Editorial Policies

Our journal editorial office takes a similar structure to those at many other academic journals. Comprising a range of experienced individuals, including managing editor, editorial associates, software specialists, and administrative coordinators, the editorial office strives to provide a smooth service for authors and reviewers alike. Its responsibilities include:

  • Managing the peer review process to ensure manuscripts progress smoothly through peer review. This involves providing reviewers with all the information they need, to guarantee authors receive a review that improves the quality of their manuscript.
  • Compiling issues, making sure they are delivered on time and to the highest standard.
  • Editing, proof-reading, and reformatting manuscripts to ensure they are finished to a high quality and conform to the journal style.
  • Providing assistance with submissions and handling queries and problems.

Our editorial office is quick to respond to online trends. We aim to provide a friendly, fluent and fast service to authors. Authors have a number of opportunities to submit rebuttals against review comments or editorial decision. We take immediate action in response to authors’ inquiries or requests.

For publishing and ethical standards, we follow the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals (http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/) issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and the Cope of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors (http://publicationethics.org/files/Code_of_conduct_for_journal_editors.pdf) issued by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Peer Review Process

1. Review criteria

Manuscripts are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • the material is original and timely;
  • the manuscript is written clearly and in accordance with the guidelines for authors;
  • appropriate study methods have been used;
  • the data are valid;
  • the conclusions are reasonable and well supported by the data;
  • the information contained in the manuscript is important, topical, and medically relevant.

2. Peer Review Mode

All Ant journals uses single-blind peer review, which means the identity of the peer reviewer is kept confidential but the author’s identity is made known to the reviewer.

Usually, reviewers are given three weeks to complete their review. Extensions might be granted on request. At least two independent review reports are collected for each manuscript. However, sometimes the opinions of more reviewers are sought. Peer reviewers are selected based on their expertise and ability to provide high quality, constructive, and fair reviews. For research manuscripts, the editors may also seek the opinion of a statistical reviewer. The existence of a manuscript under review should not be revealed to anyone other than the peer reviewers and editorial staff. Peer reviewers are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to the manuscripts they review and must not divulge any information about a specific manuscript or its content to any third party without prior permission from the journal’s editors. Information from submitted manuscripts may be systematically collected and analyzed to help improve the quality of the editorial or peer-review processes. Identifying information remains confidential. Final decisions regarding the publication of manuscripts are made by the Editorial Office.

3. Peer Review

Peer review is thus far the best practice and most important procedure to hunt problems in and contribute suggestions to manuscripts. A journal is not a court that adjudicates a study or a group, but a free forum that provides an opportunity for scholars to equally discuss a topic and broaden a thinking.

When inviting reviewers, editorial staff will check and make sure that:

  • The reviewers' information is valid and reliable;
  • The reviewers are qualified considering expertise and research background;
  • The reviewers and authors have no potential conflict of interests.

Generally, all research articles submitted to Ant journals undergo the standard external peer review process. (Usually non-research articles, e.g., editorials, conference abstracts, or other editorial materials, the reviews are completed directly by the editors).

4. Online review system

To ensure the most convenient and efficient peer review process possible, our peer reviews are conducted electronically via the OJS system, which can be accessed through the journal’s website: http://www.antpublisher.com/index.php/index/submission

5. Recognition for Reviewers

All Ant journals’ peer review system is now integrated into the Publons platform. Reviewers can get recognition on the review work from Publons (http://home.publons.com/). We strongly encourage our reviewers to create a Publons profile and add their review work on Publons.

6. Peer review flowchart

Technical evaluation. All submitted manuscripts will be evaluated by the Academic Editor within 48 hours of receipt for technical conformity including formatting, need for English language editing, and plagiarism check. Manuscripts that conform to the journal standards will be immediately passed to the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) for peer review.

Peer review. The EIC will poll associate editors to determine if the manuscript should be sent out for external review or rejected. For manuscripts to be sent out for external review, the EIC will assign an editor for overseeing the review process. This will include recruiting expert reviewers who can complete the review in two weeks, and making a decision on the manuscript based on reviewer comments. Rejections will be made in concert with the EIC, and final approval for publication will be made by the EIC.

Revision. In cases where only minor revisions are recommended, the authors are usually requested to revise the paper before resubmitting it to the Academic Editor. Manuscripts may or may not be sent to reviewers again after author revision, depending on whether the reviewer requested to check the revised version. Usually we allow at most two rounds of major revision per manuscript.

Editor Decision. Decisions can only be made by external Academic Editors, EIC and/or Associate Editor, an Editorial Board member if the former have conflict of interest with authors, Guest Editor if the manuscripts are submitted to the special issue he/she edits.

When making a decision, Academic Editors check:

  • Whether the reviewers are qualified and suitable to review the manuscript;
  • Whether the reviews were thorough and comments are adequate;
  • Whether the authors have properly responded to reviewers’ comments;
  • Whether the manuscript now meets the standard for publication.

Academic Editors will check again at this stage whether the manuscript contains plagiarism.

The Academic Editor will make a decision on a paper comprehensively based on all review comments. They can accept, reject, or ask the authors for revisions. Academic Editors can make a decision that conflicts with the reviewers, in which occasion, they must justify their decision.

If a manuscript is rejected, authors have an opportunity to appeal or complain the decision by contacting the Managing Editor of the journal. Subsequent procedures will be take at once.

Copyediting. The EIC will forward all approved manuscripts to copyediting.

Production, Proofreading and Publication. Production process contains layout editing, language editing and conversion to other formats for indexing purpose. This process are carried out by our internal professional editors. Only extensive language editing service will be charged if authors confirmed the need. We encourage authors to seek help from native English speaker colleagues prior to our free-of-charge language editing. Before final publication, authors have a last chance to proofread the final version and only make minor necessary corrections.

Correction and Retraction. Corrections on significant errors found after publication will be published separately in Correction form at the end of each issue. Small errors that do not influence the understanding of the study will not be published. We encourage authors to carefully proofread the final version and try to avoid such small corrections after papers are published online.

Retractions are published when authors, audience or editors found honest errors or scientific misconduct, etc., contained in the paper after publication. Editors will investigate the paper in question on a case by case basis, and will contact authors and reviewers before make a final decision of retraction.

Note: All manucripts will be technically evaluated by the publishing editor. Editorials, commentaries, and certain short notes will not generally go through the complete review process but reviewed internally by academic editors. All other manuscripts will go through the complete review process. Editors who are co-authors on a manuscript submitted to All Ant journals will not be involved in the review process or final decision to reject or approve for publication.   

8. Author Appeals

Author may appeal an editorial decision by sending an email to the editorial office. The appeal must contain detailed reasons/responses or rebuttals to the review comments and the editorial comments. The appeal and related material and/or information will be forwarded to the Editor-in-Chief for judgement and for decision on the manuscript. The Editor-in-Chief may recommend acceptance, revision, rejection, or referring to additional peer reviewers. The editorial decision at this stage will be final and cannot be reversed.

Quality Control

Our efficient and rigorous peer review and production process ensures the high quality of our journals is maintained.

Peer review flowchart

  • 1. Science Editors pass the submitted manuscript to the Editor(s)-in-Chief.
  • 2. Depending on the topic of the submitted manuscript, the Editor(s)-in-Chief passes the article to the Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief/Associate Editor(s) or an Editorial Board Member with related expertise.
  • 3. The assigned Editorial Board Members with related expertise review the manuscript or recommend external reviewers to the Editorial Office. The recommendation of external reviewers may be carried out via a literature search to identify appropriate external experts.
  • 4. For each manuscript in peer review, at least two external reviewers will be secured.
  • 5. External experts make recommendations.
  • 6. External experts’ recommendations are sent to the Editor(s)-in-Chief, along with a review from the assigned Associate Editor and Member of the Editorial Board.
  • 7. The Editor(s)-in-Chief makes a decision on the manuscript, for which there are four options: accept, minor revision, major revision, or reject.

Note: the specific peer review process may vary slightly depending on the journal due to the constitution of an editorial team.

Selection of reviewer

The potential reviewers for a manuscript are usually identified by Editorial Board Members, the journal authors, or our internal reviewer database. According to the need, an external reviewer may be identified via a scholarly database (e.g., PubMed and Web of Science).

Editing and publishing flowchart

The final accepted articles are passed to the language editors (native English speakers) for language editing after one, two, or three rounds of reviewing and revision.

  • The edited article is passed to the copy editors.
  • The copy editors cross-edit the manuscripts and contact the authors with copyediting questions.
  • The copyedited manuscript is passed to the typesetting editor.
  • The typesetting editor typesets the manuscript with InDesign to produce a PDF.
  • The eProof editors contact the authors for proofreading.
  • The HTML/XML editors produce HTML and XML electronic versions of the manuscript.
  • The manuscript is published on “Online First”.
  • Finally, the manuscript is officially published in a specific issue of a journal and distributed.

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