Publication Standards and Review Procedures

Physics of Plasmas publishes manuscripts containing significant new research contributions of the highest intellectual caliber. Review and editorial policies and procedures maintain the journal's position as the premier international plasma physics journal. The journal publishes Regular Articles, Letters, Brief Communications, Tutorials, Perspectives, and Review Articles. Perspectives are invited articles on focused topics of current interest in plasma physics research. Review Articles are accepted for review after prior consultation with the editor-in-chief. Letters must meet the additional requirement of timeliness. We also publish Comments and Responses on previously published papers and Errata.

Refer to our Author Guidelines for information on submitting manuscripts to the journal. Additional information for authors seeking to publish in Physics of Plasmas, such as Perspective Instructions and Tutorial Instructions, can be found in the Additional Journal Specific Instructions.

The journal publishes, after review, a collection of invited papers on a single topic in Special Topic sections. If you are interested in publishing Special Topics, please contact the Editorial Office. Technical and scientific papers based on the invited presentations at the annual APS Division of Plasma Physics Meeting are published in a Special Issue of the journal. These reviewed papers must meet the same standards for acceptance as papers published in regular issues.

Authors publishing in the journal retain the copyright and must complete an exclusive License to Publish Agreement. When authors submit their manuscript to the journal, they imply that their work has neither been previously copyrighted nor accepted for publication elsewhere. In addition, the corresponding author must obtain the agreement of all co-authors before submitting. Because authors must complete the License to Publish Agreement before the journal publishes their manuscript, we encourage authors to sign the agreement electronically when they submit their manuscript. This will prevent unnecessary delays. We also require authors to inform the editors if a manuscript has been previously submitted to another journal, regardless of whether the manuscript is active with that journal.

Language standard: The editor-in chief and associate editors review all submitted manuscripts. It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that manuscripts are written clearly. A manuscript can be rejected if the scientific meaning is unclear due to poor English. Manuscripts that do not meet Physics of Plasmas’ language standard will be returned to the authors for rewrite before peer review, during the review process and/or if provisionally accepted pending language editing.

Because good science has no value unless it is clearly communicated, AIP Publishing recommends that authors use AIPP Author Services to improve the quality of your paper’s written English. AIPP Author Services was developed in line with our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for all authors. Using this service ensures that your paper will be free of language deficiencies, so editors and reviewers will be able to fully understand your research during the review process. A native English-speaking subject matter expert of AIP Author Services will correct spelling, grammar and punctuation and verify the use and consistency of technical terms and content in your paper. Note that this is not a requirement or a guarantee of acceptance for review or publication.

Referees are asked to consider the following seven questions when writing their reviews:

  1. What significant new research results are presented in the manuscript that are important to the field of plasma physics?
  2. Are these results and conclusions well-supported by experimental data, numerical calculations, and/or theoretical models or theories?
  3. Does the manuscript significantly extend previous work by the author or others, or is the manuscript limited to a review of published work or a modest extension of previous work?
  4. Does it contain errors in mathematics, logic, experimental results, or conclusions? If so, please itemize and specify the problem(s).
  5. Can the style or the presentation be improved? In particular, is the manuscript written in clear, acceptable English? Can non-specialists from other areas of plasma physics understand the title, abstract, and introduction? Are any parts (text, tables, figures, detailed mathematical operations) unnecessarily long? If so, please indicate suggested changes to help authors clarify and improve the manuscript.
  6. Does the reference list appear to be appropriate? Are the references self-centric, i.e., directed only toward the authors’ research or research at the authors' institutions? Do the references provide sufficient background to allow the reader to place the manuscript in context with previous or current work?
  7. Is it suitable for publication in Physics of Plasmas or would another journal be more appropriate? For example, Physics of Plasmas does not usually publish papers devoted exclusively to the description of scientific instruments or mathematical techniques.

Additionally, referees are asked to consider the following points for Letters:

  • Timeliness and current importance of the subject matter
  • Brevity, correctness, and clarity of presentation
  • Self-contained (on occasion may be followed by a comprehensive article in Physics of Plasmasor elsewhere)
  • Serial publications of several short articles as Letters are strongly discouraged when a comprehensive longer article would be more appropriate.
  • Feasibility studies and proposals for future research are seldom acceptable as Letters.

The editors review the referee reports and determine whether revisions are required. Authors receive the referee reports and any editorial issues and have a deadline to return the revised manuscript and the response to the referee(s) to the Editorial Office. When appropriate, the Editorial Office will reject manuscripts that are overdue. Typically, the editors send the revised manuscripts to the referees for additional review. There is no specific limit on the number of rounds of review; however, should the editor-in-chief determine that the author and the referee are making no progress resolving their differences, the editor can send the manuscript to an additional referee or to an adjudicator for a recommendation (see below), or the editor-in-chief can reject the manuscript. The editor-in-chief makes the final decision to accept or reject a manuscript. Although Physics of Plasma does not have a process to appeal rejection decisions, the Editors will consider a revision of the paper, as a new submission, provided the authors describe the changes made to address the concerns raised during the review process in the cover letter of the new submission. Authors may also withdraw their manuscript at any time.

Physics of Plasmas publishes only papers containing significant new research contributions of the highest intellectual caliber. We discourage frequent submissions on a similar topic by the same authors within the past few years. We also discourage resubmitting a manuscript that is similar to one previously rejected without revision to address previous concern. Furthermore, if the editor-in-chief, in consultation with the appropriate associate editors, determines that a manuscript contains only incremental technical progress relative to previous work, then the editor-in-chief may reject the manuscript or decide the manuscript merits consideration for publication in AIP Advances (see below).

Numerical Methods, Verification and Validation in Plasma Physics

Theoretical models, both analytical and numerical, play an increasingly important role in predicting complex plasma behavior and provide a scientific understanding of the underlying physical processes. A key element of this research, which often makes use of large-scale computations, is the systematic verification and validation of the theoretical models. In this context, verification demonstrates that a particular computer code yields accurate solutions of the underlying analytical model. Validation demonstrates that the analytical model accurately reproduces experimental behavior. Another key element is the development and/or deployment of novel numerical methods, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, for plasma simulation and new plasma physics applications.Because the ability of a theoretical model to predict plasma behavior is a key measure of the model’s accuracy and its ability to advance scientific understanding, we encourage manuscripts whose primary focus involves new numerical methods, the verification of codes, or the validation of models aimed at predicting plasma behavior. Manuscripts presenting novel numerical methods must demonstrate their utility in plasma applications. These manuscripts will undergo the same rigorous peer review process that other manuscripts receive for consideration in Physics of Plasmas.

Comments and Responses

The purpose of Comments is to correct significant errors in articles published in the journal, to rebut conclusions reached, or to provide additional insight or corroboration. Comments must address scientific issues only and be concise, substantive, and contain no harsh criticism. We discourage Comments on questions of priority or calling attention to an oversight in a reference list. The editor-in-chief decides whether to accept a Comment and Response for publication only after the two parties have submitted final versions of their pieces. The editor-in-chief may send a Comment and Response to an adjudicator or reject them entirely.


The journal publishes Errata in which authors correct significant errors of substance in their published manuscripts. Errata should be clear and concise.

Adjudication Procedures

Under certain conditions, the editor-in-chief, in consultation with the editors, may decide to place a manuscript in adjudication. Conditions include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Irreconcilable differences between the author and the referees
  • Conflicting recommendations from multiple referees
  • When there are serious doubts concerning the appropriateness of the manuscript for publication.

The adjudicator is given all of the relevant correspondence and all versions of the manuscript to review. Based on the adjudicator’s recommendation and after an in-house review of the manuscript, the editor-in-chief decides whether to accept or reject a manuscript for publication.

Authors may appeal the editor-in-chief's decision to reject a manuscript by asking the editor-in-chief to have the Publisher of AIP Publishing review the case. The publisher does not decide whether to accept the manuscript for publication, but rather will assess whether procedures were followed properly. Additional rounds of review or adjudication would be called for only if the proper procedures were not followed.

For specific editorial format requirements and submission information, see Information for Contributors.

Retraction and Correction Policies

AIP Publishing takes its responsibility to maintain the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record of its content for all end users very seriously. AIP Publishing places great importance on the authority of articles after they have been published, and its policy is based on best practice in the academic publishing community. Changes to articles after they have been published online may be made only under the circumstances outlined in AIP Publishing's Retraction and Correction Policies.


If the editors decide that your manuscript is not suitable for publication in Physics of Plasmas, you may transfer your manuscript, without resubmitting, to AIP Advances for immediate consideration. AIP Advances is a peer-reviewed, fully open-access journal covering all areas of the physical sciences. Articles published in the journal are always freely accessible to download without a subscription. Additionally, the editors may decide that the manuscript merits consideration for publication in AIP Advances or transfer to another AIP Publishing journal.

If you choose to transfer your manuscript to AIP Advances, all reviewer reports and editor’s recommendations will be transferred along with the manuscript to facilitate a rapid decision. This option may save you considerable time by avoiding the resubmission and re-review process associated with submitting your manuscript to another journal. For more information about AIP Advances, visit

If you wish to transfer your manuscript to another AIP Publishing journal, please contact the Editorial Office to request a transfer. Please note that transferring manuscript files across AIP Publishing journals does not guarantee that the manuscript will be considered by the receiving journal; manuscripts must meet that respective journal’s acceptance criteria.

(Revised March, 2020)