The review process – from submission to publication
The complete review process up until publication of the original article is double blind, meaning that both authors and reviewers are “blinded” to one another. The reviewers are anonymous to the authors at least until the article is accepted for publication or their report is to be published, and can then choose whether to remain anonymous or not.
The double blind process is to protect authors’ rights. It allows them to submit papers without fear of rejection or disadvantage – in particular for publications in the context of a postgraduate/doctoral thesis.
All members of the review board and the extended review board are listed in the journal and on the website. This promotes transparency for authors and is at the same time recognition of the willingness of members of the review board to take on the role of reviewer.
The complete review process, up to the point of acceptance of the paper as an original article usually takes about 6 months.
Steps of the review process
1.1 Access review of the submitted article with regard to
The inherent goals of the journal: As a first step, the editors ensure that the submitted manuscript promotes the interests and strategies of the journal.
Compliance with the formal requirements: Scope and anonymisation of the documents, formatting and file formats are reviewed. In addition to the manuscript itself, the two files ‘Contact details’ and ‘Author’s contract’ must be provided.
Ethical aspects: Lastly, whether or not a statement regarding ethical aspects and a potential conflict of interest (‘Conflict of interest’ file) have been provided is checked.
If the criteria listed above have not been met the editors will consider rejecting the manuscript. If all criteria have been fulfilled, the manuscript is sent to two reviewers.
1.2 Acceptance of the manuscript
Authors are informed by email when their manuscript has been accepted. On publication this is the date given as ‘submitted’.
1.3 Forwarding the manuscript to the two reviewers
The review process begins once the paper has been forwarded to the reviewers, who have approximately 4 weeks for the review.
1.4 Reviewers’ report
The reviewers send a written report including the form for manuscript assessment according to fixed criteria to the editors, indicating whether the manuscript is to be accepted or rejected. If accepted, the paper can either be declared ‘ready to print’ or it may require minimal, moderate or major revisions. In the case of rejection, the reasons are clearly outlined; the possibility of resubmission may be offered.
The editors inform the authors per email of the decision to accept or reject with regard to the need for revision. If the paper is rejected, the author/s can request to see the report.
1.5 Revision by the authors
The authors have a maximum of 4 weeks’ time to revise their manuscript and respond to the reviewers’ remarks. The revised sections of text are to be clearly highlighted.
In addition, the authors are required to complete a revision protocol (‘point for point protocol’), in which they respond to all comments either with a revision (including explanation) or with a (clarifying) explanation. The line or page numbers are to be provided in the revision protocol.
1.6 Evaluation of the revision by the reviewers
The editors send the revised manuscript and the revision protocol back to the same two reviewers for evaluation, who then inform the editorial board of their approval for publication or that further revision is necessary.
1.7-A Decision of the reviewers: Acceptance of the manuscript as original article
If the reviewers accept the revised manuscript it is at this point considered accepted. The article is subsequently proof-read and the language possibly improved (see point 1.8). The editors inform the authors of the reviewers’ decision by email, and this date is the one given on publication as ‘accepted’.
1.7-B Decision of the reviewers: Rejection or invitation to further review the manuscript
The authors are informed if the reviewers are not satisfied with the revision. They have the opportunity to respond to the remarks a final time and to revise their article for the second time (see point 1.5).
After the second revision of the article (within two weeks), the revised manuscript and the updated revision protocol are sent back to the same reviewers for the second evaluation. If they find the attempts at revision to be inadequate the manuscript is considered to have been rejected.
If the reviewers accept the revised manuscript it is considered to have been accepted. The article is subsequently proof-read and the language possibly improved (see point 1.8). The authors are informed of the reviewers’ decision by email, and this date is the one given on publication as ‘accepted’.
1.8 Editing of the original article and imprimatur
The text of the original article to be published is edited with regard to language, spelling and punctuation, and if necessary improved by the editors or proof-readers.
The sections which have been changed are highlighted. The tables and illustrations are formatted to conform to the layout of the Journal of Midwifery Science.
The authors are sent the edited text (‘proof’) and are asked to examine the contents and presentation of the tables and illustrations and for their agreement to any changes. On confirmation of their agreement and release of the article for publication (print and online) they then sign the proof on a form provided (scan is also valid).
1.9 Publication of the original article in print and online
The original article is published with the names and titles of the authors, their statement regarding potential conflict of interest and the dates of submission and acceptance in the Zeitschrift für Hebammenwissenschaft - Journal of Midwifery Science and also online in the GMS Zeitschrift für Hebammenwissenschaft - Journal of Midwifery Science.If the authors have no affiliation with an organisation at time of printing only their place of residence will be provided.
1.10 Publication of the report (review)
If the authors agree, the reviewers’ reports will be published exclusively on the internal homepage of the DGHWi, which is only accessible to members. The reviewers will be named if they consent, otherwise the reports remain anonymous.