HowTo for Editors

If you find any problems with the review system, or if you have any suggestions for improvment, please let us know.

Some general guidelines follow.

  • Timeliness is of the essence. When a paper is assigned to you, please respond immediately by assigning reviewers, or alternatively notify us that you currently are unable to take care of the paper.
  • It is okay (and preferred) to desk-reject papers (without review) if the paper, upon skimming, very obviously will not make our threshold in the first round or is out of scope for the journal (or special issue it's assigned to). This applies also to papers which fail to address central review criteria as communicated in the for authors section, e.g. the impact criterion for dataset descriptions. In case of a desk reject, simply submit a decision letter immediately (we EiCs will check it before sending it out).
  • In almost all cases, we need at least three reviews per paper. Feel free to assign more reviewers, also feel free to write one yourself. Give the reviewers 4-6 weeks, with the target that the time from submission to notification is 6-8 weeks. Also make sure that the reviewers are aware of and that the paper type/review criteria as listed on that web page are understood.
  • If the paper is a resubmission, make sure that the reviewers receive the responses by the authors on the previous round's reviews. Cover letters or supplementary files are not visible to reviewers by default, make sure the appropriate box is checked on the paper page if you want them visible to reviewers.
  • Make sure you get the reviews in time, by sending timely reminders to the reviewers. The system sends automatic reminders, but they are not as effective as emails directly send by you that are tailored to the situation.
  • Please check submitted reviews for suitability for putting online. If they use abusive language or are of very poor quality, ask the reviewer to improve the review.
  • Be aware of review criteria for each paper type as listed on - make sure the reviews actually address the review criteria. If key review criteria are not addressed, we need additional assessments from the reviewers before making a decision. If there are questions, contact the EiCs.
  • Before making a decision about acceptance, check if there are open reviews/comments on the submission, which have not yet been approved (ask the EiCs if you're not sure about this).
  • Be aware of our decision categories and the two-strike-rule before making a decisions. See
  • Make a decision about acceptance (consult with the EiCs if you think there's something to discuss) and send out a decision letter (the system will ask the EiCs for approval). Keep in mind that the wording in the decision letter is crucial. Most papers will not be accepted 'as is' but (if they will be accepted at all) will receive 'minor revisions'. It is important to state this in the letter, not only in the checkbox above. Make sure that you alert the authors to check for open reviews on the SWJ webpage, if there are any. If you recommend acceptance of a manuscript, it is important that you also indicate whether (1) the use of English in the paper requires improvements before publication, (2) the bibliography entries are complete and up to scholarly standards (see FAQ 10), and (3) figures and typesetting are adequate for publication.

Thanks again for your support!

The EiCs, Pascal Hitzler and Krzysztof Janowicz.

Remark about open reviews:
You may note that open reviews are written in a different style than anonymous reviews. Please keep this in mind when judging the overall quality of a submission. Open reviews will be more subtle in their criticism - a weak recommendation may be, in fact, rather saying that the paper is not ready for publication yet. Therefore it is up to the editor to ensure that only high quality papers will be accepted.