The manuscript goes through a quality check by Spectrum staff for completeness & usability of the submission files.
Each manuscript is first assigned to the Editor-in-Chief or a Senior Editor based on the author’s selection during submission.
Most submissions to Spectrum are matched to an Editor via our smart-assignment system.
a. At submission, authors suggest potential Editors
b. The system sends invitations to editors on this list
c. Editors with 5+ active assignments won’t receive additional auto-assignments (Note: this does not include articles that are being revised by the author.)
Editors may also be contacted by a Senior Editor directly to handle a paper.
Editors should also check requests on Slack.
For revisions, please note that these are automatically assigned back to the previous editor.
Please aim to respond to invitations within 2 business days. We do not expect you to accept every invitation that you receive. We leave it to your discretion to accept or decline.
you have time to handle the submission
the submission is within your expertise (or if you feel comfortable enough finding reviewers with expertise that can complement your own)
you are already busy with your current assignments, have commitments outside of the journal, or plan on going on vacation in the next week.
you have a real or perceived conflict of interest, in particular when:
o the author is at your research organization or university
o the author is a recent (less than 5 years) close collaborator or trainee
o the author is a family member or a close personal friend
o you, your immediate family, or a close professional associate has a financial or vested interest in the result
o you previously handled or reviewed the manuscript at another journal
Is your eJP profile accurate? Update your Research Area, Subject Area, and keywords in your eJP profile by clicking on the “Modify Profile/Password” link in the General Tasks section of your homepage.
Will you be out of the office or busy? Update your “unavailable” dates in eJP by clicking on the “Modify Unavailable Dates” link in the General Tasks section of your homepage. In the next screen, click on the dates that you will be out, and click the "Submit dates" button. This will prevent you from receiving invitations while you are out.
Check in with the Senior Editor when handling your first four manuscript assignments.
Reach out to the Senior Editor if you feel that you don’t have the expertise to handle a paper assigned to you or if you doubt its fit for the journal.
Bear in mind that the journal is committed to peer reviewing all original microbiology research studies that meet our criteria of scientific and methodological rigor, regardless of their potential impact.
Aim to notify the authors of editorial rejection within 4 to 5 days of accepting the manuscript assignment.
If you editorially reject the manuscript, the signature of the Editor-in-Chief, Christina Cuomo, will appear on the letter to the authors.
Manuscript Requirements Checklist
The subject area of the manuscript is within scope.
he research in the manuscript must focus on microbial species. (Consult the journal’sScope page.)
Out-of-scope studies that merit the “editorial reject” decision:
Studies that include but do not focus on microbial species (e.g., they are included as a reagent or a correlate), such as (i) studies linking microbiota changes to oncogenesis and (ii) studies associating microbiota or antibiotic use in the growth of farm animals
Studies that sequence a collection of isolates or a limited set of transcriptomes (RNA-seq) but essentially report only the output from common analysis pipelines, some of which are available from companies that provide sequencing services
Metagenomics reports limited to the output of standard tools (classification of reads, relative diversity, and differential abundances)
Studies on drug pharmacology and pharmacokinetics
Medicinal chemistry studies focused on drug engineering and synthesis
We do NOT publish certain article types. If you suspect that a paper falls under one of these categories, please open a consultation session with your Senior Editor:
Case Studies (Note: we are hoping to consider these in the future)
The article adheres to the Journal’s criteria and standards.
We intentionally made our guidelines nonspecific. Different authors have different opinions about what “high quality analysis” and “appropriate conclusions” mean.
Evaluate each article individually to determine whether there are other features that merit review, even if the data appear to be preliminary.
How To Handle Transferred Manuscripts with Reviews (Red Sticky Note Papers)
These submissions will display a Red Sticky Note in the system.
Goal: offer the author a quick decision based on the reviews and reviewer responses and avoid sending the paper out for additional review if possible.
You may access the decision letter, the peer review comments, and the identities of the peer reviewers for the other ASM journal by clicking on the “Previous Journal Decision Summary” link on the Details page.
The manuscript files also include a “Responses to the reviewers” document and a “Marked Up” manuscript file that shows the changes made.
If you feel that the paper cannot be accepted without substantial revision or that it cannot be published in Microbiology Spectrum, you can reject it using the “Editorial Reject” decision. However, when doing so, please provide a clear rationale for rejection.
How To Handle “Accept on Behalf of Spectrum” Submissions (Green Sticky Note Papers)
These submissions will display a Green Sticky Note in the system.
Goal: Editors at ten ASM Journals have the option to Accept on Behalf of Microbiology Spectrum. In these cases, we are committed to publishing the manuscript, although you may request additional minor revisions prior to acceptance.
Do not send the paper out for review. Simply provide one final check of the manuscript to make sure that the authors have responded to the final set of comments. In most cases, a paper is accepted with minimal revision.
The Spectrum Editor can access the decision letter, the peer review comments, and the identities of the peer reviewers at the previous ASM journal by clicking on the “Previous Journal Decision Summary” link in the Details page.
The manuscript files will also include a “Responses to the reviewers” document and a “Marked Up” manuscript file that shows the changes that have been made. Pleaseconsult with your Senior Editor if you have any questions.
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