Advertisement

Editorial and Peer Review Process

PLOS Water is a peer reviewed scientific journal with a rigorous editorial screening and assessment process made up of several stages.

PLOS Water considers original research articles from all disciplines within the journal’s scope in the natural sciences, medical research, engineering, as well as the related social sciences and humanities. The editors make decisions on submissions based on scientific rigor, regardless of novelty.

Checking the status of your manuscript
The corresponding author can check the status of a submitted manuscript at anytime in our submission system.

Understanding Manuscript Statuses

Manuscript submitted The journal has received the submission and is conducting an initial editorial assessment and screening for technical requirements.
Editor invited The journal office is identifying potential editors to handle the submission.
With editor The manuscript has been placed with a member of the editorial board for handling.
Under review The handling editor has invited peer reviewers to evaluate the submission.
Required reviews complete Some or all assigned reviewers have submitted comments.
Decision in process The handling editor has drafted a decision, but it has not yet been finalized or sent to the authors.
Read the guidelines for reviewers for PLOS Water. Visit the PLOS Reviewer Center for guidance on completing a peer review.

Initial Checks

The journal staff and in-house editorial team perform an initial quality check to identify potential issues such as:

  • Competing interests
  • Compliance with editorial policies and ethical standards
  • Financial disclosures
  • Data availability

Submissions may be returned to authors for changes or clarifications at this stage.

Editorial Review

After completing internal checks, each new submission is assigned to an Academic Editor with relevant expertise. The editor reviews the manuscript against our publication criteria and determines whether reviews from additional experts are needed to evaluate the manuscript. The handling Academic Editor is usually a member of the PLOS Water Editorial Board, but occasionally a Guest Editor is invited to serve instead.

Peer Review

During the submission process you’ll be asked to indicate any specific editors or reviewers who should not review your manuscript. We will respect your request so long as it does not interfere with the objective and thorough assessment of the submission.

The handling editor selects reviewers based on expertise, publication history, and past reviews, and invites them to provide feedback on the manuscript. After agreeing to review, external peer reviewers typically have 10 days to submit their review. The journal office will follow up with late reviewers and keep you informed if there are any delays.

PLOS Water uses single blind peer review. Reviewers remain anonymous unless they choose to identify themselves by signing their name to their review in our submission system.

Editorial Decisions

The handling Academic Editor or staff editor makes the final decision on each manuscript.

The editor considers reviewer feedback and their own evaluation of the manuscript in order to reach a decision. The following decision types are available:

  • Reject
  • Major revision
  • Minor revision
  • Accept

Decisions are communicated to the corresponding author in a formal letter, along with reviewer feedback and any other requirements from the journal office.

Revisions

If the editor feels that your manuscript has the potential to be published, but requires changes, you’ll be invited to revise it. You’ll have 45 days to resubmit the revised manuscript for both a major or a minor revision.

In most cases, the revised manuscript is re-assigned to the original Academic Editor. The editor may make a new decision based on their own assessment of the revised manuscript and your response to reviewers, or request additional input from external peer reviewers.

Read more about revising your manuscript.

Accepted Manuscripts

PLOS Water uses two levels of accept decision. When the handling editor is satisfied with the scientific aspects of the manuscript they’ll issue an editorial accept decision. This is a provisional acceptance, pending final checks for formatting and technical requirements. Once the final requirements are fulfilled, the journal office will send a formal accept decision, and your manuscript will move on to production.

Read more about accepted manuscripts.

Peer Review History

PLOS now offers accepted authors the opportunity to publish the peer review history of their manuscript alongside the final article. The peer review history package includes the complete editorial decision letter for each revision, with reviews, and your responses to reviewer comments, including attachments. If the peer reviewers have chosen to sign their reviews, their names will also appear.

If your submission is accepted for publication, you’ll be invited to opt-in to publish the peer review history of your manuscript using a form in our submission system.

Sharing peer review history enriches the scientific record, increases transparency and accountability, and helps to reinforce the validity of your research by displaying the thoroughness of the peer review process it has undergone.

The journal reserves the right not to publish peer review history in special cases, for example, due to an ethical consideration, such as the inclusion of information about a vulnerable population.

Transferring to Other Journals

Authors can request that submissions (with reviewer reports, if relevant) rejected from one PLOS journal be transferred to another PLOS journal for further consideration there. Manuscripts will never be transferred between the journals without an author’s consent.

We trust that reviewers for any PLOS journal are willing to have their reviews considered by the editors of another PLOS journal.

Appeals

Authors may submit a formal appeal for rejected submissions. Appeal requests must be made in writing to water@plos.org with the word “appeal” in the subject line. Authors must provide detailed reasons for the appeal and point-by-point responses to the reviewers' and/or Academic Editor's comments.

Decisions on appeals are final without exception. Priority is given to new submissions, so the appeal process may take longer than the original submission process.

Contact

If you have questions at any stage in the process, please email us.