Copernicus Publications has established an innovative online editorial support system, the Copernicus Office Editor, to automate the selection of topical editors and reviewers. This helps to minimize the time that a paper spends in review. Topical editors are selected by the executive editors based on their expertise and on a set of manuscript keywords supplied by the authors at manuscript registration (see journal subject areas). The authors need to choose at least one keyword which most closely describes the paper. If possible an additional second choice should be made.
After submission of a manuscript, the Copernicus Office Editor asks the executive editors to nominate one or more topical editors whose subject areas match the first-choice index terms. As soon as one of them agrees, she/he is assigned as the topical editor for this submission and receives the complete manuscript. The authors are informed accordingly.
If none of the initially addressed topical editors accepts the task within a few days, the executive editors will nominate one or more topical editors whose subject areas match the second-choice index terms. In case of another unsuccessful nomination, the request is extended to all members of the editorial board.
If none of the editorial board members is available to start the review process, the executive editors are asked to assign the manuscript to one of the topical editors.