Do invited papers get a “free ride?”

Do invited papers get a “free ride?” This one’s easy to answer: “No!” All JAWRA papers, invited or otherwise, must meet the same high quality standards.

Invited papers (e.g., those for featured collections) have some advantages in our initial screening, where an Associate Editor and I decide whether a paper is suitable to go to review. For example, an invited topic clearly is of interest. Also, invited authors have a reputation of producing quality work and are thus more likely to produce a suitable submittal. It’s not a given, however. We’ve had to return without review some invited submissions where, let’s just say, authors seem to have put their word processors on “cruise control.”

In planning a featured collection, one of the most important responsibilities of the Guest Associate Editor is forming a good reviewer pool. Our regular reviewers are available, but a large collection on one topic may strain the resources. Regardless of how they are selected, we expect all reviewers to provide a rigorous and fair review. I work closely with the Guest Associate Editors to ensure they are exemplary in choosing reviewers and evaluating their work. We might stick with a critical paper for an extra round of review, but there’s no “free ride” here! Let me emphasize: If a paper doesn’t meet our standards, it doesn’t get into JAWRA.

Finally all invited papers are subject to the same page charges. Sometimes a featured collection’s organizer arranges for payment, but that’s between the authors and the organizer. We also try to make sure invited authors from developing nations are aware of the rules for page-charge relief.

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