For any preprint posted from 1 January 2021, the discussion includes HTML comments rather than the old-fashioned PDF comments. Discussions started before 2021 continue with PDF comments. HTML comments still get DOIs assigned, commentators can attach supplementary PDF files, and readers can subscribe to discussion alerts.
Authors, editors, and referees have a large number of various deadlines in the review system corresponding to specific tasks they are asked to fulfil. Such deadlines are listed, together with the corresponding tasks, on the journals' dashboards in the review system CO Editor (https://editor.copernicus.org/journal shortcut). Per journal, we can configure for author and editor deadlines: (a) should the option of extension be given, (b) what is the max number of days they can extend their deadlines, and (c) if they are informed, does the handling editor get a CC of this email. Deadlines for referees are not foreseen to be extended by referees themselves.
If an interactive journal activates the intermediary editor assessment, the handling editor is alerted once the public discussion of a preprint comes to an end. Before the system proceeds in sending out the request to the author to post a final author comment, the editor can intermediary assess the situation first. They have three options: (i) they can prolong the discussion and nominate additional referees once more, (ii) they can reject the manuscript from further peer review if they see no chance that this preprint becomes a qualified manuscript after revision, or (iii) they decide to proceed with the request for final author comments. The intermediary editor assessment can be switched on for a journal independent of the post-discussion editor decision. (IJTF 4.1.28)
Interactive journals can activate that authors will not see the name of the handling editor (as well as the name of the chief editor in case of chief editor activity in that step) for their manuscript before the acceptance of the preprint for posting in the discussion forum. That means, all notification emails about editor found, rejection (upfront as well as after quick reports), withdrawal, or other final statuses (except the positive case of preprint posting) are anonymized. The same is valid for the corresponding events in the MS records. Referees will still see the editor's name. For authors, referees have anyway always been anonymous during access review. This was not changed. (IJTF 2.1.45)
On the portal web page of the review system CO Editor (https://editor.copernicus.org), each journal shows a link "Journal statistics" visible for all topical and chief editors. Both groups can access the paper statistics and the monthly view statistics through this link and can define their own time period to extract a HTML tables with download options for Excel. Chief editors can also see the editor statistics, referee statistics, and subject area statistics there. In addition, each journal shows a link "My editor statistics" available for all topical editors. This link leads to the personal paper statistics limited to manuscripts handled by the logged-in editor. Here, you also find HTML tables plus Excel download options. FYI: please make use of the favourite option on the CO Editor portal page to bring your journals of interest to the top of the page. (IJTF 2.1.48)
Special issue (SI) reviews sometimes suffer from the fact that guest editors are not members of the editorial board. Although they do the best to their ability to keep the quality standards high, their lack of experience of the individual journal regulations sometimes need controlling by either journal chief editors or at least a standard journal editor. The recent feature has therefore three levels of special access for such persons: the accessibility of SI manuscripts, the option to follow all SI papers and act in the capacity of a chief editor, and the option that SIs can apply a standard final check by a chief editor of all decisions of a handling guest editor, including the possibility to overrule decisions.
- My special issue overview: while guest editors normally only see the pure listing of SI manuscripts they handle, a number of guest editors can be marked in the system so that they see the listing of all manuscripts of this SI. This was implemented some years ago.
- Acting as chief editor for SI papers: in addition to the pure overview of all SI manuscripts, a number of guest editors can be marked in the system to act as chief editors. Similar to journal chief editors for regular papers, such SI chief guest editors have access to all MS Records of all manuscripts of an SI and can act, if necessary (e.g. handling editor nomination or assignment).
- SI chief editor decision: although the review process is handled by a guest editor, SIs have the option to activate a so-called chief editor decision. This chief editor decision has been used so far by some regular journals as a standard process (e.g. ESurf, SE, and SOIL). Most journals normally do not use this option but can activate it now for individual SIs. If this is activated, the SI chief guest editors (or journal's chief editors) will be alerted once a handling guest editor has taken their decision on a manuscript and, before the authors are informed, must evaluate the decision, and can then approve or overrule it. If the SI chief guest editor decides on further revisions (minor or major), they can decide whether they take over the handling of the review process.
- Side effect – more options for journals with chief editor decision: journals applying a chief editor decision as a standard for regular papers have been limited so far to a pure accept, accept with corrections, or reject when asking the chief editors to decide. Now, such journals (e.g. ESurf, SE, and SOIL) also have the possibility to activate minor revision, major revision, and revision as options for chief editors when evaluating the final decision of a handling editor for regular papers.
- This feature corresponds to IJTF 4.1.16.
The deadline for the discussion of a preprint in the discussion forums of our journals can be extended by the handling editor when nominating additional referees and the nomination deadline is beyond the planned discussion end, or by the Editorial Support staff upon request. The latter requires the provision of a reason. From now on, authors are informed by email about the deadline extension and the reason is provided. (IJTF 3.2.11)
The MS records summarize all steps of the review process of a manuscript and list the involved parties (visibility depending on permissions). From now on, the names are linked as mailto and the resulting new email in your default mailing software prefills the subject line with the manuscript number. This is designed to make communication beyond the automatic system emails easier. (IJTF 4.1.13)
When entering the referee nomination form, handling editors have two steps: in the first step, a list of referees to be nominated is defined. This list can be filled with system suggestions, author suggestions, free entries, referees from former versions, referees suggested by other referees, or referees already nominated but missed the deadline. In addition, the system indicates if referees are currently nominated. Then, in the next step, the nomination can be refined by (a) adding personal messages (already existent for some years) and the new dialogue (b) choosing between immediate calls and subsequent calls. For the latter, the various nominees can be grouped in up to five subsequent calls. Then, handling editors will not receive the request to nominate additional referees when nominees miss their deadline or decline, unless the list of automatic subsequent calls runs out of nominees. The nomination form for selecting nominees and refining their calls can be accessed at any time. (IJTF 1.1.31)
So far, only referees, when agreeing to review, had to declare that they have no competing interests without further specification. Now, we added various further steps in this regard for the three target groups authors, editors, and referees:
Upon manuscript registration, authors have to declare whether they or their co-authors have competing interests and specify for the editor, if applicable. They can proceed either way but the specification is shown to the handling editor when taking the initial decision. (IJTF 1.1.35)
When editors are called, they also have to declare whether they have competing interests and specify, if applicable. Editors cannot proceed reviewing the manuscript and will not receive further editor calls for this paper. However, when chief editors are asked to assign editors because no handling editor has been found, they can assign such editors but see the indication. (IJTF 1.2.28)
Referees have to declare and specify competing interests. Minor competing interests are not an exclusion criteria per se but subject to decision by the handling editor who sees the indication on all their forms. (IJTF 2.2.23)
Upon manuscript registration, referee suggestions by contact authors are checked for co-authors and turned down, if necessary. When nominated referees decline but suggest colleagues, such entries are also checked against the co-author list and turned down as well. When handling editors nominate referees, free entries are checked against the co-authorships and system suggestions exclude co-authors. (IJTF 1.2.29)
Chief editors can leave notes during peer review on the MS records page. These notes are shown with date and name of the originator. Other chief editors can read these notes and add further ones. (IJTF 1.1.33)
Journals can opt-in to make use of the new APC discount work flow. For participating journals, authors have to verify upon submission that they are aware of the payment of APCs. Here, they can apply for (a) a discount between 10% and 90% (steps on tens), (b) a waiver, or (c) a waiver on any amount exceeding their institutions' limitation for APC coverage. Handling editors have to review the application upon acceptance of the manuscript (D-paper posting for interactive journals or final acceptance for one-stage journals). Chief editors are then asked to review the application (incl. handling editor's comment), comment themselves, and approve or adjust the application. Discounts equal or higher than requested let the manuscript proceed and simply trigger an information email to the author, whereas rejections or chosen amounts lower than requested trigger the system to ask the author to (a) withdraw or (b) proceed anyhow. (IJTF 2.1.34)
Each journal can define a set of rules which are checked upon final decision for publication and trigger an alert to the chief editors when one of these rules are violated. The rules include combinations of referee recommendations and following editorial decisions. Example: when at least one of the reviewers recommended reject and the handling editor decides accept. (IJTF 4.1.23)
As part of the post production after proofreading and before publication of the final journal papers, the image processors produce avatars in different sizes based on the authors' selections of key figures (production file upload). After journal website relaunch in April 2018, these avatars will be used to represent a paper in library lists, on article HTML pages, etc. (IJTF 4.2.15)
So far, journals with dependencies in 2 or more dimensions were forced to flatten their subject area selection to one dimension. Now, the attributes of second or further dimensions can be dependent on the attribute in the first or previous dimension. This is used for editor calls, referee nominations, alert subscription, and the library tab "by topics". (IJTF 1.2.24)
So far, the system skipped the status final response, taking place after the discussion was closed, in case the authors have already published an author comment (AC) at some point during the discussion. Now, journals can decide whether any AC during discussion is sufficient or whether they want to enforce a final response by the author in any case. Hereby, a second parameter controls per journal whether all referee comments (RC) have to be answered individually or whether one general AC can finalize the final-response phase. Another improvement is that authors can co-list their ACs so that they can still write one overall AC although the journal enforces to respond to all RCs individually. A fourth adjustment is that authors have to explicitly declare the finalization of the final-response phase. These four improvements are especially important for journals with post-discussion editor decision since editors could otherwise face a situation where they have to decide on a manuscript without sufficient feedback from the authors. (IJTF 4.2.16)
The personalized manuscript overview allows authors, referees, editors, and executive editors the access to the MS archives listing papers in final statuses (published, rejected, withdrawn, or cancelled). The problem was that this list has become very long for larger journals and difficult to handle. Now, the MS archives start with a filter and search interface and provide only MS matching such user-specific configurations.
So far, there was confusion about the options leading to a final decision and the option to send the manuscript to referees for a further review. Now, there is a clear separation between sending the manuscript to referees and the decision options introduced by a statement “take your decision now”.
Authors of comments in discussions receive now a confirmation email once their comment has been successfully processed by the system.
If a journal uses the option that the final decision by a handling editor has to be approved by an executive editor, the authors and referees have seen this first decision immediately in the MS Records. Now, they will only see the respective MS Records events about the decision of the handling editor once the executive editor has decided and accepted the manuscript. (IJTF 4.2.13)
Readers have now the possibility to report that a comment of a discussion is abusive including an explanation. Thereby, the reporter can stay anonymous but can also provide contact details. Copernicus receives the information and will take the required actions.
Following the best practice of OASPA and most OA publishers, we distribute all papers submitted after 6 June 2017, once they are accepted and published, under the CC BY 4.0 License, the most recent version of CC BY. Furthermore, to make it as easy as possible for users without technical knowledge to cut and paste or click to share DOIs, CrossRef has changed the display and citation guidelines for DOIs from "doi:10.5194/abcd" to "https://doi.org/10.5194/abcd". We take care about the new way of citing DOIs during typesetting, so there is no extra burden for authors due to this improvement.
Authors have been asked for two years now to define their data sets, model code, video supplements, or other assets to their articles and to properly cite these in the paper. All assets are presented in the assets tab alongside the article. These assets now include the IGSN – International Geo Sample Number. An IGSN is a unique identifier for samples and specimens collected from our natural environment. The objective of the newly founded IGSN e.V. (non-profit society) is to implement and promote standard methods for locating, identifying, and citing physical samples with confidence by operating an international IGSN registration service with a distributed infrastructure for use by and benefit to its members. Please find more information on the IGSN website.
So far, the selection of highlight papers has been done by the handling editor upon acceptance of the discussion paper. Now, the handling editor only marks a discussion paper as potential highlight paper and the final selection for a highlight paper is only done upon acceptance of the final revised paper. Furthermore, authors can already indicate upon manuscript registration that they see a highlight in their work (comment only visible to the handling editor) and referees also have the option to indicate the potential for a highlight selection (comments only visible to the handling editor). Therefore, the handling editor can include his own consideration during discussion paper acceptance, the author's comments, and the referee comments into account. Chief editors as well as media officers of the journals are informed about both selections as well as about both publications (D-paper for potential highlights and final revised paper for highlights). Only the final revised highlight papers selected become part of the future highlight papers tab in the journal library as well as in the highlight papers section on the landing page (front page) of the journal. (IJTF 9.1.14)
So far, people have been able to indicate periods of absence in the section "Personal data" of the administration system CO Administrator and the review system CO Editor used these entries to postpone deadlines. Now, these absences are also shown to handling editors when nominating referees and to chief editors when they are asked to nominate or assign topical editors. Absences are also shown in the MS Records. (IJTF 2.2.16)
As requested by Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters), we will from now on include a section in the PDF of the articles informing about the affiliation to a special issue. If the special issue is based on a conference, this will also be indicated. The special issue statement will be placed right before the acknowledgements. Please see the section manuscript composition of the journal website for authors > manuscript preparation.
So far, chief editors only had an overview of all manuscripts under review in their section "Personalized manuscript overview" named "My chief editor overview" (appears with the equivalent vocabulary according to the journal specifics). Now, this overview is entitled "Overall manuscript overview" and the new "My chief editor overview" is reduced to manuscripts actually assigned to the respective chief editor being logged in (if any). This should help the chief editors to have a better overview of their duties.
When referees are nominated and aim to accept the call, they have to declare that they have no conflicts of interest with reviewing the manuscript. The competing interests policy of the journal is linked there. (IJTF 2.2.23)
When suggesting referees for their manuscript, authors now have to include the affiliation of the referees in order to provide more data directly to the handling editor. (IJTF 1.2.21)
So far, chief editors could only assign topical editors to manuscripts if the regular editor call has failed. Now, chief editors can already assign topical editors to manuscripts although the regular editor call is still running. This is controlled by a journal parameter and will only be activated if chief editors wish so. (IJTF 2.1.26)
If a user is acting as topical editor for a journal s/he now has an extra box in the personalized manuscript overview headlined "unassigned manuscripts". Here, the user can see all manuscripts of the journal lacking assignment to a handling editor so far. This list can be limited to the personal subjects. Users are asked to consider picking up these manuscripts and acting as handling editor. (IJTF 2.1.36)
The personalized manuscript overview includes a header section listing the upcoming tasks of that specific user. Now, we extended this list by showing the respective deadlines and by sorting it chronologically. (IJTF 2.1.32/9.2.1)
Upon manuscript registration, when selecting a special issue (SI) from the drop-down menu, the description of the SI becomes available to further inform about the aims and scope. (IJTF 1.1.24)
During production file upload, the system asks authors to name data sets, video supplements, or video abstracts with title, authors, and DOI. These assets are then linked from the published article through the so-called assets tab. This is now extended to model code. Authors are asked to submit their model code corresponding to their work to a reliable repository, get a DOI, and include the model code (a) in their paper as full reference, (b) include a statement regarding data and code availability at the end of the manuscript, and (c) provide title, authors, and DOI during the production file upload. The model code is then linked from the article HTML page like it has been established for data sets.
To clarify the nature of a discussion paper as a manuscript prior to peer review (preprint) rather than a publication, the dates on the HTML pages of all D-papers as well as in the PDFs of upcoming D-papers and final papers are adjusted to received, accepted for review, and discussion started. (IJTF 2.1.42)
The journal libraries now include a tab called "most downloaded". Here, readers can see the list of papers with the highest amounts of views as part of the article-level metrics (ALM). The reader can choose between the recent list or the all-time list. The number of months forming the recent list is a journal-specific parameter. (IJTF 7.1.17)
The libraries of most journals now include a tab called "by MS types". Here, readers can select their favourite manuscript types and thereby filter the list of published articles. A time controller allows to select a specific period of publication.
The meta tags of the HTML pages of all papers (Discussion papers and journal articles) were enhanced to allow the bots of Google Scholar to index the papers with more bibliographic information. In particular, this includes the ORCIDs of the authors, funding information, and the references.
The MS preparation guidelines now ask authors to adhere to United Nations naming conventions for maps used in manuscripts. In order to depoliticize scientific articles, authors are also asked to avoid the drawing of borders or to use contested topographical names. (IJTF 1.1.30)
For articles published after 3 August 2016 (D-paper after 3 August for interactive journals), the article views are now also visualized according to their geographical distribution. Please see the section "Viewed (geographical distribution)" in the metrics tab as well as our corresponding news items.
The new Copernicus LaTeX package 4.3 includes updated versions of the class file and of the template file. Both now include the sections code availability and data availability, as well as the sections competing interests and disclaimer. For details about the usage of these sections, please see the manuscript preparation guidelines.
All journals can now decide whether or not a chief editor is assigned to a manuscript once s/he has acted on this paper. The advantage is that once this manuscript needs further help by chief editors in a following step of the review, all chief editors are called again (or the chief editors of the respective subject area if this was selected in a second parameter). So far, before introducing this new parameter, manuscripts have always been assigned to a specific chief editors once this editor acts on the paper. The result was that the other chief editors were not called once the manuscript needs further actions by chief editors.
The indication about supplements is now mandatory. Authors have to indicate whether they have a new version of the supplement, the former version should be used, or the paper does not have a supplement any more. Furthermore, the wording of the English language options for copy-editing have been revised to better explain what Oxford comma and Oxford spelling means.
As a recognition of and thank-you to all referees and editors for the tremendous work they provide for our journals, each volume now provides a list of editors as well as a list of referees. These lists start at the beginning of a volume, are filled throughout the year, and include all editors and referees who actually provided reviews for papers being published in the respective journal in the respective volume.
The journal libraries now include a tab called "by topics". Here, readers can select their favourite subject areas and see a list of published articles with the selected subjects assigned. A time controller allows to filter for a specific period of publication.
Copernicus Publications partnered with OpenAire regarding the financing of journal articles resulting from FP7-funded research. Eligible projects are stored in the data base. As soon as an author selects an eligible FP7 project during manuscript registration, OpenAire will be asked to approve the financing. In case of a positive response, the APCs of the article will be directly settled between Copernicus and OpenAire.
The title and author search in the libraries of all journals now include also the search within abstracts. Furthermore, search results a better classified into 100% matches and similar results.
Authors are now asked to submit the full first names of all co-authors. These names will then appear on all HTML pages of the journal libraries as well as in the full-text XML and PDF files of the papers.
The journal libraries now include a tab called "most commented". Here, readers can see the list of papers with the most comments received during Public Peer Review™. The reader can choose between the last 12 months or the all-time list.
Authors are encouraged to properly cite their data sets, videos, model code, or samples, and to preserve them in reliable repositories including the identification through DOI. Copernicus then combines all assets to a journal paper on the article's HTML page in the new tab called "assets". This follows Copernicus' strategy of the publication cluster with the article as the trunk and all assets as the branches.
The discussion forums of our interactive journals publish Rerefee Comments (RC), Editor Comments (EC), Author Comments (AC), and Short Comments (SC) posted by members of the scientific community during Interactive Public Peer Review. From January 2016 on, such comments receive digital object identifiers (DOIs) to enable a proper citation of these contributions.
The journal libraries are relaunched including many new features. Please see our news item.
Authors are asked to submit videos being supplements or video abstracts of their papers to the AV|Portal of the TIB. They receive a DOI there, indicate this during production file upload, and the videos are then linked in the assets tab of the article in the journal library.
For updates to the review system (CO Editor) before 2015, please see the presentations below:
- Improvements as of July 2014 (PDF)
- Improvements as of February 2014 (PDF)
- Improvements as of October 2013 (PDF)
- Improvements as of May 2013 (PDF)
- Improvements as of January 2013 (PDF)
- Improvements as of July 2011 (PDF)
- Improvements as of May 2010 (PDF)
- Improvements as of January 2010 (PDF)
- Improvements as of September 2009 (PDF)