The publishing process

This page describes in brief the standard processes we follow for each submitted article.

Our journals operate a single-blind peer-review system, where reviewers are made aware of the names and affiliations of the authors after they agree to review, but the reviewer reports provided to authors are anonymous.

Submission check

Once you submit an article, it will be checked by a member of our Editorial Office team for compliance with our ethical and journal policies. If we notice any potential problems we will return the article to you for amendments before we assign it to an Editor.

Editor assessment

Once your article has been assigned to an appropriate Editor, they are responsible for overseeing the peer-review process. Editors may recommend a transfer to another Microbiology Society journal if your article is out of scope, or reject it if they deem it to be unsuitable for publication. You will always receive an explanation if your article is not sent for peer review.

Peer review

Articles which pass Editor assessment will typically be sent to two independent reviewers who will review the article for originality and significance, and judge its suitability for publication. The reviewers may also make critical comments and, where necessary, suggest improvements or additional experiments that could be done in support of the findings.

If the Editor is facing difficulty in obtaining reviewers, then they may also act as a reviewer or seek comments from another Editor.


After reviewer recommendations have been received it is the Editor who makes the final decision as to the acceptability of the article, based on the reviews and their own assessment of the work. There are five possible decision types: accept, transfer, revise (major or minor), reject but invite re-submission, and reject. Revise decisions imply that the article requires modifications that could be carried out within a specified time frame.

Articles are reviewed as quickly as possible, and you should usually receive a first decision within 4–6 weeks of submission.

Revised articles

The Editor who made the first decision on your article will assess the revision. If the first decision was a minor revision, the Editor is likely to make a final decision without going back to the reviewers. If the first decision was a major revision, re-review maybe required.


As soon as your article is accepted it will be sent to our Production team for copyediting and typesetting. Once this is complete we will send you a proof of your article via our online author proofing system. Only typographical and essential factual corrections may be made at this stage.

You should usually receive your proof within 8–12 days of acceptance.


We publish articles online in the ‘Latest Articles’ section of the website as soon as they have been through production. Once a month the Latest Articles are collected together into an issue, with pagination and other bibliographic information. This is the Version of Record of each article.

Our journals are indexed in a variety of places, as described on each journal's homepage, and are all preserved in the CLOCKSS archive and through Portico. This means our whole archive, back to 1947, is permanently preserved in two different archives with different modes of preservation, providing comprehensive reassurance that content will always be available.

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