Most journals use similar manuscript handling systems such as ScholarOne. I have seen both author and reviewer accounts (which are similar). I wonder how an editor account looks like. I mean how you search for reviewers, how they are assigned, notifications, etc.

Can you share some screenshots of your editor control panels (of course, sanitizing the sensitive information)? I am sure that many young researchers like me are curious to have a picture of the other side when we submit our manuscripts.

  • 2
    You mean like the help on this page editorresources.taylorandfrancisgroup.com/…
    – StrongBad
    Jan 10, 2018 at 1:39
  • 9
    I hope your real motivation in asking this question is to produce a competing system. Because ScholarOne is horrible and needs to die. Jan 10, 2018 at 14:25
  • 3
    Here is a video made by one of the leading journals in neuroscience, showing you what editors are doing, and also giving you a glimpse on the tools they use: players.brightcove.net/2842341025001/default_default/…
    – Mark
    Jan 10, 2018 at 17:40
  • @KonradRudolph I wonder if a question about what's wrong with existing systems might somehow be constructed to be on-topic? I've been working on a startup, and finding problems like that that need fixing is something I'd very much be interested in.
    – Nat
    Jan 28, 2018 at 23:37
  • @Nat That would probably be a good question for “meta”. At a guess I’d say that it’s probably not great in general, though it may be fine in specific cases. At the moment I’m actually tempted to chose this question as off-topic but it has generated a lot of interest. Jan 29, 2018 at 10:07

2 Answers 2


The following screenshot is for Editorial Manager (used by Springer, Nature, APA, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, PLOS).

enter image description here

The action links on the left are where everything is done. Brief explanation of some of the tabs:

  1. iThenticate is a program that checks for plagiarism. This particular submission has 16% similarity, which is low. If desired the editor can read the entire report, which includes both where the similarity occurs and where it came from.
  2. "Duplicate submission" checks if the manuscript was submitted multiple times. Sometimes it's in error (author submits twice thinking the first time didn't go through); other times it flags a reject-and-resubmit manuscript.
  3. "History" shows the history of the manuscript from submission till today, such as when it was submitted, when an editor was assigned, when each reviewer was invited, and so on. Every time the system sends an email, it's logged here.
  4. "Edit submission" lets the editor modify the submission (e.g. if the authors later discovered they've not included a source file, this is where to add it).
  5. "Invite reviewers" - self-explanatory. Clicking this goes to another menu that lets the editor both mine the current database and / or register new reviewers to invite. If this submission had a completed review there'd be a "view reviews and comments" button, and if it's ready for a decision, there'd be a "submit editor's decision and comments" button as well.
  6. "Set final disposition" terminates the peer-review process. For this manuscript, since no decision has been made yet, the only option is 'withdraw'. If a decision has already been made (accept / reject), this is also where to set the final status.

The other boxes should hopefully be self-explanatory. In the review status on the right, the first manuscript currently has 3 reviewers who've agreed to do it, 1 who hasn't responded, and 3 who declined. Clicking the "more" button lets the editor see who those reviewers are, when the reviews are due, how long it's been since the reviewer invitation was sent out (for the reviewer who hasn't responded), and the reasons for declining, if any.

The bottom manuscript is showing status "required reviews completed" because the settings for this particular journal is set to flag any submission with 1 completed review as such. Some journals might require two or more reviews before the status updates.

  • People are declining to be reviewrs? What can be possible cause'
    – SSimon
    Jan 29, 2018 at 5:00
  • 5
    @SSimon in my experience, by far the two most common reasons are 1) lack of time and 2) the reviewer doesn't feel he or she has enough specialist knowledge to review the article.
    – Allure
    Jan 29, 2018 at 7:49
  • @SSimon so many reasons. The paper may not be in their area, they are on holidays, they do not want to contribute, they are senior and too busy unless they know you, and many others. Jan 12 at 6:30
  • The above interface really needs to die! As an editor, I hate using it. Jan 12 at 6:31

This answer is for SuSy, the in-house editorial management system used by MDPI. Caveat: I have used SuSy for less than two weeks as of time of writing, and my understanding of it is relatively rudimentary.

Papers in SuSy have their own page, which is much bigger and more detailed than Editorial Manager. It is big enough that I can't fit it in one screenshot.

enter image description here

Manuscript ID: the identifier of the manuscript. It generally starts with the name of the journal, followed by several numbers.

Type: what kind of article is it? A review, a research article, etc?

Open Review: see this article on MDPI's website describing their editorial processes. To quote, "MDPI journals offer the possibility for authors to publish review reports together with their paper (Open Review) and for reviewers to sign their open review reports once “Open Review” (https://www.mdpi.com/editorial_process) is selected by the authors. However, this will only be done at publication with the reviewer’s permission. In all other cases, review reports are considered confidential and will only be disclosed with the explicit permission of the reviewer." If this shows as "yes", then the authors agreed to open review. It does not mean the reviewers will agree to open review.

Recruiting Reviewers: see section 5 of the same article above. The authors, when submitting, can choose whether or not to accept volunteer reviewers. If they indicate yes, then the title/abstract is viewable by volunteer reviewers, and vice versa if no.

Manuscript: the source files for the manuscript.

Section: Some MDPI journals have sections, topics, or similar classifications. If there is such a classification then there will be a corresponding box here. Similarly, if the submission is for a special issue, there will be a corresponding box here.

Author contributions: which author did what for the work? Who conceptualized it, who ran the analysis, who wrote the paper, etc.?

Submission received: when did the submission arrive?

iThenticate: this is an automated plagiarism checker. The report it produces is uploaded here.

Some boxes not shown: There is a section with who the pre-check editor is (i.e., the person that makes the decision whether or not to send the manuscript for peer review), and details of that pre-check. This is also usually the person that will make the final accept/revise/reject decision for the manuscript. There is another box with the APC confirmation. This tells the author what the APC will be should the article be accepted. MDPI offers a lot of discounts, so there is a high chance the published APC is not the one that is actually charged. If there is a discount voucher for the manuscript, this is where to input it.

enter image description here

To search for reviewers you need an email address. Inputting that email address brings up the reviewer profile (the editor can also register a new profile if that reviewer is not already in the system). The reviewer profile gives details like the reviewer's name, affiliation, when they were last invited and by whom/for which journal, whether the reviewer is a guest editor/editorial board member, etc.

SuSy will warn the editor if the invited reviewer shares an email domain with the authors (a little annoying when it flags @gmail.com), as well as things like whether the reviewer is a volunteer, whether that reviewer is being invited too frequently, and so on. The default is to warn the editor if the most recent invitation was within the last 30 days, although this might not apply if the reviewer is a volunteer with a frequency of 1 review per 15 days. If the most recent invitation was within the last 15 days, then SuSy will refuse to send more invitations unless an editor with advanced permissions overrides the block.

The authors can propose reviewers, in which case they are shown here. The pre-check editor (more precise term used by MDPI is "academic editor") can also propose reviewers, in which case they are shown here. Other reviewers are invited by the MDPI editor assigned to the manuscript.

Finally, the green check mark indicates that this reviewer has agreed to review the paper. As with other EMSes, SuSy will display when the reviewer was invited, when the report is due, when the last reminder was sent, etc.

Reviewer/Authors co-authorship: this feature wasn't in Editorial Manager the last time I used it. This lets the editor check if the invited reviewer has co-authored any papers with the authors, and if so what those papers are. It does flag a lot of false positives (multiple people with the same name/initials), which is especially common with Chinese names. If there is a flag then SuSy requires confirmation from the editor before sending the invitation - typically either false positive, or the previous collaboration was more than 3 years ago (3 years is the conflict-of-interest threshold given on the website).

Overall (and this is a personal opinion) I'd say SuSy does some things better than Editorial Manager, and some things worse - with the most important negative being, since each manuscript has its own huge webpage, SuSy is rather unwieldy when trying to monitor the status of every submission in the system.

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