How it works

Where traditionally scholarly publication and peer review suffers from a lack of transparency, recognition and accountability, UCL Open: Environment is different. Operating dually as an open access e-journal and offering immediate publication in a dedicated preprint server, with open peer review, the entire publishing process will be accessible, transparent, accountable and fast.

How open peer review works

UCL Open: Environment operates a preprint server post-publication open peer review model (the names and affiliations of reviewers are published alongside their review reports). Submissions approved for preprint status to undergo open peer review are generally acceptable for official publication in the journal once at least 2 peer reviews have been provided and the Editor is satisfied any comments raised during peer review have been adequately met. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the journal it is likely submissions will require more than 2 peer review reports by a range of experts across a multitude of subjects.

Further information about the journals review policy can be found in the editorial policies webpage and also in the peer review and commenting code of conduct webpage.

  1. Submission

Authors should firstly read information on preparing manuscripts for submission before submtting to the journal. Submission begins by complete the submission system by the corresponding author by signing into MyScienceOpen with their ORCID. Unlike most submission systems, we simple ask for the title, author list and author information, the title, abstract and keywords, as well as any funding, links to data, and to confirm all authors have read the terms to submission as outlined in the author contributor agreement.

  1. Editor assessment

Articles submitted to the journal are first assessed by the journal editor for suitability for peer review in the journal. If approved for peer review, the submitted paper is immediately made available on the preprint to read under the CC-BY licence and assigned a DOI (digital object identifier) from CrossRef and integrated with their ORCID.

Important note: Preprint articles are identified as not yet certified by peer review.

  1. Open Peer Review

Once the paper is online, the Editor invites reviewers to openly review it. Authors are also encouraged to invite reviewers to comment and/or review their paper, as are readers. Reviewers not invited by the Editor must possess the reviewer criteria as outlined on our how to peer review pages.

All reviews are posted to the preprint alongside the paper under the CC-BY license and assigned a DOI from CrossRef, similar to a formal research publication. This means that every review is re-usable, citable, and a permanent record of the publication and reviewers activities. Every review performed for the journal is integrated with the reviewer’s ORCID and can also be uploaded to other review credit sites such as Publons and ImpactStory, helping reviewers to build their profiles.

  1. Editorial decision – revision

Once enough reviews have been secured the Editor will make an editorial decision on the paper informing the authors to revise and highlighting particular areas to focus on.

To resubmit a revision, the corresponding should log back into MyScienceOpen, navigate to the paper and they will find a new button to resubmit a revision and upload the new revised version.

Authors are requested to highlight where textual changes have been made to make it easy for reviewers to understand where changes have been made. A cover letter should also be supplied to summarise what  changes have been made.

Lastly, authors are also requested to respond to all reviewer reports by posting a response comment on the review page.

  1. Editorial decision – accept

When a paper receives enough positive reviews the Editor can decide to accept the paper for publication in the journal. Authors are then requested to upload the individual and higher resolution files of images/figures/tables and the editable word processing file of the accepted version, where it will be professionally typeset and undergo copyediting and proofreading, ready for publication in UCL Open: Environment as the version of record.

Links to the review history, including all previously published review reports and versions remains freely and permanently available to all readers. The final published version of record is then sent out for indexing.

  1. Article-Processing Charges

Publishing scholarly articles open access is, however, not without costs, and all non-UCL authored papers will be required to pay an Article-Processing Charge (APC) once the article has been editorially accepted. The APC price is set as low as possible and based on word count to cover the open access publication costs of the article, including typesetting and copyediting, publication, and indexing. APCs range from a brief article of up to 1,000 words through to a long article of up to 10,000 words.

Additionally, UCL Press offers waivers and discounts for papers whose corresponding authors are based in low-income countries, as classified by the Research4Life initiative (

Further information regarding APCs can be found on the Article-Processing Charges page.