JMIR Publications offers "portable peer-review" (also called "cascading peer-review"), meaning that manuscripts and their peer-reviews can be transferred to other JMIR journals.
"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)
How and When are Manuscripts Transferred?
When an editorial decision is issued
During initial triage or after initial peer-review or a re-review of a revised submission, the editor will decide if a manuscript can be accepted, should be declined, or should undergo a further round of revision. Any of these decisions can be combined with an offer/recommendation to transfer the paper to another JMIR or partner journal.
Automatically with a rejection
The transfer can also be executed automatically on rejection from the journal it was originally submitted to (unless the author specified in their cover letter that they do not want that (see: How do I prevent my article from being transferred to another journal when it is rejected? (cascading peer-review)).
In response to an author request
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. Theme issues are e-collections that may contain papers from different journals. The theme issue discount will still be applied.
Benefits of Transferring
The advantages of a transfer (over a straight rejection or withdrawal) include the following:
- Don't lose time by sending the paper around to journal after journal
- Cascading ("portable") peer-review and manuscript transfer are beneficial for the author if a specific editor/journal has rejected an article on the 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 wait for new reviews.
- The editor and/or reviewers usually stay the same, which has the advantage that there are no delays in 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 change.
Differences in APFs between JMIR Journals
We rarely transfer a paper to a higher-priced journal, so in general, the APF of the journal we refer a paper to will be lower. The APF of that new journal is applicable. As of July 2019, JMIR Publications does not charge a submission fee for any of their journals. Any papers transferred between JMIR journals after August 3, 2022, will be charged the APF of the target journal at the time of transfer (not submission).
How to Respond to a Transfer Recommendation
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 or Managing Editor of the journal by filing a support ticket at email@example.com.
- revise the manuscript, respond to as many reviewer comments as possible, and indicate your journal preference (or state 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?