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MARS | Information for Authors


This page contains information and guidelines for publishing in The Mars Journal. The journal offers several advantages to prospective authors, including:

  • Full-text open access
  • No page limits
  • Manuscript links to author-supplied online supporting data
  • Streamlined online manuscript preparation, review and publication
  • Expert editing
  • Non-anonymous peer reviews of published papers and published reviewer comments
  • Immediate publication upon acceptance
  • No pre-publication gag rules or embargoes
  • Free publication

1. Scope Of The Journal

The Mars Journal publishes peer-reviewed scholarly papers in three general categories:

  • Mars Science: Observations, data, theory, models, and reviews of scientific literature
  • Mars Technology: Instruments, spacecraft, missions, tools and techniques, and software
  • Mars Policy: Exploration strategy, economics, planetary protection, history, and commentary

Prior to submission, prospective authors are encouraged to contact the Chief Editor regarding the suitability of specific papers for publication.

Published papers ars PDF manuscripts with links to author-supplied supporting data. A two-sentence summary and optional summary figure and caption will accompany each published paper.

2. Standards for Papers

All manuscripts and supporting data published in The Mars Journal will:

  • be hiqh-quality original scholarly contributions that have not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. In this context, "scholarly contributions" would generally include:
    • Well-reasoned and honest efforts to present and/or discover the truth based on the best available evidence;
    • References to important relevant publications and past work;
    • Verifiable facts and evidence;
    • Clear differentiation between facts and speculation;
    • Sufficient progress and/or new information to justify publication (heavily "shingled" papers and "least publishable unit" papers are not acceptable);
    • Clear focus, good organization, appropriate brevity, and no extraneous material;
    • Conclusions that are supported by the presented evidence.
  • be consistent with the Scope Of The Journal as described above;
  • be created and submitted by registered users through the journal web site;
  • include either references to other published work, or supporting online data that are sufficiently quantitative and detailed to enable verification and use of published results by other researchers (researchers who wish to receive "credit" for publishing their results must publish their results in a form that that can be readily used by other researchers);

See Author Templates, Reviewer Templates below for more details.

3. Author Privileges

Authors of papers to be submitted to The Mars Journal may:

  • present some or all of their results or findings in the form of abstracts, oral presentations and poster presentations at conferences and meetings, and post drafts of their manuscript on preprint servers prior to submission or publication in the journal. (No interference with open scholarly discourse and meetings);
  • discuss, describe or give their results and findings to the media prior to submission or publication in the journal. (No gag rules or embargoes);
  • submit their papers anonymously;
  • retain copyright to their original work.

4. Editorial Policies

  • All manuscripts, supporting data, reviews and correspondence will be handled by editors and reviewers in a secure and confidential manner;
  • Published papers will include the names of the editors and reviewers that recommended publication;
  • Reviewers recommending rejection of a paper will not be known to the authors;
  • Acceptance or rejection of papers will be based solely on the journal's Standards for Papers. See the Reviewer Templates for more details;
  • Associate Editors will be recognized experts in their respective fields, and rely on their own judgment and experience to balance the comments provided by peer reviewers, and to distinguish between potential errors and legitimate differences in opinion between authors and reviewers;
  • In cases where legitimate differences in opinion exist on important scientific, technological or policy issues, the editors may solicit commentary papers from members of the community with opposing views;
  • A "paper trail" of all versions of submitted materials, review reports, etc., will be posted on the journal web site and be available to the authors;
  • Editors and reviewers will perform their functions with speed and diligence;
  • A log of relevant dates (submission, review, revision, acceptance, etc.) will be published with each paper;
  • Papers will be published online immediately upon acceptance unless the authors request that the paper be published along with another paper, group of papers, or as part of a special issue;
  • Editors may permit authors to modify the published online versions of their papers to correct errors and omissions. Any changes to online papers after the date of first publication will be documented in detailed errata sections contained within the updated versions of the papers;
  • Authors of all submitted papers must approve an open access license agreement.

5. Publication Workflow

The publication workflow for a typical paper is outlined in the table below. Steps in the process are listed from top to bottom. Information flow directions are indicated by arrows.

Author Journal Web Site Journal Personnel
Reads Information for Authors and downloads Manuscript Templates (START)
Information for Authors and Manuscript Template (RTF format)
Prepares "ready to publish" manuscript (RTF format). Uploads manuscript, supporting data, headlines, and preferences Automatically converts manuscript to PDF format and creates online image of supporting data
Verifies PDF version of manuscript and supporting data Presents manuscript in .pdf format and online image of supporting data for author verification
Submits verified manuscript supporting data and open access copyright and license agreement Notifies Chief Editor of new submission Chief Editor evaluates manuscript for suitability. If suitable, refers manuscript to an associate editor for review
Associate Editor reads and evaluates manuscript and associated data. Refers manuscript to at least two peers for review
Reads Review Report Review Report Associate Editor reads peer reviews and draft reviewer comments, and then compiles Review Report for author. Associate Editor recommends: a) Publication with minor revisions; b) Publication with major revision; c) rejection. If a) or b), Associate Editor refers manuscript and supporting data to Assistant Editor for initial conformance checking
Reads Initial Conformance Report Initial Conformance Report Assistant Editor performs initial check for general conformance to journal standards, and compiles Initial Conformance Report for author.
Revises manuscript and supporting data based on Review Report and Initial Conformance Report, then resubmits Revised manuscript and supporting data Associate Editor reads peer reviews of revised manuscript and supporting data and: a) Approves it for publication; or b) Returns it to Author for further revisions. If a), Associate Editor finalizes reviewer summaries and refers manuscript and supporting data to Assistant Editor for detailed checking and editing
Edits and approves Final Manuscript and Supporting Data
Final Manuscript and Supporting Data
Assistant Editor checks and edits Revised Manuscript to create Final Manuscript, including DOI registration, volume and page numbers
Published Manuscript and Supporting Data
Assistant Editor Publishes Final Manuscript and Supporting Data

The publication process has been made as streamlined as possible. The work flow allows authors and reviewers do allmost all of their work offline. Suggestions from authors regarding further improvements to the publication process will be greatly appreciated.

6. Author Tools

Creating "Ready to Publish" papers for The Mars Journal can be accomplished on most modern computer platforms using a small number of commonly available commercial or open-source software packages. See Author Templates for paper formatting examples and instructions. The following table lists examples of commonly available, compatible software packages, with links to recommended open-source tools that can be downloaded for free:

Operating System RTF Manuscript Formatting Image Formatting Archive Creation
Microsoft Windows Microsoft Word (2000 Version or higher)
Open Office
Adobe Photoshop
.zip archive creation (included with Windows XP).
GNU utilities for Win32
Mac OS-X Microsoft Word (98 Version or higher)
Open Office
Adobe Photoshop
tar (included with OS)
StuffIt (reads and creates .tar files)
Unix and Linux Open Office GIMP tar (included with OS)

In addition, journal-specific online tools have been developed to aid authors in preparing manuscripts. Registered users may now access the journal's web-based Citation Formatting Tool that allows authors to look up and paste formatted citations with hot-linked DOI's directly into their manuscripts. The link for the tool is in the top row of links on your Login Welcome page.

7. Author Templates

Author templates contain detailed instructions and examples for the preparation of manuscripts and supporting data. For free publication, authors must prepare manuscripts and supporting data using these templates. Prospective authors must register and then login to download manuscript templates. Available templates include:

  • Manuscript Template in RTF (Rich Text Format). The current version of the template works best with Microsoft Word (2000 version or higher) running in Windows or MacOS.
  • Manuscript and Supporting Data Template Files in zip archive format
  • Manuscript and Supporting Data Template Files in tar.gz archive format

8. Reviewer Templates

The templates that will be used for peer review of manuscripts and supporting data can be downloaded below:

9. Open Access Copyright and License Agreement

Authors of papers published in The Mars Journal retain copyright to their original work. Upon submission, authors must approve on behalf of themselves and their co-authors a Creative Commons Attribution License. This license, which has been used successfully by other open access journals, allows unlimited open access provided that the original authors are given proper credit.

10. Publication Fees

The Mars Journal offers free publication to authors that submit their manuscripts and supporting data online using the Author Templates. Authors may also submit manuscripts and supporting data online in other digital formats. Mars Informatics will format these manuscripts for publication for a refundable cost of USD $100.00 per printed page, payable by credit card or institutional purchase order upon submission.

11. How To Submit A Paper

To submit a paper to The Mars Journal, you must first register with Mars Informatics Open Access Journals. Once you have registered, you must then login to our secure web site. Links to download manuscript templates and submit new manuscripts can be found at the bottom of the User Welcome page.