Specialty Chief Editor
Despite decades of research in nuclear physics, this field is still a fascinating world, full of open questions which wait for an answer.
As primary examples, we quote:
1) the nuclear interaction and its connection with QCD: where does the nuclear force which binds nucleons together get its main characteristics from, and how is it rooted in the theory of strong interaction?
2) Nuclear structure and nuclear reactions: why is the nuclear landscape so rich and so complex, and where does such a complexity come from?
3) Hadronic physics and QCD: how can we connect the world of quarks and gluons with that of hadrons?
4) Relativistic heavy ion collisions: how can we understand the different nuclear phases, which lead from nuclear liquid to quark-gluon plasma?
5) Nuclear astrophysics: how can we understand ultimately where the elements come from, and how does nuclear physics affect the early stage and the evolution of our Universe? Furthermore, what is the structure of compact astrophysical objects as neutron stars, and how this can be related to gravitational waves and gamma-ray bursts detection?
All original research articles of the highest quality, reporting experimental or theoretical results in these aspects of nuclear physics, are welcomed in Frontiers in Physics, section Nuclear Physics.
Our interest, however, is not limited to the above list. For instance, we also welcome original articles addressing the development of novel numerical techniques to solve for the many-body quantum mechanical problem, as well as those where nuclear physics works at the service of other fields, like neutrino physics, astroparticle physics, and cosmology, including theoretical modelling and experimental searches for dark matter and for physics beyond the Standard Model.
Frontiers in Physics is member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.
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Nuclear Physics welcomes submissions of the following article types: Brief Research Report, Correction, Editorial, Hypothesis & Theory, Mini Review, Original Research, Perspective, Review, Technology and Code.
All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Nuclear Physics, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.
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Only leading experts and established members of the research community are appointed to the Frontiers Editorial Boards. Chief Editors, Associate Editors and Review Editors are all listed with their names and affiliations on the Journal pages and are encouraged to publicly list their publication credentials.
Associate Editors oversee the peer-review and take the final acceptance decision on manuscripts. Editorial decision power is distributed in Frontiers, because we believe that many experts within a community should be able to shape the direction of science for the benefit of society.
Submitting authors can choose a preferred Associate Editor to handle their manuscript, because they can judge well who would be an appropriate expert in editing their manuscript. There is no guarantee for this preference of choice, Associate Editors can decline invitations any time, and the handling Associate Editor can also be over-ridden by the Chief Editor before she/he is invited to edit the article or at any other stage.
Associate Editors are mandated to only accept to edit a manuscript if they have no conflicts of interest (as stated here and in their review invitation and assignment emails).
Should it become clear that the Associate Editor has a conflict of interest or is unable to perform the peer-review timely and adequately, a new Associate Editor can be assigned to the manuscript by the Chief Editor, who has full control to intervene in the peer-review process at any time.
The Associate Editor initially checks that the article meets basic quality standards and has no obvious objective errors.
The Associate Editor can then personally choose and invite the most appropriate reviewers to handle the peer-review of the manuscript, including Review Editors from the board or external reviewers.
The Associate Editor is aided in this by the Frontiers Collaborative Review Forum software and interface, which suggests the most relevant Review Editors based on a match between their expertise and the topic of the manuscript. Associate Editors can however choose any reviewer they deem adequate.
After a certain time frame and if no reviewers have in the meantime been assigned to the manuscript, the Frontiers platform and algorithmic safety-net steps in and invites the most appropriate Review Editors based on constantly updated and improved algorithms that match reviewer expertise with the submitted manuscript.
Review Editors and reviewers are mandated to only accept to review a manuscript if they have no conflicts of interest (as stated here and in their review invitation and assignment emails).
Frontiers algorithms are constantly fine-tuned to better match Review Editors with manuscripts, and additional checks are being coded into the platform, for example regarding conflicts of interest.
Should it become clear that a particular reviewer has a conflict of interest or is unable to perform the peer-review timely and adequately, he or she shall be replaced with an alternative reviewer by the Associate Editor or the Chief Editor, who will be alerted and has full control to intervene into the peer-review at any time.
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The reviewers are aided by an online standardized review questionnaire – adopted to article types – with the goal to facilitate rigorous evaluation according to objective criteria and the Frontiers Review Guidelines.
The Associate Editor assesses the reviews and activates the “Interactive Review” – informing the authors of the extent of revisions that are required to address the reviewers’ comments, and starting the Interactive Discussion Forum where authors and also the reviewers get full access to all review reports.
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Reviewer identity is protected at this stage to safeguard complete freedom of opinion.
Reviewers can recommend rejection at this stage if their requests to correct objective errors are not being met by the authors or if they deem the article overall of insufficient quality.
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The decision to accept an article needs to be unanimous amongst all reviewers and the handling Associate Editor.
The names of the Associate Editor and reviewers are disclosed on published articles to encourage in depth and rigorous reviews, acknowledge work well done on the article and to bring transparency and accountability into peer-review.
Associate Editors can recommend the rejection of an article to the Chief Editor, who needs to check that the authors’ rights have been upheld during the peer-review process, and who can then ultimately reject the article if it is of insufficient quality, has objective errors or if the authors were unreasonably unwilling to address the points raised during the review.
Chief Editors can at any stage of the peer-review step in to comment on the review process, change assigned editors, assign themselves as a reviewer and even as the handling editor for the manuscript, and therefore have full authority and all the mechanisms to act independently in their online editorial office to ensure quality.
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Chief Editors receive an honorarium if their specialty section or field reaches certain submission levels. However, this honorarium is based on the total number of submitted articles during a calendar year, and not the number of accepted articles. Therefore they also have no financial incentive to accept manuscripts.
The Frontiers platform enables post-publication commenting and discussions on papers and hence the possibility to critically evaluate articles even after the peer-review process.
Frontiers has a community retraction protocol in place to retract papers where serious concerns have been raised and validated by the community that warrant retraction, including ethical concerns, honest errors or scientific misconduct.