The peer review process
Southern African Field Archaeology employs a robust system wherein all submitted manuscripts (research reports, comparative/synthetic/overview studies, critiques and discussions) undergo peer review before publication. A three-stage review process is followed: editorial office → two external reviews → editors’ decision. The standard review procedure is blind (i.e., author known but reviewers unknown so that reviewers are able to declare a conflict of interest where appropriate). In the spirit of transparency and discussion, reviewers will have the option to make themselves known to authors upon submitting their reviews.
- Manuscripts are submitted online and undergo initial editorial assessment to ensure that they fall within the remit of the journal and are in a format and stage of presentation that is review ready.
- Once assessed as ready for review, the Managing Editor assigns a Specialist Editor to identify and invite appropriate reviewers, who may or may not include those suggested by the authors.
- Reviewers are given 21 days to submit a report, and two reports are required to make a decision on revision/publication. Authors must, however, consider that reviewers may not accept invitations, miss deadlines or never send their reviews, so that the review process may take several months to complete.
- Once two reports have been received, the Specialist Editor makes a decision on whether the manuscript can be: a) accepted as-is; b) accepted with minor revision; c) accepted with moderate revision; d) accepted with major revision; e) rejected in its current form.
- The reviewer reports and Specialist Editor’s decision and recommendations for review will be returned to authors via the Online Journal System.
- Revised manuscripts must follow the author guidelines and are submitted online together with a covering letter that details the revision in terms of all points raised during review.
- The dedicated Specialist Editor will assess whether the revision is adequate, and whether the manuscript follows the author guidelines – if not, it will be returned to the author who will be allowed 14 days for final revision and formatting.