter with OA Text.

Editors should not reverse a decision to accept a submission unless serious problems are identified with the submission.

Editors should flag any case of suspected misconduct or disputed authorship with the editor-in-chief or the publisher.

Any data or analysis presented in a submitted manuscript should not be discussed or used in a journal editor's own research except with the consent of the author.

Complaints & Misconduct

Misconduct and unethical behaviour may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor and publisher at any time, by anyone.

Whoever informs the editor or publisher of such conduct must provide all the information needed for the investigation to be initiated. All allegations should be taken seriously and treated in the same way, until a successful decision or conclusion is reached.

Editorial board members must guarantee prompt responses to the complainants by taking action and correcting the signalled errors.

An initial decision should be taken by the editor, who should consult with or seek advice from the publisher, if appropriate.

Evidence should be gathered, while avoiding spreading any allegations beyond those who need to know.