[Bug?] Comments for the Editor fied stays modifiable during the review process

Dear Developers and Forum,

let me report what I think may be a bug in OJS (at least).
We have noticed that the “Comments for the Editor” field at submission time, produces a “Discussion” entry that can be later on edited and modified by the author. This means that an author can submit a manuscript giving some information [e.g., suggested referees, desired review treatment (we offer both blind and open)] and then MODIFY it, for example, after a first review round. This is strange and can lead to problems.

I assume that the “Comments for the Editor” field is there to play the role of a front letter accompanying the submission and therefore shouldn’t be an editable field after submission.

Thanks for your comments,

Hi @ezeferrero,

Can you explain what kind of problems can happen if the author edits the discussion entry?

Amanda Stevens
Public Knowledge Project Team

Hi Amanda,

thanks for asking. Yes, I can explain.

At least in our journal, “Comments for the Editor” is the letter accompanying the manuscript where the authors make some choices. In particular, they have to choose among two different editorial treatments: open review or traditional review (blind). Further, they’re expected to suggest in there possible reviewers, or even to state people who shouldn’t be selected as reviewers for their manuscript for justified reasons.

Imagine if an author submit a manuscript asking for an open review treatment (it may end in the publication of reviewer comment together with the article), we start the edition process accordingly, then the author changes his/her mind and (not honestly) chooses to modify the statement of his/her selection.
That’s a problem.
Similarly, with reviewers suggestions or discouragements. Imagine if after review “Peter” criticizes an article, the authors decide to ADD to their front letter their will to avoid Peter as a reviewer because of their historical dispute on the topic (and make it looks as if the Editors had ignored their demand) .

So, it will be always clearer, less confusing and desirable to have a correspondence that cannot be modifiable. You can send as many messages as you want, but the record of the previous messages remains as sent. Currently, that doesn’t hold in the OJS system without a version control of Discussions.
Actually, I have troubles trying to find an example in which allowing the edition of discussions entries is a plus (besides typo corrections after click).

Thanks for your concern.
Best regards,

Hi @ezeferrero,

Thank you for explaining, I can understand now how this could be a problem. It looks like adding the Comments to the Editor as a Discussion note was a feature added recently (see https://github.com/pkp/pkp-lib/pull/2200), but the implications of an author being able to edit the note may not have been considered. I suggest that you open a new GitHub issue about it and include what you’ve explained in this post.

Amanda Stevens
Public Knowledge Project Team

1 Like

I’ve just posted the issue on github. Thanks!

(Ref: Allow journal managers to disable discussions' edition after first created · Issue #4310 · pkp/pkp-lib · GitHub)