CONTENTS Introduction Definitions How to Receive Clearance to Publish/Present/Post Works Where to Publish/Post Works How to Create Works Acknowledgments Appendices
Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document 03-01
Manuscript/Abstract/Webpage Preparation, Review, and Dissemination: NEFSC Author's Guide to Policy, Process, and ProcedureJ.A. Gibson, T.L. Frady, E.L. Kleindinst, and L.S. Garner
National Marine Fisheries Serv., Woods Hole Lab., 166 Water St., Woods Hole, MA 02543
Web version posted May 12, 2004Citation: Gibson JA, Frady TL, Kleindinst EL, Garner LS. 2003. Manuscript/abstract/ webpage preparation, review, and dissemination: NEFSC author's guide to policy, process, and procedure. Northeast Fish. Sci. Cent. Ref. Doc. 03-01; 38 p.
Information Quality Act Compliance: In accordance with section 515 of Public Law 106-554, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center completed both technical and policy reviews for this report. These predissemination reviews are on file at the NEFSC Editorial Office.INTRODUCTION
Dissemination of technical information for managing living marine resources and their habitats in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean is the basis for the operation of the National Marine Fisheries Service's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). The policies, processes, and procedures for preparing and reviewing such information prior to its dissemination ensure that the information is scientifically sound, is consistent with agency policy, reaches the right audience, and is understandable and useful. These policies, processes, and procedures are also constantly evolving to reflect changes in federal law, agency directives, organizational structure, support personnel, and available technology and media.
The following document is a revised and updated version of Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document 93-12, "NEFSC Manuscript Review and Scientific Publishing: Author's Guide to Policy, Process, Procedure," by T.L. Frady and J.A. Gibson. This revised and updated version provides the current policies, processes, and procedures to be followed by all NEFSC employees in the preparation, review, and dissemination of their manuscripts, abstracts, posters, and webpages.
The NEFSC’s support staff contribute to and/or produce administrative and operational works in a parallel manner to the NEFSC’s scientific staff contributing to and/or producing scientific and technical works. Accordingly, a policy and procedures statement has been developed to recognize the relative and respective contributions of support staff engaged in such efforts. That policy and procedures statement is contained in Appendix 1.
Publications: Hereafter, "publications" refer to papers, oral presentations, or posters which are intended for distribution, delivery, or display outside of an author's immediate working group. Publications do not refer to papers, oral presentations, or posters developed or given strictly for administrative purposes, except those administrative papers intended for issuance in a NOAA informal monograph series.
HOW TO RECEIVE CLEARANCE TO PUBLISH/PRESENT/POST WORKS
Review Process Summary Operation Key General Steps Specific Additional Steps
By U.S. Department of Commerce regulation (i.e., DAO 219-1), if an author has prepared a work either at the direction of his/her supervisor, during his/her official work hours, with assistance of federal employees on official duty, with federal facilities or supplies, devoted substantially to his/her agency's operations, or with federal data which have not become public information, then that author must use his/her legal name and agency affiliation (e.g., NMFS) in that work's "byline," and must have the work cleared by the agency head or official designee (e.g., Deputy Center Director) before public dissemination. Further, NOAA guidelines and NMFS procedures for implementing the new federal Data Quality Act mandate that all information products emanating from NOAA programs, facilities, or personnel be reviewed in a manner and at a level necessary to ensure their "quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity." Consequently, the NEFSC is responsible for the content of all works authored by NEFSC staff. The following NEFSC review process applies to all such works.
A multi-authored work for which the NEFSC author is only a junior author, and for which the senior author is outside the NEFSC, must nonetheless enter and clear the NEFSC review process before its public dissemination. Without such clearance, the NEFSC co-author cannot have his/her name appear as a co-author of the published work.
All works intended for public issuance, including abstracts or outlines of oral presentations and posters, as well as webpages, must be approved by the author's division/staff/office chief and by the Deputy Center Director before submission to prospective publishers, presentation, display, or posting. The means for obtaining this approval are fully described in the sections on "Review Process" and "Review Procedures," and are manifest in the manuscript/abstract/webpage review form (both in online and paper versions) found in "Appendix 2: Forms and Checklists."
There are three categories of documents which are exempt from this policy: 1) some Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW) working group papers; 2) some contract and grant final/completion reports; and 3) some Cooperative Marine Education and Research (CMER) Program papers. Those SAW working group papers which are not identified by SAW officials as worthy of issuance in the Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document series do not go through the review process; those SAW working group papers which are identified by SAW officials as worthy of issuance in the Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document series, as well as the SAW public review workshop reports and SAW consensus-summary-of-assessments reports, do go through the review process. Review of SAW documents involves the SAW Chairman as the technical clearance official, and the NEFSC's Resource Evaluation & Assessment Division Chief as the policy clearance official. Contract and grant final/completion reports which could be used as the basis of management or policy decisions, or which provide data and/or information to be disseminated by the NEFSC to the public (e.g., by issuance in a Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document) or to be maintained by the NEFSC such that the public can access them (e.g., by posting as an Internet-accessible database) do go through the review process; otherwise, contract and grant final/completion reports do not go through the review process. Those CMER papers authored either in whole or in part by federal employees do go through the review process; those CMER papers authored in their entirety by non-federal employees do not go through the review process. Any SAW, contract, grant, or CMER work which is exempt from this policy must include on its title page the phrase, "This work does not necessarily represent the views of NOAA, the National Marine Fisheries Service, or the Northeast Fisheries Science Center."
It is the policy of the NEFSC that review of works is an important part of official duties and that serious attempts should be made to complete each review step within the deadline of three weeks from receipt. The NEFSC review process will be "transparent": authors will know the names of the reviewers of their works; reviewers will know the names of the authors of the works that they are reviewing.
The ethics of scientific research and scientific publishing are a serious matter. All works submitted for review are expected to adhere -- at a minimum -- to the ethical guidelines contained in Chapter 1 ("Ethical Conduct in Authorship and Publication") of the CBE Style Manual, 5th ed. See "Appendix 3: Ethics" for an excerpted and modified version of that chapter.
Any NEFSC staff member who intends to publish as a private citizen (i.e., not as part of his/her official duties) is potentially vulnerable to conflict-of-interest charges, especially if payment for writing is involved. Before any staff member engages in "outside" writing, he/she should contact the Research Communications Unit's Editorial Office or other appropriate agency officials for advice on these matters.
The author is responsible for initially selecting the outlet for public issuance of the work, and for carefully preparing the work to conform with guidelines provided by the prospective publisher. For general guidelines on preferred outlets, including NOAA technical publications, see the section on "Where to Publish/Post Works." For general information on preparing a work, see the section on "Guidelines for Preparing Works." All forms and checklists referred to in this author's guide are found in Appendix 2.
The NEFSC review process has two stages: peer review for scientific/technical content ("technical review ") and administrative review for statements or findings with implications for NEFSC or agency policy ("policy review"). The first stage is the responsibility of the sole or senior NEFSC author's division/staff/office chief. The second is the responsibility of the Deputy Center Director. Those with review responsibility can delegate -- either on a temporary or permanent basis -- their responsibility to anyone on their staff (e.g., a division chief could permanently delegate his/her responsibility to a branch chief with strong review skills). In general, each major review step should not take more than three weeks.
Both technical and policy review are three-point cycles: review, revision, and approval/rejection. For technical review, the division/staff/office chief reviews works singlehandedly or designates additional reviewers. The author addresses all concerns and/or comments of the division/staff/office chief or his/her designees until such concerns and/or comments are adequately addressed, and the work is either approved or rejected by the process. Rejections may be appealed in writing to the Deputy Center Director.
For policy review, the Deputy Center Director typically reviews works singlehandedly. The author addresses all concerns and/or comments of the Deputy Center Director until the work is approved or rejected. Any work that fails to get approval after negotiation with the Deputy Center Director will be retired from the process. Such works can be resubmitted as new works with revisions that meet the Deputy Center Director's approval.
Receipt by the Editorial Office of the work and key information on that work and its author(s) -- supplied either through the online- or paper-based review process -- is the starting point of the review process. Each time the work passes a step in the process, it is returned by the author, reviewer, or clearing official as appropriate to the Editorial Office which sends the work to the next step. The Editorial Office will act on works within two working days of receipt unless the author is otherwise notified. The Editorial Office tracks works through the process, attempts to keep reviews within deadlines by anticipating scheduling conflicts among reviewers and by sending reminders as needed, informs authors of the progress of their works, keeps files on all works from initial receipt through final public issuance, and produces quarterly and annual summaries of publication activity for NEFSC management.
The review process can operate as either an online-based, paper-based, or combination (of paper- and online-based) system. Accordingly, entry into the system comes through either an online version or paper version of the review form. Both versions are functionally identical, and are available through the NEFSC's Intranet homepage.
A multichotomous operation key to the review process is found in the next section. The review process is also effectively summarized on the review form. A list of some key services by NEFSC staff in support of NEFSC authors, as well as some key research communication and data management service personnel, are found in "Appendix 4: Support."
The review process is described using the following multichotomous operation key. Beginning with Step 1, select the appropriate lettered alternative, then follow the instructions. The "DCD" is the Deputy Center Director. The "chief" is the division/staff/office chief. The DCD and chiefs may -- on either a temporary or permanent basis -- choose a staff member (e.g., deputy division chief, branch chief, senior scientist) to act on their behalf as a clearing official.
1. After chief receives work [and accompanying original review form for paper-based review] and key information on that work and its author(s) from Editorial Office, he/she begins technical review in one of three ways:
a. Reviews work by him/herself without additional reviewers. Checks "No additional review needed" box [and signs and dates "Technical Review Initiated" section of review form for paper-based review]. (Not applicable for webpages where additional review is mandatory, and Research Communications Chief is obligatory reviewer No. 1.) Go to 2.
b. Assigns up to two reviewers from his/her staff, and/or nominates them from other divisions/staffs/offices or even outside of NEFSC. Checks "Additional review needed" box [and signs and dates "Technical Review Initiated" section of review form, and returns package to Editorial Office for paper-based review]. (Note that for webpages, Research Communications Chief is obligatory reviewer No. 1.) Go to 9.
c. Decides review is not required. Checks "No additional review needed" box [and signs and dates "Technical Review Initiated" section of review form for paper-based review]. Next, checks "Suitable for publication..." and "as is" boxes [and signs and dates "Technical Review Completed" section of review form for paper-based review]. (Not applicable for webpages where additional review is mandatory, and Research Communications Chief is obligatory reviewer No. 1.) Go to 3.
2. Chief completes review, then checks appropriate box in "Technical Review Completed" section (i.e., "Not suitable," "Suitable...as is," "Suitable...with corrections...," or "Suitable...with rewrite...."). Go to 3.
3. [For paper-based review, chief returns work and original review form to Editorial Office.] Subsequent action is based on which box was checked:
a. "Not suitable": Work has been rejected in technical review. Go to 6.
b. "Suitable...as is": Technical review is complete. Work is ready for policy review. Go to 14.
c. "Suitable...with corrections...": Editorial Office sends work with chief's comments to author for minor revision. Go to 5.
d. "Suitable...with rewrite...": Editorial Office sends work with chief's comments to author for major revision. Go to 5.
4. Chief evaluates revision, then checks appropriate box. Subsequent action is based on which box was checked:
a. "Rewrite approved": [For paper-based review, chief returns work and original review form to Editorial Office.] Technical review is complete. Work is ready for policy review. Go to 14.
b. "Rewrite not approved": Chief provides explanation of rejection in "Comments" section of review form [and returns work and original form to Editorial Office for paper-based review]. Work has been rejected in rewrite phase of technical review. Go to 6.
5. Author revises work and returns revision to Editorial Office for one of two subsequent actions:
a. If "Suitable...with corrections..." box was checked, then technical review is complete. Work is ready for policy review. Go to 14.
b. If "Suitable...with rewrite..." box was checked, then Editorial Office sends revised work [and original review form for paper-based review] to chief. Go to 4.
6. Editorial Office sends rejected work [and copy of review form for paper-based review] along with explanation of rejection to author. Author can either appeal or not appeal rejection:
7. Author sends his/her written rebuttal to Editorial Office. Editorial Office sends appeal package (i.e., work, reviewer's(s') comments, original review form for paper-based review, and author's rebuttal) to DCD who can either sustain or overturn appeal:
a. Rejection sustained: DCD completes review form, listing reasons for rejection in "Comments" section, and returns package to Editorial Office. Editorial Office sends package to author. Go to 8.
b. Rejection overturned: DCD informs Editorial Office which informs author and author's chief. DCD keeps package for policy review. Go to 14.
8. Author either abandons work or significantly revises it and submits it as new work:
a. Abandon: Author informs Editorial Office of such intent. No further action required.
b. Revise: Author prepares new significantly revised work and new review form (i.e., for online submissions, obtains new ID # for work), then submits such to Editorial Office. Go to 1.
9. Editorial Office sends review package (i.e., cover memo [and copy of review form for paper-based review], author's work, and manuscript/abstract/webpage reviewer's checklist) to reviewer. Cover memo asks reviewer to notify Editorial Office immediately if he/she cannot meet three-week deadline. If no such notification, then reviewer expected to meet deadline:
10. Reviewer either does or does not complete review -- and return review package to Editorial Office -- within deadline:
a. Does meet deadline: Editorial Office sends thank-you memo to reviewer -- and if reviewer is NMFS employee -- sends copy of thank-you memo to reviewer's supervisor. Go to 12.
b. Does not meet deadline: Editorial Office sends reminder memo to reviewer with copy to sole/senior NEFSC author -- and if reviewer is NMFS employee -- sends copy of reminder memo to reviewer's chief. Action repeats until review is completed. Go to 12.
11. Editorial Office informs chief that reviewer cannot comment on work within deadline, and asks chief to choose one of three alternatives:
a. Chief approves extended deadline to meet demands of reviewer's schedule. Editorial Office informs reviewer of extended deadline. Go to 10.
b. Chief assigns or nominates new reviewer to replace previous reviewer. Go to 9.
c. Chief does not replace previous reviewer. Editorial Office informs author of removal of additional reviewer. Go to 12.
12. When all reviewer comments received by Editorial Office, that office sends comments to author who revises work and returns revision [and original reviewer comments for paper-based review] to Editorial Office. Go to 13.
14. [Note that if chief checked "Suitable...with corrections..." box, then Editorial Office may require author to prepare clean copy (i.e., incorporating all indicated changes) before work is sent to DCD.] Editorial Office sends work [and original review form for paper-based review] to DCD. DCD completes policy review and checks appropriate box (i.e., "Not suitable," "Suitable...as is," "Suitable...with corrections...," or "Suitable...with rewrite....") in "Policy Review" section, providing comments if necessary. Go to 15.
15. DCD returns work [and original review form for paper-based review] to Editorial Office. Subsequent action is based on which box was checked:
a. "Not suitable": Work has been rejected in policy review. Editorial Office sends rejected work [and copy of review form for paper-based review] with explanation of rejection to author. Copy of rejection memo sent to author's chief. Go to 8.
b. "Suitable...as is": Policy review is complete. Go to 18.
c. "Suitable...with corrections...": Editorial Office sends work [and original review form for paper-based review] to author. Author makes minor revision. Policy review is complete. Go to 18.
d. "Suitable...with rewrite...": Editorial Office sends work [and copy of review form for paper-based review] to author. Author makes major revision. Go to 16.
17. DCD evaluates revision, then checks [and initials and dates for paper-based review] appropriate box. Subsequent action is based on which box was checked:
a. "Rewrite approved": [For paper-based review, DCD returns work and original review form to Editorial Office.] Policy review is complete. Go to 18.
b. "Rewrite not approved": DCD provides explanation of final rejection in "Comments" section of review form [and returns work and original review form to Editorial Office for paper-based review]. Work has been rejected in rewrite phase of policy review. Editorial Office sends rejected work and DCD's comments [and copy of review form for paper-based review] to author. Copy of rejection memo sent to author's chief. Go to 8.
18. Editorial Office sends work [and original completed review form for paper-based review] to author. Author submits work to publisher:
b. For manuscripts to be published by others than NEFSC, author must provide Editorial Office with three reprints of published work.
c. For abstracts, author must provide Editorial Office with one copy of abstract as distributed at meeting, along with one copy each of cover and title page of meeting's booklet of abstracts.
d. For webpages, author must contact NEFSC webmaster to request transfer of webpage from access-restricted directory to open-access directory.
- If possible, submit an electronic copy of the work via the online review form.
- If it is not possible to submit an electronic copy (e.g., some or all of the material is in incompatible file formats, or, is only available on paper), then submit three paper copies of the manuscript or webpage, or one paper copy of the abstract (whether for oral presentation or poster display), along with an author-completed paper review form, to: Editorial Office, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 166 Water St., Woods Hole, MA 02543-1026.
- Works with multiple authorship are submitted to the Editorial Office by the senior NEFSC author.
- To make a correction in a work that's out for review, or to withdraw a work from consideration, contact the Editorial Office.
Editorial Office staff will contact you at various points in the review process regarding the status of your work, beginning with confirmation that the work has been received, and with inquiries (if any) about missing or extraneous items. The Editorial Office will send the work and review form to the sole/senior author's division/staff/office chief. Courtesy copies of the abstract (and review form for paper-based review) will also be sent to all NMFS co-authors, to those in the chains of command for all NEFSC authors, to the NEFSC technical editor, and to the NEFSC constituent affairs specialist.
- For manuscripts, abstracts, and webpages, be sure to refer to the corresponding subsections of the section on "Guidelines for Preparing Works."
- If a manuscript will be submitted on paper, then paginate all pages for ease of review, print out review copies on 8-1/2" x 11" paper with text double-spaced and tabular data single-spaced, and include only photocopies of figures -- no originals.
- For "updating" an existing, cleared webpage, note that the update does not need to go through the review process unless it is so significant that it would obviously trigger the need for another review and clearance on technical, public affairs, and/or policy grounds. Authors are obligated to use sound professional judgement in making such a determination.
Background NOAA Formal Journals NOAA Formal Monographs Technical Memoranda Reference Documents News Bulletins Internet Webpages
The NEFSC encourages its authors to publish their works in the formal literature whenever possible. This means either in anonymously-peer-reviewed scientific and technical serials, scholarly books, or contributions to such books.
There are hundreds of serials that NEFSC authors may consider for publishing their works. The author's supervisor is generally the best source of information and guidance for selecting an outlet for public issuance of a work. In special cases (e.g., the need to publish oversized color charts), the author and his/her chain of command may be unsure of the best outlet. In those cases, the NEFSC's librarians, as well as the NEFSC's technical editor, are available to advise the author.
When an NEFSC author publishes in a non-federal outlet, the publisher usually asks the author to sign a form transferring copyright to the publisher. Since the federal government waives all copyright from the beginning, the federal author has no copyright to transfer. Most copyright transfer forms used by non-federal publishers now recognize this situation, and have a special signature line/block for federal authors. If an NEFSC author encounters a copyright transfer form without a special signature line/block, he/she should still sign the form, but add in writing: "While my work as a federal employee may be copyrighted as part of a larger non-federal work, the federal government retains its rights in my work by itself."
The following sections describe: 1) the formal fisheries journals, formal fisheries monographs, and informal fisheries monographs produced by NOAA; and 2) the public information newsletters and webpages produced by the NEFSC.
NOAA publishes two professional fisheries journals which are produced by the NMFS Scientific Publications Office in Seattle, Washington: the Fishery Bulletin and Marine Fisheries Review. "Articles published in the Fishery Bulletin describe original research in marine fishery science, engineering[,] and economics, and the environmental and ecological sciences, including modeling. Articles may range from relatively short to extensive."
"The Marine Fisheries Review publishes review articles, original research reports, significant progress reports, technical notes, and news articles on fisheries science, engineering, and economics, commercial and recreational fisheries, marine mammal studies, aquaculture, and U.S. and foreign fisheries developments. Emphasis, however, is on in-depth review articles and practical or applied aspects of marine fisheries rather than pure research. Preferred paper length ranges from 4 to 12 printed pages (about 10-40 manuscript pages), although shorter or longer papers are sometimes accepted."
NOAA publishes one professional fisheries monograph series which is produced by the NMFS Scientific Publications Office in Seattle: NOAA Technical Report NMFS. "The NOAA Technical Report NMFS series...carries peer-reviewed, lengthy original research reports, taxonomic keys, species synopses, flora and fauna studies, and data-intensive reports on investigations in fishery science, engineering, and economics."
NMFS's headquarters, headquarters offices (including the Scientific Publications Office), regional offices, and fisheries science centers are authorized by NOAA to publish their own subseries of the NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS series. In the NMFS Northeast Region, both the Northeast Regional Office and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center have combined their previous respective subseries (NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/NER and NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/NEC) into a single subseries: NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE. This subseries typically includes: data reports of long-term or large-area studies; synthesis reports for major resources or habitats; analytical reports of environmental conditions or phenomena; annual reports of assessment or monitoring programs; manuals describing unprecedented field and lab techniques; literature surveys of major resource or habitat topics; proceedings and collected papers of scientific meetings; and indexed and/or annotated bibliographies.
Each component of NMFS which publishes a subseries of the NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS series has the option of establishing -- under NOAA regulations -- its subseries as a "fully editorially controlled" publication (i.e., under the full control of a professional editor). The Northeast Region has opted to do so. Issues in the Northeast Region's subseries are citable, available in major depositories, and abstracted in several major online databases. They are not, however, considered formal literature.
The NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE subseries is typically characterized by small press runs (usually 300-3,000 copies) and specialized audiences. Authors should not use this subseries as a holding tank for material they intend to submit to a formal outlet later, unless the material will be considerably revised with significant new conclusions or interpretations.
The Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document series, which is classified as one of NOAA's "duplicated document series," is the "grayest" of scientific literature produced by the NEFSC. This series is a quick-turnaround outlet which is used to document findings primarily to be passed on to other agencies and to regulatory bodies, to provide a convenient way to deal with frequently asked questions, to document interim results, and to archive NEFSC administrative studies. This series typically includes: data reports on field and lab observations or experiments; progress reports on continuing experiments, monitoring, and assessments; manuals describing routine surveying and sampling programs; background papers for, and summary reports of, scientific meetings; and simple bibliographies.
The Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document series does not receive full editorial control. Issues of this series are typically characterized by their photocopied/plastic-comb-bound production, limited distribution of paper copies (usually less than 300 copies), and limited shelf-life of the information. Authors should not use this series for draft materials or for information that cannot be cited. Placing manuscripts in this series does not preclude the subsequent submission of those manuscripts to a formal outlet.
The NEFSC has a couple of news-bulletin-type series that help distribute timely, specialized information outside of the NEFSC: The Shark Tagger, produced by the NEFSC's Apex Predators Program, and the Resource Survey Report (formerly the Fishermen's Report), produced by the NEFSC's Ecosystem Surveys Branch. The Shark Tagger is an annual summary of tagging and recapture data on large pelagic sharks as derived from the NMFS's Cooperative Shark Tagging Program; it also presents information on the biology (movement, growth, reproduction, etc.) of these sharks as subsequently derived from the tagging and recapture data. The Resource Survey Report is a quick-turnaround report on the distribution and relative abundance of commercial fisheries resources as derived from each of the NEFSC's periodic research vessel surveys of the Northeast's continental shelf.
Both of the aforementioned news bulletins are sent through the review process.
All NEFSC webpages for public viewing come under the NEFSC's Internet homepage: www.nefsc.noaa.gov/. So far, the NEFSC's Web presence has largely been characterized by the repackaging of existing data, information, and publications to make them more accessible, and thus more useful, to many of the NEFSC's constituents. As the NEFSC's Web presence matures, it is likely that more and more original work will be initially, if not solely, distributed to the public via the Web. All new webpages, and all significant changes to existing webpages, must go through the review process.
As its first effort to coordinate webpage development, the NEFSC has constituted an NEFSC Web Committee. The committee's charter is to "formulate ideas for the NEFSC Web presence." Any NEFSC employee who plans to develop a webpage associated with the NEFSC's Internet homepage should consult the committee before beginning any work.
HOW TO CREATE WORKS
Guidelines for Determining Authorship of Works Qualification for Authorship First Authorship Acknowledgments Special Cases Guidelines for Preparing Works Abstracts Posters Webpages
Ideally, decisions on authorship should be made even before research begins, but that ideal is sometimes difficult to achieve. Under virtually all circumstances, though, such decisions should be made before any writing begins. Consequently, what follows is first a discussion of guidelines on authorship, then a discussion of guidelines on writing.
Decisions about authorship are important to all contributors and an occasional source of disagreement. Although it is difficult to achieve unanimity of opinion when authorship is in dispute, these guidelines attempt to standardize the process of making authorship decisions.
Anyone who provides substantial original data and ideas on the interpretation of the data that are important to the work should be considered as a co-author. Because of the different kinds of works emanating from the NEFSC, the following standards are recommended:
- Experimental Studies: Authors should include those who actively contributed to: a) the overall design and/or execution of the experiment, and b) the analysis and/or interpretation of the data. Authors should be listed in order of their importance to the experiment.
- Routine Reports (e.g., data reports, survey reports): Authors should include those who played a major role in: a) the design, collection, and/or processing of field samples or data; and b) the analysis of the data.
- Analytical Studies: Authors should include those who played a major role in: a) the analysis of the data, and b) the writing of the work.
In each case, others who contributed, but to a lesser extent, should be recognized with acknowledgments only.
It is the responsibility of potential authors of, or contributors to, a work to attempt to clarify their roles before writing begins, and preferably even before research begins. It is most important to consider the contributions and sequences of authors prior to drafting the work, so that authors are not added as such drafting progresses, and so that all have a clear understanding of the extent of their participation from the outset.
No person should be included as an author without his/her permission.
All authors should be familiar with the concept(s) on which the work is based, the implications to the scientific field, the design of the experiment or approach to a question, the data, and the analysis and interpretation of the results. Any co-author should be competent to summarize the content of the work.
It should be unusual for more than five authors to contribute to any single work.
If technician contributions are significant enough to qualify as authorship, the principal investigator may include a technician as an author. Student assistance is generally recognized with acknowledgments only.
The person who contributed the most in terms of original perception and definition of the problem, design and conception of the research required, detailed description of research protocols, analysis and interpretation of the data, formulation of conclusions, and drafting the work should emerge as the first author. Factors to be considered include conceptual input, data acquisition, data analysis, time invested, preparation of first draft, and final editing.
The first author should lead in concept development, but also participate in the research, analysis, and writing. The primacy of first authorship should be fully appreciated, since all co-authors of works with multiple authors often disappear in text citations as "et al."
Sometimes employees are asked to collect, collate, archive, or retrieve data, process samples, type manuscripts, or otherwise complete tasks that contribute in some way to a work. If such an employee is not sure how the results of his/her efforts will be used, then he/she should discuss the matter with the supervisor involved. The supervisor should ensure that the workforce appraisal plan accurately describes the responsibilities of that employee for preparing and publishing the work.
If an employee feels that he/she is being excluded from authorship or included as an author inappropriately, the matter should be discussed with his/her supervisor. If the matter cannot be resolved through discussion, that discussion should be documented in a memo for the record, and the division/staff/office chief asked to the review the situation and suggest a resolution. If the employee feels that he/she is being excluded from authorship because of prohibited discrimination practices, then an EEO counselor may also be consulted.
Contributions to works are acknowledged at the discretion of the author(s). Although this is a subjective decision by the author, he/she should acknowledge an employee's competent, thorough job in performing his/her duties with regard to the study and/or publishing process. It is the author's responsibility to review the contributions of technicians, students, typists, illustrators, editors, librarians, and others to the overall project, and to ensure that their contributions are properly recognized. The acknowledgment should be limited to the work at hand.
Frequently, the concept for a research project originates with a researcher who may or may not be an NEFSC employee. This individual certainly deserves some recognition. Furthermore, it is sometimes the forcefulness and drive of a supervisor that motivate or allow staff to complete and publish a work. This individual should also be acknowledged, provided he/she plays a positive role in getting the work out and published.
The author or supervisor may also consider recognizing an employee's exceptional contributions to a work with an appropriate award, as well as acknowledgment in the work itself.
Acknowledgments are expected, but can be meager rewards for any substantial contributions to a work.
Division/staff/office chiefs should act as final arbiters in disputes over authorship of all works emanating from their division/staff/office. If any division/staff/office chief feels that he/she needs to recuse him/herself from the arbitration, then the Center technical editor is on call to serve as an impartial arbiter.
In instances where data sets have accumulated, but the investigator is unwilling to publish, it may be ethical for the supervisor to assign another scientist to draft the work. The person who developed the data should appear as co-author, and should be involved in the preparation of the draft. The decision about whether he/she should be first author is subjective, and best left to the authors.
The requirement that all authors should be familiar with all aspects of the work may be modified in special cases. For example, if the work deals with a new technique or piece of sampling hardware, one author may do the engineering and another the scientific verification. Another exception might be in reports of multidisciplinary studies involving several specialists.
Beginning October 1, 2002, every NEFSC author -- or prospective author -- must prepare his/her works in accordance with the federal Data Quality Act implemented on that date. NOAA has issued guidelines and NMFS has issued procedures to ensure that all NOAA and NMFS staff members prepare their works accordingly. Every NEFSC staff member (employee, contractor, visiting scientist, etc,) is required to read, understand, and hold him/herself accountable to these guidelines and procedures.
Following are guidelines for preparing: 1) manuscripts, 2) abstracts, 3) posters, and 4) webpages.
There are two types of guidance for writing manuscripts: 1) specific guidance provided by the outlet chosen for issuing or publishing the manuscript (e.g., a journal's "Instructions to Authors"), and 2) general guidance on format and style not covered by the chosen outlet's specific guidelines. The Editorial Office is available to answer, or research the answer, to any scientific writing and publishing question.
There are a number of readily available, good references for preparing manuscripts. In particular, Day's How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (Philadelphia: ISI Press; 1979) is recommended. For writing style and usage, Strunk and White's Elements of Style (New York: MacMillan; 1979) is recommended.
For handling capitalization, punctuation, numbers, formulae, tables, scientific notation, bibliographic elements, and other matters of copy editing, refer to (in order of their listing): 1) CBE Style Manual, 5th & 6th eds. (Bethesda, MD: Council of Biology Editors; 1983 & 1994); 2) A Manual of Style, 14th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1993); or 3) United States Government Printing Office Style Manual, 29th ed. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2000).
For spelling of scientific and common names of fishes, mollusks, and decapod crustaceans from the United States and Canada, use Special Publications No. 20 (fishes), 26 (mollusks), and 17 (decapod crustaceans) of the American Fisheries Society (Bethesda, MD). For spelling of scientific and common names of marine mammals of the world, use Special Publication No. 4 of the Society for Marine Mammalogy (Lawrence, KS). For spelling in general, use the most recent edition of Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (Springfield, MA: G.&C. Merriam).
For statistical terms, you should generally follow the ISO [International Standardization Organization] Standards Handbook 3: Statistical Methods, 2nd ed. (Geneva, Switzerland: ISO: 1981).
For abbreviating serial titles (for use in lists of cited works), use the most recent issue of BIOSIS Serial Sources (Philadelphia: Biosciences Information Service).
For preparing the list of keywords associated with the work, be sure to follow the guidelines for word choice and spelling developed by the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) online thesaurus.
Format and style for submitting manuscripts vary with the publisher. Authors should obtain the "Instructions for Authors" from the publisher before preparing the final draft. NEFSC librarians can help authors find instructions for most serials.
Instructions for the Fishery Bulletin, Marine Fisheries Review, NOAA Technical Report NMFS, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE, and Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document (beginning with 2003 issues) are found on the inside back cover of every issue.
An abstract typically serves as a literature searching tool when it accompanies a journal article, and as a synoptic permanent record when it accompanies an oral presentation or poster display. The basic abstract is the one accompanying journal articles; those abstracts associated with oral presentations and poster displays are a variation on the theme. The rest of this section is an excerpted and modified portion of the fifth chapter in the Council of Biology Editors Style Manual, 3rd ed. (Washington, DC: American Institute of Biological Sciences; 1972), which provides guidance for preparing an abstract associated with a journal article.
Most journals specializing in primary publication of research results prefer, or even insist on, an informative abstract, a condensed version of the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions of that research. Most journals specializing in review articles prefer an indicative abstract, a kind of expanded table of contents that contains generalized statements and directs the reader to the full article for any quantitative or qualitative data.
If you are reporting original research, and you are writing an informative abstract, identify in the abstract -- as you did in the title -- the main topic of your paper. Also, state the basic reason for doing the research being reported, indicate the methods used, list materials studied, and briefly summarize the results and conclusions. Do not merely describe or recite the contents of your article, e.g., "Activity of largemouth bass at various times of the day is discussed." Instead, tell what you did and what you found: "Largemouth bass were most active between the hours of 0900 and 1100."
Make certain that your abstract is of a length permitted by the journal (usually not more than 250 words) and that it contains no elliptical or incomplete sentences, as well as no abbreviations or terms that might confuse readers in disciplines other than your own. It should not contain illustrations or tables, nor references to them or to the literature.
It is good practice to include with each article about 10 keywords (also known as index terms or descriptors) suitable for information retrieval systems. The bottom of the abstract is the preferred location for listing keywords. Should the abstract ever be used separately from the article, the keywords will stay with it. In selecting keywords, ask yourself what words you would look for if you were searching an index for the most important topics in your article. It is strongly recommended that you cross-check your list of keywords for word choice and spelling (e.g., "ageing" refers to the physiological process of getting older; "aging" refers to the method of determining how old an organism is) with the ASFA online thesaurus.
Poster displays are an increasingly important means for NEFSC scientists to convey their work to colleagues. A good description and explanation of how to design and lay out the components of a poster display appeared in an article on "The Scientific Poster: Guidelines for Effective Visual Communication" which was published in the Third Quarter 1990 issue of Technical Communication. Both PDF and paper versions of the article are available upon request to the Editorial Office.
There are U.S. Department of Commerce mandatory policies and recommended best practices with which every prospective NEFSC webpage author must be familiar. After becoming familiar with these policies and best practices, you should contact the NEFSC Web Committee to seek its guidance on the proposed webpage before any significant work starts. After you have received guidance from the Web Committee, you may request an access-restricted directory on the Intranet webserver from the NEFSC webmaster. This is the directory where the draft webpage will be posted to receive the required review by your division/staff/office chief on technical grounds, by the Research Communications Chief on public affairs grounds, and by the Deputy Center Director on policy grounds.
You then prepare your webpage using Netscape Composer -- which is built-in to Netscape -- or any other HTML or text editor. Note that all new NEFSC Internet webpages must use the root URL of www.nefsc.noaa.gov. The following subsections of this section discuss several important aspects of webpage preparation in the NEFSC.
According to the federal Rehabilitation Act, Section 508, all federal webpages must be accessible to people with visual disabilities. For more information, refer to the NMFS website on Section 508.
Your webpage will need to undergo an online evaluation of its compliance with Section 508 guidelines. This online evaluation cannot be performed while your webpage is in an access-restricted directory, but it will be performed by the NEFSC webmaster prior to the webpage being moved to an open-access directory. You will be required to make any changes needed in the webpage to bring it into compliance with Section 508.
HTML or PDF?
Complex documents (i.e., those containing multiple large tables and/or spreadsheets) are better posted on the Web as PDF files. The use of PDF will maintain the layout (i.e., appearance) of such complex documents, and will ensure that those documents display correctly. Ask the Editorial Office webmanager for help in converting word processing or spreadsheet files to PDF files. Be aware that WordPerfect documents do not convert to PDF as smoothly as Word documents.
You might want to post your document on the Web as both PDF and HTML files. PDF files generally cannot be searched by search engines, and HTML files don't always print out correctly.
Every NEFSC Internet webpage must have a unique and descriptive title located at the top of the webpage. This title should include an HTML title tag, i.e., the top two lines on every HTML document should look like:
<html> <head> <title> Document Title </title> </head>
The author of the webpage must be listed as such on the webpage. There must also be sufficient information (i.e., e-mail address, postal address, or telephone number) listed on the webpage to permit others to contact the author for additional information.
All subpages of the main page must have a "Return to top page" link leading back to the main page. On the main page, there must be a link back to the NEFSC main webpage.
If this is a new webpage, or if this is a significant modification of an existing webpage, then the posting date (i.e., month day, year) of the new or modified webpage must be listed on the webpage.
If you plan to convert a word processor document that contains tables into an HTML file, then you must use the "table function" of your word processor to create the tables. Do not us tabs, spaces, or a combination of tabs and spaces to create the columns in the tables. HTML swallows "whitespace," so your tabs and spaces will disappear, and your tables will be squashed into an undecipherable mess.
Directory Structures, Pathnames, and Filenames
You should create your webpage under a single directory (i.e., the working directory) and use only relative pathnames for referencing files and images. A relative pathname starts in your current directory and does not start with a slash (/). For example, if you are in your working directory and you need to reference a file called "mypicture.jpg" which you have placed in a subdirectory (to your working directory) called "images," then you should use "images/mypicture.jpg," not "c:|/(workingdirectory)/images/mypicture.jpg" or "/images/mypicture.jpg" for the referencing.
Actually, it is a good idea to create a subdirectory (under your working directory) called "images," then move your graphics into it. Additionally, you can either leave all of your HTML documents in your working directory itself for a simple webpage, or you can create subdirectories under your working directory.
If you have used the syntax suggested above for all file and image referencing, then it should be simple for you to retain your directory structure when you post your draft webpage to the access-restricted directory. Likewise, it should be simple for the NEFSC webmaster to retain your directory structure when posting your final webpage to the NEFSC external website.
Remember that your webpage will be served from a Unix computer, so case is important in all filenames. Make sure that the filename is in the same case in your document as it is named in the directory.
All links to webpages outside the Federal Governmant should use the format, http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/goto.pl?http://(the address of the outside webpage), and the associated HTML file should be made executable (i.e., type "chmod +x file.html" at the Unix prompt). Contact the NEFSC webmaster for any guidance or assistance needed on this matter. This format displays a banner which alerts users that they are leaving the a government website, and that the NEFSC is not responsible for anything found beyond that point.
If your webpage includes material lifted from another work which has been copyrighted, then you will need to work with the Editorial Office to arrange for permission to use that material -- see Appendix 2 for the "NEFSC Use-of-Copyrighted-Work Permission Form."
If the webpage replaces an existing webpage, and if the replaced webpage contains technical information which is potentially citable in a scientific, management, or legal context, then the replaced webpage must be converted to a PDF file and moved to an archive specifically created for that purpose. Check with the NEFSC webmaster for setting up an appropriate archive for such replaced webpages.
There are some useful HTML programming references. We suggest that you consult the Web Design Group's help-file distribution page at http://www.htmlhelp.com/distribution/.
The authors thank those individuals who have contributed over the years to developing an NEFSC manuscript/abstract/webpage review policy, especially: 1) Linda I. Despres of the NEFSC for her drafting of the original NEFSC guidelines for authorship; 2) Carl J. Sindermann of the NEFSC for his drafting of the 1985 NEFSC policy document on manuscript review and editorial control; 3) Jack McCormick of the NMFS Scientific Publications Office, William Delaney of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and other members of the review panel who formally evaluated the NEFSC scientific publishing program in 1990; 4) Allen E. Peterson and the rest of the NEFSC executive staff for their guidance in the development of the 1993 NEFSC policy, process, and procedures document on manuscript and abstract review; and 5) Eric M. Thunberg (Chairman) and the other members of the NEFSC Research Council for their 2000 review, evaluation, and recommendations on the NEFSC's manuscript/abstract/webpage management system.
Appendix 1. Policy and Procedures Statement on Recognizing Support Staff Contributions to, and Development of, Administrative and Operational Works NEFSC Forms and Checklists Appendix 3. Ethics Support for Authors, Reviewers, and Clearing Officials
APPENDIX 1: POLICY AND PROCEDURES STATEMENT
ON RECOGNIZING SUPPORT STAFF CONTRIBUTIONS TO,
AND DEVELOPMENT OF, ADMINISTRATIVE AND OPERATIONAL WORKS
The Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) has issued a document, “Manuscript/Abstract/Webpage Preparation, Review, & Dissemination: NEFSC Author's Guide to Policy, Process, and Procedure,” in its Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document (CRD) series. That document provides policy, process, and procedure for the creation of scientific and technical works by the NEFSC’s scientific staff, including guidelines for determining authorship of such works. Among other things, these authorship-determining guidelines provide a means for recognizing the nature and extent of contributions by scientific staff in the creation of scientific and technical works.
Parallel to the creation of scientific and technical works by the NEFSC’s scientific staff is the creation of administrative and operational works by the NEFSC’s support staff. Those administrative and operational works -- policy/program/facility analyses, planning/staffing/spending studies, etc. -- typically require the same set of intellectual abilities and a different but demanding set of knowledge and skills in order for those works to be effectively and efficiently created. Accordingly, it is the policy of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center that there be recognition of the nature and extent of contributions of support staff in the creation of administrative and operational works.
The procedure for recognizing such contributions by the support staff should be in parallel with the procedure for recognizing contributions by scientific staff, for what are referred to as “routine reports” in the aforementioned CRD, i.e., those to be recognized are those who have played a major role in the design of the effort, the collection and/or processing of pertinent data or information, and in the analysis of the data or information. When an administrative support supervisor uses an information product developed through the just-mentioned efforts of his/her subordinate(s), and when that supervisor contributes only minor editorial changes to that product, then the supervisor shall cover the product with a memo that states the relative and respective efforts of the subordinate(s).
APPENDIX 2: FORMS AND CHECKLISTS
Online version of Review Form Paper version of Review Form NEFSC Release-of-Copyright Form NEFSC Use-of-Copyrighted-Work Permission Form NEFSC Manuscript Reviewer's Checklist NEFSC Abstract Reviewer's Checklist NEFSC Webpage Reviewer's Checklist
APPENDIX 3: ETHICS
Ethics for Authors Ethics for Editors Ethics for Reviewers Ethics for Publishers
This appendix is an excerpted and modified portion of the first chapter in the Council of Biology Editors Style Manual, 5th ed. The Council of Biology Editors -- which has since been renamed the Council of Science Editors -- is largely driven by medical science editors; thus, some of the following material (e.g., ethics for experimenting with human subjects) may not be relevant to the work of a natural resource agency such as NMFS. Nonetheless, the bulk of the following material directly applies to our work.
One major difference between the following material and the operations of our agency is the confidentiality of our work as a consequence of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Regardless of the status of our work, including the status of our data (i.e., raw, partially reduced, fully reduced, or analyzed), virtually all of our work must be available to others for their use as they see fit. About the only legal recourse to FOIA requests are some provisions of the National Security Act and the Privacy Act. If you need guidance, ask the Editorial Office.
Scientists build their concepts and theories with individual bricks of scientifically ascertained facts, found by themselves and their predecessors. Scientists can proceed with confidence only if they can assume that the previously reported facts on which their work is based are indeed correct. Thus all scientists have an unwritten contract with their contemporaries and those whose work will follow to provide observations honestly obtained, recorded, and published. This ethic is no more than science's application of the ancient Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It is an ethic that should govern everyone in the community of scientists when they serve as authors, editors, or referees. The second governing ethical principle is that a scientist's observations and conclusions are his or her property until the scientist presents them to the scientific community as a published work.
This [appendix] cannot concern itself with the conduct of scientists in their research: whether they record only that which they observe or measure, whether they treat human or animal subjects in accord with accepted standards, and whether they adequately communicate with their co-workers. It must confine itself to ethical standards for the steps in scientific publication, of which the first is writing the scientific work.
Authorship should be decided, if possible, before the work is written, even if the decision is only tentative. This decision should come from the scientist who has been most engaged in designing and executing the research. Any conflicts on authorship or content of the work should be resolved among the co-workers. The basic requirement for authorship is that an author should be able to take public responsibility for the work. An author should be able to indicate why and how the observations were made, and how the conclusions follow from the observations. An author should be able to defend criticisms of the work, as, for example, in a letter-to-the-editor responding to published criticisms. These abilities should come from having participated in design of the study, in observing and interpreting the reported findings, and in writing the work.
Claims to authorship may come from persons who have had little to do with the intellectual content of the work, but who have provided financial support, routine technical assistance, or research space and equipment. Such contributions need not be rewarded with authorship but can be acknowledged in the appropriate section of the work.
Content of a Work
Authors have three main ethical responsibilities in presenting their research in scientific works. A work must report only observations actually made by one or more of its authors and must not fail to report evidence conflicting with the conclusions reached. Authors must relate their study to previously published relevant work and unpublished observations of others. A work must indicate how the research was conducted in relation to generally held ethical standards.
Honest and full reporting, the first responsibility, calls for accurately and completely representing the observations made and data collected. At least one of the authors, preferably the principal author, should have been closely enough involved with conduct of the study to be reasonably sure that data have not been fabricated or improperly manipulated by any of the other authors or by technicians. If any data are excluded from the report, the exclusion should be described and justified. Unpublished data drawn from other sources should be identified as such and appropriately credited, with indication that such acknowledgment is with the consent of the person being credited.
To meet the second responsibility, the authors must honestly relate their work to that of others so that readers can objectively evaluate the present report. Conflicting evidence from the work of others should not be ignored but should be included to help readers judge the soundness of the conclusions stated in the work.
The third responsibility is met by describing the safeguards used to meet both formal and informal standards of ethical conduct of research: approval of a research protocol by an institutional committee, procurement of informed consent, proper treatment of animals, and maintenance of confidentiality of personal data on patients.
Authors' Responsibilities to Their Institutions
Many private and governmental institutions and their departments have formal or informal requirements ethically or legally binding authors to obtain approval or clearance of a work before it is submitted to a journal. There are various reasons for these requirements: to protect the institution's scientific reputation, to prevent publication of works conflicting with institutional policies, or to guard against disclosure of restricted or classified information. Most authors are likely to have been made aware of such requirements at the time of employment; if not, they should inquire into their institution's policy on approval or clearance. Institutional requirements may include specified statements in works indicating approval or clearance of the work for publication. Such statements may include disavowal of institutional responsibility for content of a work and acceptance of all responsibility for the content by the authors. Authors are responsible for ensuring that such statements are presented exactly as required by the institution.
Institutional policies on copyright differ. Most academic institutions allow their authors to retain copyright, which is an author's property by virtue of creating the work. Some institutions require that authors in their employ assign copyright to the institution. Works created by persons as a duty of employment by the United States government belong to the public domain and cannot be copyrighted.
Submission of Works to Journals
Editors, responsible to both readers and authors, expect authors to meet the ethical standards discussed above for the preparation and the content of works submitted to their journals. They also expect full, honest disclosure of other facts that may bear on acceptance or rejection of a work. These facts should be stated in the submission, or covering, letter that accompanies the work.
Many journals specify in their instructions to authors that works will be considered for possible publication only with the understanding that the works have not already been submitted to, accepted by, or published in, another journal totally or in part. Therefore, authors should inform editors in submission letters of any possible conflict with these policies. An editor will be helped in deciding on the extent of overlap of the submitted work with a previously published work or one submitted to another journal if a copy of the other work is enclosed with the work being submitted.
Some journals require that the submission letter state that each author listed on the title page has agreed to authorship. Inclusion of someone's name as an author without that person's consent is both a violation of that person's right to be responsible for his or her reputation in the world of science and, from the editor's point of view, a dishonest act.
The responsibility of the editor in scientific communication is broad, affecting not only authors but reviewers and readers as well. Therefore, editors must be especially sensitive to ethical conduct of their duties.
Editors and Authors
The author's work is the author's intellectual property. Some journals require transfer of copyright from the author to the journal, with such transfer required usually before final acceptance of the work. From the ethical point of view, however, copyright does not belong to the journal until the work is published. Until then, the work must be regarded by the editor as belonging to the author. This principle requires that the work be treated as a confidential communication from the author to the editor at all points up to publication. Its contents must not be divulged to anyone other than persons involved in reading the work in the editorial office or reviewing it for the editor, or persons assisting in these functions, such as secretaries and office clerks. The editor must make clear to the office staff and to reviewers the confidentiality of works. Editors can help to ensure that reviewers will treat works as confidential communications by stating this ethical standard on review forms.
Editors and Reviewers
The editor is obliged to authors to prevent an inappropriate judgment by a reviewer resulting in rejection of a valid and important work. The editor is also obliged to readers to publish only valid and important works. Both of these obligations require that the editor select reviewers with careful attention to their competence in the subject of the work, an absence of bias, and honesty. If the author recommends reviewers, the editor may or may not follow the recommendation. If, on the other hand, the author asks that certain reviewers not be used, because of unfavorable bias, that request must be honored unless the editor has reason to believe the request is intended to eliminate all competent reviewers from examining the work.
When the judgments of two reviewers on a work differ greatly, the editor must take responsibility for deciding which judgment is probably the more reliable or for seeking additional reviews. Should the latter course result in excessive delay in the review process, the editor should offer the author the option of withdrawing the work.
Excessive delays in the review process are a disservice to both authors and readers. Scientific reputations and professional advancement of authors depend, in part, on prompt publication of their research findings. New information should be made available to the scientific community without delay.
Reviewers must follow the same ethical standards as authors and editors and should serve only in their areas of competence. As anonymous judges of the work of peers, reviewers must avoid bias in making recommendations. Adverse bias may result if the author is a strong rival, or if the work undermines the reviewer's scientific position. Favorable bias may result if the author is a friend and not a rival, or if the work supports the reviewer's own views.
Reviewers should avoid either kind of bias and make judgments as if those judgments had to be publicly defended. A reviewer should assist an editor by informing him or her of any condition that might affect objective evaluation of the work.
A reviewer may prefer to waive anonymity, but this choice should be subject to the approval of the editor, who may wish to maintain anonymity of reviewers. In either case, the responsibility of the editor must be preserved by preventing direct communication between reviewer and author.
The reviewer, like the editor, must treat the work as a confidential communication. If on reading the work the reviewer concludes that an associate would be a better reviewer, he or she should get permission from the editor to pass the work to that associate for review; the editor may already have presented this option. An associate who reviews the work or joins in the review must also honor confidentiality. In honoring this principle of confidentiality, reviewers must accept the underlying premise that a work's intellectual content is the property of the author until the work is formally published; reviewers are not free to use any of the content for the own purposes.
Reviewers are responsible not only for objective critical analysis of works, but also for completing their tasks within the time allowed by the editor. Should illness, vacation, or other events delay the reviewer, the editor should be notified promptly.
Confidentiality must be maintained not only by editors and reviewers but also by the publisher. No one should divulge the identity of authors or the content of works to persons not authorized by authors. Thus, information must not be given to, for example, the news media or investment firms, even in response to inquiries from such interests.
A work is accepted by an editor for publication with the implicit understanding that its content at that point is the content that will be published. The editor and the copy editor may make redactorial changes in the style to correct grammatical and typographical errors and unclear details of prose but must make no change in the substantive content of a work. The author should accept the redactorial changes, but be alert to possible changes in meaning that can occur during copy editing for publication.
APPENDIX 4: SUPPORT FOR AUTHORS, REVIEWERS, AND CLEARING OFFICIALS
In addition to administering the review process, NEFSC support staff assist in the NEFSC's research communication efforts in a number of ancillary ways, primarily through its editorial, library, and network services personnel. Following are: 1) a list of key contacts; and 2) a partial list of services.
- Teri L. Frady, Chief of Research Communications, Woods Hole Laboratory; (508) 495-2239; Teri.Frady@noaa.gov
- Jon A. Gibson, Biological Sciences Editor, Woods Hole Laboratory; (508) 495-2228; Jon.Gibson@noaa.gov
- Laura S. Garner, Editor, Woods Hole Laboratory; (508) 495-2350; Laura.Garner@noaa.gov
- Claire L. Steimle, Biological Sciences Librarian, James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory; (732) 872-3035; Claire.Steimle@noaa.gov
- Jackie Riley, Woods Hole Librarian, Woods Hole Laboratory; (508) 495-2260; Jacqueline.Riley@noaa.gov
- Judy D. Berrien, Library Technician, James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory; (732) 872-3034; Judy.Berrien@noaa.gov
- Edgar L. Kleindinst, Network Specialist, Woods Hole Laboratory; (508) 495-2280; Edgar.Kleindinst@noaa.gov
Should you need one of the following services, contact -- in the order shown -- the individuals indicated by their initials within parentheses:
- providing information and advice on literature searches (CLS for all except Woods Hole; JR for Woods Hole)
- conducting specialized/complex literature searches (CLS for all except Woods Hole; JR for Woods Hole)
- obtaining copies of published works (CLS or JDB for all except Woods Hole; JR for Woods Hole)
- recommending publication outlets for works (JAG; CLS; JR; TLF)
- obtaining copies of journals' "instructions to authors" (CLS or JDB for all except Woods Hole; JR for Woods Hole)
- providing information and advice on manuscript, abstract, and poster preparation (JAG; TLF; LSG)
- providing information and advice on webpage preparation (ELK; LSG)
- assisting in obtaining copyright releases on material taken from proprietary sources (LSG; JAG)
- checking status of works submitted for review (LSG; JAG)
- assisting in mediating disagreements over authorship and review-revision issues (JAG; TLF)
- arranging printing and binding of publications (JAG)
- arranging posting of webpages (ELK)
- providing information and advice on distribution of publications (JAG)
- supplying annual bibliographies of NEFSC publications, reports, and abstracts (LSG; JAG)
Technical and copy editing by the Research Communications Unit will routinely be performed for manuscripts submitted to the NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE series. Such editing may occasionally be performed for other manuscripts due to their anticipated significant scientific and public affairs values, as determined jointly by the submitting division and the Research Communications Unit.
Information on the status of a work in review is available in an almost-instantaneous mode. However, such information will be provided only to the author(s) of that work and to his/her/their chain(s) of command.