Solutions’ Constructive Review Process
At Solutions, we try to build a broad consensus around ideas that qualify as real and integrative answers to pressing problems. Authors are encouraged to remain open minded about their papers and ideas.
By shifting away from a territorial approach that can sometimes perpetuate arguments and prevent consensus building, we hope to broaden the scope of contributions in a constructive manner. We are concerned about attribution, of course, and will track and acknowledge all contributions to a paper or idea. Reviewers who make significant positive contributions to a paper should be included on the list of co-authors, if the original contributors agree. Allowing for this inclusion will open the door for the collaborative, constructive process we hope to encourage.
The object of the review is to judge the quality of the paper according to the academic criteria of the journal and to help improve the quality of the paper if possible. Reviewers can judge the quality of the paper to be too low for publication and leave it at that. They can follow the traditional model and provide a standard review. Reviewers may choose to remain anonymous or not.
As a reflection of the overall goal of the journal, we are employing a novel review process. To make reviews for Solutions constructive and transdisciplinary, we encourage the reviewers to make a positive contribution to the article. This could be in the form of a box related to the subject, a substantive revision, or an effort to take the article to a higher level. The reviewers are encouraged to collaborate with the original authors in improving the article, if possible and mutually desirable. If such collaboration is significant, it can lead to co-authorship with the original authors of the article.
It might help to think of how a great jazz band works. In a series of solos, each musician listens carefully to his fellow band members, then begins where the other left off, taking the piece to a new, more thrilling level. When everyone is working together, the piece becomes an organic whole. Or in the case of a feature article, a real solution.
We believe this constructive review process will improve the quality of articles and enable us to develop more innovative, integrative, and whole system solutions. It will allow for broader and more transdisciplinary perspectives on a topic, creating articles appealing to a much broader community, and with a larger chance of being implemented.