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Guidelines for Journal Editors

To guide the decision-making process

The journals of the American Mathematical Society are managed by editors who are appointed by the Society, but who carry out their responsibilities with much independence. The Society values the editorial independence of its journals and their editors. Nonetheless, the Society has endorsed these guidelines for editors to ensure that all authors feel respected and that the Society's journals maintain a high reputation.

  1. Every submission will be acknowledged within a short period of time. The acknowledgement will provide the author with an expected time for an update on the paper's status. Editors usually will make arrangements for acknowledgement when they are traveling or unable to send acknowledgement themselves.
     
  2. Submissions that are judged unsuitable for publication without being refereed will be declined in a timely fashion.
     
  3. Each referee who agrees to review a manuscript will be asked to agree also to a target date for completion of a report.
     
  4. An editor will write to the referee near the target date for a report in order to ask for a new target date.
     
  5. Every referee’s report will be acknowledged.
     
  6. An editor (or group of editors) will have a specific procedure to decide when to choose an alternative referee in order to restart the refereeing process. An editor will write to the author when the refereeing process is restarted, providing a new expected time for an update on the paper's status.
     
  7. Even with best efforts, decisions will occasionally require long periods of time. In all cases, if a decision has not been made 12 months after submission, the editor will write to the author to explain the reasons for delay and to offer the option of withdrawing the paper from the journal.

The goal of these guidelines is to ensure that the editorial process for AMS journals is carried out as efficiently as possible and that editors maintain regular contact with authors during this time.

These Guidelines were adopted by the AMS Council in January 2005.

Appendix:
Editors for journals of the American Mathematical Society are expected to follow the Society’s ethical guidelines, treating all potential authors with reasonable professional courtesy, responding promptly to submissions and making decisions based on the merit of the paper as well as its suitability to the journal. Editors are not obliged, however, to provide a rationale for not accepting a paper, nor are editors obliged to provide an author with a detailed list of errors and corrections. When information is available to help an author improve a paper, whether it is accepted or not, the editor should communicate that information to the author if appropriate.

This appended statement was originally adopted by the AMS Council in August 1996.  In January 2005, the AMS Council directed that it be appended to these Guidelines for Journal Editors whenever they appear.