The manuscript evaluation process has two main stages. At the first stage, the manuscript is evaluated for its relevance to key formal requirements and the editorial board makes a consensual decision on whether to proceed to the review process. At this stage, the manuscript may be rejected on the following grounds:
- Irrelevance to the journal’s research focus;
- Out-of-dated analysis, in relation to the journal’s thematic priorities;
- Lack of originality of the author’s research, plagiarism or self-plagiarism, largely descriptive character of the article, and low quality of independent analysis;
- Clear signs of incompetence, lack of knowledge about key facts, sources, and scholarly works;
- Major biases in favour of a certain side or viewpoint, with a lack of attention to and source-based analysis of alternative viewpoints;
- Non-compliance with essential style guide requirements.
In case of positive decision by the Editors about manuscript’s compliance with the journal’s requirements, the article is sent for review to one or two experts in the respective field. In complex or contested cases, the article is reviewed by two referees. Reviewers include external experts from Russian and foreign academic institutions, the IMEMO researchers and Editorial Council members. The review process is double blind: manuscripts sent for review should not contain information that allows identification of the author, while authors are not provided with information about reviewers.
Manuscript reviews should be detailed, well-argued, and unbiased. If these criteria are not met, the editors may replace a reviewer with another one. A review includes assessment of compliance to formal and substantive criteria (topical relevance, innovativeness, independence of analysis, familiarity with key sources and research literature, validity of conclusions, impartiality etc.) аnd, if appropriate, recommendations for the author. A reviewer should be guided by provisions and principles of the Publication Ethics. For more detail on editorial policy, see Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement.
Upon completion of a review, a reviewer makes one of four decisions: “recommended for publication”, “recommended for publication with minor revisions”, “major revisions required”, and “rejected”. If a reviewer gives a positive verdict, the editors reserve the right to make additional comments on a manuscript. These comments should be duly taken into account by the author as a condition for the manuscript’s acceptance for publication.
The verdict “recommended for publication with minor revisions” implies that the final decision is made by the editors upon consideration of minor revisions made the author to account for the reviewer’s comments.
The verdict “major revisions required” entails re-sending an essentially revised work to a reviewer. If the author ignores critical comments from the previous review (and does not provide, in a letter to the editors, a detailed, well-grounded explanation of his/her disagreement with critical comments), a resubmitted manuscript may be rejected by the editors without sending the article to the second review.
If a review suggests to reject a manuscript, an author may also provide a detailed, reasoned disagreement in form of a letter to the Editor-in-Chief. In that case, the final decision on whether to send the article for consideration by another reviewer or to reject it is ultimately made consensually by the Editorial Board.
See also Author Guidelines.