Verbal and written communication should be professional, encouraging and supportive of authors who choose to submit. The aim is to ensure the authors retain a high regard for the journal, regardless of the outcome of their submission.
Here are some points to bear in mind when contacting an author whose paper is under review:
While rejection is unpleasant, negative feelings after rejection can be minimised by ensuring the communication is polite and professional, and quick. Check out our guide to communicating decisions to reject.
A personal touch can be applied when using an electronic editorial office; your standard letters should be polite and respectful, whether accepting or declining manuscripts.
Monitor your time to first decision and set goals for fast turnarounds, especially for papers which will be 'triaged' (i.e. not sent out for external review). Authors appreciate a rapid speed to first decision about their manuscript, particularly if it is rejected.
Aim to maintain a high quality of reviews. Authors appreciate well-reasoned and thoughtful responses to their work. If you receive an unnecessarily rude or offensive reviewer report, remove those comments before sending to the authors. Tips on how to get the best from your reviewers are included in our guide to peer review.
Leave authors of declined papers with a positive regard for the journal. Do not discourage them. Assuming a mentoring position for these authors (even if declining to publish) and showing a 'friendly face' to them can mean that they return later in their careers, read the journal, cite the journal, and/or recommend the journal to colleagues.
Try to avoid the term 'rejected' in relation to papers when communicating with authors. Instead, use 'declined' or 'deemed unsuitable for publication'.
Wiley Author Services
Wiley's Author Services enables authors to track their article - once it has been accepted - through the production process to publication online.
Check the status of their articles online.
Choose to receive automated emails at key stages of production.
Access the PDF offprint of their article and free online access to the article in perpetuity.
Nominate up to 10 colleagues each to receive a publication alert and gain free access to the published article.
Authors are responsible for:
Adding all co-authors to the Author Services system to ensure that they receive their PDF offprints
Authors completing the license agreement for their articles through Author Services.
Because articles cannot be published until a license agreement is signed, it is important to include instructions for registering for Author Services in the acceptance letter, as well as on the journal site with author guidelines.
Author Services also includes resources such as editorial policies on ethics, retraction of articles, author rights and benefits, and help for authors whose native language is not English. These features are available to all visitors and new features will be added over time.
There will be occasions when an author wants to appeal against the decision made. We cannot eliminate the possibility of bad reviews or reviewer misconduct, so you may like to consider having an appeals procedure in place to address these concerns. Such a procedure may help reassure authors that a rigorous process has been followed and might also draw attention to poor reviewers.
The appeals procedure is something that should be agreed by the editor(s). You should also decide whether to advertise the appeals procedure to authors or not. A few other issues worth considering:
Should there be a deadline after which appeals will not be considered (e.g. 28 days after notification of the decision)?
How formal should the appeal be? How much detail is necessary for the appeal to be considered?
Should the appeal be handled by a different editor than the one who made the original decision?
How is the appeal to be assessed? Some journals will invite a third reviewer to assess the paper.
If the appeal is successful and the original decision is overturned should that trigger an internal review of the process to ascertain if changes are needed?