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Online peer-review systems

Many journals published by Cambridge University Press make use of online peer-review systems to support their submission and peer-review processes. These systems are purpose built to manage the progress of papers through the necessary steps of editorial review and revision. After acceptance, they feed manuscripts into the Press's production system. They simplify the task of professionally managing an editorial pipeline, and are therefore credited with increasing the efficiency, speed and accountability of the academic peer-review process.

The integrity of our journals' peer review is of paramount importance to us and our publishing partners. We are careful to establish procedures that match the needs of specific journals and academic communities. Online peer-review systems are not optimal for every journal, but they are an option we gladly explore with our editors and societies.

Why adopt an online peer-review system?

International editorial teams working across continents can access a central web-based repository of manuscripts under consideration, wherever they are in the world. Articles are logged and tracked at every stage of the review process, with their current status and appropriate next steps clearly flagged. Each editor can quickly establish an overview of the status of the articles for which they have responsibility.All items associated with an article are stored securely together online, including reviewer reports, associated metadata, supplementary material, figures and multiple versions of the manuscript, where appropriate.Authors receive an automated receipt to reassure them that their manuscript has been received and are able to track the status of their article online.By establishing a predetermined path through the peer-review process, these systems make it simple to ensure each article is treated consistently. The workflows are fully configurable to match a journal's specific requirements.The systems can automate a range of processes to reduce time in administration but can also allow for personal interaction with authors and reviewers to be preserved. Articles can be fed directly into our production systems, once they have been formally accepted for publication.

Anti-plagiarism software

Some of our journals use iThenticate, a service for detecting plagiarism, which can be integrated with their online manuscript submission systems. This tool helps editors and authors detect scholarly plagiarism by comparing submitted manuscripts with a database of web pages and works, including those of over 500 scholarly publishers participating in the CrossCheck initiative. If you are interested in adopting iThenticate for your journal, please feel free to contact your usual editorial representative.

Committee on publication ethics

As a leading publisher of scholarly journals, Cambridge University Press is committed to meeting high standards of ethical behaviour at all stages of the publication process. Our ethical standards and procedures set out general expectations for authors, editors, reviewers, publishers and partners.

We are a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), an organisation that provides advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of publications ethics, and how to handle cases of misconduct. Journals joining Cambridge University Press will be submitted to COPE for membership, which is granted upon meeting certain principles for transparency and best practice.

COPE members are expected to follow a code of conduct for journal editors – see our ethical standards and procedures for more detail. Amongst other benefits they will have access to the COPE forum to discuss individual cases.

We also closely follow industry associations such as the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), which provide best-practice recommendations for the conduct and reporting of medical research.

Open access

Cambridge University Press is actively engaged with Open Access (OA), which plays an important role in allowing us to fulfil our mission of furthering the advancement of learning, knowledge and research worldwide.

Many of our journals are published on behalf of learned societies and similar organisations. We inform our publishing partners about developments in OA, give our professional advice on the OA options available for their publications, and assess the advantages and risks of different approaches.

See Cambridge Open for more information about our OA activities and policies. We:

  • Promote OA models that are sustainable and that can maintain a commitment to high-quality publishing.
  • Work with society partners to explore Gold OA options – allowing authors to make articles available on our platform on publication for anyone to read, permanently and without restriction.
  • Provide Green archiving policies for journals and monographs that enable authors to archive their work in institutional and subject repositories while allowing the publisher to maintain stewardship of the final version of record.

If you are interested in an OA publishing collaboration with Cambridge University Press, please visit the Open access pages here.