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Evaluation and review process

Upon submission, the articles are screened by the editorial team and scheduled for discussion in the next editorial meeting. Papers received without the necessary accompanying material such as signed agreement with authors, conflict of interest declaration, manuscript text, abstract and figures in the correct length and format, etc. are not considered as submissions and will not be evaluated.

Manuscripts that pass the first evaluation will be sent for peer review to at least two (for rapid communications and e-alerts at least one) independent experts in the field. While we try to avoid delays, this part of the process relies on the availability and cooperation of the referees and can take considerable time. The reviewer is always a person working outside the team or the department of the authors, and is usually from a different institute and/or country. We follow a policy of double-blind peer review where both the authors’ and the reviewers’ identities are kept confidential.

In the online submission system, authors can track the status of their submission. If they wish to contact the editorial office about their manuscript at any point, this should be done by sending an ad hoc email through the submission system (via ‘Action links’).

Upon receipt of the reviews, the article is evaluated in detail by the editorial team taking into account the reviewers' comments and recommendations and is scheduled for the next available editorial meeting where a decision will be made whether to proceed with the manuscript or to reject it. If the reviewers' opinions are conflicting, the article may be sent for a further review.

If the decision is made to proceed with the manuscript, the reviewers’ comments and suggestions are sent to the authors as guidelines for the preparation of a revised draft. On rare occasions, we may amend the reviewer’s comments before they are sent to the authors, to take into account particular sensitivities or remove passages that are clearly intended as recommendations not for the authors but for the editor. When at least two reviews are obtained (for all regular articles and for some rapid communications), the anonymised comments for the authors will be shared with the other reviewer(s) of the manuscript. The editorial decision will also be passed on to the reviewers.

The invitation to submit a revised manuscript does not imply that the manuscript will eventually be accepted for publication. Together with the revised manuscript, the authors are required to return a detailed, point-by-point response to the reviewers' comments. The editorial team may decide to consult the original referees once more to judge whether their concerns have been addressed satisfactorily.

The revised manuscript is scheduled for final evaluation and editing. Our papers are rigorously edited for content and style, and the authors may need to provide further information, corrections and clarifications at this stage. Because the editing process itself can bring up points that have gone unnoticed before, we do not formally accept a manuscript before editing is complete.

Once the editor and corresponding author have agreed on the final version of the manuscript, a final copy is sent to the author for approval and the paper is published in one of the next available issues, usually within two weeks from finalisation of the text. This may be longer if the article is published as part of a special thematic issue or in the context of a particular event.

Rapid communications and e-alerts follow the same steps but are processed with priority to ensure timely dissemination of important public health information.

Some articles are processed by an editorial board member. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, regular articles authored by our colleagues at ECDC are processed, whenever possible, by an editorial board member who is not working at ECDC. This includes initial evaluation, selection of peer reviewers, evaluation of the reviewers’ comments and evaluation of the revisions. After that, the editorial team in Stockholm are responsible for the editing.

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