OAPL will peer review all material to be published. We will prioritise land mark and ‘sea change’ manuscripts and also articles which challenge the current concepts with a logical and research basis. All individuals involved in manuscript handling, forming recommendations based upon peer reviews or decisions on a manuscript must declare relevant conflicts or competing interest at the onset. Any component within the peer review spiral with important competing or conflicts of interests will be recued of any further decision making for the manuscript.
All articles are first assessed. Unfortunately there will be an attrition rate and articles that do not conform to the author’s guidelines or do not exhibit internal consistency, scientific validity or align with the journal’s scope and aims may be rejected from a particular journal. If suitable, the senior editorial team will ascertain if the manuscript can be encompassed within the scope of another journal only if it passes the criteria of following the author guidelines, having internal logical consistency and scientific validity. We hope to produce this initial decision early within a few weeks of submission. Once found fit for peer review the manuscript is passed on to suitable peer reviewers who again assess the work for internal consistency, scientific validity and alignment with the journal’s scope. They will also assess the manuscript for its contribution to the scientific and clinical debate.
We hope to perform the screening review rapidly to allow the author time to submit the article elsewhere without undue delay. A large minority of manuscripts are rejected after senior editorial review usually by more than one senior editor; in cases we also take external advice prior to submission to peer review. All authors must have approved the manuscript at submission stage which must be regarded by the authors as their final version of the manuscript. The common causes for failure of manuscripts at this stage are:- lack of adherence to the author guidelines; insufficient resolution of attached figures and tables; insufficient descriptions within the legends; significant methodological errors; lack of consideration of confounding factors; lack of adequate approval including consent to cover the scope of the work purported to have been carried out; lack of originality; lack of alignment with the scope or current research theme as directed by the editor in chief ; lack of clear message. The screening process has of necessity to review more manuscripts than get through to the peer review stage; hence our editorial teams must be facilitated by clear structured abstracts and manuscripts.
OAPL operates a system of closed peer review, apart from OA Neurosciences. Our reviewers are professionals who usually more than 5 years post final scientific doctorate or medical qualification and are experts in their field but usually have a broad command of their speciality. We appreciate that they are contributing to the academic cycle and education. We will facilitate all our peer reviewers and acknowledge their generosity in terms of time and effort. Our peer reviewers must declare all competing and conflicts of interests relating to the manuscript, its authors, the submitting institution and granting bodies. If the reviewers have too great a conflict, the reviewers then sensibly decline the assignment. The editorial team will take into consideration such interests when assessing the recommendations made by the reviewers and may request further peer reviews to assess alignment of opinion.
After screening the manuscript, the senior editorial team usually assigns one handling editor to manage to peer review process. The handling editor will declare any competing or conflicts of interests. Occasionally they may be required to recuse themselves and another handling editor may be assigned the task.
Most articles are reviewed by at least two peer reviewers one of which is internal to the journal editorial board and one external. On occasion further peer reviews are requested. The peer reviewers make structure recommendations which are augmented by separate handling editor recommendations. Their gross recommendation detail consists of: Reject, Accept after major revisions, Accept after minor revisions or Accept as is. They also produce further details if a manuscript is to be rejected or will require modification and re-review. All invitations, acceptances and recommendations and manuscript revision (requests and resubmissions) are time stamped and attributed to the manuscript. The editor-in- chief’s decision is final but we accept in some circumstances an appeal may be made (see appeals process).
The senior editorial team (Editor-in-Chief, Deputy Editor and/or Executive Editor) make the final decision to accept, reject or otherwise by taking into account the peer reviewers and handling editor’s reports. They review the manuscript history; any revisions requested and review any confirmation from the handling editor that such requests have been actioned. When appropriate we make in-house referrals for assessment of statistics and appropriateness of data exploitation and interrogation methodology. The interest of research subjects (patients, volunteers and laboratory animals) must be paramount. When required the manuscript may be submitted to the in-house ethics committee or formally to our board for review. The provision of local ethics board approval will not be taken as the work undertaken is ethical and occasionally further clarifications, assurances and access to written consents may be requested. If we suspect misconduct we will abide by the PIE guidelines and external review and guidance may be requested if the matter cannot be resolved in-house. Very occasionally, reference to third parties will need to be made for serious matters.
Successful manuscripts are published when they are accepted and OAPL website is updated hourly.
OAPL provides open access to peer reviewed research as part of its commitment to readers and authors. We make all OAPL research articles freely available online and send them directly to for archiving and indexing.