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Peer Review

Peer Review

Manuscripts are processed and sent out for review using a standardized workflow. The following outline can be used to track the status of your manuscript. If you currently have a manuscript in peer review, you will see a status message on your Author Dashboard in ScholarOne under “Submitted Manuscripts.” All possible statuses can be found in bold below. For a more detailed description of the status of your manuscript, please find the appropriate step below. Note: asterisks and footnotes pertain to Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


The steps below begin after an author submits a manuscript via ScholarOne.  

  1. Undergoing initial checking: The journal’s editorial staff check that the manuscript conforms to the journal’s formatting guidelines and editorial policies. Manuscripts are evaluated in the order they are received, unless the manuscript is a Communication in Ecological Applications, which are given priority in the system. 


  1. EIC check: The Editor-in-Chief (EIC) and Associate Editors-in-Chief* evaluate the manuscript and will choose one of the following actions:
    1. Assign the manuscript to a Subject-matter Editor (SME)**
    2. Reject the manuscript without review (the manuscript will move to Step 7)
    3. Reject the manuscript and invite resubmission (the manuscript will move to Step 7)
    4. Reject the manuscript with a transfer offer to another ESA journal (the manuscript will move to Step 7)


  1. SME check: The SME evaluates the article and chooses one of the two actions below. The manuscript will enter this stage again if SME has been asked to provide additional names of potential reviewers.
    1. Suggest potential reviewers
    2. Make a decision on the paper without further review (the manuscript will move to Step 7)


  1. Seeking reviewers: The journal’s editorial staff secures agreements to review. Most submissions are evaluated by two external, anonymous reviewers – sometimes more, sometimes fewer. Sometimes the SME needs to provide additional names until the requisite number of reviewers are secured. If this happens, you will receive another notification telling you the SME has been asked to provide additional names of potential reviewers (i.e., the status will revert to “SME check” again).


  1. Awaiting reviews: The required number of reviewers have been secured and they are actively reviewing the manuscript, with comments and a recommendation generally expected within 3 weeks of a reviewer accepting the invitation.


  1. Reviews in: Once all reviewers have submitted their evaluations, the SME is prompted to make a decision. The SME will consider the reviews, and when they have decided how to proceed, they will draft a decision letter.


  1. Decision pending: The decision letter drafted by the SME may include reviewer comments as appropriate and the SME may provide additional suggestions for revision. The decision letter draft is submitted for proofreading by the journal’s editorial staff. Decisions letters are proofread in the order in which the manuscript was submitted. There will be some time between a manuscript entering the “Decision pending” queue and the contact author receiving the decision letter.


  1. The decision letter is proofread, finalized, and forwarded to the contact author. Decision categories at this stage are as follows.
    1. Accept
    2. Revise
    3. Reject with resubmission invited
    4. Reject without option to resubmit
    5. Reject with transfer offer to another ESA journal.


  1. If the decision was “Revise,” upon receipt of the revision, the SME will evaluate the revised manuscript and either request further peer reviews (repeating steps 4–8 above) or make a decision (steps 7 and 8 above). Manuscripts that have received a decision of “reject with resubmission invited” are handled similarly.


  1. The steps may be repeated as many times as necessary until a final accept or reject decision is rendered.


Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment does not have Associate Editors-in-Chief. Decisions about manuscripts are made solely by the Editor-in-Chief.

** Frontiers does not have Subject-matter Editors, rather there is an editorial board of Associate Editors.