Decision Making Policy

In 2021 the editorship of Engaging Science, Technology, and Society (ESTS) changed and increased in size. We also updated our editorial policies, in particular to deepen our commitment to fostering broadly inclusive, open access, and transnational STS scholarship and community. Our current editorial policies are listed below. These will be reviewed by the journal’s editorial collective and editorial board annually, and updated as required. We will announce significant policy changes via our website and our social media channels (@eSTSjournal on Twitter, and our newsletter, especially), we also ask the journal’s community to periodically visit this website to stay updated. We welcome comments and suggestions on our editorial policies from the ESTS community, these may be communicated to us by emailing our managing editor.

Peer Review Process 

Manuscripts submitted to ESTS will undergo a pre-review process before they may be progressed to the review phase. During pre-review all submissions will be checked to ensure that they have met the basic requirements for submission (such as word limits, permissions to use and specifications for data/imagery, Chicago style, thoroughness and appropriate formatting of bibliographic references, document formatting, author anonymity, etc.). Authors should prepare their manuscripts in conformity with our Submission Guidelines to ensure conformity with ESTS styling.

After the basics are approved, submissions will then go into a phase of substantive pre-review during which editors will thoroughly read and discern whether the submission is appropriate for ESTS. Typically, authors should expect a pre-review decision within two weeks of submission.

Peer Review Process
The editorial collective of ESTS is committed to supporting new forms of scholarship (e.g. multimedia and open data submissions) and evaluation (e.g. open peer review). This may require us to develop new forms of review. ESTS editors, in consultation with authors and the editorial board, will identify appropriate forms of peer review in such instances.

After submissions are deemed appropriate for the journal, they will then move into a process of peer review. By default, manuscripts submitted as Original Research Articles will undergo a double-blinded peer review: authors should prepare their manuscripts in conformity with this requirement (please refer to our Author Guidelines for some suggestions for anonymization). In cases when double-blind is not possible, manuscripts may be considered for single-blind peer reviews. Manuscripts submitted under the Engagements genre will be single-blind reviewed. Manuscripts submitted under the Perspectives genre will be peer-reviewed by ESTS editors. A member of the ESTS editorial board may also be enlisted in reviewing manuscripts submitted under the Perspectives genre.

A first decision will be made on the basis of reviewer recommendations and ultimately at the discretion of ESTS editors. Manuscripts will receive a verdict of either Accept; Revisions Required; Resubmit for Review (R&R); Resubmit Elsewhere; Decline Submission. For those papers that receive an R&R, a revisions plan will be developed through consultations between the managing editor and the author. Revisions will be typically sent for re-review.

Authors can expect a pre-review decision from ESTS editors within two weeks of submission. If a manuscript successfully passes the pre-review stage, authors can expect a first editorial decision within four months of submission, but this may vary depending on reviewer availability and other such considerations.

Most manuscripts that are eventually published in ESTS typically undergo two or more rounds of revision. Authors should take note of this when submitting their manuscripts for consideration at ESTS, we will not respond to requests for accelerated publication timelines.

If a manuscript has undergone peer review, authors may formally appeal its subsequent rejection by the editors. The appeal would entail the manuscript and all relevant materials, including the identities of the authors, being sent to an ad hoc committee consisting of at least two members of ESTS’s editorial board. The committee can review the material submitted as it is, or consider seeking additional expert advice. In both instances, a conclusion will be reached and documented within a signed advisory opinion document to be sent to the authors and ESTS editors along with a decision of acceptance or rejection. 

The appeal process is not an additional round of peer review, but only a review of the editorial decision. After the appeal, an author can request that the case be reviewed by the ESTS editor-in-chief. The entire case will then be forwarded to the editor-in-chief to ask if the procedures and hearing were both appropriate and fair. There are no more review stages.

To initiate an appeal, please contact the managing editor by email.

Following guidelines issued by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), ESTS editors will consider retracting a publication if there is clear evidence that the findings are plagiarised, unreliable and/or unethical, the manuscript infringes copyright, competing interest or loyalty has arisen, or material or data has not been authorised for use. Publications will be retracted as soon as possible after the editors are convinced that the publication is seriously flawed or misleading. Allegations of misconduct will follow the appeals process set out above. The final decision for retracting material ultimately rests with the editor-in-chief.

Post-Publication Corrections
ESTS’s managing editor will make a post-publication correction, clarification, retraction and apology if a researcher or reader discovers there is a mistake in a published paper. The online version of record (VoR) cannot be altered, but a correction (as an errata/corrigendum) can be published alongside the paper. Please send your request to the managing editor by email. If a post-publication change is necessary the editor-in-chief and the managing editor will ensure the changes are made in accordance with COPE guidance for retractions, and post-publication discussions and corrections.

ESTS also enables post-publication debate by encouraging dialogues through our Twitter account (@eSTSjournal) as well as our Engagements section.