Submission, Review, and Decision Process

Submission

Submit your manuscript via the online submission and review system, eJournalPress, at

First-time users will need to register for an account at this URL using their active email address. The same username and password are used to log in as an author or as a reviewer. For help using the eJournalPress system, select “Author Instructions” from the menu at the top of every page. All submissions, reviews, revisions, and proofs are handled electronically. If you are unable to access the site, please contact the journal editorial office at

Key Items for Submission

  1. Cover letter: Word document or PDF
  2. Manuscript file: line-numbered Word document. See Manuscript Guidelines, Manuscript Template, and GSA Reference Style.
  3. Separate figure files: clearly labeled TIFF, GIF, JPG, PDF (reduced-sized PDFs preferable). See Figure Guidelines.
  4. Tables: Excel or Word. See Table Guidelines.
  5. Supplemental materials (optional). See Preparing your Manuscript.

What to Expect during the Review Process

All papers move through the following 5 steps:

  1. The author submits a manuscript.
  2. The editor assigns reviewers to the manuscript.
  3. The reviewers review the manuscript.
  4. The editor makes the final decision.
  5. The editor contacts the author with the decision.

Log in at any time into a journal’s submission system to check the progress of your paper.


Cover letter

All article submissions must be accompanied by a cover letter that includes the following information.

  1. Please explicitly explain how your paper is innovative, provocative (or descriptive of a significant advance in the field), of timely significance, and of broad interest, either within a discipline and/or across disciplines.
  2. List any papers on related topics by any of the authors that have been published within the past year or that are in review or in press. In cases where other publications contain content that might be viewed as overlapping with the current submission, please explain how the content differs.
  3. Designate one author as the corresponding author. For multi-author papers, all authors must have been involved with the work, approved the manuscript, and agreed to its submission. When more than five authors are listed, a statement on the respective roles of each author is required.
  4. Please identify any supplemental files that you are including with your manuscript, and please note if you have data related to the paper that will be housed in a repository or collection outside GSA.
  5. Please provide three suggested reviewers. Suggested reviewers should not be in the same institution or be recent collaborators with the authors. Brief explanations of why the reviewer is suggested are welcomed. If you request that certain reviewers not be asked to review the paper, an explanation is required; however, listing a person as “opposed reviewer” should be a rare occasion, and there should be a clear conflict of interest or history of personal differences that would impede the likelihood of a collegial and fair review.

Original Submission

  1. After your paper is submitted, it will be checked to determine that all needed elements are present. The paper will be returned to you to fix if it does not include a cover letter, continuous line numbers, double spaced text, captions for figures and tables, all required files, or clearly legible figures. For Geology, it will also need to meet the length guidelines.* Please make sure that all files comply with requested format guidelines (see above). Your manuscript will be considered officially submitted only after it has passed the quality check.
  2. After the paper passes the quality check, it is assigned to a science editor. The science editor will examine the manuscript to ensure it meets the basic acceptance criteria. Papers may be rejected without review if they are inappropriate for the journal, clearly of poor quality, previously published, etc. See our Preprint Policy regarding posting manuscripts on preprint servers prior to submission. See our Authorship and Artificial Intelligence Tools Policy regarding the use of AI.
  3. Most manuscripts are sent out for peer review. The acceptance or rejection of a manuscript is based on the appraisal of the paper by two or more reviewers and the editor.

*Geology sizing: (1) A character count with spaces (in Microsoft Word) of no more than 18,500 characters for the title, author names, affiliations, abstract, main text, Acknowledgments, and figure captions (the References Cited list does not need to be counted). (2) Up to 35 references in the References Cited list.

Review

  1. The editor will solicit reviews of the manuscript.
  2. Reviewers are expected to treat the manuscript confidentially. Reviewers may choose to be identified to the authors or to remain anonymous.
  3. The reviewers evaluate the manuscript and submit their reviews.
  4. Critical review determines the suitability and originality of the paper and the adequacy and conciseness of the presentation.

Note: The review process typically takes anywhere from one to four months, but may take longer, depending on the availability of reviewers and their timeliness in returning reviews. Authors will be contacted immediately after a decision has been made.

Decision

  • On the basis of the external reviews and their own reading, the editor makes a decision on the manuscript (accept, revise, reject but encourage resubmission, or reject).
  • The decision is sent to the author. The science editor has sole responsibility for the decision to accept or reject a manuscript, and that decision is final.

Revised Submission

  • Nearly all manuscripts are returned to the author with suggestions for revision, condensation, or final polish. The author is provided with a due date for submission of a revised paper. Authors can request an extension if needed.
  • When submitting a revised manuscript, the author follows the same submission steps, and the revised paper again goes through an initial quality check.
  • The revised paper will be returned to the author if the author does not provide a cover letter, all table and figure files (if applicable), a revised version and/or tracked changes version of their paper, and a letter or list formatted response to reviewer comments detailing exactly how the author has conscientiously considered and answered the suggestions from reviewers and editor(s).
  • Depending upon the nature of the revisions, the revised paper may be sent out for additional review or it may be accepted directly. This decision is the sole responsibility of the science editor.

Final Decision

After all revisions have been made (papers may be returned to the author more than once for revision), if the paper is found suitable for publication in a GSA journal, GSA staff will reach out for needed materials, the science editor’s final decision letter to the author will follow, accepting the manuscript for publication.

Checking Manuscript Status

After you approve your manuscript, you are finished with the submission process. You can access the status of your manuscript at any time by:

  1. Logging into the system with your password.
  2. Click on "Check Status" link under More Manuscript Info and Tools, then scroll down to the bottom of the Detailed Status Information page.
  3. The status of your paper will be displayed in a tabular view.

This procedure will allow you to view detailed tracking information about where your manuscript is in the submission/peer-review process.

Withdrawing a Manuscript

If at any point you wish to withdraw your manuscript, contact the journal’s staff and advise them of the specific manuscript number of the manuscript that you wish to withdraw. You will receive an email acknowledging the withdrawal.