PESQUISA AGROPECUáRIA TROPICAL (AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN THE TROPICS)
School of Agronomy, Federal University of Goiás (UFG)
Each manuscript is initially reviewed by the Editor, or Associate Editor, responsible for its respective field of knowledge, who will send an e-mail to the correspondent authors, acknowledging its receipt and generating a protocol number. This editorial review process can only begin if the manuscript obeys all the established norms. Otherwise, papers may be returned for corrections. So, in order to make the editorial process work faster, it is recommended that authors pay close attention to the Instructions to Authors, before submitting their manuscripts.
Papers in accordance with the Instructions to Authors section will be analyzed by the Editorial Board, which will decide if the editorial process will continue or not. For that, the structure of the work will be examined, as well as its degree of interest to potential readers and the fields of knowledge it covers. Manuscripts that do not adhere to its editorial policy will be returned to authors, even before going through a technical-scientific analysis. Refused papers can be re-structured and submitted again. For every paper returned, the Editorial Board will justify exactly why it was not accepted.
Papers approved by the Editorial Board will have their scientific value assessed by two or three peer reviewers specialized in the subject, here named ad hoc consultants or referees. Authors’ identities will not be revealed to peer reviewers and vice versa. These referees are chosen by the Editor or the Editorial Board, among recognized researchers in the specific area of each paper, preferably those not affiliated with the authors’ institutions.
After analyzing the manuscript, each referee can choose one of the following options: i) Recommended; ii) Recommended with mandatory changes/corrections; or iii) Not recommended. In his/her report, or in the manuscript itself, the reviewer has total freedom to suggest changes, corrections, omit or add text and sections, to point out ambiguous, redundant, incoherent descriptions, inappropriate use of terminology or to request more detailed explanations. The Editorial Board always encourages its reviewers to provide constructive criticism, concerning the analyzed papers. Thus, reviewers are requested to maintain a respectful tone in their observations, criticisms, and suggestions. They are also requested, with respect to authors and their unpublished scientific discoveries, to give a feedback within four weeks, or other deadline accorded with the Editors.
In order to preserve credibility and, at the same time, avoid any embarrassment, the Editorial Board requests that referees, before beginning their analysis of a manuscript, consider the possibility of a conflict of interest. This may include, for example, a regular research collaboration with the possible authors (e.g.: publications), an adviser/advisee relationship; a commercial interest in the publication; family ties; involvement in the study; or any impediment to an unbiased evaluation. In this case, the referee is requested to return the manuscript to the Editor immediately, expressing the impossibility of analyzing it.
The text accepted by the Editorial Board also goes through language proofreading, covering spelling, grammar, and style. So, in order to make the editorial process proceed faster, it is strongly recommended that the authors have their texts checked before submission. A well-structured, harmonious, clear, concise, cohesive, precise, impersonal, and stylistically correct text is part of what the Journal and its authors owe their readers and, above all, Science.
The decision of accepting or not a paper for publishing is based, fundamentally, in the recommendations made by the peer reviewer system. Complete copies of all reports, with the referees’ identities omitted, will be sent to the correspondent authors. The Editorial Board understands that authors have the right to know how their paper was welcome by the scientific community, even during the editorial process. If the manuscript is submitted to only two referees, and one is favorable to publish it, while the other is not, then a third reviewer is invited to analyze it. If the majority of the reports are not favorable, the paper will be returned to authors.
If there is a predominance of favorable reports, the decision is for publishing the paper. However, that will only happen provided the editorial or technical recommendations be accepted or properly justified. A manuscript is rarely accepted without recommendations for improvement. Thus, it is important to authors to understand that requests for changes, nearly always, can improve the quality of their work, and that this kind of request is usual in high quality periodicals. For that reason, they should not take referees’ comments, or even editors’ corrections, personally. But if they disagree with any of them, they should prepare a written justification, scientifically based, to be sent to the Editor, along with the revised version. That will happen within thirty days, otherwise, the paper will be discarded. If there is any kind of justification, it will be analyzed by editors, which may send them to the respective referees.
After the analysis of the revised version, if the editorial and content suggestions have been properly incorporated or contested, the paper is definitely accepted for publishing and enters the editorial phase. Otherwise, it will be returned to authors for a new revision. Once more, the Editorial Board assures authors the right to disagree with the suggestions presented. However, justifications without a solid technical and scientific basis will be rejected.
In the journal editorial process, the Editor may carry out small changes in the authors’ texts to speed up the publication process. However, before making them available on-line, a copy is sent to authors, for proofreading. In this phase, major changes can no longer be incorporated. It is, thus, recommended that authors carefully read their texts, highlighting errors and corrections to be made. This revision must be completed and returned to the Editor within five working days.
Our editorial policy is based on the premise that the PAT journal results from essentially public efforts and resources. Therefore, the Editorial Board understands that the scientific knowledge stored in its issues belongs to the humankind, which has the right to share it and benefit from it, now and in the future. Not spreading it freely would represent a great waste of human effort and money. For this reason, the Editorial Board not only authorizes, but also encourages the reproduction of articles published by the journal, as long as the source is cited.