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Ergonaut – Peer Review on Rails

Ergonaut is a peer review management system, similar to OJS or ScholarOne. It was created for the open access philosophy journal Ergo, where it oversees the peer review process.

Adhering to the "Do One Thing Well" philosophy, Ergonaut is designed specifically for keeping the peer review process running smoothly. To that end it is:

  • simple, attractive, and easy to use,
  • zealous about reminding referees and editors to keep things on schedule, and
  • strictly a peer review system. Unlike OJS, a publication platform is not included.

Also unlike OJS, Ergonaut serves one journal per instance rather than share one database across many journals.

Feature Summary

Two-Tiered Editorial Structure

There are two kinds of editors: managing editors and handling editors.

  • Managing editors assign submissions to handling editors and, eventually, finalize their decisions.
  • Handling editors read submissions, solicit referee reports, and submit their decisions for approval by the managing editors.

Triple-Anonymous Review

The peer review process is strictly anonymous to minimize bias.

  • Handling editors are not shown authors' identities.
  • Referees are not shown authors' identities.
  • Authors are not shown referees' identities or the handling editor's identity.

Reminders & Notifications

Frequent email reminders and notifications keep everyone on task and on schedule.

  • Referees are emailed when they fail to respond to a request for a review, when their review will be due soon, and when their review is overdue.
  • Handling editors are emailed when a submission needs referees assigned, when a request for a review is accepted/declined, when a review is completed, and when a decision is overdue.
  • Managing editors are emailed when a submission needs a handling editor assigned, and when a decision needs approval.
  • Editors are cc'ed on all correspondence related to submissions they are responsible for (except for correspondence that would compromise the anonymity of the review process; see below).


Ergonaut keeps authors and referees informed about the statuses and fates of submissions they're involved with.

  • Authors can track the activity on their submissions in detail:
    • whether a handling editor has been assigned,
    • when a referee is contacted,
    • when and how they responded,
    • when their report is due, and
    • if/when their report is complete.
  • Referee reports are shared among all referees who worked on a submission, once a decision is reached.

Statistics about the peer review process are publicly viewable in a detailed, graphical display. These include:

  • Number of submissions per year, number of resubmissions, number of withdrawn submissions, etc.
  • % of submissions rejected without external review, % rejected with external review, % accepted, etc.
  • Average time to decision: for desk rejected submissions, for externally reviewed submissions, and for all submissions overall.
  • Number of submissions in each topic (e.g. ethics, metaphysics, logic, etc.)


Receive, track, and review submissions to an academic journal.







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