Statement of Peer Review
The all articles submitted to the journal are peer-reviewed. Questions about a specific manuscript should be directed to the editor who is handling the manuscript.
We ask peer-reviewers to submit their reports via our secure online system by following the link provided in the editor's email.
Criteria for publication
Energy Systems Research journal receives many more submissions than it can publish. To be published in the journal, a paper should meet general criteria:
- Provides strong evidence for its conclusions.
- Novelty and actuality (we do not consider meeting report abstracts and preprints on community servers to compromise novelty).
- Of importance to scientists in the energy systems research field.
- Ideally, interesting to researchers in other related disciplines.
In general, to be acceptable, a paper should represent an advance in understanding likely to influence thinking in the field.
Details of the submission criteria and peer review process are provided in the Guide to Authors section.
All submitted manuscripts are read by the editorial staff. To save time for authors and peer-reviewers, only those papers that seem most likely to meet our editorial criteria are sent for formal review.
Manuscripts judged to be of potential interest to our readership are sent for formal review, typically to two or three reviewers, but sometimes more if special advice is needed (for example on statistics or a particular technique). The editors then make a decision based on the reviewers' advice, from among several possibilities:
- Accept submission, with or without editorial revisions
- Revisions required, to address specific concerns before a final decision is reached
- Resubmit for review, to initiate new round of review process to address major drawbacks
- Resubmit elsewhere
- Decline submission, typically on grounds of specialist interest, lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems
Reviewers are welcome to recommend a particular course of action, but they should bear in mind that the other reviewers of a particular paper may have different technical expertise and/or views, and the editors may have to make a decision based on conflicting advice. The most useful reports, therefore, provide the editors with the information on which a decision should be based. Setting out the arguments for and against publication is often more helpful to the editors than a direct recommendation one way or the other.
Editorial decisions are not a matter of counting votes or numerical rank assessments, and we do not always follow the majority recommendation. We try to evaluate the strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors, and we may also consider other information not available to either party. Our primary responsibilities are to our readers and to the scientific community at large, and in deciding how best to serve them, we must weigh the claims of each paper against the many others also under consideration.
We may return to reviewers for further advice, particularly in cases where they disagree with each other, or where the authors believe they have been misunderstood on points of fact. We therefore ask that reviewers should be willing to provide follow-up advice as requested. We are very aware, however, that reviewers are usually reluctant to be drawn into prolonged disputes, so we try to keep consultation to the minimum we judge necessary to provide a fair hearing for the authors.
When reviewers agree to assess a paper, we consider this a commitment to review subsequent revisions. However, editors will not send a resubmitted paper back to the reviewers if it seems that the authors have not made a serious attempt to address the criticisms.
Reviewer selection is critical to the publication process, and we base our choice on many factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations and our own previous experience of a reviewer's characteristics. For instance, we select referees who are quick, careful and provide reasoning for their views, whether robustly critical or forgiving.
We check with potential reviewers before sending them manuscripts to review. Reviewers should bear in mind that these messages contain confidential information, which should be treated as such.
Writing the review
The primary purpose of the review is to provide the editors with the information needed to reach a decision but the review should also instruct the authors on how they can strengthen their paper to the point where it may be acceptable. As far as possible, a negative review should explain to the authors the major weaknesses of their manuscript, so that rejected authors can understand the basis for the decision and see in broad terms what needs to be done to improve the manuscript for publication elsewhere.
Confidential comments to the editor are welcome, but they should not contradict the main points as stated in the comments for transmission to the authors.
We ask reviewers the following questions, to provide an assessment of the various aspects of a manuscript:
- Key results: Please summarise what you consider to be the outstanding features of the work.
- Validity: Does the manuscript have flaws which should prohibit its publication? If so, please provide details.
- Originality and significance: If the conclusions are not original, please provide relevant references. On a more subjective note, do you feel that the results presented are of immediate interest to many people in your own discipline, and/or to people from several disciplines?
- Data & methodology: Please comment on the validity of the approach, quality of the data and quality of presentation. Please note that we expect our reviewers to review all data, including any extended data and supplementary information. Is the reporting of data and methodology sufficiently detailed and transparent to enable reproducing the results?
- Appropriate use of statistics and treatment of uncertainties: All error bars should be defined in the corresponding figure legends; please comment if that’s not the case. Please include in your report a specific comment on the appropriateness of any statistical tests, and the accuracy of the description of any error bars and probability values.
- Conclusions: Do you find that the conclusions and data interpretation are robust, valid and reliable?
- Suggested improvements: Please list additional experiments or data that could help strengthening the work in a revision.
- References: Does this manuscript reference previous literature appropriately? If not, what references should be included or excluded?
- Clarity and context: Is the abstract clear, accessible? Are abstract, introduction and conclusions appropriate?
- Please indicate any particular part of the manuscript, data, or analyses that you feel is outside the scope of your expertise, or that you were unable to assess fully.
- Please address any other specific question asked by the editor via email.
All statements should be justified and argued in detail, naming facts and citing supporting references, commenting on all aspects that are relevant to the manuscript and that the referees feel qualified commenting on. Not all of the above aspects will necessarily apply to every paper. When in doubt about discipline-specific refereeing standards, reviewer can contact the editor for guidance.
We do not release referees' identities to authors or to other reviewers unless a referee voluntarily signs their comments to the authors. Our preference is for referees to remain anonymous throughout the review process and beyond. However, to increase the transparency of the reviewing process, reviewers may sign their reports, if they feel comfortable doing so.
We ask reviewers not to identify themselves to authors while the manuscript is under consideration without the editor's knowledge. If this is not practicable, we ask authors to inform the editor as soon as possible after a reviewer has revealed his or her identity to the author.
We deplore any attempt by authors to confront reviewer or determine their identities. Our own policy is to neither confirm nor deny any speculation about reviewers' identities.