Why are we creating a transfer service?
The global output of academic research is increasing exponentially, putting a growing strain on academic reviewers and editors, which in turn can impact the quality and/or speed of peer review for authors.
Peer review criteria can vary widely between journals. Common reasons for rejecting a manuscript include:
- Insufficient match with the aims and/or scope
- Insufficient novelty, interest, importance or impact for the journal’s intended readership
- Research is fundamentally unsound
Frequently, an article deemed unsuitable for one journal due to the first two of these reasons will find a home in another publication.
A manuscript may flow through multiple journals and rounds of review on its way to publication. Authors of work that goes on to be published can sometimes wait many months before publication, with efforts of reviewers and editors expended at each stage.
How does the transfer process work?
The transfer service operates without any changes to the existing peer review process of any Taylor & Francis or Routledge journal. Rather, journal editors can at the point of rejection simply identify if the manuscript may be suitable for publication elsewhere (i.e. it is not fundamentally unsound) by selecting the Reject – Unsuitable option. The author will then be offered a transfer to a suitable Cogent OA journal, and has the choice whether to transfer their manuscript or not. If they agree, Taylor & Francis/Cogent OA staff will transfer the manuscript on their behalf, with no re-formatting required. Of course, authors are entirely free to submit their manuscript elsewhere.
- For authors - the transfer service can help save time because there is no need to reformat a manuscript to meet a new journal's guidelines, or to resubmit work manually. It also helps to provide faster publication because previous reviews can be transferred with the manuscript.
- For reviewers and editors - it reduces overall effort for academics involved in peer review since the same manuscript is not reviewed time and time again. Reviewer reports can be transferred and Cogent OA editors can make a decision based on these.
- For readers - the results of research efforts can be published faster and therefore deliver benefit to other researchers and the public quicker.
What happens after a transfer is made?
Editors of Cogent OA journals that receive transferred manuscripts would make an independent decision on whether further rounds of peer review are required to establish suitability for the journal, and the ultimate decision to accept or reject the manuscript is entirely at the independent discretion of the journal editor.
Any transferred reviews remain anonymous to the author and are only visible to the editors of the receiving journal.
What are the Cogent OA journals and why transfer to them?
Comprising of fifteen broad, multidisciplinary journals, the Cogent Series publishes papers on the basis of scientific or scholarly validity and soundness, relevance to the subject remit of the journal, and clear presentation.
At Cogent, we aim to find a home for any sound article regardless of its topic. Reasons for rejection from a first-choice journal are varied – perhaps the topic is out of scope, the work too interdisciplinary, or the results are not exciting enough for a high-impact journal. Many papers that are initially rejected do go on to be published elsewhere, and the transfer project offers authors a seamless route for transferring to an alternative journal.
Whilst relatively new, Cogent OA journals have all received the DOAJ seal, awarded by the Directory of Open Access Journals to recognize journals that achieve a high level of openness and adhere to best practice and high publishing standards. Ten of the fifteen journals are now included in the Web of Science Emerging Sources Citation Index, and three have been accepted for indexing in Scopus.
As all Cogent OA articles are published open access, authors receive the benefit of global visibility, and with the Freedom APC model they can choose the article publishing charge (APC) they can afford based on their individual funding situation.
We believe the transfer service will be of great value to all researchers, and feedback so far from authors has been very positive. We are keen to extend support for offering a simple transfer service to all journals – so do get in touch with your Managing Editor if you are interested, or would like to discuss the idea further.