The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced the approval and publication of the Manuscript Exchange Common Approach (MECA) Recommended Practice.
The Manuscript Exchange Common Approach is an industry-wide, cross-organization initiative that strives to facilitate and standardize multiple types of manuscript transfer within and between manuscript and peer review systems. Authors are often required to re-submit their manuscript to subsequent journals after their original submission was rejected, and Reviewers may be summoned to re-submit reviews for the same manuscript if re-selected for peer review by those subsequent journals. In early 2017 the MECA project was established in response to the significant amount of time lost from these duplicative efforts.
The NISO MECA Working Group committee currently includes members from the following organizations: American Chemical Society, American Physical Society (APS), American Chemical Society, Aries Systems Corporation, Clarivate Analytics, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, eLife Sciences Publications, eJournalPress, Green Fifteen Publishing Consultancy, IEEE, Jisc, National Library of Medicine, Springer Nature, and Taylor & Francis Group. The team collaborated to establish common policies that allow for seamless transfer of important manuscript and peer review data between publications that are hosted on different systems (including preprint servers).
In February 2020, the NISO MECA Working Group released a draft of their Recommended Practice for public comment. The MECA Recommended Practice includes a common vernacular and specific guidelines for transmitting, identifying, and packaging metadata and content being transferred. On July 6, 2020, NISO released the finalized version of the Recommended Practice, NISO RP-30-2020. The publishing community is encouraged to implement these new standards
Aries Systems has taken an active role in the development of MECA from the beginning, implementing functionality in our own manuscript system, Editorial Manager, to support an import/export method that conforms to MECA standards, making the transfer process simpler and more efficient for Authors, Reviewers and publishers. Aries Director of Product Management, Tony Alves serves as co-chair of the MECA Working Group along with Green Fifteen Publishing Consultancy Director Stephen Laverick. Sally Ubnoske, Aries Senior Business Systems Analyst, has also been a member of the MECA project since its inception.
The finalization of the MECA Recommended Practice is a great win for the NISO Working Group and the industry. This accomplishment would not be possible without the participation of different members within the publishing ecosystem. Competition aside, the group has come together to collaborate against a common goal – to improve practices and policies for the entire scholarly publishing community.