PEER REVIEW PROCEDURE
For the scientific journal Rhetoric and Communications
The Rhetoric and Communications journal shares and respects the research and public ethics policy of the СОРЕ and of Sofia University.
In its peer review policy the Rhetoric and Communications journal shares and adheres to the following official documents:
- COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers 
- CSE White Paper on Publication Ethics 
- European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity: Revised edition, ALLEA (2018) – link to the Bulgarian version 
- The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity: Revised Edition, ALLEA (2017) – link to the English version 
- Code of Conduct of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” Academic Community (2016) 
Who can act as a reviewer?
- The reviewers are university lecturers, established scientists and researchers.
- Each submitted manuscript will be reviewed independently by two external experienced reviewers belonging to different academic institutions.
- The Editorial Board is entitled to invite reviewers who are not on the approved list if they consider it necessary.
- The review of the manuscripts sent is done on the principle of a double-blind review.
- The names of the author / authors, their academic and institutional affiliation remain unknown to the reviewers.
- The review process plays an important role in ensuring the high quality of the published scientific articles.
- The review process contributes to the creation and publication of scientific information of high theoretical, practical or applied value.
- The approved lists of reviewers are published once a year in a journal issue.
- The reviewers are established scholars from various scientific fields, announced on the journal website.
- These lists contain information about the reviewers’ expertise as well as the areas of their research, teaching and publications.
- The individuals identified as reviewers have responsibilities and obligations. The important work they do guarantees that the scientific published texts meet the respective criteria.
- The reviewers follow a professional approach and ethical criteria based on their previous achievements.
What responsibilities and rights do the reviewers have?
- They review manuscripts and complete the review form prepared by the journal editorial board.
- They evaluate the scientific value of the manuscript objectively.
- They formulate their evaluation on the basis of their expertise and do not allow personal criticism in their reviews.
- In the completed form, they indicate any errors or omissions.
- They give recommendations and examples about revising the manuscript and improving its quality.
- They make sure the manuscript is original and the result of its author’s/authors’ work.
- They inform the editor-in-chief if they establish that the author uses sources that are not authoritative or that there are similarities to previously published scientific texts.
- They notify the editor-in-chief if they detect any conflict of interest.
- The reviewers have the right to refuse to produce a peer review, in which case they inform the editor.
- The reviewers may not distribute and use information that has become available to them during the review process, even in case a manuscript is rejected.
What do the reviewers assess?
- The reviewers assess the authors’ scientific creativity, theoretical preparation and research skills.
- The reviewers assess the relevance and importance of the subject matter in the proposed manuscript.
- The reviewers read the manuscripts and fill out the review forms which they then send to the editor.
- The reviewers engage responsibly in the publication process.
- The reviewers provide recommendations, tips and critical remarks. They provide constructive feedback and support the process of the authors’ academic career development.
- The reviewers give both a thorough assessment of the manuscript and specific advice on punctuation, spelling and use of scientific style. They provide clear arguments for their assessment and do not allow ambiguous assessment.
- In case of rejecting a manuscript, they indicate the pages of the manuscript containing errors and whether the three groups of criteria from the review form are met.
- The reviewers evaluate the tables, charts, pictures, collages and others presented by the authors as part of the text.
- The reviewers make further recommendations if they consider it is necessary.
How are manuscripts sent for publication in the journal?
Link to the Submission.
If these formal structural criteria are not met, the members of the editorial board and the editors responsible for the respective issue return the text to its author. The manuscript revised by the author, in accordance with the text structure and formatting criteria, is resubmitted to the journal’s e-mail.
How long does the process of “double blind review” by two independent reviewers take?
The procedure is one of a double-blind review:
– Reviewers do not know who the author of the manuscript is.
– The author of the manuscript is in no way aware of who the reviewers are.
The process of reviewing by two independent reviewers takes 4 weeks.
What is the process of publishing in case of two positive reviews from independent reviewers?
First possible situation:
If the manuscript receives two positive reviews, they are sent to the author. Within 2 weeks, the author must:
- Revise the original manuscript along the lines of the recommendations regarding its structure and content.
- Improve and refine the text in view of the recommendations regarding methods and research methodology.
- Revise the bibliography and citations according to the standards of the Rhetoric and Communications journal, the APA reference style (6th ed.) and the reviewers’ recommendations.
- Deal with grammar and punctuation errors, revise the text in terms of style and language.
- Improve formatting to the standards for online publication.
- Deal with any omissions identified by the reviewers.
- Send the revised manuscript to the journal’s email.
- The revised manuscript received by the editorial board is sent to the original reviewers.
- The reviewers inform the editorial board and the editors responsible for the respective issue whether the author has removed the errors.
- If the manuscript meets the criteria, it goes to the editors of the journal.
- After the revisions and corrections the manuscript is presented in its final version.
- The scientific article is then prepared for online publication.
- The article is published on the website of the Rhetoric and Communications journal.
Second possible situation:
If the original reviewers establish that the errors have not been corrected, the manuscript is resent to its author.
The author must remove the omissions within 2 weeks.
If the original reviewers establish that the manuscript revised by the author does not meet the criteria, it is finally rejected.
How is the author informed about publication of the manuscript?
The authors are informed via e-mail that the article has been published.
If an author identifies any flaws and errors in the published article, he informs the editorial board. Errors are removed by the editors and the online editor. The author is informed about this within 1 week.
What is the publication process in case of a negative and a positive review?
- In case of a negative review, a revision of the manuscript is allowed.
- The editor-in-chief and the editors responsible for the respective issue may require more than one revision of the manuscript by an expert.
- In such cases, it is possible to invite other reviewers to review the manuscript.
- If the second review is positive, the manuscript is sent for revision, first by the author and then by the editors of the journal.
- In case of a second negative review, the manuscript is forwarded to a third reviewer. If his review is negative, the manuscript is finally rejected.
What is the publication process in case of two negative reviews by two independent reviewers?
- In case of two negative reviews, the manuscript is rejected.
- The author of the manuscript is notified about this via e-mail and is sent the respective argumentation based on the reviews.
- The author is informed that he can offer the manuscript for publication elsewhere at his discretion.
What is the review process like?
The Rhetoric and Communications journal uses specially created forms for reviewing in English and in Bulgarian bearing the journal logo.
The forms reflect basic criteria which are at the core of quality scientific publications.
First set of criteria: Structure and organization of the article:
- Structure of the article: (parts: title, abstract, keywords, introduction, main part, conclusion)
- Coherence between parts and subparts: object, subject, tasks, methods, stages of the study, conclusions, summary, discussion, etc.
- Cited sources
- Layout of appendices (tables, charts, charts, photos, visuals, lists, abbreviations lists)
Second set of criteria: Language, style, spelling and punctuation
- Meeting the criteria for academic style and academic writing, spelling, punctuation in Bulgarian as well as in English and Russian.
Third set of criteria: Content, theoretical preparation, methodology, results
- relevance and significance of the problem area in the manuscript;
- originality and novelty;
- achievements of the author;
- accurate and correct use of the categorical and conceptual apparatus and terminology;
- methods and methodology;
- results and conclusions;
The independent reviewer gives recommendations to the author of the manuscript.
Finally, he formulates his assessment categorically and points to one of the following options:
- revise the text;
- revise parts of the text;
If the sum total is less than 60 points, the article is rejected.
The final decision to publish a manuscript after at least one positive review is taken by the members of the editorial board of the journal without any external influence.
 COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines-new/cope-ethical-guidelines-peer-reviewers
 CSE White Paper on Publication Ethics https://www.councilscienceeditors.org/resource-library/editorial-policies/white-paper-on-publication-ethics
 Европейски етичен кодекс за почтеност на научните изследвания: Преработено издание, ALLEA (2018) http://www.allea.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/ALLEA-European-Code-of-Conduct-for-Research-Integrity-2017-Digital_BG_FINAL.pdf
 The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity: Revised Edition, ALLEA (2017) – линк за английската версия http://www.allea.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ALLEA-European-Code-of-Conduct-for-Research-Integrity-2017.pdf
 Етичен кодекс на академичната общност на Софийския университет „Св. Климент Охридски” (2016) СУ: Етична комисия. 2018. https://www.uni-sofia.bg/index.php/bul/universitet_t/administrativna_struktura/etichna_komisiya