Peer review is the critical assessment of manuscripts submitted to journals by experts who are usually not part of the editorial staff. Because unbiased, independent, critical assessment is an intrinsic part of all scholarly work, including scientific research, peer review is an important extension of the scientific process. Peer review is intended to improve the accuracy, clarity, and completeness of published manuscripts and to help editors decide which manuscripts to publish. Peer review does not guarantee manuscript quality and does not reliably detect scientific misconduct. Peer reviewers advise editors on how a manuscript might be improved and on its priority for publication in that journal. Editors decide whether and under which conditions manuscripts are accepted for publication, assisted by reviewers’ advice. Editors of peer-reviewed journals need not send all submitted manuscripts out for review. Manuscripts that seem unlikely to be published in that journal may be returned to authors without external review, to allow authors to submit the manuscript to another journal without delay and to make efficient use of reviewers’ and editors’ time. Editors should also periodically publish statistics describing their journal’s review process, such as the number of manuscripts submitted, acceptance rate, and the average time from manuscript submission to rejection letter to authors and, for accepted manuscripts, time to publication.
The Journal of Nature and Spatial Sciences (JONASS) accepts submission via its online submission system. The submitted manuscript must be accompanied by a cover letter in which the authors should state why the manuscript should be considered, evaluate any issues relating to the JONASS editorial policies, and declare if they have any competing interests. The authors of received manuscripts are also asked to submit a copyright declaration of competing interests as part of their manuscript.
Article submitted to the Journal is sent out to peer reviewers, although submissions that are out of scope for the Journal or are of an unacceptably low standard may be rejected without review. Potentially suitable manuscripts will generally be reviewed by three experts in the field with the aim of reaching a first decision as soon as possible. Specialist statistical advisers are used when necessary to ensure that the statistical reasoning in manuscripts is sound. Reviewers are asked to declare their competing interests if any.
Editorial decisions are made based on the manuscript’s validity and coherence, as judged by the peer reviewers. In addition to their comments for the authors, reviewers are asked whether the research is sound and coherent, the topic interesting and the writing of acceptable quality. Where possible, the final decision is made on the basis that peer reviewers are in accordance with one another, or that at least there is no strong dissenting view. In cases where there is strong disagreement, either among the peer review or between the authors and the peer reviewers, the advice is sought from an editorial board member or a researcher of similar standing.
The detailed Journal peer review process is based on the following Flow Diagram: