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Review procedure

Review procedure

Review procedure

In the interest of high-quality scientific articles and book reviews published in our journal, as well as the need to objectify the evaluation of the submitted papers, the 6-stage reviewing procedure was introduced. The standard review procedure takes approximately 8-10 weeks. All scientific articles and book reviews are reviewed; conference reports are not reviewed. All stages of the reviewing procedure (both internal and external) are anonymous (double-blind review). Articles of members of the Editorial Office (Editorial and Scientific Boards) undergo the same review procedure, keeping the principles of impartiality and avoiding conflicts of interest.

The first stage of the reviewing procedure (1) is the formal evaluation of the article, performed by the executive editor. The evaluation criteria at this stage include: the length of the article, information about the author(s), the presence of the title, abstract and keywords, the appropriate form of citations and references, the presence of a bibliography. If any of the technical criteria is not met, the article is sent back to the author with appropriate information on the missing/incorrect elements.

The next stage (2) is the removal of all information about the identity of the author(s) from the article file (both from the content of the file and the meta-data by the executive editor.

The third stage (3) is an initial internal review, carried out by members of the editorial office with the substantive support of thematic editors cooperating with the editorial office. At this stage, the article is assessed, first of all, in terms of meeting the criteria of originality (e.g. with the use of an anti-plagiarism program). In the event of a violation of the ethical principles related to the publication of scientific papers (e.g. sending someone else's papers, quoting someone else's works without specifying the source, submitting own but previously published paper), the editorial office reserves the right to reject the text and transfer information to the institution indicated in the author's affiliation. The second criterion of evaluation used during the initial internal review of the article is the compliance of the article with the thematic profile of the Quarterly, i.e. whether the article is scientific, concerns local or regional development and/or contains spatial aspects. If the answer to the above questions is positive, the reviewers for the article are selected.

The fourth stage (4) of the reviewing procedure is an external review, carried out by at least two external reviewers, not affiliated in the same institution as the author(s) of the article. In the case of articles sent by foreign authors (in a foreign language), at least one of the reviewers is affiliated with a foreign institution. The external review is made on the basis of the following criteria: scientific relevance of the presented issue, originality of the method/approach to the topic, consistency and logic of the argument, clear formulation of the purpose of the article, correct argumentation and inference, adequacy of the title, appropriate bibliography and graphic illustration, as well as length of the article. The reviewers also answer questions about a potential conflict of interest, detected plagiarism or any other ethical concern regarding the paper or the study. A template for the review sheet is available here.

When making the final evaluation of the article, the reviewer may choose one of the four options: accept without corrections, minor revision, major revision, reject. Additionally, the reviewer formulates an evaluation of the article in a descriptive form, indicating, if applicable, which elements of the article require correction. In the case of contradictory reviews, the third reviewer is appointed and/or the editorial office and the scientific council decide on the basis of the results of both reviews.

In the next step (stage 5), the author(s) of the article is informed about the review results and receive its content. If the article requires revision the author(s) can correct the text (in accordance with the suggestions of the reviewer(s) and respond to the comments of the reviewer(s).
The revised article is sent back to the reviewers (the same who made the first evaluation) (step 6). If both reviewers accept the introduced changes, the article is accepted for publication. Otherwise, the article is rejected or sent to the authors for further revision.

The review procedure is anonymous (double-blind review process), which is not only a technical criterion (removing the information about the identity of the author(s) from the content and file’s meta-data). If the selected reviewer decides that, on the basis of the content of the article, she or he suspects who the author is, she or he reports this fact to the editorial office which assigns another reviewer. A similar solution is used when the selected reviewer believes that she or he does not have the relevant substantive competencies to evaluate the article.