Peer review in scientific publications - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Supplementary written evidence submitted by the Institute of Physics (PR 61a)

1.  In relation to Q11 (transcript): How do you "make it very easy for authors to be able to submit from the arXiv into our journals"?

Within our online submission form there is an option for authors to enter their arXiv reference number when they submit the article to be considered for publication. This number enables us to locate the article in question and automatically upload the files from arXiv to our peer review system for processing.

2.  In relation to Q11 (transcript): You stated "Authors are encouraged to update their versions as well. From the publishing side, we encourage them to update the references so that the link goes back to the final version of record once it has been peer reviewed and published." Why is this not mandatory? Are there any initiatives in the physics community to make it so?

Updating ArXiv is encouraged as best practice but is currently not mandatory. As a publisher, although we can recommend that authors update the links on ArXiv, it is not within our control to mandate it. ArXiv is independently maintained and operated by Cornell University with guidance from the arXiv Scientific Advisory Board and the arXiv Sustainability Advisory Group. For more information please see Practically it would also be difficult to enforce.

There are a few initiatives that proactively map different versions of articles to one central reference, including preprints on arXiv and the published version. Examples of these initiatives are:




However, it should be noted that they do not update the links in the arXiv record itself as only the author has the rights to do this.

3.  In relation to Q30 (transcript): Do all your journals participate in cascading submissions/reviews? Do you have any data on: How many articles get cascaded? What percentage of those offered take up the invitation? What percentage of those cascaded articles are accepted?

All journals owned by IOP Publishing will pass on articles to more relevant journals within our portfolio, if appropriate. There are restrictions; if an article has been rejected due to low quality or because referees found major errors then it is rejected from all of our journals. We do not have data on how many articles are cascaded. Generally the articles will be transferred from a general journal to a more specific niche journal. There are rare occasions when an author submits the anonymous referee reports that he/she has received during the review process for a journal published by another publisher; in cases like this it is within the Editor's discretion to take these reports into account in addition to seeking a further independent review.

4.  Additional question: Where inaccurate, misleading or fraudulent articles are published, what processes are in place to ensure that corrections or retractions are implemented in a timely fashion? Are retractions published by all your journals free for everyone to read (or do they sit behind a paywall)?

This falls into three categories:

(i)  If there is an error that is discovered by the author then we will publish a corrigendum.

(ii)  If post publication another researcher feels there is an error in the paper, or that there is something misleading, they can either raise the concern directly with the author who can correct the error as outlined above, or the researcher can submit a comment on the paper. Comments on an article are sent to the original article author who has a set time (usually a couple of weeks) to provide a reply to the comment. Both Reply and Comment are then peer reviewed and either published together or the Comment is published on its own if no Reply is received from the original article author.

(iii)  In the case of plagiarism we will investigate obtaining any evidence we can, such as any duplicate articles, and will work with other journal editors if appropriate to resolve the issue. We then follow the guidelines provided by Committee on Publications Ethics in issuing a retraction linked to the original article. On the original article there is a notice posted onto the article to say it has been retracted.

Retractions and corrigenda are made open access and are not behind a paywall in any IOP Publishing journal. Comments and Replies are currently behind a paywall in subscription journals.

1 June 2011

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© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 28 July 2011