Program Director Roles in FastTrack

The following outlines the roles of Program Directors in the submission and review process for new and revised WSU Extension publications.

Step I: Review comments from Pre-review Editor 

Before being accepted for peer review, manuscripts must be complete and free of basic defects in spelling, grammar, organization, and formatting.

Extension editors will conduct pre‐acceptance reviews of incoming manuscripts. The Program Director will receive a copy of the completed Editorial Pre‐Review.

  1. The Program Director logs into the system and clicks on the appropriate Submission ID and reviews the Editorial Pre‐Review.
  2. If the manuscript passes the Pre‐review, the Program Director will go to Step II, and assign reviewers.
  3. If the manuscript fails the Pre‐review, the Program Director must choose Request Resubmission (author makes changes and resubmits) or Reject (complete fail for publishing) and in the e‐mail from the Program Director, discuss the criteria and what can be done to improve the manuscript.

Step II: Assign Reviewers

The Program Director must select the appropriate number of qualified reviewers. These reviewers can be internal to WSU, external, or both.

  1. The Program Director may now log in to the Fast Track System and assign reviewers for the submission.
  2. From the Associate/guest editor panel, click on the appropriate Submission ID.
  3. In the first box, in the Editor Actions section, click on select/assign reviewersThe author may have already listed potential reviewers in the initial submission. The Program Director may or may not use those listed by the author.
  4. On this page, you’ll see the topics associated with this manuscript listed at the top of the page. This information is used to match potential reviewers to this particular submission, given the reviewer’s interests he/she indicated when establishing his/her account.
    1. Next, there are two options to select reviewers:
      1. If you have someone in mind, you can start typing the name in the box. As you type, the system will narrow the search according to those that match what you’ve already typed. Note: If the person you are searching for is not listed, send an e‐mail to Be sure to include the name, affiliation/location, phone number, and e‐mail address of the person(s) to be added.
      1. Alternatively, you can search by a specific topic, which will show only the reviewers who have indicated that this topic is one they are interested in.
    1. You can search the full list of the potential reviewers and place a check mark in the box to the left of the name. Each column can be sorted by clicking on the blue arrow at the top of each column. You can sort by:
      1. Reviewer last name
      1. Topics associated with each reviewer (those that are matched to the submission’s topics will show up in bold and will add to the topic match score)
      1. Preference – you can assign a preference to each reviewer, from 0‐10. This is done from the Editor panel via the add/edit reviewer link.
      1. Review history
      1. Average completion time of previous review assignments
      1. Score—a compilation of topics & matches, preference, and review history
  5. After clicking on add to potential reviewers list, the selected reviewers will appear in the potential reviewers for this submission box at the top of the page. You can add to the list by following the above steps, you can clear anyone by un-selecting the check box next to the name, or you can click on make assignments to go to the next step.
  6. From this page, you can assign ALL the reviewers in the list or send the email to each individual reviewer.
    1. Assign all: By clicking the assign all button at the bottom of this box, the template email is sent out to all reviewers you have selected. It will automatically fill in the reviewer’s name and login info, as well as the review deadline according to what you have in the system configurations. You do not have a chance to edit it prior to the email being sent.
      1. If you want to select a different review deadline than is in the system, you may do so by changing the number in the box prior to clicking “assign all.”
    1. Assign this reviewer: By clicking this link on the far right side next to each reviewer, the reviewer request template is pulled up. Here, you can edit the template as you would like for the selected reviewer only. Click on preview request letter and then send review request letter when all changes have been made.
      1. Note: If you want to select a different review deadline than is in the system FOR THIS REVIEWER ONLY, you may do so by changing the number in the box at the top of the letter and then clicking update deadline date in letter prior to editing the letter.
  7. After assigning an individual reviewer, you can click assign other reviewers.
  8. Now, if you return to the submission, you will see several changes:
    1. A new table has been added: assigned reviewers
    1. Workflow history has been updated to include when reviewers were assigned
    1. A new table has been added: e‐mail history

No automatic e‐mails will be sent in this phase—just the e‐mails to reviewers that were prompted by the Editor.

Step III: Monitor Review Process

The Program Director is responsible for monitoring the review process for each publication submitted in their program area. If reviewers fail to perform their tasks within the prescribed timeframe, it is incumbent upon the Program Director to either motivate or replace the reviewer.

  1. When a reviewer finishes a review, the system e‐mails the Program Director informing them that review 1 of 3 is complete, 2 of 3 is complete, 3 of 3 is complete, etc.
  2. The Program Director must open each review and ensure the review is complete and check the recommendations that have been made by the reviewer.
  3. Once all the reviewers have completed their reviews, the Program Director will make a decision on the manuscript.
    1. Accept as is means that the publication needs no changes.
    1. Resubmit with revisions means that changes suggested by the peer reviewers need implemented into the document and then may be resubmitted.
    1. Reject submission means that the publication is not acceptable, and no further action is necessary. The author may contact the Program Director to ask why the submission was rejected.
  4. The author will receive an e‐mail notification of the decision.

Step IV: Review Resubmitted Manuscript

  1. If the decision is made to have the author resubmit with revisions, the author has two options. They may submit a revised document, or they may decline to resubmit. In most cases the author will resubmit a revised document.
  2. The Program Director will need to review the resubmitted document to ensure that the appropriate peer review suggestions were implemented.
  3. If the Program Director approves of the resubmitted document, then they can accept the document which notifies the Author and the Publications Coordinator with an automated e‐mail.
  4. The Program Director needs to do nothing further.