Instructions for Editors

This provides instructions to editors handling manuscripts for LiveCoMS.

Workflow overview

Authors contact LiveCoMS (specifically, the Section Lead Editor reponsible for the corresponding article type) with a presubmission letter, proposing an article in a particular topic area. The Section Lead Editor assigns this presubmission letter to an Associate Editor, who works with the authors to revise the article plans to be suitable for LivCoMS, and the Section Lead Editor signs off on the final plans. Once the presubmission letter is approved, the author proceeds with article preparation and ultimately submits the article to LiveCoMS. The Lead Editor then checks that the article is consistent with what was proposed in the presubmission letter, and assigns it to an appropriate Associate Editor who manages the review process and makes a final decision on the manuscript, reporting the final decision to the authors. Usually this Associate Editor will be the same one that handled the original presubmission letters.

Pre-submission letters

Assuming the subject matter proposed in the presubmission letter is within the scope of LiveCoMS and is otherwise acceptable, the Section Lead Editor assigns this presubmission letter to an Associate Editor. Reasons for the letter not being acceptable include, for example, ignoring key required elements of the presubmission letter or being too similar to existing LiveCoMS articles. The Section Lead Editor signs off on the final presubmission letter, and the Associate Editor notifies the author that the letter is approved. Instructions for the presubmission letter are found here.

Pre-review processing

Lead Editor

The Section Lead Editor:

  • Passes the article to an appropriate Associate Editor to manage the review process (unless he or she decides to manage the review process directly). Usually, this will be the Associate Editor who handled the presubmission letter; if not, the Section Lead editor also will communicate the approved presubmission letter.
  • Usually will delegate the final decision to the Associate Editor. If the Section Lead Editor anticipates their input may be necessary, they will notify the Associate Editor at the time of them anuscript submission, or if not, as soon as they become aware additional input may be necessary. They may overrule the Associate Editor after acceptance, but this should only be done in exceptional cases, for example, fraud or plagarism. If there are important scientific changes that need to be made in the article that were not caught by Associate Editors previous to acceptance, these can be handled by an unofficial request for revision before the paper is officially posted, or between ASAP posting and the issue publication.

Associate Editor

Before assigning manuscripts for review, editors have several main tasks:

  • Confirms that the article is consistent with the presubmission letter.
  • Ensure they do not have a conflict of interest with respect to the work they are to analyze; if they do, dealing with it as dictated by editorial policy.
  • Ensure that if any editors are authors on the paper, they are prevented from seeing the manuscript. See here how to hide the manuscript from them
  • Check to ensure that the manuscript has appropriate style, grammar, layout, and figure quality to be ready for editing, as in the instructions for authors. Remember, the journal will not be editing the manuscript, so you need to make a judgment call as to whether the manuscript is well-edited enough to proceed to review, or whether it will need revision for grammar or style before sending it for review to avoid wasting the time of the reviewers.
  • Identify suitable reviewers, who may include experts suggested by the authors, others in the field you already know of, or authors cited frequently in the article. LiveCoMS generally requires at least two standard reviewers in addition to a student reviewer, though exceptional circumstances (such as extensive community feedback via GitHub) may warrant deviations from this policy. The requirement for a student reviewer for every submission is a unique strength of LiveCoMS that enhances the pedagogical value of every accepted paper.
  • The Associate Editor should also notify get the Section Lead ditor if there is any controversy expected (e.g. the reviewers disagree significantly on the merits of the paper, any plagarism potentially evident).

Review handling

Once an editor has handled the pre-review steps described above, the review process is largely similar to typical journals. The editor:

  • Contacts suitable reviewers to request reviews, including a student reviewer, noting our conflict of interest policy. Timing and policy details will be automatically provided to reviewers via the form-letter requests. Reviews will be due in 15 days, though requests for extension will be routinely granted, for an additional 7-10 days. In the event a reviewer misses an extended deadline, the editor should request an additional reviewer.
  • Begins the process of conveying reviews to authors once two have been received, unless the need for additional expertise requires a third review. In addition to the two required peer reviews, a student review must also be obtained. A student reivew may be edited to ensure anonymity and proper tone, but not for substance.

  • Handles any potential conflict of interests disclosed by reviewers consistent with editorial policy
  • Makes reviewers aware of the review criteria, including category-specific review criteria
  • Performs a check that the GitHub repository contains all of the files in the submission.
  • Ensures reviews are submitted and analyzed in a timely manner (all reviews should be submitted in no more than about 25 days), reaching out to remind reviewers as needed and solicit additional reviews if reviewers are too slow or their analysis conflicts
  • Potentially helps ensure reviewer feedback is fair
  • Helps preserve anonymity of the reviewers, especially the student reviewer, by editing the reviews if necessary. Note that the reviewers may choose to waive anonymity by specifically referring to GitHub issues they have filed or otherwise explicitly making it clear they intend to identify themselves.
  • Makes a recommendation regarding acceptance, acceptance with minor or major revision, or rejection (keeping in mind the content of the presubmission letter), and communicates this recommendation to the Lead Editor who makes a final decision. Normally the Lead Editor will follow the handling editor’s recommendations, but this process is helpful since the Lead will have approved the presubmission letter and thus needs to be involved if a less than favorable decision is to be made.
  • If the decision is that the authors must revise, provides appropriate direction (with the Lead Editor) about which comments to address if needed.

Following acceptance, the editor’s responsibiltiies are:

  • The editor verifies that the metadata is complete in the submission (including institution, ORCID, abstract), and follow up with the authors for missing information. The metadata should also be consistent with what appears in the PDF.
  • The editor notifies the managing editors ( that the article is accepted, so that the managing editors can obtain a DOI for the article. The correct metadata is needed for the DOI. The managing editors will take the metadata directly from the Scholastica website; it does not need to be passed to them independently.
  • Note: to obtain a DOI (which the managing editors will do upon notification from the editors that the paper is accepted), email whenever a new article (and/or issue) is up. Library staff at CU at that address will generate and register the DOIs and forward the confirmation emails to The email should say:

    We are requesting a DOI for an new article in LiveCoMS (below is a specific example).

    • Proposed DOI: 10.33011/livecoms.1.1.5067
    • URL is:
    • Title: Best Practices for Quantification of Uncertainty and Sampling Quality in Molecular Simulations [Article v1.0]
    • Author 1: John Q. Public, ORCID 0000-0004-4338-2186
    • Author 2: Jane W. Public, ORCID 0000-0002-4339-2187
    • Online Publication Date: 2018
  • In the above email:
    • The article URL is generated by saving the publication, and looking at the URL generated by selecting the green “Preview” on the right menu. This URL will be of the form, where XXXX is the article ID, and the-title is the title. The final future published URL can be obtained by replacing with (see example above)
    • The proposed DOI is of the form 10.33011/livecoms.(volume #).(issue #).(article ID #), where the article ID is generated by importing the article into a new publication, and saving, and looking at the preview, as described above; it’s the XXXX right after
    • List all authors (not just the first two).
    • The initial date can just be the year (that field is required for initial request), as it will be updated to be the final date when the issue is published.
  • The managing editors will provide the obtained DOI, issue and volume number to the author so they can include it in the ASAP version.
  • The editor ensures that the author goes through the instructions for article preparation post acceptance.
  • The author provides the editor with the “lede”, a 30 word summary of the article that will accompany the article in social media posts. The editor works with the author if the lede is not appropriate for the article, and when it is ready, the editor sends it to
  • The editor verifies that the articles are properly named and in the releases/ folder as described in the author instructions.
  • The managing editor posts the PDF as an ASAP article.
  • The managing editors will notify the authors articles that are posted as ASAP articles several weeks before the release of the next issue, to identify if there are any typo fixes, errors, added ciations the authors would like to make, and to notify the editor of their articles of changes. The authors will make these updates as pull requests through the website (no need to resubmit it through Scholastica at this point) no later than one week before the notified issue publication date, and put the new version pdf in the release folder as described in the authors instructions. If acceptable, the editor will notify the managing editors of the updated version. If not acceptable, the editor will work with the authors to address the issues. When ready, the managing editors will post it to the LiveCoMS site.
  • At the publication of the issue, the managing editors send the publication date to with the DOI and the updated date.