Web-based systems for submitting and reviewing manuscripts are under rapid development, and scientific journals are in the thick of deciding how and when to make the switch. This is not merely a matter of using the newest technology. The web offers relief for persistent problems. It will help authors stay in touch with the processing of their manuscripts, and it will help editors bring the most expert opinion (however far-flung) into the process of manuscript evaluation. According to early reports, these web systems are particularly welcomed by authors in foreign countries, for whom the process of manuscript review can seem frustratingly remote.
The recent move of Epidemiology’s editorial office provides a natural opportunity to institute a new manuscript system. After considering the available options and intensively screening two, we have chosen Rapid Review, developed and managed by Cadmus.
There will of course be growing pains. Even so, we have no doubt that this step is necessary, useful, and in fact inevitable. Effective immediately, you have the option of submitting your paper to Epidemiology electronically. Once your paper is in the Rapid Review system, you can track its progress. Reviewers are being invited to carry out their duties electronically, the editorial office will communicate decisions immediately, and our publisher eventually will be able to move articles directly from the tracking system into print – both on the web and in the familiar blue-bound hard copy.
The next time you are ready to send us your manuscript, we encourage you to go to the Epidemiology website (http://www.epidem.com) where you will find complete instructions. If anything is unclear, give us a call (919.667.1688) and we will do our best to help. During this transition period, we will continue to receive your hard copy submissions if you prefer. We will enter your paper into the web system, and you can watch the machinery turn.
We welcome Rapid Review as a way to improve our service to our authors and reviewers. One risk of this plunge into the digital world is that Epidemiology may begin to seem like an ephemeral operation. As antidote, we welcome you to visit us at our real office on the sixth floor of the Snow Building, on Main Street in downtown Durham.
When you stop by, let us know what you think of Rapid Review.