Manuscript Central: the pleasure and the pain ...

Manuscript Central is the grand name given to the online system which manages the submission, peer-reviewing, amendment and processing for publication of all articles, Current Intelligence features, reviews and other JIPLP content. The system has been developed by ScholarOne and belongs to fellow publishers Thomson Reuters, from whom JIPLP's publisher Oxford University Press has a licence.

Its advantages are as follows:
* a clear state-of-play record is kept in respect of all materials offered for publication;

* this record is conveniently accessible by authors, reviewers, editors and members of the production team on a 24/7 basis and irrespective of their time zone or geographical location;

* no editorial material can become "lost in the system" since it can be tracked wherever it is and the system generates automatic reminders where content stays in the same place for too long.
There are also some downsides. Thus
* the initial uploading of an article requires the person submitting it to register as a user of Manuscript Central, and can be a little fiddly -- with the system occasionally "rejecting" material offered to it by not enabling it to be uploaded;

* some of the letters and messages generated by the system read as if they have been drafted by machine, and lack the friendly, personal touch (though non-automatically generated correspondence such as letters of acceptance or requests for rewrites can be personalised).
We'd love to hear from users of the system, so we can measure our perceptions against their own experiences. Does Manuscript Central work well? Does it inject a little excitement into authors' or peer reviewers' lives? Do other publishers who use the same system, or indeed other OUP titles, run the system in a better manner than JIPLP does? Do let us know by emailing me here.

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