The L&O administrative structure consists of an Editor-in-chief, a Journals Manager, and the Associate Editors. What follows is a narrative description of how they interact to process manuscripts and produce the journal, followed by a summary of their individual responsibilities:
A manuscript is received at the Canmore L&O office. A manuscript reference number (e.g., 98-322) is assigned, and it is registered in the L&O database. The Editor-in-chief scans it to determine if it is suitable in form and content for the journal. If it is not (e.g., because the content is inappropriate, or its use of English is substandard) it is rejected without review; otherwise it is assigned to an Associate Editor.
A copy of the manuscript and the author's cover letter is sent to the Associate Editor. The Associate Editor examines it and can recommend to the Editor-in-chief that it be rejected without external review. (Between the Editor-in-chief and the Associate Editors, about 10% of submitted papers are rejected without review.) If the Associate Editor considers it worth reviewing, s/he sends the names and addresses of potential reviewers to the L&O office. Associate Editors are allowed two weeks to supply the names of potential reviewers; they are then notified by E-mail if they are late. General guidelines that the Associate Editor works under are: 1) To not suggest someone with whom s/he currently has a close working relationship, and 2) To not act as a reviewer on a paper s/he has been assigned.
Upon receiving the Associate Editor's list of potential reviewers, the names are checked against reviewing history information in the L&O database to ascertain how many reviews each person has done for L&O in the last year, whether they have outstanding reviews, and whether s/he should not be asked to do any reviews because, e.g., s/he has left science, is dead, is on sabbatical or maternity leave, .... We also advise the Associate Editor to think twice about anyone who always refuses review requests, is chronically late sending in reviews, or who has failed to deliver promised reviews in the recent past. Based on this information, the list is prioritized and reviewers are pre-contacted (by E-mail or fax) until two are found who agree to review the paper. The manuscript is sent to them, along with a copy of the Guidelines for L&O Reviewers. Reviewer's are given three weeks to acknowledge receipt of the manuscript; E-mail or fax requests for confirmation are automatically sent if they have not acknowledged receipt within this time period. Reviewers are allowed 4 weeks from the date the manuscript was sent to them electronically (5 weeks if it was mailed to them) to return their reviews; E-mail or fax reminders are sent if reviews are not received within this time period.
Reviews are received at the Canmore office. When two are in hand, they are forwarded to the Associate Editor. Based on the reviews and the Associate Editor's own assessment of the manuscript, s/he writes the decision letter. Associate Editors are given three weeks to return the decision letter; s/he is reminded by e-mail if we do not receive the decision letter within this period.
In rare cases, only one review is received and there is no prospect of getting the second one on a timely basis. The Associate Editor can make a decision about the fate of the manuscript if s/he feels comfortable doing so. However, the Associate Editor should not act as the second reviewer. However, it is entirely appropriate for the Associate Editor to comment critically AFTER the decision to accept the manuscript has been made (even if this decision is provisional, i.e., requiring suitable revision). The decision letter is E-mailed to the Journals Manager, who checks it to ensure that it includes correct administrative details and forwards it (along with the reviews) to the corresponding author (most frequently by E-mail or fax).
Authors are given four months to submit a revision. If the revision does not arrive within that period, the authors are asked whether they intend to submit a revision. If they do not respond, the paper is considered withdrawn and any future version of the manuscript that is received is treated as a new submission. Revised manuscripts are forwarded to the Associate Editor, who decides whether the authors have responded adequately to comments and suggestions from the first round of review. In most cases revised manuscripts are sent for re-review to one or both of the first round reviewers.
Based on his/her own assessment of the manuscript and any re-reviews, the Associate Editor writes the final decision letter (a second round of major revision is not supposed to happen but occasionally does if new issues not mentioned in the review of the original submission arise in the review of a revision) and E-mails it to the Journals Manager, who forwards it to the author. Approximately 35% of submitted manuscripts are accepted.
If the paper is accepted and requires only minor revision, the Associate Editor edits the paper to improve its technical clarity and to make it conform to the How to Prepare Manuscripts for L&O checklist. The degree of detail that Associate Editors get into here is pretty much up to them; some edit a lot, others not at all. The edited copy (along with any manuscript pages marked by reviewers that the Associate Editor thinks would be of use to the authors) are mailed to the Canmore office. They are forwarded to the author, along with specific instructions that are required to make the format consistent with the L&O style.
The author mails the final revision of the paper and a diskette containing an exactly matching electronic copy to the Editorial Office. The Journals Manager reviews this material to confirm that all required parts are present and that the electronic copy exactly matches the hard copy. If everything is in order, the hard and soft copies are couriered to Allen Press.
A copy editor at Allen Press lightly edits the manuscript to ensure that the grammar is correct and that it conforms to the L&O style sheet (a technical document that is on file at Allen Press). The copy editor also checks that 1) all literature references in the text appear in the list of references and vice-versa, 2) figures and tables are cited in the proper order in the text. The manuscript is then typeset and galley proofs are couriered to the Editorial Office. Authors receive proofs as an Adobe PDF file attached to an E-mail message; this message also contains a preliminary estimate of the publication charges for the paper. From the time that the Editorial Office sends the manuscript to Allen Press to the time that authors receive proofs is 3-5 weeks.
If an author does not return corrected author proofs to the Editorial Office within 7 days s/he is notified by E-mail or fax that these proofs are late. When corrected author proofs arrive at the L&O Editorial Office, they are acknowledged by E-mail to the author. The Editor-in-Chief transfers author corrections to the master proofs. When the press deadline for the next issue arrives the Editor-in-chief arranges the corrected proofs in a logical order, numbers the pages, makes a table of contents for the issue, and mails the issue proofs to Allen Press.
Typesetters at Allen Press transfer corrections from the master proofs to their electronic originals and print the "1st Revisions" proofs, which are couriered to the Editor-in-chief. Preparation of 1st Revision proofs takes about two weeks. The Editor-in-chief checks to ensure that all corrections have been correctly transferred from the master proofs, adds any late-arriving corrections from authors, and sends the corrected 1st Revision proofs back to Allen Press. Allen Press then produces "2nd Revision" proofs of the issue and sends these to the Editorial Office. Preparation of 2nd Revision proofs takes about 1 week. These final proofs corrected and sent back to Allen Press. It then takes about three weeks for Allen Press to print and mail the issue.
Significant features of this system that authors, reviewers, and Associate Editors should be aware of are:
Responsible for the overall content of Limnology and Oceanography. Specific duties include:
Perform duties and tasks as directed by the Editor-in-chief. Associate Editors are ideally generalists who handle 15-20 papers per year. They are appointed to two year terms subject to approval of the ASLO Board. Specific duties include:
Performs duties and tasks as directed by the Editor-in-chief. Specific duties include:
The information links below provide general instructions for authors and reviewers, as well as general information on the Limnology and Oceanography office.