Editorial Policies

Introduction

The Technical Committee on Publications and Communications (TCPC) of ASME aims to maintain a high degree of technical, literary, and typographical excellence in its publications. This document provides best practice guidelines for Editors and Associate Editors (AE) and Guest Editors (GE) of ASME Transactions Journals in support of a high quality, responsible and fair review process.

The reader is also referred to the ASME Journal Tool Administration Help web tool at https://journaltool.asme.org/Help/AdminHelp/WebHelp/JournalsHelp.htm and the ethical best practices guidelines developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors ( http://publicationethics.org/files/u2/Best_Practice.pdf). Additional guidelines may be provided by the Technical Editor of each journal.

Ethical Standards

The ASME standards on ethics for Editors/Associate Editors is found at https://journaltool.asme.org/Help/AdminHelp/WebHelp/JournalsHelp.htm

The primary responsibilities of ASME journal Editors, Guest Editors and Associate Editors are to ensure an efficient, fair, and timely review process of manuscripts submitted for publication, and to maintain high standards of technical and professional quality. Criteria of quality are: originality of approach; clarity and conciseness; concept and/or application; profundity; and relevance to the mechanical engineering profession.

Peer-Review Process

A summary of the steps in the review process follow.

  1. Contributions submitted to the ASME Transaction Journals are first screened by the Editor to determine if the content of the submitted manuscript is appropriate for the scope of the journal and if the manuscript merits peer review. If the manuscript lies outside the scope of the journal, then a rapid rejection allows the author to submit their manuscript to another journal.

    The Editor may reject a manuscript that lacks sufficient technical merit or acceptable English, contains excessive overlap with previously published work (identified by Crosscheck software as a percentage of overlapped content), or is an inappropriate length. A previously published ASME conference paper is an acceptable submission.

    Ethical standards suggest that prior to making a unilateral decision to reject a paper on the basis of technical merit, the Editor consider seeking advice from an AE with expertise in a relevant area. Manuscripts that are clearly of inferior quality should be rejected without peer review to avoid wasting reviewers’ time.

  2. Special Editors act in the place of the Editor in cases where the Editor is the author of a submitted paper.

  3. Once the manuscript passes the initial screening, the Editor assigns the manuscript to an AE based on the AE’s expertise and workload. For special issues, a Guest Editor (GE) may be selected.

  4. The AE/GE provides a second screening of the technical content of the manuscript. If the AE/GE feels the manuscript does not merit external review, the AE should consult immediately with the Editor and provide written rationale for his/her opinion. If the AE/GE has a conflict of interest, is unable to handle the review within the requested timeframe, or is unfamiliar with the research area, he/she should inform the Editor within 5 working days. Also, if unforeseen circumstances prevent the AE from completing the review within the allotted time, the Editor should be informed immediately.

  5. The AE should invite reviewers in a timely manner (within 5 working days) after receiving the assignment of the manuscript by the Editor. Reviewers are selected on the basis of expertise, prior publications in the same topic area, and prior performance as a reviewer (including quality and timeliness). The AE should also consider the number of manuscripts sent to a reviewer to avoid overburdening anyone. To ensure that a reviewer is agreeable to conducting the review, the AE may consider sending a personal e-mail before assigning the reviewer via the Journal Tool.

    Every submitted manuscript is expected to receive at least 2, and preferably 3, reviews before a recommendation is made to the Editor.

    The identity of the reviewers must remain strictly confidential. Reviewers may be chosen from the Journal Tool list, from the reference list provided by the manuscript, by searching the topic, or by consulting with colleagues who are experts in the field. The authors are welcome to suggest potential reviewers; however, it is the AE’s decision to honor such requests. It is strongly recommended that two reviewers not recommended by the author be selected to ensure a fair and quality review process. If a selected reviewer is not registered on the Journal Tool, the AE can create a reviewer profile for the reviewer. If appropriate, the AE may assign himself/herself as a reviewer, but self-assignment should not be a routine procedure.

    Potential reviewers will be provided the abstract and the names of the authors when they are invited as potential reviewers. The full manuscript will be accessible after the review assignment is accepted. The identity of the authors and content of submissions must remain strictly confidential to those outside the review process until the manuscript is published.

  6. Reviewers should be asked to complete the review within 3 weeks, allowing for 4 weeks. (In the case of a special issue, a tighter deadline may be required.) Though the Journal Tool provides a means for sending reminders to the reviewers, the AE should monitor the progress of the reviews and send a personal email or use other means of communication if the reviewers do not respond by the requested deadline. If the reviewer does not respond to the invitation, that is a strong indication that the reviewer is unavailable for review or is unwilling to review. In such cases, the AE should remove the nonresponsive reviewer from the list of invited reviewers and select additional reviewers, including assigning him/herself as reviewer in exceptional cases.

    If the review process is delayed for a justifiable reason, such as the necessity to seek additional reviewers by the AE, the AE should communicate with the author and the Editor to explain the delay and provide a new timeline for completion of the review.

  7. Once the reviews are received, the AE should evaluate the reviewers’ comments and the submitted manuscript prior to making a recommendation to the Editor. The AE should inform the Editor if any review contains offensive text.
     

AE’s Recommendation options:

Accept as is: A recommendation to publish the manuscript in its original form. It is rare for manuscripts to be recommended “as is” in the first round of review. If the Editor does not agree with the AE’s recommendation, the Editor may return the manuscript to the AE and ask the AE to obtain additional reviews.

Revisions required: A recommendation for further consideration; the journal is willing to reconsider the manuscript in another round of decision making after the authors consider the reviews and modify the manuscript. The AE requests the author(s) to revise the manuscript and resubmit with response or rebuttal to the reviewer comments. The AE should remind the author(s) to follow ASME’s guidelines at http://journaltool.asme.org/Help/AuthorHelp/WebHelp/JournalsHelp.htm.

Once the manuscript is revised and resubmitted with a response/rebuttal, the AE has multiple options. The first option is to recommend acceptance without additional external review. This option is preferred for manuscripts which have in the opinion of the AE fully addressed the reviewers’ comments and meet the quality standards set by the Journal. The second option is to ask the authors to make additional minor revisions. The third option is to send the manuscript to select reviewers from the initial review for a second round of reviews. A fourth option is to seek an additional reviewer. The AE may also assign him/herself as a new reviewer if necessary.

The Revisions Required option is not appropriate if the manuscript is of such poor quality that it is likely to be rejected on the second go-round. In this case, the AE should consider a reject decision. Reject: A recommendation not to publish the manuscript or reconsider it even if the authors make major revisions. The AE should provide the authors and the Editor, with the information on which this decision is based, including specific comments that describe the arguments against publication.

Revise to Technical Brief: Based on the reviews and the level of contribution of the manuscript, the AE may advise the authors to shorten the manuscript as a Technical Brief for further consideration. The AE’s reasoning for the recommendation should be explained to the Editor in the comments section of Journal Tool. The Editor may confer with the AE if necessary. The Editor makes the final decision and communicates this decision to the author through the Journal web tool. The Journal Tool does not reveal the AE’s recommendation to the author until after the final decision of the Editor has been made. The AE should not reveal his/her recommendation to the authors because the Editor may not agree with the AE’s recommendation or the Editor may require further review of the manuscript to support the recommendation.

8. Once a decision has been made by the Editor, the author will be notified accordingly and will be able to see the reviews and AE’s recommendation. If the manuscript is accepted, the authors then submit the final manuscript files according to the final submission instructions.

9. Once final manuscript files are submitted, the Assistant to the Editor once again verifies the language quality of the manuscript, figures, and the manuscript format, including length of the manuscript and Crosschecks for overlap with previous publications. The Editor then considers and approves the manuscript for production when and if all of the publication requirements are met.

Timeline

ASME Transaction Journals are committed to provide timely editorial decisions. Authors will be asked to respond to the comments and recommendations of the reviewers within 15 days, or longer if deemed necessary by the Associate Editor or at the discretion of the Associate Editor at the request of the corresponding author. The Editor and AEs should also adhere to timely review as indicated in Table 1.

Table 1. Suggested Timeline for Editors and Associate Editors

 
Duration Task
Within 5 days Editor assigns the manuscript to an AE or rejects the manuscript.
Within 5 days AE assigns the manuscript to reviewers.
Within 35 days Reviews completed.
Within 3 days AE submits recommendation.
Within 15 days Authors are requested to submit revisions with a reasonable turnaround. Fifteen days is recommended.
Within 5 days The AE handles the second revision.
Within 5 days Final decision made by Editor.