Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

This is an undergraduate journal for year 4 (MPhys) students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester. The journal accepts brief articles on topics original to the authors. It does not accept reviews or summaries of other peoples work. It is managed by an editorial board which rotates round the student body overseen by a member of staff. The journal forms part of the assessed element of the MPhys degree. Assessment is by number and quality of accepted publications and referee reports.

 

Section Policies

Articles

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed
 

Peer Review Process

Reviewers are assigned by the editorial board. Usually each submission will be sent to two groups of students for review. Referee reports are considered by the next editorial board meeeting. Resubmissions will typpically be sent to the original reviewers. Any disputes will be resolved by an appeal to a member of academic staff.

 

Publication Frequency

Once accepted a paper will be published to the current issue.

 

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

 

GUIDE FOR AUTHORS

A guide to writing a PST paper and replying to the referees is  available on Blackboard.

A short walk through the submission, review and post acceptance procedure for PST authors is given below.

Submission

First, authors should download the PST style template from blackboard and check that their paper conforms to the PST house style. Importantly, the title of the article should follow the PST naming convention. When the paper is finished, authors should log on to the PST system, go to 'USER HOME' > 'Author' and click the link to go to step one of the five-step submission process.

Step 1: in 'JOURNAL SECTION' select 'Article. Read and check the points in the 'SUBMISSION CHECKLIST'. Click 'Save and continue'.

Step 2: upload the article in pdf format and click 'Save and continue'.

Step 3: in 'AUTHORS' add the details for all of the other authors on the paper using the 'Add Author' button. Only fill in the required fields (marked with a *). Google Scholar references the data from this list, so make sure that you add the authors in the order they are listed in the paper.

Fill in the article title, and copy and paste the article abstract into the appropriate box. Click 'Save and continue'.

Step 4: do not upload any supplementary material. Click 'Save and continue'.

Step 5: check the submitted file and, if all is correct, click 'Finish Submission'. As PST 'Authors' are also enrolled as 'Editors' you will have the option to bypass the peer-review stage by clicking the button. Do not do this. Instead, click on 'active submissions' to complete the submission process. All of the authors on the paper will receive an email from PST confirming the submission.

Amending submission details

Once an article has been submitted, the article metadata (author details, paper title and abstract) can still be changed. Log on as 'Editor' then click on 'In Review'. Click on the name of the paper you would like to change, then click on the 'Summary' link directly under the page title. Next, scroll down the page until you come to the 'SUBMISSION METADATA' section. Click on 'EDIT METATDATA'. Edit the data and finally click 'Save Metadata'

Resubmission and the results of review

Once a paper has been reviewed the authors will receive an email from a journal editor containing the referee reports and the editors decision. If the paper is accepted and ready for copy editing, the authors should move directly to the post acceptance stage (see below).

If the editor has asked for a resubmission, or for minor revisions, the author should act upon the comments of the referees (and editor) and modify the manuscript accordingly. Next, the authors should email the chair of the forthcoming editorial board with a list of changes made, and a response to the referees comments. Then, the revised article should be uploaded onto PST. To do this you MUST be logged on as an Author, NOT as an Editor.

  • Navigate to 'USER HOME' > 'Author', then click on the 'Review' link of the appropriate article. Go to 'Upload Author Version' at the bottom of the page and upload the new version of the article. Check that this is date-stamped.

Note - resubmissions that have been uploaded as an 'editor' will not be considered by the board.

Publishing

Once the authors have received email confirmation that their paper has been accepted and is in copyediting, the authors can proceed to publish the article in the current version of the journal. The full procedure is slightly long-winded because the OJS software is designed for professional journals. However, in PST, some of the intermediate stages of the publishing process can be skipped, and each stage can be performed by one of the authors of the paper.

Please ignore detailed instructions in any auto-generated emails from the journal and, instead, follow the abbreviated instructions below.

First, log on to PST and go to 'USER HOME' > 'Editor' > 'In Editing'. Locate your accepted paper and click on the title of the paper to bring up the editing window. First, carefully check the final version of your paper and amend any final typographical errors.

Copy editing: You do not have to do anything to complete the copy editing stage.

Layout editing: This stage generates the final published paper that will appear on the website. Tick the 'upload file to Galley' check box and click to upload the final pdf version. This will open a new 'GALLEY' window. In this window, click 'save' to return to the editing window. In the 'LAYOUT' section under the 'Galley Format' subheading, you should now see the option to 'VIEW PROOF'. Only pdf versions of articles should be published.

Proof reading: Make a final check of the proof then click proof reader 'initiate' then 'complete' and, finally, click Layout Editor 'initiate' and then 'complete'.

Publishing: Go to the Schedule box, choose publication and volume in which to publish the article (select volume and issue number of current issue). Click 'Record'.

The paper should now be available to view in the current issue of the journal.

 

GUIDE FOR REFEREES

Comprehensive referee guidelines, including example referee reports, are available on blackboard.

A short walk through the PST reviewing process is given below.

Reviewing a paper

Referees are asked to check the following: papers should contain original material - reviews or summaries of published work with minor amendments are not accepted. Papers should contain a quantitative, technical argument usually expressed in mathematical form. Papers should conform to the PST template and be under two pages in length.

When writing a review, referees must summarise the original paper and include evidence that they have verified the arguments or calculations of the submission independently. They should then identify any failings in the paper which need to be addressed. Finally they should state clearly the reasons for acceptance, revision or, in exceptional cases, rejection. Minor typographical errors are not grounds for a recommendation of 'resubmit for review': these corrections can be dealt with by the editorial board and the authors.

If asking for additional material, referees should bear in mind the length (and time) constraints of PST. It is not within a reviewers remit to request supplementary material be submitted.

Downloading articles and submitting reviews

When asked to review a paper, log on to PST and go to 'USER HOME' > Reviewer.
  • Click on the link to the relevant paper and follow the instructions on the page. First, click 'Will do the review' and then click 'Skip email'.
  • Next, consult the reviewer guidelines and then download and review the submission.
  • When the review is complete, click on 'Review'.
    • Copy and paste the report into the box marked 'For author and editor'.
    • Click 'save' then 'close'.
    • In the next step, do not upload any supplementary material.
    • Finally, choose a recommendation from the drop down list and click 'submit review to Editor'.

 

GUIDE FOR EDITORS

The Editorial Board

The job of the editorial board is one of the most crucial in the running of the PST. Each week the editorial board will meet to consider referee reports and decide whether or not articles should be published. The board must also asign referees for each paper.

It is the job of the editorial board to provide guidance to authors and referees and to maintain the standards of the journal (as discussed in the PST referee guidelines). An outline of the editorial process is given below and you can also find out more by reading the relevant document on blackboard.

Board Meetings

Each editorial board meeting should last at most one hour (typically from 2pm to 3pm).

Before the meeting

Editors must read the relevant referee reports.

The chair person should devise a plan to assign referees for each newly submitted paper. Where possible the refereeing workload should be distributed equally between groups.

Papers resubmitted with minor revisions should be checked. A board member representing the group who, as referees, originally recommended minor changes should check that the changes have been made satisfactorily.

The chair person should locate all new submissions. Navigate to the 'summary' tab and in the 'Editors' sectoin click 'Add Self' to assign an editor for the paper.

During the meeting

One member of the editorial board should log in to PST and go to 'USER HOME' > 'Editor'. The main task of the editors is to consider submissions 'In Review'.

Editorial decisions: Discussion of the reports is the most important part the meetings. On the basis of the referee reports, the editors must decide whether a paper should be accepted, rejected, resubmitted for review or accepted following minor revision. This is done in the 'Editor Decision' section of the Review window. Once a decision has been recorded (use the 'Record Decision' button), click the link to notify the authors by email. If necessary, import the contents of the peer review into the email notification, then write a brief sentence giving the decision of the editorial board and explaining what the authors must do next. Click 'send'. Note: you cannot select a decision until an Editor has been assigned to the paper (see instructions for 'before the meeting').

Minor revisions: The board should check that the latest submitted version of the paper is satisfactory. If so, the paper should be accepted.

Accepted papers: A decision of 'Accept Submission' should be recorded. Use the 'Notify Author' email link to confirm to authors that the paper has been accepted and, again, make sure that any referees comments are imported into the email. Next, the latest submitted version of the paper should be selected and the 'Send' link clicked to send the file for copyediting. The rest of the publishing process is then the responsibility of the authors.

Assigning referees: For each newly submitted paper, the editors must select referees. First click on the link for the relevant paper. Then assign an editor for the paper: under the 'Editors' subheading of the 'Summary' page, click "Add Self". To assign referees, go to the 'Review' section and click 'Select Reviewer'. Referee reports should be written jointly by each group, however, referee requests should only be sent to the nominated 'contact' from each group. Find the group contact then click 'Assign'. In the 'Review' window navigate to the entry for the new reviewer and click the 'Request' link to generate an email to the referee asking for a report. Do this for the contact member of each group that will be asked to review a submitted paper.

Re-review (peer review, round 2): If a paper has been resubmitted for review, the editors should locate the newest version in the 'EDITOR DECISION' section, check the box and click the 'Resubmit' button. The previous referees should already be assigned, but they must again be notified by email by clicking on the 'REQUEST' link.

Chair person for the next meeting At the end of each meeting, one group member should be selected to return as chairperson for next weeks board meeting. All email correspondence to the forthcoming editorial board should then be directed to this person.

Minuting the board meetings

One member of the board should volunteer to take minutes detailing all the decisions taken at the meeting (an example set of minutes is available on blackboard).

A copy of the minutes (in pdf format) must be emailed to the appropriate member of staff immediately following the meeting. It is the responsibility of the chair person to make sure this is done. The minutes should also be circulated to the student groups.

Author correspondence

Any email correspondence from the authors must be copied and pasted into the 'Editor/Author Email Record' in the 'EDITOR DECISION' section of the Review page.

 

IMPORTANT DEADLINES

Weekly deadlines

  • Submission of referee reports: Every Thursday before 1pm.
  • Submission and resubmission of articles: Every Thursday before 1 pm.
  • Emails to the editor accompanying resubmission of an article: Every Thursday before 1 pm.
Key dates
  • Question and Answer sessions (to be held before each board meeting)
  • Last chance to submit new papers:  Thursday 29th Nov. Note - papers distributed by the editorial board on Friday 30th Dec will only have one chance to be published. No resubmission will be possible.
  • Penultimate editorial board: Friday 30th Nov.
  • PST final editorial board: Friday 7th Dec. Note - any papers still undergoing review after the final editorial board will count as unpublished.
  • Deadline to publish all papers that have been accepted: Friday 14th December.
  • Deadline for submission of press release: Friday January 12th 12 noon.

 
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