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Editorial Policy


Editorial Board / AE Tasks and Responsibilities

JOCCH has a very broad focus. Being an interdisciplinary journal, the number of topics of the potential submissions is much larger than a single Editor-in-Chief could master through personal experience alone. The Editorial Board plays a crucial role in the management of ACM JOCCH. From the beginning all board members have been asked to serve as Associate Editors (AE) responsible for acquiring and seeing papers through the peer-review process. With our goal of increasing the quality and number of submissions, the workload of the board should consequently grow.

As Associate Editor (AE), you are responsible for reading the submission, assigning reviewers, evaluating the reviews, and ultimately making a recommendation for the acceptance or rejection of the paper. The details of these processes are described below.

Quality and efficiency in reviewing is essential to the success of JOCCH. To publish papers in a timely fashion we ask you to respond to all requests to assign reviewers and make recommendations as quickly as possible. Our standard invitation letter to reviewers asks them to return their reviews within four weeks.

The manuscript submission and peer-review process is organized as follows:

  1. Submitted papers are checked by the journal admin and Information Director and then assigned to the EIC.
  2. The EIC will make the first assessment of the paper, taking the immediate decision to reject without review, or assigning it to a selected AE. The assignment will be based on the scientific background and experience of the individual AE, but will also comply with the JOCCH conflict of interest policy, as well as the existing AE workload.
  3. The selected AE will take an active role in the review process: he might also take a decision for a desk reject, or will promptly select anonymous reviewers; shepherding the reviewers through the process to ensure a fast revision cycle; and, finally, submitting a suggested decision to the EIC (see a more detailed description and "how to" guide in the subsection "Review Procedures" below).
  4. The EIC will take the final decision on each submission.

JOCCH uses ScholarOne’s Manuscript Central manuscript submission and peer-review system to support the various steps in the reviewing pipeline, from submission to final decision.

Desk Reject Policy

ACM permits both desk rejects and "assisted” desk rejects. Assisted desk rejects are rejections based on the judgment of the EiC or an AE that a paper is either out of scope or so far from acceptable as to make external reviews unnecessary.  Assisted desk rejects may involve obtaining one outside review to corroborate an AE's judgment.  

Articles may be desk-rejected for the following reasons:

  • - Topic is clearly out of scope, irrelevant, or outdated.
  • - The work clearly does not meet sufficient standards of novelty or quality of presentation.
  • - There is plagiarism, self-plagiarism, or simultaneous submission.
  • - The manuscript is incomplete, over the page limit, or incorrectly formatted.

Even in case of a desk reject response, it is mandatory to provide a single and possibly detailed review report, to make clear the reasons for the rejection to the author(s). This can be done by the AE either by submitting a detailed comment, or by acting as a formal reviewer and compiling a standard reviewer report (in this latter case the AE should invite himself as reviewer).

All refereed articles accepted for publication need to have three qualified reviews. Soliciting fewer than three reviews is fine for clear reject cases, but not sufficient for articles that are accepted.  In all cases, the final decision is within the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief. Authors have the right to appeal such decisions.

Since unfortunately it is more and more complicated to find experts willing to accept review tasks, AEs are warmly suggested to select & invite more than three reviewers. Since an average of 50% of the contacted people do not accept the proposed review task, the EiC suggestion is to invite around 8 people in the first stage (steering the process and inviting others if more than 4 deny the invitation). Please consider also that people who accepted to do a review might not finalize it...

Plagiarism Checking

When you view a paper, you will see a tab titled ‘Manuscript Details.’ Click on the tab to find more information on the paper. Scroll down to ‘Plagiarism Check – iThenticate’ to find the results of similarity check to see whether the paper has a large overlap with any published work. By ACM policy, conference papers must have at least 25 percent new material, see http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/simultaneous-submissions. If you find the paper has too much similarity with an existing published work, either reject the paper or contact the Editor-in-Chief for discussion.

Please note that in case the similarity is with an unpublished paper of the same author(s) (i.e. because a pre-print was included on his/her publication repository), this should be ignored since it  is perfectly acceptable.

Review Procedures

An AE is responsible for finding at least three (3) appropriate reviewers with the necessary knowledge and experience for a manuscript, and for supervising the review process until a decision is reached. There are three steps to the invitation process:

  • - Select
  • - Assign
  • - Invite

Assigning reviewers:

  1. Log in to Manuscript Central.
  2. Via the Associate Editor Dashboard, click on the “Awaiting Referee Selection” queue.
  3. Click on “View Submission” to view the paper.
  4. Click on “Take Action.”
  5. Scroll down to see the results returned from Referee Locator* or to search for an existing reviewer in the system or to create a new reviewer account. NOTE: Before creating a new account for a reviewer, use the reviewer search option to see if there is an account already in the system. This will allow you to choose an existing Manuscript Central account. Please also check whether the email address of the reviewer is still valid.
  6. Click on “Add/Grant REF Role” to assign the selected reviewer.
  7. Click on the “Invite” button to view the draft invitation letter, then send it out.

A reviewer should be able to accept or decline the task automatically. However, in some cases, a separate step must be taken to mark the reviewer as agreed or otherwise, in the system.

To make an immediate decision, such in the case of a desk reject, change the value of the "reviews required to make decision" box from the default value of 3 to 2, 1, or even zero (for instance, in case of minor corrections to be verified by you only).

*Referee Locator:
When a paper is submitted, the Manuscript Central Referee Locator tool automatically finds a pool of potential reviewers using an algorithm that looks at the article title, abstracts, keywords, and other metadata contained in the submission. It then compares that information with published papers in the Web of Science from the last five years. 

A pool of potential reviewers is then auto-suggested.  A list of up to 30 reviewers is provided in order of relevancy, providing e-mail addresses as well as links into the Web of Science to view information about their published papers. 

This feature is not intended to replace your AE experience, knowledge, or judgment in selecting reviewers. However, it is one additional tool you will have access to in your search for reviewers.

Review Supervision: 

The system automatically sends out reminder emails to the referees. However, automated reminders are easy to ignore, so you, as AE, should check your Associate Editor Center every few weeks at least, to maintain a reasonable turn-around time for the reviews.

Review Deadline:

To grant an extension to a reviewer:

  1. Go to the Associate Editor Dashboard.
  2. Search for the paper (via Manuscript ID or via Manuscript Title).
  3. Click on "Take Action."
  4. Click on “Grant an extension” underneath the referee’s name.
  5. Set the new due date.

You may also ask the journal admin to grant such extensions.

Making a preliminary decision:

For each review you will receive an e-mail notification; when all the reviews are completed, you may make your preliminary recommendation that will be sent to the Editors-in-Chief for approval (this decision should take into consideration your own opinion of the paper, as well as the general consensus of the referees).

  1. Find a paper in the AE Dashboard, “Awaiting AE Recommendation” queue.
  2. Select the paper, then click on “Take Action.”
  3. Select a recommendation, then write in your comments to the EiC and Author.
  4. Click on “Save as Draft” or “Submit.”

For most journals, there are five decision options:

  • - Accept a paper when a submission is excellent, and there are no suggestions for improvement.
  • - Choose Minor Revision when you feel the paper should be accepted after slight revisions.
  • - Choose Major Revision if a paper has real potential, but a large component should be redone and re-reviewed.
  • - Reject a paper when the submission does not meet publication standards.
  • - Reject & Resubmit a paper when the content is definitely not ready for publication, but the basic ideas are of interest and, after an intense reworking, the paper could reach publication standards.

Handling a revised paper:

When a revision is submitted, it should be automatically reassigned to you as AE.

  • - For a resubmission of a paper with minor revisions, check that the authors have completed the necessary corrections and send out for re-review or make your decision as described above.
  • - For a resubmission with major revisions, the original reviewers will be automatically selected. However, you must take action to invite some or all of them to review the revised paper, or to invite a few new reviewers to complement the initial review pool.

Accessing Previous Versions of a Revision:

You have access to all versions of a manuscript. Revisions are indicated by a revision number appended to the manuscript ID (e.g., R1 or R2). To view decision-related correspondence regarding a previous version, scroll down to “Version History” and click on the “Switch Details” button.

Revised and resubmitted files will also include a link to the Author’s response on the header.

When you are on a task-related tab, such as “Invite Reviewers,” the version history will appear on the right side of the screen. Clicking on the “View Review Details” for the previous version will give you the Author’s Response, Decision Letter, and Reviews.

For further instructions:

Refer to the ScholarOne tutorial for editors or contact the journal admin.

Duration of Editorial Board / AE term

Due to the workload of board members acting as AEs, and also to have a continuous stream of new and excellent researchers on the board, board membership is limited to three years.
Since we want to ensure some continuity in the management of the journal and a smooth transition from term-to-term, the board is renewed in two sessions. This means that every 18 months, 50% of the editorial board is exchanged.

Nomination process

The EIC, considering also possible input from the AEs, will select potential new board candidates for consideration.

Criteria for inclusion in this candidate list will be scientific visibility and relevant scientific fields and accomplishments. Additional criteria might also include past journal management experience and a good record of participation as a JOCCH reviewer. The EIC will also to take into account the nationalities of potential new board members, to achieve broad international representation.

The EIC will invite the selected candidates to join the JOCCH Editorial Board.

More information on ACM publications can be found at this ACM web site, including policies on copyrights.

Conflict of Interest Policy

Editor-in-Chief

The policy to address the conflict-of-interest (COI) that arises when the editor-in-chief (EIC) of JOCCH is an author of a submitted paper is described in: http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/conflict_of_interest/

In brief, any paper submitted by the EIC will be processed by an Associate Editor who is specifically designated for this purpose. The designated Associate Editor must have agreed to accept this responsibility and should not be a collaborator of the EIC or from the same organization as the EIC. This Associate Editor will not process the paper herself/himself, but will hand it to another Editorial Board member whose identity will not be disclosed to the EIC.
The EIC will have no visibility on the revision status and data of his submission(s) at any stage of the revision process.

Associate Editor

Associate Editors of JOCCH do not have access to the papers that they are not assigned to in order to avoid conflict-of-interest when they submit a paper.

 
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