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General PERC Proceedings Policies

The following policies concerning the compilation and distribution of the PERC Proceedings have been enacted by the PERC Proceedings editorial team in consultation with PERLOC.

Electronic Publishing

The PERC Proceedings is completely electronic with all steps including submission, refereeing, and publication being done electronically through PER-Central. While electronic publishing places some restrictions on the acceptable forms of submission, it brings substantial advantages including free unrestricted distribution and easy use of enhancements such as color figures and hypertext links to references.

Subject Areas Appropriate for PERC Proceedings

The PERC Proceedings covers the full range of experimental and theoretical research on the teaching and learning of physics at all instructional levels. Replication studies, descriptions of the development and use of new assessment tools, presentation of research techniques, and methodology comparisons/critiques are welcomed.

The PERC Proceedings are intended to be inclusive; welcoming not just significant or final results, but also preliminary research results and discussions of works-in-progress.

Authors should keep in mind that, because of the short time between the PER Conference and the publication of the PERC Proceedings, papers requiring substantial or content-based revisions that would necessitate a re-review CANNOT be accepted.

Authorship and Submission Process Policies

The following policies concerning the authorship, review, and publication process have been enacted by the PERC Proceedings editorial team in consultation with PERLOC.

Author Responsibilities

All authors, including first authors and co-authors, are expected to make themselves available to participate in the double-confidential peer review process, as assigned by the editorial team. First authors are required to make themselves available to review, as assigned, up to three papers and co-authors are required to make themselves available to review, as assigned, up to two papers. If an author is assigned reviews by the editorial team, failure to complete these reviews by the review deadline is grounds for the dismissal of the author’s paper(s), regardless of whether the author is a first author or co-author. Authors may request to transfer or to be relieved of their referee responsibilities; such requests should be directed to the editorial team and will be considered if there is an argument that such a decision is in the best interest of the Proceedings.

Authors are encouraged to view participation in the double-confidential peer review process is an important component of maintaining the health of the Proceedings and of the PERC community at large.

The first author on the paper:

  1. must be registered for the annual PERC meeting by the peer reviewed paper submission deadline. Furthermore, the first author must attend and present on a topic directly related to the paper at the annual PERC meeting.
  2. must have an active and updated account on PER-Central in order to participate in the double-confidential peer review process. All co-authors are also expected to have active and updated accounts on PER-Central.
  3. is expected to participate with the peer review by reviewing up to three papers. Unwillingness to assist or delinquency in assisting in the peer review process by the first author will result in the withdrawal of the paper from the peer review process. Co-authors are expected to participate in the peer review process by reviewing up to two papers.
  4. may not be the first author on two peer reviewed papers unless one is for a Plenary session.

By submitting the paper, the first author certifies the following:

When a paper has several authors, the first author should be the one designated to receive and respond to correspondence from the Editor. This designation can be changed by reaching out to the Editor. It is the responsibility of the first author to represent all those involved with the work reported.

Authors may request an exemption from the peer review process, if there is an argument that relieving that author of their review responsibility is in the best interests of the Proceedings. For example, if an author does not possess adequate skill or experience to adequately review their manuscripts, such a request may be considered. Note however that the editorial team does not consider inexperience with or newness to the PER field or the peer review process in and of themselves to a priori be grounds for accepting such a request.

Authors may not present data and other results obtained by others as if they were their own. Nor may authors incorporate without attribution text from another work (by themselves or others), even when summarizing past results or background material. If a direct quotation is appropriate, the quotation should be clearly indicated as such and the original source should be properly cited. Papers that have been found to be in violation of this policy will be rejected.

Conflict of Interest:

Authors are required to submit a list of persons who, if assigned to review the manuscript, may provoke a conflict of interest. Since the peer-review process is double-confidential, the ability of reviewers to identify conflicts of interest in the papers they receive is reduced; we will use these pre-supplied lists when reviews are assigned, to prevent conflict of interest. If authors fail to provide this list, or in the event that the editorial team has cause to believe that a conflict of interest may exist, an investigation may be undertaken; if a conflict of interest is discovered, the paper(s) of the conflicting parties may be removed from consideration. See Section II.E for more details. The PERC Proceedings considers the following relationships potential conflicts of interest (based off of NSF COA guidelines):

Peer Review Process Policies

After all PERC manuscripts have been received, the editorial team will assign reviewers to each manuscript and send notification to these referees to commence their review. The pool of peer reviewers is made up of all authors listed on papers submitted to be peer reviewed. Additional reviewers from the PER community who have not submitted a paper may be asked to review as the need arises. Papers submitted are typically assigned to three peer reviewers; while an effort is made to connect papers to reviewers with similar areas of expertise, the nature of the reviewer pool means that this may not always be the case. Authors are reminded that both first authors and co-authors, as noted above, are required to participate in the peer review process if needed. Authors are expected to provide lists of potential conflicts of interest to exclude from consideration for reviewing their manuscript, and may also provide the names of potential reviewers that, for reasons of potential bias or fear of discrimination, should also be excluded from assignment to the manuscript. Authors, as noted above, may also request to be removed from consideration from being a reviewer, if there is an argument that such a decision is in the best interest of the Proceedings.

After reading the manuscript and reviewing based on the above criteria, each referee makes a recommendation to the editorial team to publish the manuscript or not. The recommendation to publish does not necessarily indicate a belief that the paper should be published as-is; rather, referees making a recommendation to publish should do so acknowledging that, despite any minor edits or tweaks to the manuscript, it is appropriate for publication without additional re-review. A recommendation not to publish denotes that the referee believes either that the paper would require additional re-review before being appropriate for publication (and therefore cannot be published in PERC Proceedings), or is inappropriate for publication at large.

Reviews are due approximately one and a half weeks after that notification has been made; note that, due to PERC Proceedings' double-confidential review system, the review process has been pushed forward in the year to allow for adequate time to complete publication before AAPT/PERC. Reviewers who do not return their reports by the review deadline will be informed of their delinquency and will have 48 hours to submit their reviews or have their papers pulled from consideration for publication in the Proceedings.

If all reviewers recommend that a paper be published, it will be accepted. If one or more reviewers recommend that a paper be declined, the editors will read all the reports carefully and decide whether the objections are serious enough to warrant not publishing the paper. The final responsibility for decisions of acceptance or rejection of a submitted paper lies with the Editor.

Editorial decisions are NOT simply a matter of counting votes or numerical ratings and following the majority recommendation. The strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors will be carefully evaluated. The primary responsibilities of the editorial team are to PERC readers and to the scientific community at large, and in deciding how best to serve them, the claims of each paper are weighed against the many others also under consideration.

Appeals and Publication Process Policies

Based on the referee reports for the manuscript, the editorial team will send out publication decisions approximately two weeks after reviews are due. If the decision to publish has been made, authors will have an opportunity to unmask their manuscript and submit a final copy with any additional changes recommended by referees. If the decision not to publish has been made, authors will have an opportunity to make any appeals of that decision (see below). Authors are reminded that editorial decisions are NOT simply a matter of counting votes or numerical ratings and following the majority recommendation. The strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors will be carefully evaluated. The primary responsibilities of the editorial team are to PERC readers and to the scientific community at large.

Author Appeals

If an author feels that a mistake or undue bias has been introduced into the review process, they may contact the Editor for clarification or appeal. Along with the year's editorial decisions, the editorial team will send out important details about appeals, including the due date for appeals submission (typically one week from the date of publication decisions). Authors should use the appeals request form, sent out with decisions, to make their appeal. Grounds for an appeal include:

  1. The reviewer did not adequately support the claims they made and/or they can be easily demonstrated to be untrue
  2. The degree of changes required for the manuscript to be publishable are more minor than the reviewer claimed. For example, grammar-based revisions fit this category.
  3. The reviewer's report demonstrates a lack of comprehension of the paper severe enough as to render the validity of the review questionable.

The editorial team will meet and discuss any appeals and will make decisions prior to AAPT/PERC.

To submit an appeal: the first author and any co-authors should utilize the appeals form, the link for which is sent out with editorial decisions. Via the form, authors should submit any arguments for why they believe the editorial decision should be overturned, including points addressing referees' rationale for rejecting the paper and showing why the authors disagree with that rationale.

Additionally, authors may submit an updated manuscript as part of their argument for overturning the referees' recommendation. Note that, because the Proceedings does not perform re-reviews of papers, any such changes must be minor enough to constitute substantial changes that would necessitate such a re-review. The purpose of submitting an updated manuscript is to show that referees' complaints may be addressed in a minor fashion, without major change to the manuscript.

Grounds for an appeal include:

  1. The reviewer did not adequately support the claims they made and/or they can be easily demonstrated to be untrue
  2. The degree of changes required for the manuscript to be publishable are more minor than the reviewer claimed. For example, grammar-based revisions fit this category.
  3. The reviewer's report demonstrates a lack of comprehension of the paper severe enough as to render the validity of the review questionable.

In the case of a formal appeal, the paper and all relevant information, including the identities of the reviewers, will be made available to all members of the editorial team (the Editor-in-Chief, Editor, and Assistant Editor). The editorial team may review the case on the existing record or may seek additional expert opinion. The appeals decision will be communicated to the authors by the Editor-in-Chief.

Pre-prints: A pre-print of the PERC Proceedings will be made available on the Wednesday of PERC, so that conference-goers have the opportunity to follow-up on any research or presentations of interest. The pre-print will include the original submission version of each accepted manuscript. As the articles included in this pre-print represent the original submitted manuscripts, they will maintain aspects of masking as well -- however, given that the authors list will be included, we anticipate that readers will not have problems with identification at this point.

Final manuscript submission and publication: As mentioned above, authors will have an opportunity, if their manuscript is accepted, to make unmasking changes to their manuscripts, including unmasking in-text references and the citations list, adding acknowledgements, making affiliations explicit, etc. These changes must be made by the Wednesday two weeks after PERC (that is, two weeks from the date of publication of the pre-prints). After this deadline, changes to the manuscript may not be accepted by the system and the manuscript may be published as it was originally received. Once all the final manuscripts have been collected, the final versions will be made available online. Once the editors have completed their administrative editorial duties (front and back matter, compiling plenary papers, etc.), the PERC Proceedings as a whole will be “published,” including, e.g., the assignment of DOI numbers.