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Peer Review at IOP Publishing

IOP Publishing makes a unique contribution to the scientific community, with more than 60 staff across our global offices dedicated to managing the peer review process.

Our peer review operation is driven by a desire to free up time for researchers to focus on the science, while IOP Publishing staff take on the administrative aspect of the peer review process.

We believe this approach helps enable both rigorous peer review quality and fast decision times for our communities.

Peer Review Speeds

Our benchmark median peer review times:  

Receipt to First Decision (Pre-review)       5 days

Receipt to First Decision (Post-review)     43 days

Receipt to Acceptance                               83 days

Peer review speeds vary across our community of journals, with our Express titles such as Materials Research Express offering a post-review first decision speed of 35 days and a receipt-to-acceptance speed of 65 days. As part of our ongoing commitment to increase transparency, these publication speeds are being added to our journal pages.

Through our focus on continuous improvement, use of emerging technology and reviewer engagement, we are committed to maintaining and improving these speeds in the future, without impacting on the quality of the reviews our authors receive, or placing additional time pressure on our reviewers.

Our peer review operation 

Our peer review operations vary depending on the needs of the journal community. However, most of our journals use internal editorial staff to select reviewers and make decisions. These editorial roles are supported by committed editorial board members, who often act as reviewers and pre-review sounding boards. This approach minimises the time academic researchers spend administering peer review and focuses time spent on considerations around scientific rigour and quality.

An ALPSP paper found that where editors rely on at least two reviewers’ recommendations, a journal administrator-selected reviewers operation is equally as rigorous as an editor-selected reviewers operation. More specifically, the paper found that use of journal administrator-assigned reviewers reduces the editor’s workload and allows them to focus on peer review decisions and strategic planning.

Peer Review Quality 

Antonia Seymour, Publishing Director at IOP Publishing, said “We strive to offer a world-class publishing experience that reflects researchers’ desires to have maximum impact and influence in their field, whether that’s measured by citations, downloads, press coverage or online attention.”

With our commitment to the COPE guidelines and our dedicated ethics committee, we are confident our peer review quality and speed will continue to improve. 

Continuous improvement 

In addition, we maintain high levels of customer satisfaction with an average Net Promoter Score for published authors of +57 and +51 for reviewers.

We maintain our customer experience by acting on user suggestions and data. One example is our Track My Article service, which allows authors to see the status of their article at any time during the publication process. This has reduced the volume of queries around publication status, and improved authors’ understanding of where their paper is throughout the process. To date, this service has been used 700,000 times by our authors.

Marc Gillett, Head of Publishing Operations at IOP Publishing, said: “We’re very proud of how our authors and reviewers view our peer review service, but we are always looking for ways to improve.

“By having our editorial staff embedded in the physical sciences community, we are able to respond to their changing needs and requirements quickly and efficiently.”