Recommendations for software to track article submissions
June 2, 2012 2:16 AM   Subscribe

What's a good (Mac OS) application to track journal submissions and manuscript reviews?

I am an editorial assistant for a double-blind peer-review journal. We get a dozen or so submissions each month and for each article I must find two scientists to provide a review... not as easy as it sounds because often times these academics forget to do the review, or else the article must be resubmitted, and in the end there is often some complications.

For now I track the process in Excel, but it's kind of a mess because it's easy to let the review of an article fall through the cracks.

Is there a program which I can use to facilitate this?
* List reviewers (and provide date of last reviews)
* Date of submission
* Reminders of when reviews should be finished, etc.
posted by mateuslee to Education (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you're based at a university, you might see whether your university library has any kind of digital repository. Ours ( has a front end for putting papers, ebooks, dissertations and theses, and ejournals online, but the back end, I'm told, can also be used for handling submissions and reviews for traditional print journals or hybrid print/electronic journals.

Another possibility is using a task manager such as OmniFocus, and create a template for the review process. Set up a project for each article, with task groups for the initial review, review of the revised article (if appropriate), and then submission of the final MS (if appropriate). You can use the start date as the received date, and the due date for when the review is due. Assign a context to each reviewer if you have the same person reviewing multiple MSS. Then you can see who has what out, or you can group and sort by due date to see who needs a reminder and who is overdue. You could also use an online service such as Remember the Milk for this, but I have been using OmniFocus since its public alpha days and I think it fit the bill nicely.
posted by brianogilvie at 2:41 AM on June 2, 2012

I've made myself a FileMaker database for exactly this purpose. It's great and does everything you list (and more--keeps addresses/contact info, publication info, etc.), though the learning curve might be steep depending on how comfortable you are with such things.
posted by agent99 at 3:40 AM on June 2, 2012

Response by poster: Interesting... Do you have Filemaker pro or Bento?
posted by mateuslee at 3:50 AM on June 2, 2012

I really like using AllenPress' Peer Track system, which runs entirely online. I have no idea how much it costs to deploy, but it's awesome.
posted by roofus at 4:25 AM on June 2, 2012

Response by poster: Hm... I can't even see how to get a price on that program!
posted by mateuslee at 4:33 AM on June 2, 2012

I don't see why any common CRM tool such as Salesforce, Zoho, or Highrise couldn't do this. Log in the submission, send it out for review, and create tasks in the ZRM to follow up or for the due dates.
posted by COD at 6:33 AM on June 2, 2012

Best answer: I really like using AllenPress' Peer Track system, which runs entirely online. I have no idea how much it costs to deploy, but it's awesome.

Hm... I can't even see how to get a price on that program!

Because it is not something regular people buy off the shelf. Journals (especially society journals) spend a large portion of their annual budget on licensing software from AllenPress (For context, Nature Publishing Group's journals submissions are handled by AllenPress software). This suggestion is a bit like telling someone to buy a F-22 fighter jet in response to a question about commuting options.

From your description, it doesn't seem to me like you need a full-fledged peer review tracking system but rather productivity software that does task management. You need a system where you can (internally) assign reviewers to manuscripts, make a note of when they were contacted, enter deadlines, and quickly be able to see a birds eye view of where everything stands on a given day. I can see that Excel isn't cutout for this job.

Here are some suggestions:
Desktop based ones: Things, Omnifocus, Devothink (you can try all of these out for free).

Web based: Asana - You can keep each ms as a project, assign reviews to people, attach due dates/milestones to each person. You'll have a panel where you can quickly see the overall status (which ones are in the red etc). You'll be using the software slightly differently than intended since you wont actually be collaborating with multiple people. You can still assign reviews to scientists but you will manually update when the turn in a review etc.
posted by special-k at 11:58 AM on June 2, 2012

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