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OSA Publishing
Reviewer Resources

Overview of the Peer Review Process

Manuscripts must meet the high quality standards that have been established for OSA journals, reporting original, significant results of interest to the optics and photonics community. Review by external referees is required for acceptance of all research articles, review papers, tutorials, discussion papers, comments and replies. All manuscripts are screened by OSA editors before they are sent out for external review. Editors may decline a manuscript without external review if they judge the manuscript to be clearly unsuitable for the journal (e.g. out of scope, fundamental flaws, duplicative, incremental, poor quality of English, excessively wordy). Note that a paper is considered "incremental" if it does not convincingly add new and important results to the field.

Resubmissions of previously rejected manuscripts require a cover letter with a detailed response to the referee and editor comments. If the new manuscript does not address the reviewer and editor comments, it may be rejected without peer review.

  1. OSA's policy is to obtain two reviews per paper; however, papers first undergo an initial quality/relevance assessment by the editor upon receipt. At this stage, submissions are also screened for plagiarism using Similarity Check.
  2. Editor selects a topical/associate editor overseeing the appropriate technical subfield of your manuscript, who then sends your manuscript to anonymous reviewers.
    • When submitting to an OSA journal, you will be instructed to suggest three potential suitable reviewers.
    • Editor selects reviewers who are experts in the field of your manuscript.
  3. Reviewers are allowed time to complete their review and submit comments to the editor.
  4. Reviewers provide comments aimed to help create a better manuscript. Reviewers will recommend that:
    • The manuscript is acceptable for publication.
    • The manuscript requires further revisions.
    • The manuscript is not acceptable for publication.
    • The manuscript is more appropriate for another journal.
  5. Editor makes a publication decision based on the reviews and sends out a decision letter.
  6. If your manuscript needs modifications:
    • You may resubmit after revisions have been made (use a response letter to explain each change, point by point).
    • Editor decides whether to accept revised manuscript or refer it back to reviewers for further comment.
    • Editor makes final decision.
  7. If your manuscript is rejected:
    • Before submitting elsewhere, act on the reviewers' reports as this will lead to a better paper.
    • OSA editors filter submissions and strongly discourage resubmitting rejected manuscripts to other OSA journals, except by invitation from the editors.

Once accepted, a manuscript will begin the production process. An overview of the production process can be found by clicking here.

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