Below are the policies and procedures used by the Journal of Neurophysiology for peer review.


Peer Review Process

 

  • All manuscripts undergo an initial screening in the American Physiological Society Office in Bethesda to assure that manuscript files are complete and in the proper format. Manuscripts are returned to authors if file corrections are needed.

  • After screening, manuscripts are sent to the Editor-in-Chief for assignment to an Associate Editor.
    • The Editor-in-Chief completes a preliminary evaluation of each manuscript to assure that if is appropriate for the Journal. If a manuscript is deemed to be inappropriate, it is sent to at least two other editors for verification. Less than 5% of manuscripts are returned to authors without peer review through this triage process.
    • Authors may request that a particular editor handle their manuscript; this request is honored unless a conflict of interest is present, or the requested editor is unavailable.
    • Authors may exclude an editor; such requests are always honored.
    • The Editor-in-Chief personally handles some article types, including Rapid Reports, NeuroForum and Reviews. The Editor-in-Chief can be designated by an author to handle their manuscript. The Editor-in-Chief also handles a fraction of manuscripts if the other editors are overloaded.

  • The assigned editor solicits peer reviewers for the assigned manuscript.
    • Our intent is to complete reviewer assignments within 1 business day of receiving a manuscript.
    • Typically, reviewers are invited in groups of 6 or more, as the majority of invitees typically decline to review a paper. Sending multiple invitations simultaneously is required to facilitate rapid peer review.
    • Authors can suggest potential reviewers, and these requests are usually honored unless a conflict of interest is perceived.
    • Authors can exclude particular reviewers; these requests are honored.
    • Invited reviewers are instructed to recuse themselves if they cannot complete their review in two weeks. In addition, reviewers receive a number of reminders about the due date for their review, particularly when the review is late. Despite these safeguards, it can be difficult to solicit a review from some referees. Delayed editorial decisions are almost always related to inability to obtain reviews from one or more referees.
    • If a review is delayed over a week from the deadline date, and an editor is unable to communicate with the reviewer, then an alternate reviewer may be solicited.

  • After reviewer comments are received, the editor makes a decision about the manuscript.
    • Possible editorial decisions are "accept," "revise,""reject," or "reject with referral to Physiological Reports," an open access journal. The latter decision is made if a manuscript does not have adequate priority for publication in the Journal of Neurophysiology, but contains useful data.
    • In some cases, a reject decision is accompanied by an invitation to submit a new paper on the same topic. Such invitations are made when the submitted paper has serious problems, but has the potential to convey important findings after substantial revision. This decision is used when it is unclear if the resubmitted manuscript will be acceptable.
    • Often reviewers provide differing opinions about a manuscript (i.e., one reviewer is very positive, and another is very negative). It can be challenging for an editor to determine which opinion is correct. For this reason, many editors solicit 3-4 reviewers for a manuscript, to assure that they have sufficient input to make a fair decision.

 

Conflict of Interest Policies

 

  • A reviewer/editor must recuse themselves if any of the following potential conflicts are present:
    • The reviewer has an active, planned, or recent collaboration with any of the authors of the manuscript.
    • The reviewer published a manuscript with any of the authors in the past three years.
    • The reviewer had a mentor-trainee relationship with any of the authors in the past five years.
    • The reviewer is in the same academic department as one of the authors.
    • The reviewer has a long-standing scientific disagreement with one of the authors.

  • This conflict of interest policy is conveyed in instructions to authors, and invitation letters to reviewers.

  • If an editor discovers that a reviewer has a conflict of interest, their review is discounted.

 

Appeal Procedures

 

  • Authors have the right to appeal an editorial decision. Such appeals should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief, and not the editor who handled the manuscript.
    • The appeal request should be accompanied by a factual statement of the author concerns about the editorial process, as well as a point-by-point response to the referee comments.
    • The Editor-in-Chief may solicit feedback from the original reviewers and editor when evaluating the appeal.
    • One criterion used in evaluating an appeal is potential priority of the manuscript: does it have the potential to be extensively read and cited.

  • If the appeal is granted, authors may submit a revised version of their manuscript as a new submission, which must be accompanied by:
    • A cover letter designating the original manuscript number.
    • A response to the prior referee comments as a supplemental file.

  • When resubmitting the manuscript, authors may request that a new editor handle the manuscript, and may recuse one or more of the original reviewers.

  • There is no guarantee that a manuscript resubmitted using this appeal process will be accepted.