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IOP Science

Getting a first decision on your article

IOP Publishing is committed to getting a first decision  on your article to you as soon as possible. Here we describe the various different decisions you could receive.

Decision types on journal articles

After your article has been reviewed, you will receive an email with a first decision on the article. IOP has a range of different decisions you could receive and these are outlined below. You will see what each decision type is and what it means for you and your article.

Provisional accept

Following peer review, your article has been provisionally accepted for publication. However, before we can pass your article to our production department, our editorial team needs to check we have everything required to publish your article. They will be in touch with you if anything is missing.

Formal accept

Our editorial team has made all the necessary checks and has everything required to publish your article. Your accepted article will now be passed to our production department.

Minor revision

Your article has a very good chance of being accepted for publication, but the reviewers have requested minor amendments to be made. These changes can usually be made quite quickly and it is unlikely we will need to send your revised article back to the reviewers.

We usually allow between one and two weeks for you to send your revised article back to us, but this may vary by journal.

Moderate revision

Your article has a good chance of being accepted, but requires additional changes to be made to satisfy our reviewers. These changes usually require more time and it is likely we will need to send the revised article back to at least one of the reviewers.

We usually allow between two and four weeks for you to send your revised article back to us, but this may vary by journal.

Major revision

Your article has a chance of being accepted, but the reviewers have requested substantial changes to be made. These changes are expected to take significantly longer and we will allow a longer deadline for you to submit. The revised article will be sent back to the reviewers.

We usually allow between four and eight weeks for you to send your revised article back to us, but this may vary by journal.

Rejected but may resubmit

Your article has been rejected as it stands. The reviewers have requested very substantial changes that are too significant to warrant a revision of the article in its current form. However, the reviewers see potential in your article and we will allow you to resubmit it if you substantially rewrite it, as explained in the referee reports. It will then be treated as a new submission, with a new article ID, though it will usually be reviewed by at least one of the original reviewers.

Reject: not in scope

Your article has been rejected. Unfortunately, the content of your article is not within the scope of the journal. If you would like to see a copy of the journal scope, please visit the relevant journal homepage.

Reject: overlap

Your article has been rejected since we have found that your article contains text which appears to have been replicated from previously published article(s). All manuscripts considered for publication in IOP journals should report new research and contain substantial new results, and should not contain text directly copied from previously published work. If you would like more information about our ethical policy it is available here.

Reject: unscientific

Your article has been rejected. The quality and presentation of any research published in our journals must be of a high standard. Submissions should clearly demonstrate scientific rigour, extensive literature research and a careful assessment of the validity of any conclusions presented in the manuscript. Your manuscript has been assessed and found not to meet all of these key publication criteria and so we are unable to consider it further.

Reject: poor English

Your article has been rejected. Your manuscript cannot be considered in its current form. All manuscripts submitted to us must be written in clear English so that readers (and reviewers) are able to understand the meaning of the article. We strongly advise you to ask a native-English-speaking colleague to check your manuscript before submission. IOP also offers several English-language editing services which you may want to use to help you improve the language of your submission, including help with translation. You can find more details here.

If you decide to rewrite your manuscript to make its meaning clear to the reviewers (many of whom do not speak English as their first language), we will be happy to reconsider it.

Straight reject

Your article has been rejected. Articles must be of high quality and high scientific interest, and be recognized as an important contribution to the literature. Following review, it has been found that your article does not meet all of these criteria and should not be published in the journal. A revised submission of this paper will not be considered.

Please note, we will not normally reconsider an article for our primary research journals if it has already been rejected in the same or a substantially similar form, without the option to resubmit, by this or any other IOP Publishing journal. If a submission has previously been rejected by one of our journals, please state this in your covering letter and clearly detail the revisions you have made. Before rejecting we will always consider whether the work would be better suited to another IOP journal, therefore if you have not been offered a transfer, we do not believe your article is suitable for publication in any of our other journals.

Reject and transfer

Your article has been rejected as the content is not appropriate for the journal to which it has been submitted. However, we have found an alternative IOP journal we think it is suitable for, and we will give you up to ten days to either approve or decline the transfer to this journal. If we do not hear from you after ten days, we will assume you do not agree to the transfer and we will automatically reject the transfer.

Appealing against a rejection from our journals

You have the right to appeal against a rejection from our journals. An appeal is an extension of the peer review process and the same ethical standards apply, so you should not submit an appeal whilst your article is under consideration by another publication. Please see our ethical policy for journals for further information.

To lodge an appeal you should contact the journal e-mail address, outlining your case for reconsideration. To be considered, appeals must directly address the reason(s) given for the initial rejection decision. If reviewer reports were included with the decision letter, then these criticisms must be responded to in the appeal. Appeals that do not address reviewers’ criticisms, are dismissive of the reviewer comments, or contain offensive language will not be considered.

Appeals that meet the requirements above are sent to a member of the journal’s Editorial Board for consideration. If successful, an appeal can lead to the article’s re-entering the peer review process. The article may ultimately be published following any revisions deemed necessary by the Editorial Board. You should not submit a revised version of your article until the appeal process is complete. If the appeal is rejected, then the original rejection decision is upheld and no further consideration of that article is possible.

Please note, we must receive your appeal within four weeks of the original decision, otherwise we are unable to consider it.

Author surveys on IOP journals

We are always looking for ways to improve our service to authors and we offer an opportunity for you to complete a short survey about your experience of submitting to an IOP Publishing journal. A link to this survey is included in both our acceptance and rejection letters.

All of your feedback is very valuable to us, and we would like to thank you in advance for your help.

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