Journals Library

Editorial review process

Manuscripts are published in one of our journals if they have resulted from work for a relevant programme, and they are of a sufficiently high scientific quality as assessed by the reviewers and editors.

Once you have submitted your manuscript, your funding programme will check that it is in line with requirements and then it will be passed to the editorial office.

The assigned editorial member will check your manuscript against a number of requirements as set out in the Information for Authors guidance. This includes running all manuscripts through plagiarism detection software. If deemed acceptable, it is at this point that your manuscript has entered editorial review. 

The manuscript will then be externally reviewed, usually by up to four independent experts who provide expertise in various relevant areas (such as clinical, methodological, health economics and statistics). Where there is a significant statistical component in a manuscript, we will always seek a review from a statistician.

When all the comments have been received, the editors review all of the manuscripts and feedback is given to the author (please note for TAR reports the editor will review the report only after it has been revised in response to the initial reviewer comments).

Should your manuscript require revision, you will be invited to resubmit an electronic version of your revised manuscript, and will be given a deadline depending on the extent of the revisions required. This must be accompanied by a table detailing the changes that have/have not been made in response to the editors’ and/or reviewers’ comments.

The editors will then decide whether or not you have adequately addressed the reviewers’ comments. If the changes are not considered sufficient, you will be asked to make further revisions. Occasionally, the editors may ask for the revised manuscript to be re-reviewed.

External reviewer reports and author responses are all communicated to the editors via the editorial office.

When the editors are satisfied that a manuscript is acceptable for publication, it is sent to the production house. 

At this stage, your manuscript is accepted for publication and you can now cite it as ‘in press’. You can upload your manuscript to your institution’s repository at this stage, however if you do so, it must be a closed version. We would prefer you to wait until the manuscript is published because:

  • the manuscript is subject to change throughout the editorial process
  • your dual publication articles may not get published if your work is already in the public domain
  • you may not have secured all necessary permissions for reproduced material within your manuscript

We advise you to speak to your institution regarding these issues, as well as your requirements for REF compliance and confidentiality issues.

Please note that the editors will make the final decision on a manuscripts suitability for publication. They have an extensive role throughout the process, including assigning reviewers, reviewing manuscripts, signing them off to be sent to the production house and approving the final proofs before publication.

Please see timescales for further information.