Copernicus Publications has established an innovative online editorial support system, the Copernicus Office Editor, to automate the selection of topical editors and referees for submitted manuscripts. Topical editors are selected to handle a manuscript based on the manuscript subject areas and index terms chosen by the authors. Thereby, authors are able to define a first choice of index terms as well as a second choice in order to increase the impact on potential topical editors.
After submission of a manuscript, the Copernicus Office Editor sends an email request to every topical editor whose subject areas match the first-choice index terms. Based on the manuscript information and abstract, the addressed editorial board members are asked to act as the responsible topical editor for the new submission. As soon as one of them accepts the task, he/she is assigned as the topical editor for this submission and receives the complete manuscript. The authors are informed accordingly.
If none of the initially addressed topical editors accepts the task within a few days, the request is sent to the topical editors whose subject areas match the second-choice index terms. If none of them is available to start the review process, the chief editors are asked to assign the manuscript to one of the topical editors.