ACSE Journals have adopted a double-blind reviewing policy, where both the referee and author remain anonymous throughout the process. Please remove all identifying features from the main document itself, ensuring that the Authors' identity is not revealed. However, this does not preclude Authors from citing their own works. However, Authors must cite their works in a manner that does not make explicit their identity.
Acceptable: "Anwar (2013) has indicated that . . ."
Acceptable: "Some scholars have indicated that . . . (e.g., Anwar, 2013; Mahbuba & Anwar, 2018)"
ACSE Journals operate a double-blind review process. All contributions will be initially assessed by the Editor-in-Chief for suitability for the journal. Papers deemed suitable are then typically sent to a minimum of two independent expert reviewers to assess the scientific quality of the paper. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the final decision regarding the acceptance or rejection of articles. Editor-in-Chief's decision is final.
DOUBLE-BLIND PEER REVIEW
ACSE Journals use a double-blind review, which means the identities of the authors are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa. To facilitate this, please include the following separately:
Title page (with author details): This should include the title, authors' names, affiliations, acknowledgements, and any Declaration of Interest statement, and a complete address for the corresponding author including an e-mail address.
Main document (without author details): The main body of the paper (including the references, figures, tables, and any acknowledgements) should not include any identifying information, such as the authors' names or affiliations.
Both the reviewer and the author are anonymous in this model. Some advantages of this model are listed below.
- Author anonymity limits reviewer bias, for example, based on an author's gender, country of origin, academic status, or previous publication history.
- Articles written by prestigious or renowned authors are considered on the basis of the content of their papers, rather than their reputation.
- Bear in mind that despite the above, reviewers can often identify the author through their writing style, subject matter, or self-citation – it is exceedingly difficult to guarantee total author anonymity. The reviewers of ACSE Journals exemplify best practices in a given review situation.
THE PEER REVIEW PROCESS
The peer-review process can be broadly summarized into 8 steps, although these steps can vary slightly between ACSE Journals. See below.
- Submission of Paper
The corresponding or submitting author submits the paper to the journal. For USA contributors, this is usually via an online system. For international scholars/contributors, ACSE Journals accept submissions by email or online, which is indicated on the submission information.
2. Editorial Office Assessment
The journal checks the paper’s composition and arrangement against the journal’s Author Guidelines to make sure it includes the required sections and stylizations. The quality of the paper is not assessed at this point.
3. Appraisal by the Editor-in-Chief
The Editor-in-Chief checks that the paper is appropriate for the journal and is sufficiently original and interesting. If not, the paper may be rejected without being reviewed any further.
4. Invitation to Reviewers
The Editor-in-Chief sends invitations to individuals he or she believes would be appropriate reviewers. As responses are received, further invitations are issued, if necessary, until the required number of acceptances is obtained – commonly this is 3, but there is some variation between journals.
5. Review is Conducted
The reviewer sets time aside to read the paper several times. The first read is used to form an initial impression of the work. If major problems are found at this stage, the reviewer may feel comfortable rejecting the paper without further work. Otherwise, they will read the paper several more times, taking notes so as to build a detailed point-by-point review. The review is then submitted to the journal, with a recommendation to accept or reject it – or else with a request for revision (usually flagged as either major or minor) before it is reconsidered.
6. Journal Evaluates the Reviews
The Editor-in-Chief considers all the returned reviews before making an overall decision. If the reviews differ widely, the Editor-in-Chief may invite an additional reviewer so as to get an extra opinion before making a decision.
7. The Decision is Communicated
The Editor-in-Chief sends a decision email to the author including any relevant reviewer comments. Whether the comments are anonymous or not will depend on the type of peer review that the journal operates.
8. Last Steps: If accepted, the paper is sent to production. If the article is rejected or sent back for either major or minor revision, the Editor-in-Chief may include constructive comments from the reviewers to help the author improve the article. At this point, reviewers should also be sent an email or letter letting them know the outcome of their review. If the paper was sent back for revision, the reviewers should expect to receive a new version, unless they have opted out of further participation. However, where only minor changes were requested this follow-up review might be done by the Editor-in-Chief.
COPE ETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR PEER REVIEWERS
ACSE Journals provide the membership of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) as an option for all of its journal editors. COPE has developed Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers, to which Editors and their editorial boards can refer for guidance. Read the COPE guidelines below or visit their website to download the PDF.
Peer reviewers play a role in ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record. The peer-review process depends to a large extent on the trust and willing participation of the scholarly community and requires that everyone involved behaves responsibly and ethically. Peer reviewers play a central and critical part in the peer review process but may come to the role without any guidance and be unaware of their ethical obligations. Journals have an obligation to provide transparent policies for peer review, and reviewers have an obligation to conduct reviews in an ethical and accountable manner. Clear communication between the journal and the reviewers is essential to facilitate a consistent, fair, and timely review. COPE has heard cases from its members related to peer review issues and bases these guidelines, in part, on the collective experience and wisdom of the COPE Forum participants. It is hoped they will provide helpful guidance to researchers, be a reference for editors and publishers in guiding their reviewers, and act as an educational resource for institutions in training their students and researchers.
Peer review, for the purposes of these guidelines, refers to reviews provided on manuscript submissions to journals, but can also include reviews for other platforms and apply to public commenting that can occur pre- or post-publication. Reviews of other materials such as preprints, grants, books, conference proceeding submissions, registered reports (preregistered protocols), or data will have a similar underlying ethical framework, but the process will vary depending on the source material and the type of review requested. The model of peer review will also influence elements of the process.
FINAL CHECK-LIST BEFORE SUBMISSION
Please ensure that:
- The manuscript has been 'spell-checked' and 'grammar checked'
- Note that submitted manuscripts will not go through language-focused copy editing with the journal prior to or after acceptance; language-focused copy editing is the responsibility of the authors prior to submission
- Please prepare the manuscript for blind review; whenever possible, please use author names and references for self-citations but make sure that you use the third person to discuss the work (see “Review Policy” above)
- All references mentioned in the Reference List are cited in the text, and vice versa
- Permission has been obtained for use of copyrighted material from other sources (including the Internet)
- A competing interests statement is provided, even if the authors have no competing interests to declare
- Journal policies detailed in this guide have been reviewed\
Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere including electronically in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the copyright holder. In instances where authors prepare multiple submissions using the same dataset or sue partially overlapping variables in two or more articles, this needs to be declared upfront in the letter to the editor. Masked reference(s) to previous studies based on the same dataset need to be included in the manuscript itself so the reader can understand the novelty of the new study in relation to the previous articles. Please consult the APA-manual on piecemeal publications. In cases where the manuscript is part of a larger project (e.g., prospective longitudinal study, an intervention study with numerous arms, etc.) in which other partly overlapping publications already exist, or are planned in parallel to the submitted manuscript, need to be declared in the accompanying letter to the Editor-in-Chief. Authors are asked to be upfront declaring such manuscripts. A manuscript may be returned if the degree of overlap is found to be too large.
ACSE Journals are committed to upholding the highest standards of publication ethics and takes all possible measures against any publication malpractices. All authors submitting their works to the journal for publication as original articles attest that the submitted works represent their authors’ contributions and have not been copied or plagiarized in whole or in part from other works. The Similarity Check process can be broadly employed by use of CrossCheck software, although these steps can vary slightly between ACSE Journals.
For example, per the ACSE "Code of Ethics" authors are expected to adhere to the guidelines outlined: ACSE may consider submitted manuscripts for possible publication only if the following two conditions are satisfactory: (1) a maximum overall acceptable similarity index must be less than 25 % (< 25% in total), excluding the citations and references and the bibliography. (2) a maximum acceptable similarity index from any single source must be less than 2 % ( < 2% per source).
The submission-review-acceptance-publication process can be broadly summarized into 7 steps, although these steps can vary slightly between ACSE Journals. See below.
Step 1: Desk Editor’s decision on the article submitted
For example, check Submission Consent Form, APC agreement, APA style format, Publication Ethics, and Publication Malpractice, and CrossCheck screening: the Turnitin software to detect instances of overlapping and similar text in submitted manuscripts. Authors can be assured that ACSE Journals are committed to actively combating plagiarism and publishing original research.
[Editorial Board and Selection Policy: Please note that the Editorial Board of the ACSE Journals will be very selective, accepting only the articles on the basis of scholarly merit, research significance, research integrity, and compliance with the journal style guidelines (APA). ACSE Journals and Editorial Board respect and promote all authors and contributors on the basis of research ability and experience without considering race, citizenship, or any of narrow frames of reference.]
Step 2: External Reviewers Board’s decision on the scholarly merits of the content of the article.
If the article successfully passes the requirements of submission and the first round of screening and Plagiarism checking, then the paper goes to external reviews, which will take another 1 to 2 weeks from then.
[Important: After the external reviews completed if the paper gets accepted in favor of publication in the journal then an invoice of APC will be followed. Based on an invoice the author should make a payment for APC. Before the paper finally gets accepted any payment does not count any credit toward its acceptance for publication.]
Step 3: Editorial Copy Editor’s decision on editorial copy editing
For example, double-check citations in text and references, tables and figures, heading and subheadings, etc. If the article finally gets accepted for publication and the author has paid APC for their publication on the journal, then the paper goes to Copy Editor and Typesetter, which will take another 1 to 2 weeks from then.
Step 4: Production Editor’s decision on the full information of the article
For example, check DOI number, authors’ name, affiliation, contact information, pagination, etc. If the article has been checked and edited by Copy Editor and Typesetter and then finally has approved for Production and Printing, then the paper goes to Production Editor, which will take another 1 to 2 weeks from then.
Step 5: Printing Editor’s decision on printed hard copies
For example, check the mailing address of printed hard copies to the authors. This process takes another 1 to 2 weeks from then.
Step 6: Online Publishing Editor’s decision on online PDF attachments.
This process takes another 1 to 2 weeks from then.
Step 7: Indexing Editor’s decision on Google scholar and other indexing.
This process takes another 1 to 2 weeks from then, although these steps can vary slightly between indexing agencies.
Overall, it takes at least 2 to 3 weeks from submission to acceptance. In addition, it takes at least another 1 to 2 weeks from APC payment to online DOI publication. Then, it takes at least another 1 to 2 weeks from online DOI publication to having indexed on Google scholar and Other indexes. For example, due to an increasing number of submissions since 2020 and a limit of publication space in each journal, the average overall time from submission to publication and print from now on takes 1 month. ACSE Journals accept submissions on a rolling basis and publish accepted articles on the first-in-first-out method.