EVALUATION SYSTEM - SUBMISSION ANALYSIS

Theoretical-empirical Articles, Theoretical Essays, Methodological Articles, Provocations, Technological Articles, and Cases for Teaching in Administration: The evaluation goes through a review system in which the first reading (desk-review) is exclusively intended to assess the relevance of the submitted articles, their adequacy to the scope of the journal and aspects such as contribution and originality of the text (Theoretical-empirical Articles, Theoretical Essays, Provocations, Methodological Articles), dilemma and quality of teaching notes (Teaching Cases) and quality of applicability (Methodological Articles). Only the papers considered by editors and reviewers as relevant for the community and, in particular, for the journal's readers, will proceed to the other stages of evaluation. Once approved at this stage, the paper proceeds to peer review, adopting the double-blind review format.

Executive Letters: The submitted documents are analyzed by the Editor-in-Chief and by Associate and/or invited Editors, in accordance with the journal's editorial policy, without external evaluation.

In the double-blind peer review stage, the anonymized files will be sent to at least two reviewers with experience related to the theme of the article. Reviewers will provide reports on the article, typically within 12 weeks. If reviewers do not provide consistent responses, the editors will either send the article to a third reviewer or make a decision based on the reviewers' reports. The journal will notify the authors of its decision to accept or reject the article. Acceptance of articles generally depends on making changes in accordance with the reviewer's and editor’s comments. After acceptance, the article will be submitted to grammar review, APA Style formatting, typesetting, published in Early Access, and then published in one volume and issue.

 

FAST TRACK

RAC collaborates to accelerate the dissemination of knowledge to the extent that it is committed to the speed of the editorial process. In this sense, in the event of fast-track treatment dedicated to submissions from scientific events supported by RAC, we reaffirm our commitment to celerity. Submissions processed in a fast track regime are not accepted without being evaluated according to the usual rigor adopted in RAC.

 

ARTICLE'S CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTANCE

The criteria set below regard every manuscript type published by RAC: Theoretical-empirical articles, Theoretical Essays, Methodological Articles, Provocations, Executive Letters, Technological Articles, and Cases for Teaching.

1. The paper provides novel insight into an essential issue within the field of Contemporary Administration - for example, by providing a special look at how administrative and managerial issues imply or are aligned to ethical, diversity, responsibility, governance, and sustainability issues. RAC is looking for papers focusing on contemporary administration (see the Editorial in issue v. 26, no. 1) wherein articulate administration/management with societal issues as such those pointed out in Sustainable Development Goals and in the Environmental, Sustainable, and Governance (ESG) agenda.  It means to look at management concerning society and its mutual implications.

2. The new insight prompts new and important questions - for example, revealing the challenges people face in contemporary management for sustainable growth and why current knowledge may not be adequate.

3. The ways in which the data and methods answer the research questions and support the conclusions are explained clearly, and the methods are applied rigorously: In empirical research papers, the method sections should provide arguments why certain methods were chosen, and others passed over, and explain step by step how the analysis was conducted. The discussion section should always put the findings in perspective of the limitations of the study, of the knowledge already available, and demonstrate the innovative contribution of the study.

4. Connections to prior work in the field or from other fields are provided to the reader in an orderly manner, highlighting novelty: The claim that certain types of study or topics have not been addressed sufficiently, which is common in the introduction of many papers, must be supported by a concise but convincing set of arguments based in the professional, scientific or policy literature, or statistical data. It must be made clear what the novelty of the presented work is with regard to that literature or other empirical evidence.

5. The article tells a good story: This implies that it is well written and easy to understand (proper language and short sentences/paragraphs), the arguments are logical and the structure of the paper follows the Guidelines for Publication.

 

ARTICLE'S CRITERIA FOR REJECTION

The criteria set below regard every manuscript type published by RAC: Theoretical-empirical articles, Theoretical Essays, Methodological Articles, Provocations, Executive Letters, Technological Articles, and Cases for Teaching.

1. It fails the technical screening:

- The article contains elements that are suspected to be plagiarized, or it is currently under review at another journal;

- The manuscript is not complete;

- The language (spelling and grammar) is not sufficient for the peer review process;

- The figures are not complete or are not clear enough to read;

- The article does not conform to the RAC’s Guidelines for Publication;

- The references are incomplete or (mostly) very old.

2. It does not fall within the Aims and Scope of the journal:

RAC is a journal focusing on contemporary issues without losing sight of historicity and future perspectives. Thus, it publishes studies related to the administration of companies, public organizations, or civil society. RAC seeks interdisciplinarity and epistemic plurality to position itself at the academic vanguard with a special look at ethical, diversity, responsibility, governance, and sustainability issues. The objective is to publish studies of quality, relevance, and impact, which can contribute to advancing the scientific debate and responding to the contemporary challenges of society.

3. It is incomplete:

Research papers have to follow the format and required content as described in the journal's Guidelines for Publication.

4. The paper reports only a small extension of literature published elsewhere – it lacks novelty.

5. Papers that are built on previous publications by the submitting author(s) are rejected if they do not offer substantial new material and insights.

6. The language, structure, or figures are so poor that the merit cannot be assessed. Have a professional reviewer of language to improve the language before submitting. Besides, we suggest at least an experienced researcher reviews the content before submitting it.

We expect papers to present their findings and conclusions in such a way that scientists, policymakers, and practitioners worldwide are addressed. This implies that findings and conclusions must be placed in large-scale and long-term perspectives and, when applicable, in local or global policy contexts. Specific national or regional policies must be explained and it must be demonstrated that the case study problems and research results and conclusions are possibly relevant in other contexts.

RAC encourages authors to consider advice from Plotkin (2004) related to how to get your paper REJECTED.

 

REFEREE GUIDELINES

Following COPE’s recommendations, (which RAC is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics) CSE's adviceDORA's principles, and under RAC’s policies, we think peer review is fundamental to the efficacy of the scientific process (Bispo, 2018; Mendes-Da-Silva, 2018). According to Berk, Harvey, and Hirshleifer (2016), the job of the referee is to provide expert and unambiguous advice to the editor about whether or not a paper is publishable. The referee advises and the editor decides. In the case of a recommendation to resubmission, the referee should notify the editor about any changes that the reviewer believes are needed to make the paper publishable.

 

General orientations

o  Notify the editor immediately of a possible conflict of interest, before preparing a report.

o  Notify the editor immediately if you have reviewed for another journal, and let the editor decide whether to relieve you of refereeing duty.

o  Notify the editor immediately if your report cannot be performed anonymously (e.g., owing to previous comments to the author).

o  If you are still willing to prepare a report, let the editor know.

o  Decline the invitation promptly if it is not a good fit or if peak load prevents giving a timely report.

o  Thoughtfully suggest alternative reviewers.

o  Consciously avoid favoring/opposing the submission unduly based on whether or not it confirms your existing beliefs or your own papers.

o   Make sure the report is the kind that you would like to receive as an author or as an editor.

 

Referees’ Misconduct will be properly assessed by RAC, according to the item “Referee misconduct” under the section “Misconduct, Manipulation, Correction, and Retraction Policies”.

 

Referee's Conflicts of Interest

If you have any conflict of interest with the manuscript, you need to alert the RAC’s Editor – promptly, and before agreeing to accept the assignment. The Editor might decide to find a new referee or might ask you to complete the report.

Conflicts that require alerting the Editor include when an author of the paper is: a past, current, or planned coauthor, a current colleague, a former student or advisor, a close personal friend or family member, or has a financial relationship with the reviewer. Conflicts can also arise if you have current research that is competing with the research in the submitted paper. If the paper contradicts or corrects your research, you need to tell the RAC’s Editor. Also, if there have been disputes between you and one of the authors in the past, alert the Editor.

 

Declining the invitation

Decide immediately whether you will be able to complete the review within the allotted time. If not, respond immediately with good suggestions for alternatives. Often the editor does not know exactly who the best match for a submission is, so thoughtful suggestions are valuable. Also, editors understand that peak loads can create the occasional need for a declined invitation or a request for an extended deadline.

Decide whether you are a good match for the submission. If you know little about the relevant literature, immediately contact the RAC’s editor to check and with some alternative suggestions. The editor may have had a good reason for selecting you, and verifying this can make your job more useful and focused. For example, in a paper with both theory and empirical work, the editor might be seeking the views of the empiricist for the empirical sections and of a theorist for the theory sections. If you have reviewed the paper for another journal, again immediately alert the editor. Some editors would prefer getting fresh views. Let the RAC’s editor make that decision. Other editors may be satisfied that the referee can assess effectively whether the paper has improved. The editor will decide. 

You might also feel that you cannot complete the report anonymously.  For example, you may have discussed the paper and feel your report would be so close to the discussion it will be obvious to the author that you are the referee.  If you wish to maintain your anonymity, it is reasonable to decline to referee the paper in this circumstance.   If you do not mind the loss of anonymity, you should still alert the editor, since non-anonymous reviewing can create agency problems. You may also provide advice to the editor in a letter without a report. Your views will be important even when they cannot be passed on to the author, though such service is not as useful to the editor as a formal report. 

 

Accepting the invitation

Specific instructions for each Type of Manuscript

We recommend that RAC reviewers access the “Guidelines for Publication” document on the journal's website to verify the specific guidelines that authors should follow for each type of manuscript.

 

Advice on the review report

Take a scientific stance in your report. Do not insult the authors, or use overly emotional or accusatory language. Avoid ascribing bad intent to authors (“The authors were trying for a cheap publication,” “The authors were trying to brush past literature/conflicting findings under the rug…”) and focus on the substance of the paper. If there are indications of intellectual dishonesty, state the facts rather than speculating on intent. If an accusation is made, leave it for the cover letter to the editor. If you are aware that the authors have behaved unethically with respect to the submission (such as submitting essentially the same paper to multiple journals, or plagiarism), notify the RAC’s editor. 

1. The first section of the report (usually a paragraph) should contain a concise summary of the claimed results, contributions, and general reasoning for the work. The editor is usually not an expert on the article's subfield, so it is important that this summary is clear. Only after that, resort to substantive questions about the importance and validity of the claimed results.

2. Your report should be consistent with the cover letter. If you are making a reject recommendation in the cover letter, do not mislead the author into thinking you are recommending a revision. Do not issue contradictory information to authors and editors. This is particularly important if you choose not to make a specific recommendation in the report.

3. After completing your draft report, please reread it carefully and think about what a critic might make of your arguments. Avoid making inconsistent arguments in different parts of the report. The authors have typically spent months on their papers. It is easy to form quick opinions, but if this is done casually it is unlikely to result in a valid critique of work done by good authors.     

4. Beware of the behavioral bias of looking for evidence that confirms your view (supports your prior research) and discounting evidence that goes against your view (undermines your prior research). Your job is to determine whether the research will be of interest to the profession. It is not to promote or shut down discussion on a particular agenda. 

5. Good research changes people’s beliefs - outstanding research even more so. That means that simply having a strong prior against the conclusions of the research is not a reason for rejection. If you recommend rejection, make sure it is based upon strong arguments rather than strong priors.

 

Length and format of the report

If it is evident that the paper is far below the bar, a short (one-page) report is perfectly acceptable. Do not spend a lot of time trying to ‘impress the Editor’. In this case, return your report within a week. After all, you already should take a quick look when the paper is first assigned to you to ensure that there is no conflict of interest before accepting the invitation to review. By returning obvious-reject recommendations quickly, if the editor disagrees with your assessment, the editor can turn to another referee without undue delay in the submission process. A more mechanical point, but one that has a surprisingly large effect on the efficiency of the review process is that comments should be numbered. Please, avoid discursive undifferentiated paragraphs, insightful discussion is a plus, but not at the expense of a clear bottom line that includes a numbered list of suggested actions or problems. 

The most important thing about the report is that it has a cordial tone with the authors and is useful for improving the text under review. Therefore, clearly pointing out (preferably in topics) what are the identified weaknesses and what are the ways to overcome them, is the basic that a report needs to have. Asking questions that help authors reflect on their work is a good strategy, as is suggesting additional reading. These readings should not serve as a means of leveraging reviewers' quotes.

 

How many rounds?

Put the most work into the first review. Think of the process as a single round. You provide some comments and suggestions, the authors respond, you carefully evaluate the changes and then the decision is made. Do not save suggestions for the second round.  If you raise a rejectable concern in the second round that could have been raised in the first round, can complicate the entire editorial process. If the paper is a good paper, it is fine to recommend acceptance or conditional acceptance in the first round.

 

 

OPEN PEER REVIEW

RAC, in line with Open Science practices, in January/2020 started to encourage reviewers to join the Open Peer Review, in which the journal publishes, on the title page of each article, information about the editors and reviewers who contributed to the peer review process for each article. After the article they reviewed is accepted for publication, reviewers and editors are invited to authorize to reveal their identities. Since August/2020, RAC fosters the practice of report's sharing (Open Reports).

As of August 07, 2020, new submissions for RAC must comply with the following policies for Open Peer Review.

 

Open Reports

As of August 2020 (issue v. 25, n. 2), RAC started to publish, alongside the article, the peer-review reports containing the reviewers’ comments and authors’ responses. Such content is published upon the reviewers’ authorization to disclose their reports and identities.

The Peer Review Report is available on the article’s page level on the journal’s website, via a button of the same name, which will redirect readers to the report in a Zenodo document. Such document is authored by the authors and reviewers, with a unique DOI. The content of the Peer Review Report is the full copy of the reviewers' and authors' reports. Typing and punctuation errors will not be edited. Only comments that violate the journal’s ethical policies such as derogatory or defamatory comments will be edited (omitted) from the report. In these cases, it will be clearly stated that parts of the report were edited. Up to 90 days after the Peer Review Report is published, authors and reviewers may request corrections in their reports only if the identified error differs from the content of the original report.

 

For authors:

All authors must allow the publication of all reports’ replies. That is, the authors' responses to the editors and reviewers during the submission evaluation process.

In the submission, authors must allow the publication of all reports’ replies by sending, alongside the submission, the filled “Open Science Statement”, which must be pasted to the end of the Cover Letter.

 

For reviewers and editors:

RAC invites reviewers and editors to allow:

(1) including their identification in the final version of all published articles under double-blind review; or,

(2) including their identification in the final version of all published articles under double-blind review AND the content of their reports, which will be shared alongside the published article.

 

 

CRITERIA FOR THE ANNUAL OUTSTANDING REVIEWER AWARD FOR THE JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY ADMINISTRATION (RAC)

The Outstanding Reviewers Award for RAC, held annually during the EnANPAD (National Meeting of ANPAD), uses the following evaluation criteria of the reviewers active in a period of 12 months prior to the event, commonly held in October. Thus, if the event is held in October, the evaluators who contributed between September of the previous year and the end of September of the current year of the award are eligible for the award.

Requirements:

- Have issued at least 3 evaluative reports in the period;

- Have an average evaluation time equal to or less than 30 days;

- Not having declined an invitation to evaluate during the period.

- Not having been uninvited to review due to (a) lack of response to the invitation or (b) delay in issuing the review report.

Evaluation criteria:

- Average evaluation time (the period between the invitation and the issuance of the review report).

- Number of review reports issued in the period.

- Opinion of the Associate Editor on the report issued (rate given to the report)

- Quality of the review report regarding: 1) the cordiality in the communication with the authors; 2) assertiveness in presenting the article's strengths and weaknesses; 3) objective suggestions on how to overcome the identified weaknesses and; 4) suggestions for extra literature, but not unnecessary citations.

Note: RAC may make other honorable mentions or awards to evaluators at other times of the year following the requirements and criteria mentioned.