Instructions for Editors

This provides instructions to editors handling manuscripts for LiveCoMS.

Workflow overview

Authors contact LiveCoMS (specifically, the Lead Editor in a particular subject area) with a presubmission letter, proposing an article in a particular area. Once this is approved, they proceed with article preparation and ultimately submit it to that section of LiveCoMS. The Lead Editor then checks that the article is consistent with what was proposed in the presubmission letter, and then 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.

Pre-review processing

Lead Editor

The Lead Editor:

  • Handles analysis of presubmission inquiries
  • On article submission, confirms that the article is consistent with the presubmission letter
  • Passes the article and presubmission letter to an appropriate Associate Editor to manage the review process (unless he or she decides to manage the review process directly)
  • Makes a final decision after receiving a recommendation from the Associate Editor and reviewers (see below)

Associate Editor

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

  • 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.

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 is in order, or ensure the reviewers do so.
  • 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 usual procedure is:

  • Have the author do a final check for issues with grammar, word choice, spelling, formatting (including issues with the LaTeX template, placement of figures, etc.) and typos, as normally would be done at the proofs stage. You may assist with this as well if you like.
  • Have the author enable the LiveCoMS footer by including the ‘pubversion’ class option in the document preamble, fill in the ‘\datereceived’ and ‘\dateaccepted’ fields, and provide a recompiled PDF for posting to the editor handling the submission and a managing editor..
  • Have a managing editor post the PDF as an ASAP article
  • When assigned to an issue, fill in (or have the author fill in) the ‘\pubDOI’, ‘\pubvolume’, ‘\pubyear’, and ‘\articlenum’ fields, recompile the PDF, and then provide to a managing editor to update the PDF