Peer Review

Papers submitted to GAIA are subjected to double-blind expert peer review. Papers submitted to the Research section are, additionally, cross-read by at least one person foreign to the subject. Invited papers are subjected to the same review­ing process and an invita­tion is no guarantee of publication. Currently, the rejection rate is about 50 to 60 percent.

Reviewers are recruited according to their expertise. Non-expert readers are mostly members of GAIA's Scientific Advisory Board. Peer reviewers should

  • not consider evaluating manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any one of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the manuscripts.
  • should give a fair, honest, and unbiased assessment of the manuscript. All judgments and findings in the peer review process should be evidence based.
  • should sustain their critique by pointing to relevant published work.
  • must treat all information from manuscripts under review confidentially before publication, or in the event that the manuscript is rejected.

Usually reviewers take about three week's time to conduct their reviews.

Articles published in GAIA are chosen for their scientific content as well as their ease of comprehension and significance to readers of various scientific disciplines.

Review criteria for Forum papers

1. Factual statements need to be scientifically proven: All factual statements, propositions, and analytical causal relations that are mentioned in the manuscript need to be scientifically proven. However, ideas, concepts, and relationships may be unusual and innovative.

2. Articles need to be up to date and relate to current problems: The article should relate to a current debate in science (but then relate to an action that will follow from it) or to politics.

3. Logical coherence, consistency, accountability, linguistic and stylistic quality: The article needs to justify poignant opinions, questions, or conclusions. Those justifications should be easy to follow, logical, and fair towards arguments that contradict the statements. Achieving this also largely depends on the style and linguistic standard of the article.

4. Clear statements with a provocative or inquisitive character: The Forum aims to encourage a deeper reflection on a subject, and aims to motivate readers to react and respond to the articles. Frequently, we deliberately try to find articles that give pros and cons. The ideal article is an article that has a provocative message, that is based on good science, and that explains its argumentation in a way that is easy to follow.

Please consider as well the >guidelines for reviewers of Forum papers (pdf)

Review criteria for research papers, Design Reports, and review papers

All articles are subjected to a double-blind peer review and cross-read by at least one person foreign to the subject.

Expert opinions are based on

  • the article’s scientific quality (e.g., theory, methods, literature relevant to the subject),
  • the quality of presentation (e.g., length, conciseness, style),
  • the novelty of empirical data, methods, theoretical analyses, interpretation and approaches to problem-solving,
  • the article’s relevance for environmental sciences.

The non-expert reviewer will evaluate the transdisciplinarity of the synthesis, relevance in terms of action and comprehensibility of the manuscript.

Additionally to the criteria listed above, the reviewers of Design Reports are asked to evaluate the presentation and discussion of the project's research design and communication design as well as their critical reflection, and whether the Design Report advances the knowledge of setting-up and implementing inter-/transdisciplinary projects.

Please consider as well the >guidelines for expert reviewers of Research papers/Design Reports (pdf) and non-expert reviewers of Research papers/Design Reports (pdf-file).

Acknowledgement of reviewers

The editorial board would like to thank all reviewers for their valuable and valued contributions, which help to support the high quality of GAIA. As a token of appreciation, at the beginning of each year GAIA publishes a list of individuals who have contributed a review in the previous year.

List of reviewers >2023