Fieldiana: Manuscript Handling Protocol

The Managing Scientific Editor (MSE) receives the initial submission of each manuscript.  After the MSE has reviewed a submission for its appropriateness for Fieldiana, the manuscript is assigned to an Associate Editor (AE) with an interest in the appropriate area.  If the Associate Editor feels that they have a conflict of interest they should immediately return the manuscript to the Managing Scientific Editor.

To identify appropriate peer reviewers, the Associate Editor will briefly review the manuscript’s acknowledgements and literature cited sections, and the list of potential reviewers and reviewers to be avoided (maximum of two) that the author may have provided. From these sources the Associate Editor should eliminate from consideration those individuals that may pose conflicts of interest.  Also researchers resident at The Field Museum do not serve as reviewers, although they may be asked to help identify potential reviewers.

When an edited volume is being considered, each chapter is treated as a separate manuscript and each must be reviewed by two referees in the pertinent field.  Often, it is helpful to send both the volume introduction and focal chapter to each referee. 

The Associate Editor approaches potential reviewers by phone and/or e-mail. Colleagues who decline to review may be asked to suggest other possible reviewers. Normally reviewers should be asked to return their completed review within six weeks, and correspondence with them should repeat this time commitment. Two or three reviewers should be engaged. The Associate Editor then provides complete reviewer instructions, the referee’s checklist for Fieldiana, and the manuscript to the reviewers. When practical, this should be accomplished electronically.

After receiving two or more reviews the Associate Editor may recommend acceptance or rejection to the Managing Scientific Editor (see above).  However, in most cases the Associate Editor will give the author the reviews and ask for revisions.  In some cases the AE, in consultation with the MSE, may suggest that the manuscript be released for consideration of publication elsewhere.  A recommendation of rejection should be in writing to the MSE and be accompanied by the complete review file. The Associate Editor may elect to wait for a third review prior to making a recommendation.

For successful submissions, the author will be given copies of the reviews and supplementary style guidelines that detail format requirements that must be followed. In the case of technical questions the author should be encouraged to approach the editorial staff for advice. It should be made clear to the author that the format requirements are specific and that the recommendation of acceptance to the MSE cannot go forward until the manuscript is acceptable in terms of both content and format.

When the author provides a manuscript (printed copy and electronic files) that is acceptable to the Associate Editor in both content and format, the Associate Editor may recommend acceptance to the MSE. The recommendation should be in writing and be accompanied by the complete review file. The complete review file must include the following items:

  • All written correspondence including copies of essential e-mails.
  • A letter of recommendation to the MSE that is signed by the associate editor.
  • A hard copy and an electronic copy of the final manuscript and all its elements in the required style and format.
  • Signed copyright transfers from all authors, and ideally, consent from all people shown in photographs.

The MSE makes the final decision for acceptance or rejection.