Peer review for the journal Groundwater® is a third-party evaluation of an author’s submitted written work.  This impartial evaluation is voluntarily contributed from the proposition of making certain the paper follows generally accepted methodology and standards of the groundwater field.  When voluntary reviewers identify areas in which a paper may be strengthened in its conceptualization, as well as in the investigation that led to the paper, they share their viewpoints with the author.  Reviewers may also offer guidance about format, style, and organization.  Authors consider the counsel and respond appropriately. 
Peer review at Groundwater®, like most journals, is not the same as other scientific research pursuits, such as randomized testing, or observational studies, such as those used in determining the safety of pharmaceuticals, for example.  Peer reviewed work, while published by the Association to advance scientific discourse, does not constitute an endorsement by the National Ground Water Association.

Once published, Groundwater® papers are subject to review and comment from the larger community of readers who use review and public discussion to advance the science.  Authors also have the opportunity through a published Erratum note to correct typographic or other errors discovered after the article is published. 

See an example of a peer review.

What is the paper peer review process for Groundwater®?

A submitted paper is examined by the editor, generally for appropriateness, and new general principles and innovative ideas.  If not rejected outright — about a third of all submissions to Groundwater® meet that fate — the paper proceeds to review.  The editor solicits reviews from three individuals, one of which is usually an associate editor of Groundwater®.  The associate editor is selected by the editor as one having a related background in the broad area of the paper, but not necessarily highly specialized expertise.  As associate editors are volunteers who contribute their time as circumstances allow, it is not always possible to have exact problem-specific matches between the paper’s author’s work and the associate editor.  Like the associate editor, reviewers too are volunteers and while qualified in a disciplinary sense, also may not have exact problem-specific matches to the paper’s subject matter.
Once the reviewers have examined the paper, it is returned to the editor for a decision.  At this stage, papers are either accepted, rejected, or sent back to the authors for revision.  Papers are declined because, in the opinion of the reviewers and the editor, the paper has been deemed unsuitable for publication for one of several reasons.  In all, about 50 percent of original submissions are published.  Papers revised by the authors are returned to the associate editor for evaluation of the quality of the revision.  The editor again reviews the recommendation of the associate editor and the paper to decide whether the paper is suitable for publication or additional revisions are needed.  It is common for additional rounds of revision and review to be required before the paper is finally accepted.
Reviewers are asked to consider the following questions when evaluating a paper.
  1. Do the ideas/techniques/methods presented in the paper change the way we perform or look at our science?
  2. What are the important contributions of this paper?
  3. Is the hypothesis clearly stated and the experimental design correctly chosen to test the hypothesis?
  4. Is the analysis technically correct?
  5. Does the paper present new ideas?  If it contains new information, is it a fundamentally useful contribution or is it only marginally useful?
  6. Is the literature cited complete or are important references left out?
  7. Has this work, or very similar work, been published elsewhere?
  8. Is the abstract clearly written and informative?  Does it convey the essence of the research?
Authors should identify new general principles and innovative ideas and/or methods in the research.  One or more case study examples may be used to illustrate the application of new methods and/or concepts.  However, the new general principles to be explored in the paper must be highlighted in the abstract, introduction, and conclusion sections.  The title, also, should reflect the focus on new principles/methods rather than the case study aspects of the paper.
Groundwater®’s peer review process utilizes reviewer independence to obtain an unbiased evaluation.  NGWA finds among a sampling of professional journals, Groundwater®’s practice of sharing an author’s identity with the associate editors and reviewers is shared with 48 percent of such journals.  Groundwater®’s practice is not to disclose reviewer identities to authors unless the author asks and the reviewer grants permission. 

What is the paper peer review timeline?

The editor-in-chief looks at submissions, verifies they are suitable for review, and sends those that are suitable to one of Groundwater®’s three executive editors.

An executive editor assigns the paper to an associate editor that is appropriate and two reviewers.  The review process can take up to three months.  If the manuscript is inappropriate for this journal, or is not ready for peer review, you will be notified right away by the editor-in-chief.

When the reviews are complete, the executive editor makes a draft decision on the paper and provides to the editor-in-chief.  The editor-in-chief checks what is provided and make a final decision and notifies authors if their paper is accepted, declined, or accepted with revisions.

If accepted with revisions, an executive editor and associate editor will work with the author until the paper is in an accepted form.  This process can take up to 60 days.

If the paper is accepted for publication, you are required to submit the following items for final manuscript processing:

  • The final manuscript in Microsoft Word format. 
  • High-resolution figures (at least 300 dpi). They can be in TIF, EPS, or PDF format (TIF is preferred). We cannot accept JPGs.
  • Your signed copyright transfer agreement (this is done completely online through Wiley’s Author Services page at its website).
  • Your signed page charge form.

Copyediting and preparation of page proofs takes approximately four weeks.  You will be e-mailed page proofs by Wiley prior to publication.  Your paper will be published online prior to print publication.  Online publication is the publication of record.  No changes can be made once the paper appears online.

This is a general outline of the review process; timelines and procedures can vary from manuscript to manuscript depending on special circumstances.  The entire process from submission to publication averages about a year.

Authors can check the status of their manuscripts at any time via our online manuscript submission system.