Solid Earth information and best practice for editors

This document provides information for executive and topical editors of Solid Earth. It also describes what authors and referees (reviewers) can expect of editors and the guidelines that editors commit to following.

1. Editorial workflow upon manuscript submission

  • Submitted manuscripts are first checked by Copernicus Publications for potential technical issues in, among other aspects, the pdf, figures, and equations. This includes checks for missing pages, conversion problems, and language that is not English.
  • If the manuscript has no technical issues, it is sent to the executive editors. Executive editors handle a manuscript based on subject area and discuss who will oversee a manuscript in case it covers several subjects. The handling executive editor checks the manuscript for the following:
    • fit to the scope of Solid Earth
    • the iThenticate similarity report as prepared by Copernicus Publications (see the publication ethics page and the ReadMe file with the manuscript for more information)
    • general quality
    An executive editor may reject a manuscript at this stage. Reasons for the rejection will always be provided to the authors.
  • If the manuscript passes the first general check, the executive editor nominates a topical editor, based on their overall expertise. Manuscripts submitted to a special issue are sent to all special issue editors for them to identify and nominate the handling guest editor. In the following, 'topical editor' includes special issue guest editors.
  • Based on their specific expertise, the topical editor undertakes a so-called access review by evaluating whether the manuscript meets the scientific quality to be considered for review. They can suggest technical corrections, for example to fix errors in the text or figures, before the manuscript is posted online as a preprint. Suggestions for the revision of scientific content are not permitted at this stage.
  • Upon submission of a manuscript, authors are asked to agree with the article processing charges (APCs). These cover the costs of the review process, typesetting, web publication, and long-term archiving. Authors can apply for a (partial) waiver. The topical editor advises on the waiver request, with the final decision being made by the executive editors. Only a limited number of pages can be waived, and the decision is based on the financial status of the applicants and manuscript excellence.
  • Manuscripts that pass the access review are prepared by Copernicus Publications for online publication as a preprint. This step includes a final check by both Copernicus Publications and by the author. Because of these checks it may take some time from acceptance of a manuscript as a preprint by the topical editor to online publication of the preprint. Invitations for nominated referees are only sent once the preprint is available online.
  • An executive editor can act as topical editor.
  • Executive and topical editors are not permitted to handle manuscripts that are subject to a conflict of interest, such as manuscripts on which they are (co-)author or those that are authored by colleagues, collaborators, and former or present students. More details can be found at the competing interests policy page.

2. Reviews and revisions

  • Topical editors nominate referees for manuscripts that have passed access review, including potential technical corrections.
  • Referee nominations must be unbiased, with editors ensuring that manuscripts are reviewed for their scientific content without regard to sex, gender, race, religion, citizenship, etc. of the authors.
  • Referees can choose to be anonymous and, if this is the case, editors commit to ensuring that anonymity is maintained at all stages of the review process and thereafter.
  • The review process in Solid Earth is open, transparent, and online.
  • Members of the scientific community are encouraged to comment on preprints. These comments are identified as community comments (formerly short comments) and are not anonymous.
  • Topical editors may post online editor comments in addition to the formal reviews provided by the referees. The comments may simply serve as editorial guidance or may provide additional insight and criticisms that have not been covered by the referee or community comments. Editor comments are usually posted after authors replied to all other comments but can appear earlier in the open-discussion phase if the discussion warrants editorial advice.
  • Authors are requested to reply online to all comments. Once all comments are addressed, authors are invited to revise their manuscript, unless the topical editor advises otherwise.
  • Topical editors recommend a decision regarding the revised manuscript: accept, reject, accept subject to minor revisions (review by the topical editor), or request further review(s).
  • Manuscripts that require minor revision only may be checked for the implementation of requested changes by the topical editor, without the need to request further formal reviews. However, manuscripts requiring major revision or resubmission should undergo a new round of reviews before the topical editor makes the final recommendation regarding the publication of a manuscript.
  • The second round, or any further rounds, of reviews and related rebuttals do not include online commenting. These reviews and replies will be posted online alongside with accepted manuscripts.

3. Acceptance

  • Acceptance of a manuscript can only be recommended by a topical editor and needs confirmation by the overseeing executive editor. The executive editor either follows the recommendation put forward by the topical editor or may alternatively ask for technical corrections, request a minor revision (review by the executive editor), request a major revision (send for a new round of review, with further handling either by the topical editor or the executive editor), or reject the manuscript.
  • Authors may apply for their article being advertised as a highlight article. They will need to give a justification (for example that it is written for a broad audience). Topical editors advise on the application and can also comment. Executive editors approve or reject the highlight status.

4. Editor obligations and ethics

  • General obligations for editors can be found on the obligations for editors page.
  • Editors ensure that any information regarding manuscripts submitted by the authors is kept confidential.
  • The Solid Earth editorial board reserves the right to remove or to censor referee reports and any other comments if they contain personal insults or if they are not of a substantial nature or of direct relevance to the issues raised in the manuscript under review.

5. Procedure for complaints

Complaints regarding the handling of the review process or potentially inappropriate content in materials uploaded during the open review process can be made as follows. The first person to contact is the topical editor. If the topical editor cannot address the issue, or if the issue relates to the editor, then the author can approach one of the executive editors. If the issue cannot be resolved by the executive editor, the author can contact the Chair of the EGU Publications Committee (via, who acts as the Ombudsperson for publications.

The EGU President and the EGU Person of Trust are reachable year-round at the email address to address any unresolved issue related to ethics and misconduct. EGU officers dealing with misconduct reports are committed to strict confidentiality.

More information can be found online:

6. Support

Topical editors may at any stage consult with an executive editor. Members of the group of executive editors may discuss amongst themselves manuscripts they are overseeing or handling. All such discussions are confidential.