Peer Review Policy for Self-Published Works


The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute (AFSI) is a non-profit organization that advances and disseminates science for public benefit. AFSI’s mission is to achieve safe and sustainable agri-food systems by providing thought leadership and creating a collaborative environment that fosters scientific innovation across disciplines, sectors, and geographies. To achieve this mission, AFSI is committed to the principles of academic and scientific integrity, as well transparency in the scientific process. AFSI recognizes the incomparable value of publication in a refereed, peer reviewed, scientific journal. Journal publication ensures that AFSI’s scientific works meet the highest standards of scientific quality and assures users of AFSI’s scientific documents that they have been produced in accordance with the accepted principles and practices of the relevant scientific disciplines. For this reason, publication in a scientific journal will always be the preferred option for AFSI’s science. However, in recognition of AFSI’s mandate to support both the development and application of sound science for public benefit, there will be times when journal publication is not an appropriate mechanism for the distribution of the Institute’s work (for example, when the utility of a publication is such that the delay necessary for journal publication would be detrimental to AFSI’s mission). In such cases, AFSI remains committed to the principles of scientific peer review. The purpose of this policy is to outline the procedures that AFSI will follow in order to ensure that scientific documents disseminated by AFSI meet the same scientific quality standards as those published in scientific journals.

About this Policy

This peer review policy is a “living” document, and subject to change in order to improve the effectiveness of the policy for ensuring quality science in AFSI publications. The current version of this policy will always be available on AFSI’s website ( because AFSI understands that, in addition to scientific rigor, a transparent peer review process is essential for the credibility of AFSI’s publications.

Peer Review Procedure

Special Editor

For scientific documents that AFSI determines will be published independently, the first step will be to identify a Special Editor. The Special Editor will be selected on an ad hoc basis and will have scientific expertise relevant to the document being reviewed. In addition, the Special Editor must be an expert with no prior direct involvement in the authorship or review of the document and will provide a declaration that there is no personal, financial, or intellectual conflict that would prevent him/her from discharging his/her duties. The job of the Special Editor will be to serve the role that the editor of a scientific journal would normally perform. This includes identifying the appropriate scientific experts to review the document and receiving their reviews and recommendations. Upon receiving the reviewers’ comments, the Special Editor will determine what revisions are necessary before the paper can be published by AFSI. The Special Editor will also receive any revisions to the scientific document from AFSI and have final authority to determine whether a document is published.

The identity of the Special Editor will be made available either within the final published document or on AFSI’s website.


Each scientific document will be reviewed by two or more reviewers with recognized scientific expertise relevant to the subject of the document. Reviewers cannot have prior direct involvement in the authorship of the document undergoing review and must provide the Special Editor with a declaration that they have no personal or financial conflict that would prevent them from discharging their duties. Under normal circumstances, the identities of individual reviewers will not be disclosed. However, the AFSI will consider acknowledging the contribution of reviewers under special circumstances or when the reviewer requests acknowledgment.


Updated: March 27, 2020