The process of peer-review and publication in the interactive scientific journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) differs from traditional scientific journals. It is a two-stage process involving the scientific discussion forum Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions (ACPD), and it has been designed to use the full potential of the internet to foster scientific discussion and enable rapid publication of scientific papers.
Initial access peer-review assures the basic scientific and technical quality for papers published in ACPD. Subsequent interactive discussion and public commenting by the referees, authors and other members of the scientific community is expected to enhance quality control for papers published in ACP beyond the limits of the traditional closed peer-review. Also in cases where no additional comments from the scientific community are received, a full peer-review process in the traditional sense, but in a more transparent way, is assured before publication of a paper in ACP.
The individual steps of the ACP process of peer-review, publication and interactive discussion are described below, and complementary illustrations are given in the following Flow Chart 1 and Flow Chart 2 .
Submission of Original Manuscript and Editor Assignment
An original manuscript is submitted electronically and assigned to a Co-Editor covering the relevant subject areas (for details see Manuscript Types).
The Co-Editor is asked to evaluate whether the manuscript is within the scope of the journal and whether it meets a basic scientific quality. If necessary, he may ask independent referees of his choice for support. The Co-Editor can suggest technical corrections (typing errors, clarification of figures, etc.) before publication in ACPD. Further requests for revision of the scientific contents are not allowed at this stage of the review process but shall be expressed in the interactive discussion following publication in ACPD.
The authors have the opportunity to perform technical corrections, which may be reviewed by the Co-Editor to verify requested corrections and prevent further revisions, which are not permitted at this stage.
Publication of Discussion Paper in ACPD
After final acceptance the manuscript is typeset by the Copernicus Publications Production Office, proofread by the authors, and published as a discussion paper on the ACPD Website. Public accessibility, archiving and citability are guaranteed from this moment on (usually about 2-8 weeks after submission).
Open Discussion (8 weeks)
Upon internet publication the paper is opened for public review and discussion, during which interactive comments can be published by designated referees (anonymous or named) and all interested members of the scientific community (named). Normally, every discussion paper shall receive at least two Referee Comments; for more information see Interactive Public Discussion.
After the open discussion the authors are expected to publish a response to all comments (within 4 weeks, extendable upon request). The editor can also publish additional comments or recommendations. Normally, however, formal editorial recommendations and decisions shall be made only after the authors have had an opportunity to respond to all comments, or if they request editorial advice before responding.
Submission of Revised Manuscript
Submission of a revised manuscript is expected only if the authors have satisfactorily addressed all comments, and if the revised manuscript meets the high quality standards of ACP (MS Evaluation Criteria). In case of doubt, the authors shall consult the editor if she/he recommends preparation and submission of a revised manuscript or not. Normally the revised manuscript should be submitted no later than 4 to 8 weeks after the end of the open discussion. If more time is required for manuscript revision, the authors can request an extension.
In view of the access peer-review and Interactive Public Discussion, the Co-Editor either directly accepts/rejects the revised manuscript for publication in ACP or consults referees in the same way as during the completion of a traditional peer-review process. If necessary, additional revisions may be requested during peer-review completion until a final decision about acceptance/rejection for ACP is reached.
Publication of Final Revised Paper in ACP
In case of acceptance the final revised paper is typeset and proofread. Then it is published on the ACP Website with a direct link to the preceding original paper and interactive discussion in ACPD. All publications (original paper, interactive comments, final revised paper) are permanently archived and remain accessible to the open public via internet and the final revised paper is also accessible as print copy.
The timing indicated above is a guideline which may have to be modified according to the availability and response times of editors, referees, and authors.
The submission of comments and replies which continue the discussion of scientific papers beyond the limits of immediate interactive discussion is encouraged. Such peer-reviewed comments undergo the same process of peer-review and publication as described above, i.e. after publication and discussion in ACPD they may also be published in ACP if sufficiently substantial.
If a manuscript that has been published as a discussion paper in ACPD is not accepted for publication as a final paper in ACP, the authors have several options to proceed as outlined under Frequently Asked Questions, Point 7.
Interactive Public Discussion
In the Interactive Public Discussion following the publication of a paper in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions (ACPD), the following types of interactive comments can be submitted for immediate non-peer-reviewed publication alongside the discussion paper:
Short Comments (SC) can be posted by any registered member of the scientific community (free online registration). Such comments are attributed, i.e. published under the name of the commentator.
Referee Comments (RC) can only be posted by the referees involved in the peer-review of the discussion paper. They can be anonymous or attributed (according to the referee's preference).
Editor Comments (EC) can only be posted by the Co-Editor of the discussion paper.
Author Comments (AC) can only be posted by the contact author of the discussion paper on behalf of all co-authors.
All interactive comments are fully citable, paginated, and archived as a supplement to ACPD.
Figures and Supplements
Comments can be composed by using either plain text or LaTeX formatting. Complex content without LaTeX commands can be uploaded as a *.pdf file and will be displayed as a supplement to the comment. In any case, figures can directly be included in the comment.
The Interactive Public Discussion comprises two Phases
Phase 1: Open Discussion (8 weeks)
The referees are asked to publish one or more Referee Comments and every registered member of the scientific community may publish Short Comments as defined above. The authors of the discussion paper have the option (but no obligation) to reply by publishing their own Short Comments individually, or by posting Author Comments collectively on behalf of all co-authors. The authors of a discussion paper are automatically informed by e-mail about the publication of comments in the Interactive Public Discussion of their paper. Publication alert services will also be available to other members of the scientific community. The publication of interactive comments is supervised by the Co-Editors, who have the option of censoring comments that are not of a substantial nature and of direct relevance to the issues raised in the discussion paper or which contain personal insults. Authors are advised to follow the discussion of their paper and to notify the Co-Editor in case of abusive commenting. The ACP editorial board reserves the right to exclude abusive commentators.
To participate in the interactive discussion of a paper recently published in ACPD, please locate this paper on the ACPD Website and follow the appropriate links there.
Phase 2: Final Response
After the open discussion no more Short Comments and Referee Comments are accepted, but the contact author and the Co-Editor of the discussion paper have the opportunity to publish final Author Comments and Editor Comments, respectively. The final response phase is generally limited to 4 weeks (expandable to 8 weeks) and automatically terminated upon submission of a revised manuscript. Before submitting a revised version of their manuscript for publication in ACP (second stage of publication), the authors are supposed to have answered the Referee Comments and relevant Short Comments cumulatively or individually in one or more Author Comments.