In the May 2011 edition of SPEPO, I discussed what makes a good peer-review paper according to SPE's guidelines. In this Executive Summary, I thought I'd discuss the peer-review process itself and how a paper is processed after it is received by the SPE staff.
When a paper is submitted for peer review, the first step is for the SPE staff to place it in the peer-review system hosted by an online organization called ScholarOne Manuscripts. At that point, the paper can be seen and accessed by the Editorial Review Committee (ERC), which is made up of three levels of editors--the Executive Editor (EE), Associate Editors (AEs), and Technical Editors (TEs). Each of the seven SPE peer-reviewed journals has its own set of editors, although many people review papers for more than one of the journals. The EE does an initial review of the paper to determine if it meets SPE's peer-review criteria and which AE would be most qualified to head up the review based on their personal expertise. The paper is then assigned to that AE.
When an AE receives a paper, they in turn determine what TE to assign for review. There are more than 1,200 TEs from around the world available for reviewing papers. AEs can search for TEs on the basis of expertise listings the TEs have posted in ScholarOne (let me pause here to remind TEs to update their information in the system if they haven’t done so recently). The number of TE reviews pursued for any given paper depends on a variety of items too numerous to list here, but in general, anywhere from two to five TE reviews are acquired for any given paper. Once the TEs have completed their reviews and uploaded them into the ScholarOne system, the AEs review the TE submissions and also perform their own review. They then submit a decision recommendation to the EE for the paper. Decision recommendations fall into one of four categories--accept, minor revisions, major revisions, or decline. The EE then takes all of the AE and TE reviews into consideration and submits a final decision. The final decision is then forwarded to the authors by the SPE staff.
You can see that for any given paper, a minimum of six to seven people have reviewed the paper by the time comments are returned to the authors. Additionally, to help with quality control from such a large pool of volunteers, reviews are rated and the number of reviews performed is tracked to help the AEs and EEs with selection of the appropriate TEs for any given situation. We are frequently asked why reviews of SPE papers take so long, but there is clearly a lot of movement and work going on behind the scenes to ensure each paper is handled and judged fairly. The ERC is made up entirely of volunteers who perform reviews in addition to their day jobs, and as authors, we owe them a debt of gratitude for taking the time to participate in the peer-review system. We are always looking for additional TEs, so if you have an interest in participating, please contact either me or the SPE editorial staff to submit your resume for consideration. If you are an active TE or just interested in learning more about the process, I encourage you to attend the annual Technical Editor workshop held in conjunction with the upcoming Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Denver. For more information about the workshop, please contact Stacie Hughes email@example.com.
We have a very interesting and eclectic lineup of nine papers for this edition. From a case study perspective, the paper Practice and Understanding of Separate-Layer Polymer Injection in Daqing Oil Field discusses the application of different molecular-weight polymers in a laminated reservoir in China. Two papers are included that address health, safety, and environmental issues. The paper titled Method for Determining the Bioconcentration Factor of Linear Alcohol Ethoxylates discusses a method for determining the bioconcentration of a large and important group of nonionic surfactants used in the oil and gas industry. Such biocentration values are used by many regulators to evaluate the environmental impact of the associated surfactant and if that surfactant will be banned or not. The management, measurement, disposal, and discharge of produced water in the United States is the subject of Produced Water Volume Estimates and Management Practices.
Horizontal wells are the subject of the next two papers. Experiments to evaluate the possibility of using horizontal wells in cold heavy-oil production are discussed in Sand on Demand: A Laboratory Investigation on Improving Productivity in Horizontal Wells Under Heavy-Oil Primary Production. These experiments focused on a variety of components that contribute to sand production under such producing conditions. The paper titled Optimization of Production Performance With ICVs by Using Temperature-Data Feedback in Horizontal Wells discusses the idea of using temperature feedback to directly regulate inflow control valves in horizontal wells to obtain uniform flow distribution along the wellbore.
In the area of scale inhibition, two papers are included. What Would Be the Impact of Temporarily Fracturing Production Wells During Squeeze Treatments? focuses on two questions, including the potential evidence of thermal fracturing during low-volume treatments and the effects on squeeze life if a well is fractured during a squeeze operation vs. one that is not fractured. As the title implies, Modeling the Application of Scale-Inhibitor-Squeeze-Retention-Enhancing Additives addresses modeling of the effects of scale-inhibitor additives, but it also investigates ways to optimize the treatment to achieve the longest possibly squeeze life with a set amount of additive.
The final two papers in this edition concentrate on stimulation topics. Laboratory Study of Diversion Using Polymer-Based In-Situ-Gelled Acids focuses on experimental results of diversion under various injection rates. Finally, using net-fracture extension pressures in combination with real-time microseismic mapping to enhance fracture complexity in low-permeability reservoirs is the subject of Methods for Enhancing Far-Field Complexity in Fracturing Operations.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this summary. I hope you will find some of these papers helpful in your everyday endeavors.