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Our Editorial Process

We value editorial transparency and provide the following details about our editorial process as co-managing editors and what you can expect if you submit an article for review.

  1. When we receive your manuscript, one of us (Faith or Ashley) is assigned as “lead editor” and replies to your email submission with confirmation of receipt. The “lead editor” determines if the manuscript should be sent out for review, solicits reviewers, and shepherds the manuscript through the review process, communicating with you and the reviewers.

  2. When the lead editor does this initial review, we are looking for the following criteria:

    1. The manuscript is well-situated within current scholarship in rhetoric and composition (i.e., engages with scholarly conversations in the field published within the last 5-10 years), and this scholarship is woven throughout the manuscript.

    2. The manuscript moves beyond “literature review” to offer compelling research, theory, and practice relevant to composition researchers and instructors.

    3. The manuscript moves beyond “what I do in my classroom” to make research-informed, generalizable claims about pedagogy and/or theory that advance the field.

    4. If using empirical research, the manuscript presents a clear methodology and explicit statement of methods for how data were ethically collected and analyzed.

    5. The manuscript is well-organized and easily navigable.

    If the lead editor has concerns about the manuscript in these or other areas, she asks her co-editor for a second opinion on whether the manuscript should be sent out for review.

  1. The lead editor will email you within two weeks of receiving the submission to let you know if we have decided to send out the manuscript for review.

  2. If we decide to send out the manuscript to review, we seek available reviewers who have interest and expertise in the area of the manuscript. We maintain a list of over 300 professionals with expertise in rhetoric and composition to serve as reviewers; our reviewers work at all levels and many self-identify with an underrepresented population. (Please let us know if you’d like to be added to our reviewer list by emailing

  3. We ask that authors anonymize their manuscript at the time of submission, but we double-check this before sending it to the reviewers. (Sometimes this process is called “double blind” review in that the reviewers don’t know who the author is and vice versa, nor do they know who the other reviewer is. To avoid the ableist implication of this phrase, we use the term “anonymous review.”)

  4. We send these reviewers a description of our journal and ask them to offer feedback regarding the manuscript, specifically whether—in their qualified estimation—its publication would contribute to the ongoing scholarship in composition studies and the quality of Composition Forum. We do not give reviewers a specific “rubric” for assessing the manuscript because we want to honor their experience and expertise, privileging the way they choose to engage with the content and structure of the piece.

  5. Typically, reviewers write 1-2 pages of single-spaced feedback; some reviewers also provide in-line edits or comments within the manuscript. When we have received both of these reviews (usually within 8-12 weeks of our asking for them), we write a cover letter to you summarizing their feedback and giving an outcome of “accept” (with or without revisions), “revise and resubmit,” or “reject.”

  6. We send you this cover letter and attach their two reviews (also anonymized).

  7. If the reviewers offer differing recommendations, the lead editor has the discretion to either make the final decision or solicit a third reviewer. If the lead editor chooses to send out the manuscript to a third reviewer, this may add 8-12 weeks to the process.

  8. If you receive a revise and resubmit request, as most writers do, you’ll have 6 months from the date of receiving our letter to submit your revised manuscript. When you submit your revision, you should also submit a cover letter explaining the revisions you made.

  9. Once you send us your revision and cover letter, we will send these materials to the same two reviewers who initially read your piece. At this point, they can accept the piece with minor revisions or reject the piece. We give them 8-12 weeks to make this decision.

  10. Once the reviews of your revised manuscript are in, the lead editor will send you a final outcome letter notifying you of an acceptance and target publication date or with an explanation, based on the reviews and our editorial assessment, of why your manuscript was not accepted.

Composition Forum ISSN: 1522-7502.