Three cell biology journals now allow authors of manuscripts declined at one journal to transfer their submission seamlessly to another publication.
Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), Journal of Cell Science (JCS), and Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC) have empowered researchers to transfer their rejected manuscript files, metadata, and editor’s decision letter with reviewer comments directly to one of the other journals, if the editor of the original journal invites them to do so. First announced at the 2018 ASCB|EMBO Meeting by the publishers of JCB (Rockefeller University Press), JCS (The Company of Biologists), and MBoC (ASCB), this new transfer option was formally launched on May 16.
“Everyone will benefit from this new transfer process: authors, reviewers, and readers,” said MBoC Editor-in-Chief David Drubin when the initiative was announced. “It has always been MBoC’s mission to help cell biologists publish their work quickly, and this innovation will eliminate unnecessary re-review of manuscripts. And almost any great cell biology paper can find a home in one of these journals.”
How the system works
Here’s how the manuscript transfer system works: An author who is offered the transfer option will be provided with a link in the decision letter from the original journal that will enable him or her to easily upload files, metadata, and reviewer comments to the new journal. The author also has the chance to revise the manuscript and cover letter before submission to the new journal.
Whether to take advantage of an editor’s invitation to transfer a manuscript is entirely up to the author. An author who wants to submit the manuscript to one of the three journals without transferring the reviewer comments may still submit a manuscript by traditional means. The editors of the three journals will not confer about manuscripts, and editors at a recipient journal will not know about a previous submission unless the author chooses to use the electronic transfer process.
Speed reviewing process
The three publishers set out to harmonize their manuscript submission systems to cut the time that manuscripts spend in review and to spare authors the burden of having to begin the submission process anew for a manuscript that has been declined. Because the reviewer comments will also be transferred, the initiative decreases the collective burden on reviewers as well. (A reviewer’s identity will also be transferred to the new journal if the reviewer has given the original journal permission to do so.)
The recipient journal is not obligated to evaluate the manuscript solely on the basis of the transferred reviewer comments. However, the new journal editor may feel that those comments and the manner in which the author has addressed them are sufficient to allow a decision without further review.
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About the Author:
Mark Leader is ASCB's Director of Publications.