"Apart from reducing the redundancy of having a paper shepherded through the peer-review process a second or third time, internal manuscript and peer-review referral services ["cascading peer-review"] offers real value to the submitting author — i.e., faster publishing." (Phil Davis, Scholarly Kitchen)
JMIR Publications offers "portable peer-reviews" (also called "cascading peer-review"), meaning that manuscript and their peer-reviews can be transferred to other journals.
After initial peer-review or a re-review of the revised version, the editor will decide if a manuscript can be accepted, should be declined, or should be invited for another revision. Any of these decisions can be combined with an offer/suggestion to transfer the paper to another JMIR or partner journal. The transfer can also be executed automatically on rejection for the journal it was originally submitted to (unless the author specified in his cover letter that he does not want that -see How do I prevent my article from being transferred to another journal when it is rejected? (cascading peer-review)).
Apart from an editor-initiated transfer, the authors also can request a transfer at any time (see How do I request a manuscript transfer to another journal?).
If the paper was submitted to a special issue (theme issue) then the paper will still appear in that theme issue because theme issues are actually e-collections which may contain papers from different journals. The theme issue discount will still be applied.
The advantages of a transfer (over a straight rejection) include the following:
- don't lose time by sending the paper around to journal after journal
- cascading ("portable") peer-review and manuscript transfer is beneficial for the author if an article has been rejected by a specific editor/journal on grounds of relevance, fit (scope), or importance, i.e. if the reviewers and/or editor have indicated that the manuscript is in principle publishable but not strong enough for a high-impact journal or a better fit for another journal. Authors need to understand that a high-impact journal like J Med Internet Res (the flagship JMIR journal) needs to be selective and cannot publish the n-th feasibility/pilot/usability study or needs assessment for an app. In many cases, the paper may then be reframed (e.g. as research protocol or methods paper) and would be acceptable for JMIR Res Protoc, JMIR Formative Res or another sister journal that publishes more formative work. You should "save" the high-impact journals for your best "final results" papers (see also Where (in which journals) should I publish what, and what should be my research and publication strategy to maximize impact and dissemination of my ehealth/mhealth/digital medicine research?). By using the manuscript transfer option, authors save time as they don't not have to go through a new submission process at another publisher, and by not having to wait for new reviews.
- the editor and reviewers usually stay the same, which has the advantage that there are no delays with finding new reviewers or editors
- another advantage for the author is that the submission date does not change (i.e. we publish the original submission date rather than the transfer date as "Date Submitted" within the paper), which can be important for priority claims of ideas. If authors were to withdraw and resubmit the paper elsewhere, the submission date would obviously change.
We never transfer a paper to a higher-priced journal, so in general the APF of the journal we refer it to is lower. The APF of that new journal is applicable. If the new journal has a submission fee, then the submission fee (but not the APF) is waived.
As mentioned above, the original submission date (submission date to the old journal) will be preserved and published with the article; thus, if the new journal has a waived or lower article processing fee before a certain "price increase" date and that date is after the original submission date, then that waiver or discount will also apply to the transferred paper, even if the transfer incurred after the price increase.
If a manuscript transfer has been offered (or executed) by the editor, please either:
- indicate promptly if you are not interested in that option and wish to withdraw the manuscript (have it rejected by the journal you submitted it to) (see How do I withdraw a submitted (but not published) article from peer-review?). You may also inquire if the paper is suitable for another journal, or escalate this to the editorial director / managing editor of the publisher, by filing a support ticket at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- revise the manuscript, respond to as many reviewer comments as possible, and indicate your journal preference (or the fact that you are ok with a manuscript transfer if already executed) in your cover letter/responses to the editor/reviewers. See How do I respond to reviewer comments and upload a revised manuscript?
Authors are reminded that upon submission they check a checkbox indicating that they agree to a transfer to another journal, unless they specify in their cover letter that they do not wish this:
- How do I request a manuscript transfer to another journal?
- How do I prevent my article from being transferred to another journal when it is rejected? (cascading peer-review)
- How do I withdraw a submitted (but not published) article from peer-review?
- How do I respond to reviewer comments and upload a revised manuscript?
- What is the impact factor of your sister journal XY? Can I use the same impact factor as J Med Internet Res to advertise the importance of my work?
- Where (in which journals) should I publish what, and what should be my research and publication strategy to maximize impact and dissemination of my ehealth/mhealth/digital medicine research?