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How to forward reviews

If a manuscript is not accepted by one journal in the Consortium, the authors can submit their manuscript to a second Consortium journal and have the reviews from the first journal forwarded to the second journal. See here for the list of all Consortium journals.

It is the authors’ choice whether or not to request that a set of reviews be forwarded. If authors do not want the reviews seen by another journal, the manuscript can be submitted to the second journal without reference to the previous submission, as is now the normal practice. No information will be exchanged between journals except at the request of the authors. However, if the reviews suggest that the paper is of high quality, but just not suitable for the first journal, then it will often be to the advantage of the authors to forward the first set of reviews.

If authors feel that the first set of reviews is sufficiently supportive, they may revise their paper in accord with those reviews, and resubmit to the second journal, along with a cover letter describing the changes that have been made. The authors must contact the first journal to ask for reviews to be forwarded to the second journal after submitting the consortium paper to the second journal.

In practice, for the authors this will not be different from resubmitting to the original journal, except that they will have to reformat the paper to the second journal’s specification, and ask the first journal to forward the original reviews. The only information that the second journal will receive is the text of the reviews that were sent to the authors and, if the reviewers have agreed, the names of the reviewers (which will not be released to the authors). No other information about the manuscript will be exchanged between journals. In particular, Consortium journals agree not to accept confidential comments from the reviewers, except those relating to issues such as human or animal subject welfare, potential conflicts of interest or misconduct. No confidential comments will be forwarded, nor will priority ratings or other scores. Eliminating confidential comments to the editors makes the peer review process more transparent and open. In the unlikely event that the reviewers for the first journal identified a problem in animal or human subject welfare, conflict of interest, or potential scientific misconduct, the editors of the first journal will not be able to forward reviews until this problem is resolved.

Forwarding of reviews is all-or-none. Authors may not select which reviews will be forwarded. If a manuscript went through multiple rounds of review at the first journal, the reviews from all rounds will be forwarded. Similarly, a journal will forward its reviews only to one other journal. If that journal also turns down the paper, the entire set of reviews must go to a third journal, not just the reviews from the first one.

How to forward reviews

Authors who wish to forward reviews from a Consortium journal, should submit their manuscript to a second Consortium journal with a cover letter that identifies the name of the first Consortium journal and the manuscript ID that was given by that journal. The authors then must contact the first journal, and ask that reviews be forwarded, giving the name of the second journal, and the manuscript ID number at the second journal. Note that only articles submitted after January 1, 2008 are eligible.

The editors of the second journal will use forwarded reviews at their discretion. They may use those reviews directly to make a decision, but may also request further reviews if they feel it is warranted. If the editors of the second journal think the reviews lack sufficient expertise or depth, they may choose to disregard them and base their decision on new reviews.

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