Are you new to Scholastica or considering signing up and are wondering how you can quickly get acquainted with our peer review software? First, good news: Scholastica happens to be a very intuitive journal management system so your editorial team should have no trouble hitting the ground running once your account is set up. In addition, the Scholastica team offers free trainings to all of the journals that use us. We recommend a training to give your board the opportunity to walk through all of Scholastica’s features with a member of our team and identify ways to use Scholastica to optimize your workflow so you can get manuscripts through peer review faster.
When journals join Scholastica our customer support specialist reaches out to set up a training. The process is quick and painless! Prior to the training we’ll ask your editorial board to share a brief overview of your current workflow, then during a screenshare call our customer support specialist will walk you through the most efficient way to replicate your process using Scholastica. What will you take away from that call? Here’s what you can expect from a Scholastica training:
Often, editors come to Scholastica with the assumption that they’ll need to stick with the exact same workflow that they used in their previous system. It makes sense! We get accustomed to the processes we come to know. The problem is, when you’re adopting new journal software if you try to simply mirror the way you were managing peer review before you’ll likely miss out on opportunities to optimize your workflow. We want to make sure you have an even better experience on Scholastica than you did using your old peer review system!
When you briefly outline your journal’s current workflow for our customer success specialist prior to your training, she’ll be able to look at it with fresh eyes and expertise on how to help you accomplish your goals on Scholastica. We recommend sending her a numbered list of the steps your journal needs to take throughout peer review. Focus on what you need to do rather than how you used to do it. For example, a brief outline of your first round of peer review might look like this:
- Submission comes in
- Lead editor assigns submission to member of editorial team
- Editor does initial read of manuscript and lets lead editor know if it will move onto peer review
- If manuscript moves onto peer review, editor assigned to it gets 3 external referees to review it
- Once all 3 reviews come in, editor assigned to manuscript assesses the reviews and recommends a decision
- Editor assigned to manuscript shares decision with editorial team for consensus then alerts the author
Scholastica specializes in finding ways to eliminate unnecessary editorial work and streamline peer review. Our customer success specialist will take the time to review your current process and pinpoint areas where Scholastica can improve it.
For example, many journals come to Scholastica and are used to handling journal communication via email. Our customer support specialist can show you how to use Discussions to eliminate the need for storing and searching for communications in your email inbox. Discussions are messages associated with a particular manuscript, which you can send to anyone - editor, author, or reviewer. When you send a Discussion recipients can reply via their email or Scholastica, either way all Discussions will be stored on Scholastica so your editors don’t have to sift through their email inboxes to find manuscript correspondences.
We recommend doing an initial Scholastica training with your journal’s lead editors to iron out how you can best move your peer review process to Scholastica and eliminate extra work where possible. Then, once we’ve mapped out a process with you, if you’d like our customer success specialist will be glad to do another call with your entire board to demonstrate how you’ll be using Scholastica.
In addition to helping you determine the most efficient way to use Scholastica to meet your journal’s workflow needs, our customer success specialist will also be able to acquaint you with some of Scholastica’s advanced features. A few of the features we’ll be sure to go over with you include:
- To-dos Dashboard: The Scholastica To-do Dashboard is a collection of all your journal’s to-dos across all manuscripts. You can assign tasks to yourself and fellow editors from this dashboard.
- Manuscript tags: You can assign custom tags to groups of manuscripts to keep them organized by information relevant to your team, such as grouping manuscripts by type (original research, book reviews, etc.). We can also show you how to add custom tags to reviewers!
- Journal analytics: Learn how to use Scholastica’s built in journal analytics to spot potential bottlenecks in your peer review process. Track metrics like your team’s average time to decision and average acceptance and rejection rates.
- Email Templates: You can set up email templates in Scholastica for reviewer invitations and manuscript decision letters with merge fields that allow you to have information like author name and manuscript title auto-filled.
Our team is always introducing new features, so during your training you’ll get the opportunity to learn about the latest improvements we’ve made to Scholastica and any that are down the pike.
A training is also a great opportunity for you and your editors to get to know the Scholastica team. We want to make sure you know that at Scholastica you’ll always be dealing with real people, not an automated response system. Our customer support specialist is always an email or a live chat away, and if you’re ever confused or have an idea for Scholastica that you’d like to discuss we’re glad to jump on the phone with you.
We’re happy to set up additional journal trainings whenever you need as well, such as when your journal experiences an editorial board transition.
If you’ve started using Scholastica and haven’t yet scheduled a training, you can still do so by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re planning to start using Scholastica, we’ll reach out to you as soon as your account is setup to schedule a training. Our customer success team is looking forward to working with you!