ANR Peer Review and Publication Production
University of California
ANR Peer Review and Publication Production

New publication review

Steps of peer review process

These steps of the ANR peer review process apply to all types of publications.

Step 1—author submits manuscript to system. The author submits a manuscript for peer review to the online Manuscript FastTrack system. Charts, graphs, and tables must be submitted for peer review, as well as photographs and line drawings that provide important technical content. The latter are submitted as attachments to the document. The author can suggest possible reviewers in the Comments field. The author should also fill out the top section of the MF-21 form, which accompanies the manuscript in the system throughout its review process. Individual chapters of multi-chapter books are submitted separately.

Step 2—manuscript assigned to AE(s. Interim Director Linda Forbes receives an email notice of a submitted manuscript and works with Debbie Thompson to assign it to the appropriate subject area AE. Specialized chapters of a multi-chapter book will be delegated to other AEs as appropriate. 

Step 3—AE assesses manuscript. Once the Associate Editor receives an email notices that a submission is in the system, he/she reads the submitted manuscript to see if it can be sent out for peer review. If the AE determines that it is not ready, poorly organized or badly written, and the AE does not want to waste reviewers' time on something so rough, the author should be contacted and told what needs to be done before the manuscript is ready for review.

If the manuscript is ready for peer review but the AE sees problematic sections in it or has any concerns with statements or conclusions in the manuscript that he/she would like reviewers to address, the AE should note these in the email to reviewers.

Step 4—reviewers selected. The Associate Editor selects reviewers from the existing reviewer list in Manuscript FastTrack, the author's suggested reviewers (if included), or adds new reviewers of his/her choice. Emails are automatically sent to the reviewers once they are selected with the submission attached. Reviewers have an option to refuse the reviewer request.

Step 5—manuscript is reviewed. Using the online review form in the Manuscript FastTrack system, reviewers evaluate the manuscript. They are asked to summarize what they believe are the major problems—if any—in the manuscript. They can make comments in the actual manuscript using anonymous Track Changes and attach that file. They can also make comments to the AE in a separate file. Lastly, they are given four decision options: 
• Accept, contingent upon approved revision
• Request resubmission, a rejection but recommended to rework and resubmit
• Reject submission

Important! If a reviewer submits a marked copy of the manuscript or any written attachment, he/she should upload this as a "processed," anonymous file. This does two things: allows the author to see this attachment and ensures any comments made on the manuscript stay anonymous. Reviewers receive instructions how to make their file anonymous on their reviewer instructions form, but they do not always do this. For every reviewer attachment, AEs should 1) ensure the attached file is anonymous (see instructions here for how to do that) and 2) save it to their desktop and upload this "processed" file back the submission record on the system. This ensures reviewers cannot be determined and that authors see attachments when they receive their reviews. 

Step 6—reviews are summarized. Reviews are returned to the AE, who reads all and selects the appropriate email template (accepted with revision, rejected but resubmit, rejected) and summarizes the reviewers' major concerns. If desired, the AE can add his/her suggestions for improvement in this email. All reviewer forms—with names deleted—are automatically attached to this email, along with any copies of the manuscript that reviewers have marked.

Both the "Accept pending revision" and "Request resubmission" email templates explain how authors should address reviewer comments and queries and attach their revised manuscript. AEs are encouraged to give authors a deadline to return the final manuscript; this is the step when some authors get take a long time.

Note: If a manuscript is rejected by peer review, its author may appeal a decision to the chair of the Communications Advisory Board within 6 months.

Step 7—author revises manuscript. The author has 3 months to respond to all specific reviewer comments and queries and revise the manuscript. The revised manuscript and explanation, should be entered by the author into the online system as an attachments to the original submission, not as an entirely new submission. The AE works with the author if needed to ensure that reviewers’ comments and suggestions are properly resolved and incorporated. 

Step 8—review completed. When the AE is satisfied with the author’s responses and revision, peer review is considered successful. The AE selects the "Accepted" option on the submission record, which notifies both the author that the manuscript has successfully passed peer review and CS to indicate that production can begin. The MF-21 Submittal Form is electronically signed by the AE and author.

Step 9—pesticide recommendations checked. If any pesticide use recommendations are made in the manuscript, then the AE emails the manuscript to the Statewide Pesticide Coordinator to request his signature. For details, see When pesticides are recommended in a manuscript. Once the Pesticide Coordinator approves the material, the MF-21 Submittal Form is electronically signed by the AE.

Step 10—CS does production. Communication Services accesses the peer-reviewed manuscript, signed MF-21 and all accompanying artwork from the online review system. An ANR number is assigned to the manuscript, and CS   produces the publication, or, if the author is producing it, does a Conceptual Okay, and returns it to the author.

Step 11—reviewer receive copies. Once a publication is completed and printed or posted to the web, Communication Services sends a hard copy or a linked email for an online publication to its peer reviews and AE.

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