The prospect of migrating one or more journals to a new peer review system is exciting, presenting the opportunity to increase efficiencies and harness new features. But, it can also feel a little overwhelming with many moving parts and pieces to consider. If you’re thinking about moving to Scholastica’s peer review system, we know your team likely has a lot of questions like:
- How long will the transition to Scholastica take?
- What if we need help — will we receive training and customer support?
- What has transitioning to Scholastica been like for other journals?
You may also still be exploring Scholastica’s software and looking to learn more about the benefits. Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about migrating one or more journals to our peer review system, as well as some key features to make a seamless transition and start streamlining your workflows right away.
Before we dive in, you should know that there are three sides to Scholastica — our peer review system, production service, and open access journal hosting platform. Our software and services can be used on their own or seamlessly integrated to help you bridge gaps between editorial workflows, production, and publishing. If you’re interested in learning more about our other software and service options, you can get a behind the scenes look at Scholastica’s production service here and our OA publishing platform here.
Should you decide to use any of Scholastica’s software and services, we promise that your transition will be fast and easy! Our platform is designed to offer intuitive plug and play solutions. We also provide free training for all users, as well as free unlimited customer support.
Let’s dive into the details of transitioning to Scholastica’s peer review system!
Further reading note: If you’re still considering different peer review options, we cover tips for determining the right system for your needs and how to get the most value from it in our free guide, “The Modern Journal: Technology and Peer Review Management.”
- Peer review account set up is fast and easy
- Get free user trainings and support
- Easily configure your journal account, invite editors, and import reviewers
- Manage all submissions and communication in one place across one or more journals
- Use analytics to track team performance and look for optimization opportunities
- See what others have to say about transitioning to Scholastica
How long does it take to start using Scholastica’s peer review system? You can get new journal accounts set up in as little as two days by following a few simple steps outlined below. If you’re new to Scholastica, we do recommend first requesting a free demo to walk through the platform with a member of our team. We’ll get to know more about your journal needs and answer any questions you have to ensure that Scholastica is the right fit and help you determine next steps.
To begin using Scholastica’s peer review system, you’ll first need to create an individual user account. From your user dashboard, there will be the option to “start a journal,” which will initiate the process for setting up a journal account in Scholastica and connecting it to our peer review system. First, you’ll be walked through a series of questions to populate basic journal information, including title, discipline, description, and editorial board. Once you’ve completed the initial questions, you’ll see a red banner with the instructions to finish journal set up. After you’ve followed those steps and are ready to make your journal account public, click the button that says “All done and ready to be approved” and a Scholastica representative will reach out shortly to verify the journal. We check that all journals are actually affiliated with the individuals who created the Scholastica account. Once your journal is verified, your Scholastica peer review account will go live and you’ll be able to start directing authors to it and open for submissions.
If you’re planning to transition multiple journals to Scholastica, the setup process will be the same for each. When migrating multiple journals to Scholastica’s peer review system, we recommend having the person who will be managing each journal day-to-day (e.g., the peer review manager, managing editor, or editor in chief) follow the “start journal” process described above from their individual user account(s) so that they can take on the role of admin editor right away. They’ll be able to start getting acquainted with the system and invite editors to your journal.
During or after the initial journal set up and approval process, your editorial team will want to complete a few more steps to get your journal account configured the way you’d like. Don’t worry — you won’t be on your own! A Scholastica customer support specialist will reach out to schedule a personalized training for each journal you transition to the platform.
Scholastica is designed to be an intuitive platform, so editors can jump into the peer system and start using it right away. We also recommend scheduling a free training to give your team the opportunity to walk through all of Scholastica’s features and learn ways to use Scholastica to optimize workflows. As noted above, a Scholastica customer support specialist will reach out to set up a free training for each of your journal accounts to ensure all editors are onboarded to the system. If everyone can’t make the same training, no problem! We can record training sessions for you and we also offer additional free trainings as needed.
Prior to the training, our support specialist will ask your editorial team to share a brief overview of your journal’s current processes. Then they’ll take that information and determine how to make your workflow as efficient as possible in Scholastica and walk you through it. Scholastica also offers free user support to authors and reviewers, so your team won’t have to worry about fielding any technical questions as they’re getting used to the system.
Some quick tips we recommend to all journals when transitioning to Scholastica’s peer review system:
- Focus on the outcomes you want for your journal rather than sticking strictly to how your workflow used to operate (this will help you make optimizations)
- Make a clean switch to Scholastica — finish up any in-progress manuscripts on your current system and, as soon as possible, start directing authors to submit via your new Scholastica account
- Send all new messages to editors, authors, and reviewers using Scholastica Discussions, so your communication in Scholastica and your old system stay separate, and nothing falls through the cracks
As noted above, during your free training, a Scholastica customer support specialist will help you set up your journal account to have the most streamlined workflow possible. You can configure Scholastica in multiple ways, including by:
- Choosing a blindness setting (e.g., single-blind, double-blind)
- Setting preferences for automated emails to editors and reviewers (e.g., review reminders)
- Customizing your reviewer feedback form to add/remove or re-order questions
- Setting up custom email templates — Scholastica offers fully customizable decision letter templates as well as Discussion email templates for recurring peer review communication (more on Discussions below!)
- Creating manuscript tags to easily search and sort like submissions
Adding editors and reviewers to Scholastica is also easy. During set up, your admin editor can invite all editors to your journal’s Scholastica account by clicking “Invite New Editor” from the Editors’ Table. Just enter the email addresses of all editors and input a quick message letting them know to accept the invitation and sign up for a personal Scholastica account to access the journal. To add reviewers to Scholastica you’ll have the option to either send individual invitations or do a bulk import of your existing reviewer database. You’ll also be able to add and edit reviewer tags, which can be a good way to store information about reviewers’ research specialties or usual availability.
If you have in-progress manuscripts in another peer review system, you can also upload them to Scholastica on behalf of authors as “proxy submissions.” Though for your ease, and to reduce author and reviewer confusion, we recommend that you finish processing in-progress manuscripts in your current system. That will enable you to make a clean transition to Scholastica. Our team can help you with the best plan for manuscript transitions.
Using Scholastica, you’ll be able to centralize all of your peer review workflows and communication in one place. When you log into Scholastica and navigate to your journal, the first thing you’ll see is your journal dashboard with a running log of your team’s latest journal activity, which you can quickly search to find when various actions were completed and by whom. You’ll also see journal to-dos — Scholastica includes a to-do dashboard feature where you can assign tasks to yourself or other team members. You can easily filter to-dos by assignor or assignee and status.
You’ll be able to easily manage all submissions in Scholastica from your Manuscripts table, where you can search for and sort submissions by author, title, date submitted, and review stage, and assign them to your editorial team. Editors can then easily find and assign reviewers to submissions from each manuscript page and manage all manuscript-related communication using Discussion messages. Discussions is Scholastica’s built-in email feature. Each manuscript page on Scholastica has a Discussions section where your team can start message threads with editors, authors, and reviewers. Recipients can view and respond to Discussions from Scholastica or their email, and all Discussion threads are stored in Scholastica with the manuscript they’re about.
Using Scholastica, peer review managers, and managing editors working with more than one journal can also easily track manuscripts and editorial workflows across titles. From the user dashboard, journal managers can toggle between journals to check their activity logs and to-dos and manage submissions.
Are you wondering where you may be able to take steps to optimize your peer review workflows? Scholastica’s peer review system also comes with built-in analytics that make tracking peer review performance easy. Each journal account includes an analytics page with real-time journal performance data and individual editor stats. Easily track:
- Number of manuscript submissions by date
- Manuscripts in progress (with a breakdown by each phase of review)
- Number of manuscripts per editor (average and totals)
- Days to a decision at the journal and editor level (with breakouts by days to accept and days to reject)
- Acceptance and rejection rate at the journal and editor level
You can learn more about Scholastica’s peer review analytics in this help doc. Scholastica also includes built-in reviewer analytics. From the Reviewers Table, you can easily track individual reviewer performance stats, including:
- Pending invitations
- Pending and late review assignments
- Number of invitations received and date of last invite
- Number of reviews completed
- Average days to complete a review
Using Scholastica’s built-in analytics, you can keep track of journal performance to ensure you’re receiving enough submissions and that editors and reviewers are completing manuscript tasks in a timely manner. Dig into the data to determine if and where you may have potential workflow bottlenecks and start taking steps to address them.
We hope this overview of transitioning one or more journals to Scholastica’s peer review system was useful! Wondering what the transition experience has been like for other publishers and journals? You can check out our Customer Stories page to see what journal managers and editors have to say about making the switch to Scholastica.