Interactive Public Peer ReviewTM

Interactive Public Peer Review

  1. 1. Submission
  2. 2. Access review
  3. 3. Technical corrections
  4. 4. MS posted in BGD forum
  5. 5. Comments
  6. 6. Final response
  7. 7. Post-discussion editor decision
  8. 8. Revision
  9. 9. Peer-review completion
  10. 10. Final revised publication

The BG process of peer review, publication, and interactive public discussion

The process of peer review and publication in the interactive scientific journal Biogeosciences (BG) differs from traditional scientific journals to enhance quality by transparency. It involves a discussion stage, where public commenting on the submitted preprint is invited by the referees, authors, and other members of the scientific community. All participants are encouraged to stimulate further deliberation rather than simply defend their position. Authors are invited to take an active role in the debate by posting author comments as a response to referee comments and comments of the scientific community as soon as possible in order to stimulate further discussion by interested scientists. The handling editor's request for revisions and final decision takes all comments into account.

In all cases, also if no additional comments from the scientific community are received, a full peer-review process in the traditional sense, albeit in a more transparent way, is assured before publication of a paper in BG.

The process follows the following steps:

  • Submission of original manuscript and editor assignment

    Original manuscripts are submitted and assigned to an associate editor covering the relevant subject areas (for details see finding an editor).

  • Access review

    The associate editor is asked to evaluate whether the manuscript is within the scope of the journal and whether it meets a basic scientific quality. If necessary, they may ask independent referees of their choice for support. They can suggest technical corrections (typing errors, clarification of figures, etc.) before posting the manuscript as preprint. Further requests for revision of the scientific contents are not permitted at this stage of the review process but shall be expressed in the interactive discussion.

  • Technical corrections

    The authors have the opportunity to perform technical corrections, which may be reviewed by the associate editor to verify requested corrections and prevent further revisions, which are not permitted at this stage.

  • Open discussion (6 weeks)

    After acceptance of the manuscript for public peer review, it appears as preprint and is citable through DOI. The discussion phase represents a unique opportunity to engage in an iterative and developmental reflective process. During this phase interactive comments can be posted by designated referees (anonymous or named) and all interested members of the scientific community (named). All participants are encouraged to stimulate further deliberation rather than simply to defend their position. This enhancement-led process is offered to maximize the impact of the article. Normally, every preprint receives at least two referee comments. Authors are invited to take an active role in the debate by posting author comments as a response to referee comments and comments of the scientific community as soon as possible in order to stimulate further discussion by interested scientists. After the open discussion (final response phase), no more community comments and referee comments can be accepted. However, the contact author and the editor of the manuscript in discussion have the opportunity to post final author comments and editor comments, respectively, beyond the open discussion.

  • Final response and peer-review completion

    After the open discussion, the authors are expected to post a response to all comments within 3 weeks, in case they have not done so during the open discussion. Based on the responses, the associate editor either invites the authors to submit a revised manuscript or directly rejects the manuscript. If necessary they may also consult referees in the same way as during the completion of a traditional peer-review process.

  • Publication of final revised paper in BG

    In the case of acceptance, the final revised paper is typeset and proofread. Then it is published on the BG website with a direct link to the preceding preprint and interactive discussion. In addition, all referee and associate editor reports, the authors' response, as well as the different manuscript versions of the peer-review completion will be published (only valid for manuscripts submitted from 01 February 2014). All publications (preprint, interactive comments, final revised paper) are permanently archived and remain accessible to the open public.

The timing indicated above is a guideline which may have to be modified according to the availability and response times of editors, referees, and authors.

The submission of comments and replies which continue the discussion of scientific papers beyond the limits of immediate interactive discussion is encouraged. Such peer-reviewed comments undergo the same process of peer review and publication as described above: after appearance and discussion, they may also be published in BG if sufficiently substantial.

If a manuscript that has been posted as a preprint is not accepted for publication as a final paper in BG, the authors have several options to proceed as outlined under frequently asked questions, point 6. For further information on the definition and standing of manuscripts in discussion, please read the EGU Position Statement.

Types of interactive comments

In the interactive public discussion, the following types of interactive comments can be submitted for immediate non-peer-reviewed appearance alongside the preprint (manuscript in discussion):

  • Community comments (CCs) can be posted by any registered member of the scientific community (free online registration). Such comments are attributed, i.e. posted under the name of the commentator.
  • Referee comments (RCs) can only be posted by the referees involved in the peer review of the manuscript in discussion. They can be anonymous or attributed (according to the referee's preference).
  • Editor comments (ECs) can only be posted by the editor of the manuscript in discussion.
  • Author comments (ACs) can only be posted by the contact author of the manuscript in discussion on behalf of all co-authors. Co-authors can post CCs but not ACs. After the open discussion, during final response, the author comments should be structured in a clear and easy-to-follow sequence: (1) comments from referees/public, (2) author's response, and (3) author's changes in manuscript.

The authors and editor of a manuscript in open discussion are automatically informed via email about the appearance of comments in the interactive public discussion. Alert services are also available to other members of the scientific community. The interactive discussion is supervised but not actively moderated by the editors, who have the option of censoring comments that are not of substantial nature or of direct relevance to the issues raised in the manuscript in discussion or which contain personal insults. Authors are advised to follow the discussion of their preprint and to notify the Copernicus Publications Editorial Support and the handling editor in case of abusive comments. The BG editorial board reserves the right to exclude abusive commentators.

All comments receive their own DOI and are fully citable and archived. Comments can be composed by using the WYSIWYG editor for HTML content. More complex content can be uploaded as a *.pdf file and will be displayed as a supplement to the comment. Figures can directly be included in the comment.

Useful links