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Guidelines for editors

Our editors are experts in their respective fields and are responsible for the peer review process and the content of the journal. Their role is to handle the peer review of manuscripts, make recommendation on the acceptance or rejection of a paper and attract high-quality submissions. Below are some guidelines for editors, based on COPE code of conduct and best practice guidelines for journal editors http://publicationethics.org/files/Code_of_conduct_for_journal_editors_Mar11.pdf

Choosing reviewers


• Editors should ensure that appropriate reviewers are selected for submissions (i.e. individuals who are able to judge the work and are free from disqualifying competing interests).

• Editors should ideally choose at least two reviewers to provide a report (the default on Manuscript Central is set to three).

• Editors should cease to use reviewers who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality or late reviews.

• Editors should use a wide range of sources (not just personal contacts) to identify potential new reviewers (e.g. author suggestions, bibliographic databases).

Review process


• Editors should be ready to justify any important deviation from the described peer review process (see Review and Appeals process).

• Editors should require reviewers to disclose any potential competing interests before agreeing to review a submission.

• Editors should monitor the performance of peer reviewers and take steps to ensure this is of high standard.

• Editors should encourage reviewers to comment on
- ethical questions and possible research and publication misconduct raised by submissions (e.g. unethical research design, inappropriate data manipulation and presentation).
- the originality of submissions and to be alert to redundant publication and plagiarism.

Decisions


• Editors’ recommendation to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based on the peer reviews and their own view on the paper’s importance, originality and clarity, the study’s validity and its relevance to the remit of the journal.

• Editors can recommend to immediately reject a paper if the material does not meet the standard of The Computer Journal.

• Editors should not reverse a decision to accept a submission unless serious problems are identified with the submission.

• New editors should not overturn decisions to publish submissions made by the previous editor unless serious problems are identified.

• Editors should flag any case of suspected misconduct or disputed authorship with the editor-in-chief or the publisher.

The Computer Journal uses the online submission system Manuscript Central for submissions and peer review. If you need any assistance with the system, please contact the editorial office.

Editor-in-chief specific guidelines


• The EiC should send reviewers’ comments to authors in their entirety unless they contain offensive or libellous remarks.

• The EiC should seek to acknowledge the contribution of reviewers to the journal.

• The EiC has a duty to act if they suspect misconduct or if an allegation of misconduct is brought to them. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers.

• The EiC should not simply reject papers that raise concerns about possible misconduct. The EiC should first seek a response from those suspected of misconduct. If they are not satisfied with the response, they should ask the relevant employers, or institution, or some appropriate body (perhaps a regulatory body or national research integrity organisation) to investigate.

• The EiC should make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a proper investigation into alleged misconduct is conducted; if this does not happen, editors should make all reasonable attempts to persist in obtaining a resolution to the problem.

• The EiC should encourage and be willing to consider cogent criticisms of work published in their journal.

• Authors of criticised material should be given the opportunity to respond and studies reporting negative results should not be excluded.

• The EiC should respond promptly to complaints and should ensure there is a way for dissatisfied complainants to take complaints further. This mechanism should be made clear on the journal’s website (see Review and Appeals process).