The ACS Style Guide has always been a classic manual for scientific publications. But in 2020 it was revised and expanded as ACS Guide to Scientific Communication.The ACS Guide to Scientific Communication Not only does it provide professional advice to students, researchers, educators, and librarians, but it also helps researchers at different stages of their careers respond to the evolving world of publishing.

These ACS Axial Series contains excerpts from theACS Guide to Scientific Communication. Portions of the original text are available free of charge for a limited time under an ACS Free to Read license. Certain sections are given at the end of each post.

When a manuscript has been submitted to a journal and meets all of the journal’s submission standards, the editor-in-chief makes the initial review decision of whether to reject the manuscript or transfer it to an associate editor-in-chief, which is often selected based on his areas of expertise and sometimes other factors such as his workload . Upon acceptance of the transferred manuscript, the deputy editor-in-chief, based on his initial review decision, will decide whether to assign the manuscript to an external reviewer and make a final decision on whether to accept or reject publication of the manuscript by proceeding through the procedures including reporting through external auditors, etc.

When a manuscript is submitted to a journal and meets all of the submission criteria, the journal’s editorial team must make an initial decision: to reject the submission or to assign it to an editor who will then guide it through the necessary steps to a final decision. including acceptance of the manuscript for publication. Editors are usually assigned on the basis of specialist knowledge. However, sometimes workload and availability play a role. The assigned editor then reviews the manuscript and either rejects the submission, recommends transferring the manuscript to another journal, or assigns the manuscript for peer review.

Learn more about the peer review process

The peer review process.

You may already be familiar with the peer review process, but many scholars have yet to learn how to respond to review feedback, especially when an article is rejected.

Check feedback

After accepting an invitation to review a submission, depending on the journal, an examiner can provide written comments for anywhere from several days to two weeks, which can be broken down into two categories: (1) comments intended for the editor only, and (2) comments shared with the authors. The first type of feedback, editor-only comments, should be limited to expressing concerns about possible ethical violations. They should not include any comments about the quality of the manuscript.

The reviewers evaluate the contributions based on the question of how well the authors answered their research questions, whether the conclusions and implications were appropriately derived from the results and findings, whether appropriate techniques and methods were used, and whether the research advances the field. Perhaps a more critical role for reviewers is to assess whether the arguments put forward by the authors are sufficient and effective enough to inform and convince a typical reader of the value of the work published. The reviewers ensure that the authors meet the standards of the discipline and that the results and conclusions are justified, and ultimately help maintain the integrity of the science.

For more information on the peer review process, see Section 2.5.2of ACS Guide to Scientific Communication.

Dealing with rejection

Every scholar must learn to deal professionally and constructively with rejection. In the video, the ACS editors share their tips on dealing with rejection and jumping back.

This is how you will become an excellent reviewer

ACS Publications has created a free online training course to help both new and experienced reviewers master the core ideas of the review process. The ACS Reviewer Lab was developed by ACS editors, leading researchers, and ACS Publications staff. The six interactive modules provide practical guidance and real-life situations to identify ethical issues, better understand the criteria for a review, and formulate and write an effective assessment. The six modules are as follows: (1) Introduction to Peer Review; (2) ethics in peer review; (3) preparing for the review; (4) Assessment of importance and technical quality; (5) Assessment of the presentation and readiness for publication; and (6) writing your review. Modules include knowledge testing exercises, videos, downloadable summary sheets, and a final assessment. A valid ACS ID is required for the website. However, registration and use are free of charge. The content is available in several languages.

ACS Reviewer Lab.

The Importance of Obtaining Peer Review Credit

Providing a professional service to one’s research community is an important part of a researcher’s job description. When individuals are considered for promotion or undergoing a performance evaluation, they must document their contributions to the scientific community as reviewers. In some cases it is sufficient to provide a list of the journals and the number of manuscripts reviewed. In other cases, a more formal pursuit of an individual’s service may be required.

Thanks to the collaboration with ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), reviewers of journal articles from ACS Publications can now receive public recognition of their work. Reviewers can receive credit through their ORCID profile without revealing which item they have reviewed.

For more information on verification credit, see Section 2.5.4of ACS Guide to Scientific Communication.


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