Editorial workflow

  1. Author submits paper via our website (which runs software called OJS, Open Journal Systems, which is pretty good but not perfect and we have occasional issues with its upkeep being out of our control). The way we find out is that the all-editors alias is cc’ed when the system sends out acknowledgment to the author.

  2. When you see that there is a new submission, please check it out on the OJS website.

  3. The system automatically assigns DIB and KvF as the editors in charge, but that’s just temporary until a shepherding editor is chosen. Who takes charge is a collective decision. DIB/KvF may ask for volunteers, browbeat someone into taking it, or take it on themselves. Or, in fact, someone can actually volunteer straightaway if the paper looks interesting to them.

  4. The shepherding editor sends email to the author, saying that they will shepherd the article, that we are aiming for a decision within 60 days, and that they should contact the shepherd if they have any questions or concerns.

    Long/complex papers take longer and so it makes sense to alert authors to the likelihood that we may take up to 90 days given the nature of their paper.

    NB: The email facilities in OJS are less than ideal. We often send email from our personal accounts, cc’ing all-editors so that everyone is up to date on what’s going on.

  5. Within 1-3 days of submission, the shepherding editor chooses reviewers (when in doubt consult with the other editors) and sends out requests via the website, as follows:

    On the Review tab for the submission, click “Select Reviewer”, which brings up a searchable list of the editorial board. There is a way to search by review interests. There’s a glitch in that there is a substantial database of reviewing interests but the system fails to display them consistently. Also, the stats about the reviewer having “active” reviews outstanding are unreliable. If in doubt whether a reviewer is busy for us (or was recently), ask the team.

    When you’ve made a choice, “assign” the reviewer. Back on the “Review” tab, click the mail icon to send an email to the reviewer. A prefilled template shows up but you can personalize the text to your heart’s content.


    If you think of a reviewer who is not on the board, we can invite them to the board or just make them an ad hoc-reviewer.

    New Editorial Board Member

    Any of us should feel free to invite to the board without discussion anyone who meets the following conditions:

    • Tenure track position, or established researcher several years out from PhD
    • Record of publication in semantics/pragmatics, including journal publications
    • You judge the work to be reasonably solid

    When some of these conditions are not met (e.g. for a postdoc only 1 year out, or for someone who has limited semantics publications but a primary area of interest that is relevant), then discussion with the rest of the editorial team (or at least with Kai and David, if you prefer) would be merited.

    Notify the all-editors list when you plan to invite a new board member. Please use the template for editorial board invitations (edit as you see fit).

    Ad hoc reviewer

    If you would like to ask someone to review for us who otherwise does not (quite) qualify for our board, here are the steps:

    • Send an informal query to the prospective reviewer. (This is so that we don’t create an account for them with its auto-message before they agree to review for us.)
    • If they agree, create an account for them. (“Select reviewer” > “Create new reviewer”)
    • Send out the request.

    We typically ask three reviewers. For some shorter papers, especially when we have serious in-house competence, we stay with two reviewers. On some doozies, we go out for four reviews sometimes.


    Sometimes reviewers accept review requests via email and don’t go through the system. In such a case, the shepherd should go to the Review page and click “WILL DO THE REVIEW”, thus recording the agreement.

  6. If a reviewer doesn’t respond within 3 days, resend the request. If they do not respond within a week, cancel the request, chiding them for not responding, and move on to alternate reviewers.

  7. The usual deadline for reviews is four weeks. We sometimes adjust this a bit if needed, keeping in mind that we really want to have a decision made within 60 days of submission. As the deadline approaches or passes, we often need to nudge reviewers.

  8. When the reviews are in, the shepherding editor drafts a decision. For the first few times, you should consult with DIB and KvF. Note that our modal decision by far is “Reject” with varying degrees of warmth encouraging a resubmission. We rarely issue “Revise and resubmit” (only if the path to a successful revision is so clear that we could write the revision ourselves). Read the Author and Reviewer Guidelines for more info: http://info.semprag.org/author, http://info.semprag.org/reviewers. These documents are in progress; please ask questions, make recommendations for changes, etc. You’ll probably see other decisions go by on email and so you’ll see how we do things in practice.

  9. The decision is sent to the author, cc’ing all-editors. We also send a copy of the decision to the reviewers. If the manuscript has not been submitted in anonymous form or contains clear indications that the authors do not care about an anonymous review process, the reviewers can be bcc’ed on the letter of decision. Else, a version without identifying information should be sent to the reviewers separately, including in the author letter something along the following lines: “A copy of this email with identifying information removed will be sent to the three anonymous reviewers.” [Again, all these emails can be sent out from the system or from a personal account.] The decision is recorded via the website.

  10. When a paper has reached near-final perfection, the author should be asked to prepare the final version following our final submission guidelines: http://info.semprag.org/style.

  11. When the final version is ready, the authors can submit it via the website (“Summary” tab for the paper > “Add a supplementary file”) or via email to editors@semprag.org. If there is more than one file to submit (for example in a LaTeX submission: the tex file, the bib file, any image files, any unusual macro packages), the authors should submit a zip archive of all the files. When the final version has been submitted, the shepherding editor informs DIB & KvF. They and their assistants take it from there for copy-editing, typesetting, proofreading, and publication.

Some notes on ethos and etiquette