Many people in industry, academia, research, and government institutions need to build a record of peer reviewed publications. Because of this, it's been proposed that we initiate a formal process of peer review for a subset of OSGeo Journal articles. This would add an additional level of credibility to these particular papers and will also make them more citable and so forth.
While the peer review process can be useful for some papers, it should not necessarily be a requirement for everything that gets published in OSGeo Journal. Hence it could be useful to categorize the articles in OSGeo Journal as:
- Editorials and Discussion Articles
- Announcements and Project Status Reports
- Peer Reviewed Papers
For the peer reviewed papers, the following review process is proposed:
- OSGeo Journal Editor in Chief and the Journal Review Board have final say on the number of peer reviewed papers that will be accepted in any given edition as well as timing requirements and so forth, but generally assign responsibility for the peer review process to an Associate Editor, Peer Review.
- Call for papers is posted on the OSGeo discuss and announcement mailing lists and web site. This call is on-going and describes the intended scope of the journal with respect to peer reviewed papers, types of papers sought, etc. In general, the same types of papers are invited as usually fits the Journal criteria, but in this case the author can choose whether to opt-in for peer review, if available.
- A call for reviewers is also posted, and a list of potential reviewers is maintained on the WIKI (hopefully this is a long enough list to maintain individual anonymity on specific reviews).
- Authors send their manuscripts to the AE who goes on the WIKI and lists the title and authors (just as an FYI to the community - and also lets the authors know that their paper is under consideration). This can be the same wiki page used for a Journal issue's list of articles.
- AE contacts a few potential reviewers from the list of willing reviewers and sends them the manuscript electronically.
- Reviewers are also given a link to the web site where a list of review considerations are posted. These will follow generally accepted considerations such as:
- "Does the paper fit within the scope of OSGeo Journal?"
- "Does the paper make a new or original contribution to the field of geoinformatics and specifically the development of and/or application of FOSS4G software?"
- "Is the paper well written?"
- "Does the paper use correct English spelling, syntax and grammar?"
- "Is the title appropriate?"
- "Is the abstract succinct of the correct length and appropriate?"
- "Are the citations complete and correct?"
- "Are all of the figures and tables necessary, clear and informative?"
- "Do you have any suggestions for the authors that would improve the paper?"
- "Would you rate this paper as acceptable as is, requires minor changes (no re-review necessary), requires major changes (re-review necessary), or not-acceptable?"
- Reviewers are given four weeks to submit reviews.
- The AE notifies the authors of the reviewers decision as follows:
- If two or more recommend "Accept as is" then the paper will be placed on the queue for publication in an upcoming edition with no further review required.
- If two or more recommend at least "Accept with minor changes" then the authors will be sent the reviewers' notes and encouraged to make the requested modifications within a short time period. The associated editor will verify that the changes were made and then pass the paper on to the editor for addition to the publication queue
- If two or more recommend at least "Major changes" then the authors will be sent the reviewers' notes and encouraged to make the requested modifications and then resubmit the paper for a follow-on review by the original reviewers. This would probably need to have a time associated with it so that the paper stays relatively fresh for the reviewers. Perhaps 4 weeks would be an appropriate time for turn-around.
- If two or more recommend "Reject" then the authors would be sent a nice note indicating that the paper was found unsuitable for the journal and thanked for their effort, etc. They would also be sent the reviewers' comments.
Specifics for OSGeo Journal Volume 1, Issue 2
I think it is possible that we could initiate a test peer review process for the second issue of OSGeo Journal and would propose the following time line:
- June 1 - Call for papers
- June 15 - Deadline for papers (its expected that for this tight deadline we'll only receive a handful of papers which is probably good for this first effort).
- June 22 - Target date for finding reviewers for the papers
- July 22 - Four week deadline for reviews from reviewers.
- July 27 - Final deadline for reviews from reviewers.
- August 3 - Deadline for acceptable manuscripts (accept as is, accept with minor changes) to be submitted in final form.