Peer-Review Policies

The Tower is the only publication of the Georgia Institute of Technology that publishes peer-reviewed undergraduate research from all academic disciplines. A biannual publication, The Tower provides a comprehensive forum for discourse on cutting-edge research. In order to ensure only high quality research is published, all submissions undergo stringent blind, peer-review. Submissions are reviewed by trained graduate and undergraduate students, and expert faculty in the field of the submission. The peer-review process takes several few months, on average. Often manuscripts will need several cycles of review and revision before they can be accepted for publication. Therefore, it is highly suggested that every effort is made to be early and prompt with submissions to ensure inclusion in the next issue of the journal.

In order for a manuscript to enter peer-review the author must register on the Online Journal System (OJS). Once the author fills out the required information and registers as an author, he or she will have access to the submission page. There is a five-step process for submission and OJS will not allow the author to proceed to the next step without fulfilling the current one (see our series of How-to Guides). After successfully submitting, the Managing Editor of Submissions and Review will review each submission for 1) adherence to the formatting criteria specified in the Submission Guidelines and 2) submission of all required consent documents and supplementary materials. If the submission meets these requirements, it will proceed through peer-review as stated in this flowchart.

Papers are reviewed based upon methodology, originality, and relevance of results. Statistical analysis should be used and reported where appropriate. Depth of analysis should be comprehensive. The most important consideration is to ensure that the paper is written for a general, educated audience. After each round of peer-review, the Managing Editor of Submissions and Review will compile all of the peer reviews and assign one of the following status labels to the manuscript:

  • Accept: If the manuscript is accepted, the Managing Editor of Submissions and Review will forward the manuscript to a faculty reviewer in the author's field for review. The faculty reviewer will review the manuscript and return an additional review of the manuscript. Once Accept status is reached for a paper, it will remain in a queue to be reviewed by the Editor-In-Chief for final selection into the journal. Any articles with Accept status that are not included in the current year's issue will automatically be considered “In Press” to be included in a future issue.

  • Reject: If the reviewers, Section Editor and the Managing Editor of Submissions and Review agree that the manuscript should be rejected, the manuscript will be returned to the author for revision. The author is invited to resubmit the manuscript for another issue of The Tower, if still qualified at that time.

  • Accept with Revisions: Upon recommendation of Accept with Revisions, the Managing Editor of Submissions and Review will create a consolidated list of revision recommendations for the author and the author will be given two weeks to make revisions and resubmit to OJS. This process will be repeated until the Managing Editor of Submissions and Review, Section Editor and reviewers are satisfied that the paper is of publishable quality. The goal of this process is to revise the paper so that it is ready for production. Once Accepted status is reached, the final approved manuscript will be reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief to make the final decision of inclusion in the current issue.

It is important to understand that a final status of "Accept" does not necessarily mean that the manuscript will be included in the issue of The Tower. There are many factors that will determine the manuscripts actually published in the journal, and if the final set of accepted articles is not balanced to the satisfaction of the Editorial Board, accepted articles may be "held over" until the next year's issue. Additionally, The Tower's editorial staff maintains the right to revise articles for clarity and modifications for layout adherence.

Copyedit Instructions

The copyediting stage is intended to improve the flow, clarity, grammar, wording, and formatting of the manuscript. It represents the last chance for the author to make any substantial changes to the text, as the next stage is restricted to typos and formatting corrections. The file to be copyedited is in Word format and therefore can be easily edited as a word processing document. This set of instructions displayed here proposes two approaches to copyediting. The one is based on Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature and requires that the copyeditor, editor and author have access to this program. A second system, that is software independent, has been borrowed, with permission, from the Harvard Educational Review. The journal editor is in a position to modify these instructions, so suggestions can be made to improve the process for this journal.

Microsoft Word's Track Changes

Under Tools in the menu bar, the feature Track Changes enables the copyeditor to make insertions (text appears in color) and deletions (text appears crossed out in color or in the margins as deleted). The copyeditor can post queries to both the author (Author Queries) and to the editor (Editor Queries) by inserting these queries in square brackets. The copyedited version is then uploaded and the editor is notified. The editor then reviews the text and notifies the author.

The editor and author should leave those changes with which they are satisfied. If further changes are necessary, the editor and author can make changes to the initial insertions or deletions, as well as make new insertions or deletions elsewhere in the text. Authors and editors should respond to each of the queries addressed to them, with responses placed inside the square brackets. After the text has been reviewed by editor and author, the copyeditor will make a final pass over the text accepting the changes in preparation for the layout and galley stage.

Copyright & Open Access Policy

The Tower is published as an open access publication and may be distributed in any format, including the Internet. The journal will be preserved and made publicly available through the Georgia Institute of Technology's institutional repository, SMARTech (http://smartech.gatech.edu) and other open-access repositories. Authors retain the copyright ownership of the material and grant The Tower and the Georgia Institute of Technology first publication rights and a non-exclusive license to distribute and preserve this material for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered through OJS will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.