In all journals, peer-reviewing aims to ensure the integrity and validity of research findings; all serious journals use a rigorous process to determine this. The submission review process is the main tool we have to ensure that new scientific knowledge published is honest, accurate, ethical, and valuable. In effect, it acts as a measure of quality assurance and ‘certifies’ the new knowledge.

The journals of the ISI go a step beyond this. We are a mentoring organization and so request our Editors-in-Chief to assist reviewers and editors by being coaches and guides to the authors, reviewers, and editors. We use the paper review process to support authors by providing them with mentoring suggestions on ways to improve their work. We do this by packaging constructive and informed feedback using best practices methods gleaned from the literature. For example, our suggestions are do-able and concrete. We treat authors with respect.

All ISI journals need to follow ISI’s policy regarding the paper review process. ISI’s policy is that rejections for issues like lack of novelty should occur at the desk review stage. Once a paper has been reviewed, it can still be rejected for lack of novelty or any other issue. 

But we agree to take seriously our choice to accept pending revision. If, after reviewing the editor’s comments, the Editor and the EiC choose to accept the paper for publication pending revision, the journal’s editorial staff agrees to work with the author to make the paper publishable. This is our contract with the author. If a paper will require substantial revision, select REJECT. If you feel the rejected paper has value and should be revised, select the template to encourage the author to resubmit after revision as a new paper. Not all papers accepted pending revision are published. The author may indicate to the system “No Intention to Revise,” and there have been rare cases where the author is unresponsive or unwilling to make the changes noted in the development letter.

Another unique feature of our journals is that we provide the authors with developmental suggestions that point out those do-able improvements needed for the paper to become publishable. We provide these suggestions even for papers we reject. This is part of our mission.

Most commonly, we can work with the author to make the accepted paper fully publishable over a few rounds of revision. Our goal is to provide the author with a development letter that is clear and so as minimize the number of rounds of revision necessary. Typically, the papers we publish require several rounds of revision.

As Editor-in-Chief, you play the central role in managing the review process with the help of your editors and reviewers. The editor assigned to a paper uses the assigned reviewers’ comments and suggestions to synthesize and compose wording designed to guide the author on ways to improve the submission. Your task is to monitor the review process and make the final decision whether or not to progress a submission towards publication. Your task also includes reviewing the performance of and mentoring A/Editors while also ensuring the journal adheres to ISI’s mission in all respects.