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For Authors: Journal of Extension Review and Publication Process

This document provides prospective Journal of Extension (JOE) authors with information about the stages of the publication process, from receipt of submission to publication. (For information about preparing and submitting manuscripts, see the JOE Submission Guidelines and associated materials on the JOE website.) JOE accepts manuscript submissions in five categories. Although several stages in the publication process are the same across categories, the route to publication is somewhat dependent on manuscript category; therefore, this document is organized in two major parts: Commentary/Tools of the Trade Submissions and Feature/Research in Brief/Ideas at Work Submissions. A third part of the document, A Word About Deadlines, emphasizes the importance of meeting deadlines associated with various stages of the publication process.

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Commentary/Tools of the Trade Submissions

Commentary and Tools of the Trade submissions undergo review solely by the editor. They do not undergo double-blind peer review.

Receipt of Submission

When the JOE editor receives a submitted manuscript via email, she ensures that the corresponding author has followed the JOE Submission Guidelines with regard to manuscript file type and required information for the subject line and body of the email. If all is in order, the editor logs in the manuscript and responds to the author to confirm receipt of the submission. If all is not in order, the editor does not consider the manuscript to be submitted and notifies the author of the errors. Either way, the editor typically responds within 2 business days of receiving the submission email.

Editorial Review

Round 1

The first round of review for any manuscript submitted to the JOE is the editorial review. The editor reviews the manuscript to determine whether it aligns with the purpose and scope of JOE and to ensure that it meets other standards required for submissions to JOE. That is, the editor reviews the manuscript for adherence to technical specifications related to manuscript preparation; article categorization and associated word count; organization, cohesion, and consistency in development of the topic; clarity and precision of the writing; consistency and accuracy in presentations and discussions of data; accuracy in citations and references; proper grammar, mechanics, and style; and avoidance of errors of carelessness (e.g., typos, repeated words).

JOE’s mission involves advancing the theory and practice of Extension through a combination of professional development and academic rigor. The role of the JOE editor in this mission is to assist prospective authors with professional development in the area of scholarly writing. Performing a thorough initial editorial review allows the JOE editor to fulfill this role and helps ensure the quality of the journal’s content.

As a result of the editorial review of a Commentary or Tools of the Trade submission, the editor (a) accepts the manuscript for publication (possibly pending some small amount of revision), (b) requests that the author submit a revised version of the manuscript for further editorial review, or (c) rejects the manuscript. (For more information about rejection at this stage, see JOE Editorial Review Rejection Policy on the JOE website.) The editor notifies the corresponding author of the result of the editorial review and, unless she is rejecting the manuscript, provides detailed instruction for next steps the author must take.

  • If the editor is accepting the manuscript for publication, she notifies the author accordingly. The editor may request that the author provide some clarification or additional information or make some revisions to the manuscript and return an updated version to her. She also requests that the author read the JOE Copyright Agreement and submit the associated Agreement of Compliance Form. The author has 1 month to provide any required information or revision and submit the Agreement of Compliance Form.
  • If the editor is requesting that the author submit a revised version of the manuscript for further editorial review, she indicates the needed revisions by entering track-changes edits and comments in a marked-up version of the manuscript. The author has 2 months to revise the manuscript and return it to the editor.
  • If the editor is rejecting the manuscript, she provides feedback explaining her position. If the manuscript does not align with the purpose and scope of JOE, that feedback may be brief. If the manuscript fails to meet other requirements, the editor typically provides detailed feedback that may include comments and track-changes edits in a marked-up version of the manuscript.

The turnaround times for editorial reviews vary and are dependent on the current rate of submissions and the conditions of manuscripts submitted. Generally, the editor attempts to provide the author with an estimated time frame for the editorial review when she confirms receipt of the submission. (Authors can do their part to decrease editorial review turnaround times by following requirements set forth in the JOE Submission Guidelines; attending meticulously to guidance provided in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition; reviewing and acting on information in JOE Style and Guidance for Avoiding Common Manuscript Problems, and conscientiously applying the JOE Manuscript Submission Checklist.)

Round 2 (as needed)

When the JOE editor receives a manuscript that has been revised following the initial editorial review, she logs in the manuscript and responds to the author to confirm receipt of the revision. The editor typically responds within 2 business days of receiving the revision email.

The editor reviews the manuscript to determine whether the author has attended appropriately to concerns raised during the initial editorial review. As a result of the second round of editorial review, the editor typically accepts the manuscript for publication. If the editor finds that the author has failed to make an appropriate effort to address her concerns, she rejects the manuscript. The editor notifies the corresponding author of the result of the editorial review and, assuming she is accepting the manuscript for publication, provides detailed instruction for next steps the author must take. If the editor is accepting the manuscript for publication, she may request that the author provide some clarification or additional information or make some revisions to the manuscript and return an updated version to her. At this time, she also requests that the author read the JOE Copyright Agreement and submit the associated Agreement of Compliance Form. The author has 1 month to provide any required information or revision and submit the Agreement of Compliance Form.

The turnaround times for second-round editorial reviews vary and are dependent on the current rate of submissions and the conditions of manuscripts submitted. Generally, the editor attempts to provide the author with an estimated time frame for the editorial review when she confirms receipt of the revised manuscript.

Completion of Copyright Form

When the editor notifies an author that his or her manuscript has been accepted for publication, the editor requests that the author read the JOE Copyright Agreement and fill out and submit the associated Agreement of Compliance Form. As noted previously, the author has 1 month to submit the Agreement of Compliance Form. When the author submits the Agreement of Compliance Form, the editor is notified electronically. At that point, the editor transfers the manuscript to the awaiting-publication queue.

Selection and Preparation of Articles for Publication

Approximately 1 month before the scheduled release of an issue of JOE, the editor begins work on the issue. A first step is determining the contents of the issue. Article selection determinations are based on the lengths of time articles have been awaiting publication, the number of accepted-for-publication articles in each article category, and the need to achieve an appropriate balance across the article categories. Consequently, the time between acceptance of a manuscript and publication of the manuscript as an article in JOE is dependent on various circumstances and can be lengthy.

After determining the contents of the issue, the editor formats and copy edits the selected articles. During this stage, the editor may contact authors for additional clarifications and so forth. The editor also writes the Editor’s Page and performs other tasks (mostly administrative) related to publication of an issue. One of these tasks is notifying corresponding authors that their articles will be published in the forthcoming issue of the journal.

Approximately 2 weeks before the scheduled release of the issue, the editor transfers the manuscript files and other associated materials to the JOE technical coordinator (webmaster). The technical coordinator and his team further manipulate the manuscript files to prepare them for publication on the web. After a few rounds of final tweaking by the editor and the technical team, the issue is ready for publication.

Issue Release

On the scheduled publication date for an issue of JOE, the technical coordinator launches the live version of the issue. At or around the time of issue release, the past president of the Extension Journal, Inc. board of directors notifies each state’s Extension director of any articles in the issue that were written by authors from his or her state.

Feature/Research in Brief/Ideas at Work Submissions

Feature, Research in Brief, and Ideas at Work submissions undergo initial editorial review by the editor. If advanced by the editor, they undergo double-blind peer review. Feature and Research in Brief submissions are reviewed by three reviewers; Ideas at Work submissions are reviewed by one reviewer.

Receipt of Submission

When the JOE editor receives a submitted manuscript via email, she ensures that the corresponding author has followed the JOE Submission Guidelines with regard to manuscript file type and required information for the subject line and body of the email. If all is in order, the editor logs in the manuscript and responds to the author to confirm receipt of the submission. If all is not in order, the editor does not consider the manuscript to be submitted and notifies the author of the errors. Either way, the editor typically responds within 2 business days of receiving the submission email.

Editorial Review

Round 1

The first round of review for any manuscript submitted to the JOE is the editorial review. The editor reviews the manuscript to determine whether it aligns with the purpose and scope of JOE and to ensure that it meets other standards required for submissions to JOE. That is, the editor reviews the manuscript for adherence to technical specifications related to manuscript preparation; article categorization and associated word count; organization, cohesion, and consistency in development of the topic; clarity and precision of the writing; consistency and accuracy in presentations and discussions of data; accuracy in citations and references; proper grammar, mechanics, and style; and avoidance of errors of carelessness (e.g., typos, repeated words).

JOE’s mission involves advancing the theory and practice of Extension through a combination of professional development and academic rigor. The role of the JOE editor in this mission is to assist prospective authors with professional development in the area of scholarly writing. Performing a thorough initial editorial review allows the JOE editor to fulfill this role and helps ensure the quality of the journal’s content.

As a result of the editorial review of a Feature, Research in Brief, or Ideas at Work submission, the editor (a) advances the manuscript to the next stage of the publication process, (b) requests that the author submit a revised version of the manuscript for further editorial review, or (c) rejects the manuscript. (For more information about rejection at this stage, see JOE Editorial Review Rejection Policy on the JOE website.) The editor notifies the corresponding author of the result of the editorial review and, unless she is rejecting the manuscript, provides detailed instruction for next steps the author must take.

  • If the editor is advancing the manuscript to peer review, she typically requests that the author make revisions to the manuscript before moving it forward. Usually, the editor indicates the needed revisions by entering track-changes edits and comments in a marked-up version of the manuscript. The author has 2 months to revise and advance the manuscript.
  • If the editor is requesting that the author submit a revised version of the manuscript for further editorial review, she indicates the needed revisions by entering track-changes edits and comments in a marked-up version of the manuscript. The author has 2 months to revise the manuscript and return it to the editor.
  • If the editor is rejecting the manuscript, she provides feedback explaining her position. If the manuscript does not align with the purpose and scope of JOE, that feedback may be brief. If the manuscript fails to meet other requirements, the editor typically provides detailed feedback that may include comments and track-changes edits in a marked-up version of the manuscript.

The turnaround times for editorial reviews vary and are dependent on the current rate of submissions and the conditions of manuscripts submitted. Generally, the editor attempts to provide the author with an estimated time frame for the editorial review when she confirms receipt of the submission. (Authors can do their part to decrease editorial review turnaround times by following requirements set forth in the JOE Submission Guidelines; attending meticulously to guidance provided in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition; reviewing and acting on information in JOE Style and Guidance for Avoiding Common Manuscript Problems, and conscientiously applying the JOE Manuscript Submission Checklist.)

Round 2 (as needed)

When the JOE editor receives a manuscript that has been revised following the initial editorial review, she logs in the manuscript and responds to the author to confirm receipt of the revision. The editor typically responds within 2 business days of receiving the revision email.

The editor reviews the manuscript to determine whether the author has attended appropriately to concerns raised during the initial editorial review. As a result of the second round of editorial review, the editor typically advances the manuscript to peer review. If the editor finds that the author has failed to make an appropriate effort to address her concerns, she rejects the manuscript. The editor notifies the corresponding author of the result of the editorial review and, assuming she is advancing the manuscript to the next stage of the publication process, provides detailed instruction for next steps the author must take.

If the editor is advancing the manuscript to peer review, she typically requests that the author make revisions to the manuscript before moving it forward. Usually, the editor indicates the needed revisions by entering track-changes edits and comments in a marked-up version of the manuscript. The author has 2 months to revise and advance the manuscript.

The turnaround times for second-round editorial reviews vary and are dependent on the current rate of submissions and the conditions of manuscripts submitted. Generally, the editor attempts to provide the author with an estimated time frame for the editorial review when she confirms receipt of the revised manuscript.

Double-Blind Peer Review

If the editor has deemed a manuscript appropriate for peer review, the author attends to the editor’s requests for revision and otherwise prepares the manuscript for review (e.g., by masking certain content) and then uploads the manuscript to Manuscript FastTrack (MFT), JOE’s online manuscript review system.

It can be a few months or so before a manuscript that has been uploaded for peer review is actually reviewed because the editor distributes manuscripts for peer review in batches. Using this approach allows the editor to ensure that the manuscript review workload is balanced across JOE reviewers. In addition, assigning reviews in batches increases the editor’s efficiency in performing this task.

Once the editor has enough ready-for-peer-review manuscripts to make a reasonable batch, she prepares a reviewer-ready version of each manuscript and assigns the manuscript to the appropriate reviewer(s). Distributing manuscripts for review across the cadre of JOE reviewers is complicated. When selecting a potential reviewer for a submission, the JOE editor must consider not only the fit of the reviewer’s areas of expertise with the topic of the manuscript but also criteria such as the reviewer’s breadth of expertise that might be needed for a different submission in the batch and the number of reviews being considered for assignment to the reviewer.

Reviewers have 5 business days to accept or decline their assignments, and those who miss that deadline receive a reminder and get 2 additional days to respond. After that point, the editor makes every effort to reassign any manuscript for which a review was declined.

In conducting a review, a reviewer completes a review form that is specific to the article category for which the manuscript was submitted. The reviewer also may record feedback on a marked-up version of the manuscript. The review form includes a section in which reviewers propose an overall rating and recommended disposition for the manuscript. Reviewers may recommend that a manuscript (a) is acceptable for publication (typically pending some small amount of revision), (b) will be acceptable for publication after minor revision, (c) requires major revision and resubmission, or (d) should be rejected.

Reviewers have about 4 weeks to complete their reviews. Most complete their reviews within that time frame; some run late. Reviewers who do not complete their assignments by the deadline receive reminder emails and have an additional week or so to complete their reviews. If a reviewer still has not completed a review by that time, the editor takes action to bring the review process to an end for the applicable manuscript. This may involve engaging in a conversation with the reviewer about his or her ability to complete the review by a particular date, reassigning the review, or, in the case of Feature and Research in Brief submissions, making the decision to act on the basis of only two reviews. Overall, JOE reviewers are conscientious and dedicated and make every effort to complete their assigned reviews.

As with review assignments, the editor processes reviewed manuscripts in batches. Once the editor has enough peer-reviewed manuscripts to make a reasonable batch, she takes action to communicate results of the peer reviews to authors. For each manuscript, the editor reviews the completed review form(s) and any copies of manuscripts marked-up by reviewers and then sends an email, via MFT, to the corresponding author. The email contains a synthesis of the review results, the completed review form(s), and, if applicable, information about downloading any marked-up version of the manuscript. The email also contains detailed instruction for next steps the author must take. Unless the editor is rejecting the manuscript on the basis of the review results, these next steps involve returning an updated version of the manuscript to the editor for the post-peer-review editorial review. The author has 4 months to revise the manuscript and return it to the editor.

Post-Peer-Review Editorial Review

Round 1

When the JOE editor receives a manuscript that has been revised following peer review, she logs in the manuscript and responds to the author to confirm receipt of the revision. The editor typically responds within 2 business days of receiving the revision email.

In returning a revised manuscript following peer review, an author is to include a detailed, thorough response to concerns raised during the peer review. The editor reviews the author’s response and the manuscript to determine whether the author has attended appropriately to those concerns. The editor also considers whether the author attended appropriately to concerns raised during the most recent round of editorial review.

As a result of the post-peer-review editorial review, the editor typically either accepts the manuscript for publication (possibly pending some small amount of revision) or requests that the author submit a re-revised version of the manuscript for further editorial review. If the editor finds that the author has failed to make an appropriate effort to address concerns raised during the editorial and peer review processes, she rejects the manuscript. The editor notifies the corresponding author of the results of the post-peer-review editorial review and, unless she is rejecting the manuscript, provides detailed instruction for next steps the author must take.

  • If the editor is accepting the manuscript for publication, she notifies the author accordingly. The editor may request that the author provide some clarification or additional information or make some revisions to the manuscript and return an updated version to her. She also requests that the author read the JOE Copyright Agreement and submit the associated Agreement of Compliance Form. The author has 1 month to provide any required information or revision and submit the Agreement of Compliance Form.
  • If the editor is requesting that the author submit a re-revised version of the manuscript for further editorial review, she indicates the needed revisions by describing the issues in the body of the email or entering track-changes edits and comments in a marked-up version of the manuscript. The author has 2 months to revise the manuscript and return it to the editor.

The turnaround times for post-peer-review editorial reviews vary and are dependent on the current rate of submissions and the conditions of manuscripts submitted. Generally, the editor attempts to provide the author with an estimated time frame for the editorial review when she confirms receipt of the revised manuscript.

Round 2 (as needed)

When the JOE editor receives a manuscript that has been revised following the post-peer-review editorial review, she logs in the manuscript and responds to the author to confirm receipt of the revision. The editor typically responds within 2 business days of receiving the revision email.

The editor reviews the manuscript to determine whether the author has attended appropriately to concerns raised during the post-peer-review editorial review. As a result of this round of editorial review, the editor typically accepts the manuscript for publication. If the editor finds that the author has failed to make an appropriate effort to address the concerns raised during the post-peer-review editorial review, she rejects the manuscript. The editor notifies the corresponding author of the results of the review and, assuming she is accepting the manuscript for publication, provides detailed instruction for next steps the author must take. If the editor is accepting the manuscript for publication, she may request that the author provide some clarification or additional information or make some revisions to the manuscript and return an updated version to her. At this time, she also requests that the author read the JOE Copyright Agreement and submit the associated Agreement of Compliance Form. The author has 1 month to provide any required information or revision and submit the Agreement of Compliance Form.

The turnaround times for editorial reviews of post-peer-review further revised manuscripts vary and are dependent on the current rate of submissions and the conditions of manuscripts submitted. Generally, the editor attempts to provide the author with an estimated time frame for the review when she confirms receipt of the re-revised manuscript.

Completion of Copyright Form

When the editor notifies an author that his or her manuscript has been accepted for publication, the editor requests that the author read the JOE Copyright Agreement and fill out and submit the associated Agreement of Compliance Form. As noted previously, the author has 1 month to submit the Agreement of Compliance Form. When the author submits the Agreement of Compliance Form, the editor is notified electronically. At that point, the editor transfers the manuscript to the awaiting-publication queue.

Selection and Preparation of Articles for Publication

Approximately 1 month before the scheduled release of an issue of JOE, the editor begins work on the issue. A first step is determining the contents of the issue. Article selection determinations are based on the lengths of time articles have been awaiting publication, the number of accepted-for-publication articles in each article category, and the need to achieve an appropriate balance across the article categories. Consequently, the time between acceptance of a manuscript and publication of the manuscript as an article in JOE is dependent on various circumstances and can be lengthy.

After determining the contents of the issue, the editor formats and copy edits the selected articles. During this stage, the editor may contact authors for additional clarifications and so forth. The editor also writes the Editor’s Page and performs other tasks (mostly administrative) related to publication of an issue. One of these tasks is notifying corresponding authors that their articles will be published in the forthcoming issue of the journal.

Approximately 2 weeks before the scheduled release of the issue, the editor transfers the manuscript files and other associated materials to the JOE technical coordinator (webmaster). The technical coordinator and his team further manipulate the manuscript files to prepare them for publication on the web. After a few rounds of final tweaking by the editor and the technical team, the issue is ready for publication.

Issue Release

On the scheduled publication date for an issue of JOE, the technical coordinator launches the live version of the issue. At or around the time of issue release, the past president of the Extension Journal, Inc. board of directors notifies each state’s Extension director of any articles in the issue that were written by authors from his or her state.

A Word About Deadlines

As noted in this document, prospective JOE authors must meet deadlines associated with each stage of the review and publication process. The editor must enforce these deadlines to ensure fairness to all prospective JOE authors, promote currency of articles in the journal, and facilitate record keeping. Although all deadlines are delineated herein, the editor also identifies relevant deadlines in correspondences with authors. If an author has concerns about meeting a deadline, the author should contact the editor before the deadline to request an extension.