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AAST: The Review Process
... in Flow Charts
... in Textual Form
AAST: Review Style
AAST: Ethical Declaration
AAST: Copyright Form
AAST: Referencing with ISO 690
AAST: Using the Template
A peer review process can probably be best described with flow charts. The flow charts are contained in the companion document The Review Process in Flow Charts. This document in constrast describes the "AAST peer review process" in textual form - with or without the flow charts.
The review process follows a standard pattern common also to many other scholarly journals. The process is based on the "Generic SCIRP Peer Review Process" which is presented on the SCIRP pages under Author's Guidelines - Review Process. The AAST process is just giving a little more detail.
The "AAST Peer Review Process" is corresponding to Flow Chart 1.
It describes handling of one manuscript from 'submission' to 'publication'. The description here is emphasizing the Editors view of things. Processes and action items at the publisher are not shown in all detail.
This document is using color coding (in line with the flow charts):
Manuscript and Data Submission
An author who has decided to submit a paper to AAST will upload the manuscript with help of SCIRP's Paper Submission (and Manuscript Tracking) System (PSS). The author uploading the paper and e-mailing further with respect to the submission is called the Corresponding Author (CA). There may be coauthors to the manuscript. The CA will provide ...
Publisher's Initial Checks
At the publisher's office initial checks will be done:
The EA informs the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) about a new entry in the PSS and about the results of the initial checks.
Preparing the Peer Review Process in the AAST-PMS
The EiC prepares a new peer review process in the AAST Project Management System (AAST-PMS) and assigns an Handling Editor (HE) to the manuscript. Generally and in most cases the HE is the EiC. However, the EiC may find situations in which the editing task of a particular manuscript will need to be taken over by another member of the Editorial Board (EB). If the work is delegated, another EB member will become the HE.
The HE checks if the data is complete. If not, the HE will ask the EA or the CA for missing data.
If the HE finds it necessary, he/she will initiate a Detailed Plagiarism Check, either himself/herself or asking the EA to do it.
Preliminary Review (within 10 days)
If so far everything is satisfying, the manuscript is In Preliminary Review. The HE will make a Preliminary Review by checking all data and score the manuscript based on the answers given to these 8 questions:
Preparing and Handling the Reviews
Next the HE Prepares the Reviews. This involves selecting a minimum of two reviewers. The reviewers can be taken from the CA's proposal or the HE selects independent reviewers from a pool built up by AAST over the years. Also the publisher maintains contacts to universities and can help to find independent outside(!) reviewers. If the two reviewers disagree much about the manuscript, either the HE can bring in his/her point of view or another reviewer will be asked to deliver a third review.
Details of the subordinate "AAST Reviewer Handling Process" Flow Chart 2 The process is about handling one reviewer from 'assigning/inviting' to 'thanking'. No textual description is given about this process because it seems to be self evident.
Evaluating the Reviews (first feedback within 4 weeks)
Once all necessary reviews (a minimum of two) are obtained the manuscript is in the state To Be Evaluated. The HE writes a Review Summary based on the individual reviews and his/her own considerations. It can have one of 4 conclusions:
So again: The manuscript will make whatever necessary number of runs around the Review Loop. Eventually the manuscript will exit from the Review Loop with the status Accepted or with the status Rejected.
In practice the number of Review Loops is limited by the available time of the HE and the reviewers. The HE ultimately reserves the right to reject a paper on grounds of quality or lack of cooperation from the CA. The review provides hints on English language shortcomings, but does not necessarily correct errors. Especially nonnative English authors are referred to an Editorial Services to get the manuscript into an acceptable shape. Only small corrections on format and language can be left to SCIRP's Typesetting and Proofreading service after acceptance of the manuscript. The paper will be Rejected if the progress towards an acceptable paper seems too small after the first Review Loop.
At the latest, the CA needs to format the manuscript according to the AAST-Template once the content of the manuscript is considered ok. Formatting the manuscript into the AAST-Template would be considered the last revision towards publication. Normally, the status Accepted is only granted to the manuscript after it is presented in the layout according to the AAST-Template. The AAST-Template can be obtained from the AAST Guidelines.
Getting the Paper towards Publication
If the status is Accepted:
The CA receives the PDF produced by SCIRP for checking. Only one round of checking is intended. SCIRP reserves the right to publish the paper after integrating the first set of corrections into the paper. Now the paper is In Publishing.
Finally the paper gets Published. The HE sends e-mails (pointing to the published paper) to everyone involved in this paper saying "thank you".
Part of the Initial Checks is the Initial Plagiarism Check. At AAST, the Initial Plagiarism Check is done with assistance of the EA. It is carried out for every manuscript submitted to AAST. The check starts with a standardized Google search. In addition, the online tool Open Access Plagiarism Search (OASP) is used. Thanks to OAPS and the DFG (German Research Foundation), the service can be used free of charge. Authors can also check their manuscripts themselves before submisson. This helps to avoid bad surprise.
At AAST, a Detailed Plagiarism Check is performed if deemed necessary by the EiC.
The Corresponding Author should prepare a Cover Letter. If no Cover Letter got submitted, the colleague for Initial Plagiarism Check also checks author’s background information online. If no information can be found online, SCIRP will require the corresponding author to prepare the missing Cover Letter for manuscript submission. The letter should be about:
The AAST-PMS was configured from the open source and flexible project management web application Redmine to support all review related activities at AAST from the start of the editorial process (excluding manuscript submission) to publication or rejection. Journal hosting is also not included in the AAST-PMS because this is already well established by the publisher.
The Open Journal Systems (OJS) was also considered for the task, but was found to be too complicated and encompassing in this case, because much infrastructure (PSS and journal hosting) was already well in place at SCIRP.
AAST-Review-Form.doc Upload: 2014-01-14, Size: 82K
The form is filled out by the Handling Editor and is sent to the reviewer via e-mail.