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Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process

Research

All research content submitted to Open Quaternary is initially assessed by an Editor, who decides whether or not the article is suitable for peer review. Submissions considered suitable are assigned to two or more independent experts, who assess the article for clarity, sound methodology/data analysis and validity of conclusions.

The journal does not dictate whether submissions are reviewed in a double-blind, single-blind, or open fashion. The authors choose whether to blind their submission files, which will dictate whether the reviewer can identify them during the review process. A guide is provided to help authors blind their files, should they wish to. Equally, the reviewer will be given the option to provide their name and affiliation within their review feedback, which will be accessible to the author. Providing this information is at the discretion of the individual reviewer.

The review period is expected to take betwen four and eight weeks, although this may vary. Reviewers are asked to provide formative feedback, even if an article is not deemed suitable for publication in the journal. If the author has not returned requested revisions within six months, the submission will be be sent back out for review, to ensure that the content remains up to date

Based on the reviewer reports the editor will make a recommendation for rejection, minor or major revisions, or acceptance. Overall editorial responsibility rests with the journal’s Editors-in-Chief, who is supported by an expert, international Editorial Board.

Authors are permitted to suggest up to three potential peer reviewers during the submission process. The journal does not guarantee to use these suggestions. All reviewers must be independent from the submission and will be asked to declare all competing interests.

The journal is happy to accept submissions of papers that have been loaded onto preprint servers or personal websites, have been presented at conferences, or other informal communication channels. These formats will not be deemed prior publication. Authors must retain copyright to such postings. Authors are encouraged to link any prior posting of their paper to the final published version within the journal, if it is editorially accepted.

Data papers

Data papers are fully peer reviewed to ensure that they are accurate and that the data has been openly archived in accordance with best practices. The datasets themselves are not reviewed in terms of validity or importance.

Negative results for example can be useful to other researchers, and even data with inaccuracies (known or unknown) can help others to better contextualise research conclusions.

All data papers are peer reviewed according to the following criteria. Due to the nature of open respositories, the review of data papers will be single blind, with the reviewer possibly knowing the identity of the author:

1. The paper contents

  1. The methods section of the paper must provide sufficient detail that a reader can understand how the dataset was created, and would within reason be able to recreate it.
  2. The dataset must be correctly described.
  3. The reuse section must provide concrete and useful suggestions for reuse of the data.

2. . The deposited data

  1. The repository the data is deposited in must be suitable for this subject and have a sustainability model (see our list of recommended repositories).
  2. The data must be deposited under an open license that permits unrestricted access (e.g. CC0, CC-BY).
  3. The deposited data must include a version that is in an open, non-proprietary format.
  4. The deposited data must have been labelled in such a way that a 3rd party can make sense of it (e.g. sensible column headers, descriptions in a readme text file).
  5. The deposited data must be actionable – i.e. if a specific script or software is needed to interpret it, this should also be archived and accessible.

Reviewer Guidelines

Reviewers are asked to provide comment on the below topics and guidelines:

  • Content: Does the article fit within the scope of the journal? Is the submission original, relevant and rigorous? Is the author’s depth of understanding of the issues researched adequate? Are the sources and references adequate? Has the existing knowledge base been explored and built upon? Are the chosen methodologies appropriate and have they and the evidential base been appropriately used? Does the conclusion reflect the argument in the main body text and bring something new to the debate?
  • Structure and argument: Does the abstract summarise the arguments in a succinct and accurate way? Is the manuscript logically structured and do the arguments flow coherently? Is there enough reference to methodology in the introduction and are the arguments fully evidenced and substantiated? Does the introduction signpost the arguments in the logical way and does the conclusion adequately summarise them?
  • Figures/tables: Does the author’s use of tables, charts, figures or maps illustrate the arguments and support the evidential base? Is the quality of the formatting and presentation adequate?
  • Formatting: Does the submitted file adhere to the general author guidelines listed for the journal? Are the citations and references formatted to house-style?
  • Language: Is the text well written and jargon free? Please comment on the quality of English and need for grammatical improvement.
  • Ethical approval: If humans or animals have been used as research subjects, are statements of ethical approval by a relevant authority present, and has informed consent should been declared?
  • General comments: Any additional information not included above
  • Open Reviewer name: Reviewers are permitted to add their name to the review form, should they wish to make the process open, allowing the author to know the identity of the reviewer

Open Data & Specimen Provenance

The journal strongly encourages authors to make all data associated with their submission openly available, according to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Associated data should be linked to from a ‘Data Accessibility’ Statement within the submitted paper. If data is not being made available within the journal publication, a statement from the author should be provided to explain why. Data obtained from other sources must be appropriately credited.

The manuscript must include a description of methods and specimens within the submission, with sufficient detail to allow the work to be reproduced.

When providing specimen information, the below must be considered:

  • any specimen that is erected as a new species, described, or figured must be deposited in an accessible, permanent repository (i.e., public museum or similar institution). The article will be rejected if this criteria is not met.
  • Specimen numbers and repository information, including museum name and geographic location, are required for publication. Authors must check with the relevant institutions to ensure they are using the correct institution code and accession numbers.
  • Locality information should be provided in the manuscript as legally allowable, or a statement should be included giving details of the availability of such information to qualified researchers.
  • Details should be given of all permits that were obtained, including the full name of the issuing authority. Open Quaternary will not publish research on specimens that were obtained without necessary permission or were illegally exported.


When depositing research data, the below should be considered:

  • The repository the data is deposited in must be suitable for this subject and have a sustainability model.
  • The data must be deposited under an open license that permits unrestricted access (e.g. CC0, CC-BY). More restrictive licenses should only be used if a valid reason (e.g. legal) is present.
  • The deposited data must include a version that is in an open, non-proprietary format.
  • The deposited data must have been labelled in such a way that a 3rd party can make sense of it (e.g. sensible column headers, descriptions in a readme text file).
  • Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Where applicable, the studies must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. The identity of the research subject should be anonymised whenever possible. For research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study must be obtained from participants (or their legal guardian).
  • A ‘Data Accessibility Statement’ should be added to the submission, prior to the reference list, providing the details of the data accessibility, including the DOI linking to it. If the data is restricted in any way, the reasoning should be given.


A list of data repositories is available at http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Data_repositories.


Preprint policy

Open Quaternary allows authors to deposit draft versions of their paper into a suitable preprint server, on condition that the author agrees to the below:

  • the author retains copyright to the preprint and developed works from it, and is permitted to submit to the journal.
  • the author declares that a preprint is available within the cover letter presented during submission. This must include a link to the location of the preprint.
  • the author acknowledges that having a preprint publicly available means that the journal cannot guarantee the anonymity of the author during the review process, even if they anonymise the submitted files (see review policy).
  • should the submission be published, the authors are expected to update the information associated with the preprint version to show that a final version has been published in Open Quaternary, including the DOI linking directly to the publication.

ORCID

The journal strongly recommends that all authors submitting a paper register an account with Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID). Registration provides a unique and persistent digital identifier for the account that enables accurate attribution and improves the discoverability of published papers, ensuring that the correct author receives the correct credit for their work. As the ORCID remains the same throughout the lifetime of the account, changes of name, affiliation, or research area do not effect the discoverability of an author's past work and aid correspondence with colleagues.

The journal encourages all corresponding authors to include an ORCID within their submitting author data whilst co-authors are recommended to include one. ORCID numbers should be added to the author data upon submission and will be published alongside the submitted paper, should it be accepted.


Competing Interests and Ethical Requirements

To ensure transparency, all authors, reviewers and editors are required to declare any interests that could compromise, conflict or influence the validity of the publication. Competing Interests guidelines can be viewed here.

In addition, authors are required to specify funding sources and detail requirements for ethical research in the submitted manuscript (see Author Guidelines).

For a full list of measures to ensure the journal’s commitment to Research Integrity, click here.

The Editors-in-Chief of Open Quaternary take claims of academic misconduct seriously, and reserve the right to remove any editorial board member based on substantiated claims of misconduct, including sexual harassment, plagiarism etc. 


Corrections and Retractions

The Press handles different kinds of error in accordance with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), where applicable. All articles have their proofs checked prior to publication by the author/editor, which should ensure that content errors are not present. Please contact the editorial manager if you believe an article needs correcting.

Post-publication changes are not permitted to the publication, unless in exceptional circumstances. If an error is discovered in a published article then the publisher will assess whether a Correction paper or Retraction is required. This ensures that the error can be appropriately corrected, whilst the integrity of the publication record is not broken. Please contact the publisher for the full Correction/Retraction policy.


Misconduct and Complaints

Allegations of misconduct will be taken with utmost seriousness, regardless of whether those involved are internal or external to the journal, or whether the submission in question is pre- or post-publication. All reasonable steps will be taken to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication. If an allegation of misconduct is made to the journal, it must be immediately passed on to the publisher, who will follow guidelines from the Committee  on Publication Ethics (COPE) on how to address the nature of the problem. Should the matter involve allegations against a member of the journal or publishing team, an independent and objective individual(s) may be sought to lead the investigation.

Should an author wish to lodge a complaint against an editorial decision or the editorial process in general they should first approach the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, explaining their complaint and ask for a reasoned response. Should this not be forthcoming or inadequate, they should raise the matter with the publisher, who will investigate the nature of the complaint and act as arbiter on whether the complaint should be upheld and investigated further. This will follow guidelines set out by COPE.

Section Policies

Research paper

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Methods

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Review

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Engagement paper

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Data paper

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Editorial

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed


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