Adopting an electronic submission and review process

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Readers have asked me why they can't make an electronic submission to TQ. We have accepted it on special occasions when authors had difficulties in printing and mailing an article out to us--especially from remote locations. However, the editorial board preferred to continue the long-established practice of accepting only paper submissions. In our policy meetings, editorial board members mentioned many concerns--

1. There is greater investment in paper submissions. Authors tend to plan more carefully before going through the process of submitting a paper when they have to print their copy and mail it out to a journal. Getting together a finished product in the traditional way forces authors to attend to the publishing requirements more carefully. Electronic submissions tend to be shoddy as authors tend to hit the "send" button too hastily.

2. The ease of electronic submission gives the illusion that anything goes. Sometimes, an article rejected from another journal is sent to us without any revisions or even reformatting to suit our publishing conventions. Sometimes, we have received term papers emailed to us by graduate students.

3. Foreign authors may not have access to electronic resources and will feel disadvantaged if we accept only electronic submissions;

4. Our referees read more closely when they read off the printed version. They prefer to review printed copies only.

 

However, TQ will soon have three editors in three locations. Diane Belcher and Alan Hirvela will work as Associate Editors in 2009 before they take over the editorship in 2010. It therefore makes sense to adopt a web-based system so that we can collaborate more efficiently from Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Ohio. The new procedure will also help TQ to review the submissions faster and offer decisions sooner. Many authors have complained about the delay involved in the review process currently. Therefore, TESOL has agreed to establish a web-based system next year. From March 2009 we will accept electronic submissions. In order to establish this process in a fair and efficient way, it is good to have some suggestions from readers on potential glitches and problems:

1. Will authors from any particular background feel disadvantaged? Much against the stereotypical view, we have recently found that it is foreign authors who prefer to send manuscripts by email. There are many reasons for this: foreign authors find that they are unable to get quality printouts in their country; they are unable to mail out a bulky package with three copies conveniently; such a package and postage to US are expensive. Besides, email is faster and more reliable than regular mail in some countries.

2. Should we accept both print and electronic submission? What kind of authors will still prefer paper submission? Of course, maintaining both types of submission will be a logistical nightmare for the editorial office.

3. Which web-based interface is most efficient for editorial purposes? (Have our authors found any particular program more desirable in their experience with other journals?)

4. Are any authors concerned about issues of privacy or other ethical and procedural conflicts as we move into electronic submission and review process?

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This page contains a single entry by SURESH CANAGARAJAH published on December 2, 2008 1:39 PM.

Resubmitting an Article to another Journal was the previous entry in this blog.

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