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As Associate Editor (AE), you are responsible for reading the submission, assigning reviewers, evaluating the reviews, and ultimately making a recommendation for the acceptance or rejection of the paper. The details of these processes are described below.
Quality and efficiency in reviewing is essential to the success of TOPS. To publish papers in a timely fashion we ask you to respond to all requests to assign reviewers and make recommendations as quickly as possible. Our standard invitation letter to reviewers asks them to return their reviews within 8 weeks.
ACM permits both desk (or bench) rejects and "assisted” desk rejects. Assisted desk rejects are rejections based on the judgment of the EiC or an AE that a paper is either out of scope or so far from acceptable as to make external reviews unnecessary. Assisted desk rejects may involve obtaining one outside review to corroborate an AE's judgment.
Articles may be desk-rejected for the following reasons:
All refereed articles accepted for publication need to have three qualified reviews. Soliciting fewer than three reviews is fine for clear reject cases, but not sufficient for articles that are accepted. In all cases, the final decision is within the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.
Authors have the right to appeal such decisions.
When you view a paper, you will see a tab titled ‘Manuscript Details.’ Click on the tab to find more information on the paper. Scroll down to ‘Plagiarism Check – iThenticate’ to find the results of similarity check to see whether the paper has a large overlap with any published work. By ACM policy, conference papers must have at least 25 percent new material, see http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/simultaneous-submissions. If you find the paper has too much similarity with an existing published work, either reject the paper or contact the Editor-in-Chief for discussion.
An AE is responsible for finding at least three (3) appropriate reviewers with the necessary knowledge and experience for a manuscript, and for supervising the review process until a decision is reached. There are three steps to the invitation process:
A reviewer should be able to accept or decline the task automatically. However, in some cases, a separate step must be taken to mark the reviewer as agreed or otherwise, in the system.
To make an immediate decision, such in the case of a desk reject, change the value of the "reviews required to make decision" box from the default value of 3 to 2, 1, or even zero (for instance, in case of minor corrections to be verified by you only).
When a paper is submitted, the Manuscript Central Referee Locator tool automatically finds a pool of potential reviewers using an algorithm that looks at the article title, abstracts, keywords, and other metadata contained in the submission. It then compares that information with published papers in the Web of Science from the last five years.
A pool of potential reviewers is then auto-suggested. A list of up to 30 reviewers is provided in order of relevancy, providing e-mail addresses as well as links into the Web of Science to view information about their published papers.
This feature is not intended to replace your AE experience, knowledge, or judgment in selecting reviewers. However, it is one additional tool you will have access to in your search for reviewers.
The system automatically sends out reminder emails to the referees. However, automated reminders are easy to ignore, so you, as AE, should check your Associate Editor Center every few weeks at least, to maintain a reasonable turn-around time for the reviews.
To grant an extension to a reviewer:
You may also ask the journal admin to grant such extensions.
Making a preliminary decision:
For each review you will receive an e-mail notification; when all the reviews are completed, you may make your preliminary recommendation that will be sent to the Editors-in-Chief for approval (this decision should take into consideration your own opinion of the paper, as well as the general consensus of the referees).
For TOPS, there are four decision options:
Handling a revised paper:
When a revision is submitted, it should be automatically reassigned to you as AE.
Accessing Previous Versions of a Revision:
You have access to all versions of a manuscript. Revisions are indicated by a revision number appended to the manuscript ID (e.g., R1 or R2). To view decision-related correspondence regarding a previous version, scroll down to “Version History” and click on the “Switch Details” button.
Revised and resubmitted files will also include a link to the Author’s response on the header.
When you are on a task-related tab, such as “Invite Reviewers,” the version history will appear on the right side of the screen. Clicking on the “View Review Details” for the previous version will give you the Author’s Response, Decision Letter, and Reviews.