Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


What major advantages does the interactive scientific journal HESS offer to the authors of scientific papers?

  • rapid appearance and free dissemination;
  • transparent peer review;
  • immediate feedback via interactive discussion within the scientific community;
  • moderate article processing charges, combined with financial support options for authors lacking support of funds;
  • efficient new way of publishing special issues (no "waiting for the last paper");
  • liberal copyright agreement.

What major advantages does HESS offer to the readers and scientific community?

  • free and rapid dissemination of novel concepts and data;
  • fostering and documentation of scientific discussion;
  • enhancement of scientific quality control by Interactive Public Peer ReviewTM;
  • enhanced information content of scientific papers by appended comments;
  • promotion of scientific conciseness and completeness at the same time by including comprehensive abstracts rather than imposing strict page limits.

How are efficient distribution and permanent archiving and accessibility of HESS articles achieved by the publisher Copernicus Publications?

HESS and its discussion forum are accessible online and free of charge. Copernicus Publications makes sure that the open-access publications, preprints as well as final journal articles, are indexed and archived worldwide in electronic archives, search engines, and databases to guarantee their maximum dissemination and impact.


How are preprints and interactive comments archived, and are the interactive comments citable?

All preprints are either archived in EGUsphere, EGU's preprint repository, or the discussion forum HESSD. Depending on the author's choice for posting, preprints receive either a DOI HESS-YEAR-NUMBER or EGUSPHERE-YEAR-NUMBER. The community comments, referee comments, editor comments, and author comments posted in the interactive discussion also receive their own DOI, which allows citation of every individual interactive comment.


How does HESS ensure the quality of its preprints?

  • First of all, manuscripts with a clear lack of substantial results or with excessive formal deficiencies will be sorted out rigorously in the access review.
  • Even if a low-quality manuscript passed the access review and was posted as preprint for discussion, its deficiencies would most probably be revealed in the interactive public discussion by the referees and other interested scientists.
  • The access review is meant to assure the basic scientific and technical quality of the preprints, but the opportunity for an efficient public discussion by all interested members of the scientific community is expected to enhance the actual quality control beyond the limits of the traditional peer review. Even if there are no comments from the scientific community, a full peer-review process in the traditional sense, albeit in a more transparent way, is still assured before full acceptance and publication of a paper in HESS.

What happens if a manuscript that has been posted as a preprint is not accepted for publication as a final paper in HESS? Can the preprint be removed?

All preprints, independent whether they are posted on EGUsphere or in HESSD, remain permanently archived, citable, and publicly accessible and therefore cannot be removed. This approach has been chosen for a number of practical and conceptual reasons, and it has proven to be beneficial for scientific communication and quality assurance as explained above.

For further information, please see the EGU Position Statement.

Nevertheless, we are aware that the appearance of a manuscript as preprint and subsequent non-acceptance for HESS can be inconvenient for authors. In such cases, the authors have the following options to proceed:

  • Option A

    The authors can appeal to the HESS executive editors for review and revision of the editorial decision. In this case, the executive editors will carefully review the decision of the editor who originally handled the manuscript. This process will normally involve the original or additional referees and an iteration of manuscript review and revision. An appeal is recommended only if the authors are firmly convinced that the editorial decision not to accept the paper for HESS was clearly erroneous and that their manuscript clearly meets all evaluation criteria for acceptance into HESS.

  • Option B

    The authors can submit a rewritten manuscript for review and discussion, and possible publication in HESS. If the editor and/or authors of a manuscript publicly discussed as preprint conclude that the manuscript can and should be rewritten in a way which goes beyond regular revisions (e.g. addition of substantial new results, etc.), a rewritten manuscript can at any time be submitted for independent review and discussion, and final publication in HESS.

  • Option C

    The authors can submit the manuscript to an alternative journal. In many scientific journals, posting a preprint on a preprint server like EGUsphere or in a scientific discussion forum like HESSD is not regarded as a reason for exclusion from (re)submission for fully peer-reviewed publication. We expect that in the long run most if not all scientific journals will adopt this policy. If needed for resubmission to another journal, authors of preprints that are not accepted for further review after discussion or where a revised manuscript was not accepted for final journal publication can request a withdrawal if the preprint was posted in HESSD. Then, the preprint stays online but the reader is notified about the withdrawal. If the preprint was posted on EGUsphere, however, there is no change to the status since the posting on a preprint server is independent of the unsuccessful peer review for HESS.

    Normally, even very good manuscripts can be further improved by revision. In the unlikely event that a very good manuscript cannot achieve publication in HESS, a revised and further improved version is very likely to achieve publication in an alternative journal.

  • Option D, HESSD preprints only

    If the preprint was posted in HESSD, the authors can ask Copernicus Publications to formally withdraw their preprint from HESSD if rejected after peer-review completion. The preprint stays online but the reader is notified about the withdrawal.

Overall, we are confident that the advantages of permanent archiving outweigh the potential disadvantages. For exceptional individual cases in which this policy may be disadvantageous, we regret any potential inconvenience. Nevertheless, we hope that we have the authors' understanding and continued support in the effort to improve scientific communication and quality assurance via interactive open-access publishing.


What is the difference between a preprint in the discussion forum HESSD and an EGUsphere preprint?

Preprints that are targeting publication in an EGU journal, whether following the direct route with a journal, or the route via EGUsphere, are from an editorial and review perspective handled in the same manner. They have different DOIs (e.g., vs In the future, the EGU aims at all preprints to be hosted on EGUsphere.


Will EGUsphere preprints aimed at publication in HESS be visible on the HESS page?

Yes, all preprints aimed at publication in HESS that are submitted to EGUsphere are posted on EGUsphere and co-listed on the HESS website as long as the peer-review process including public discussion and peer-review completion is going on. If a final revised journal article is published in HESS, the corresponding EGUsphere preprint is again co-listed there, but if the revised manuscript is rejected from HESS, the EGUsphere preprint is no longer co-listed on the HESS website. Preprints submitted to the discussion forum HESSD are only posted on the HESS website.


Why does the discussion forum HESSD show both preprints with HESS DOI and EGUsphere DOI?

Both types of manuscripts are preprints that are submitted with the intention of publication in HESS and undergo the same editorial handling applying identical standards and review criteria. Preprints with EGUSPHERE-YEAR-NUMBER are also posted on EGUsphere for public discussion.


Will rejected preprints with DOI EGUSPHERE-YEAR-NUMBER remain on EGUsphere?

Yes, just like any other document with a DOI. However, they will not show a relation to the journal for which it was intended since its citation is EGUSPHERE-YEAR-NUMBER. Therefore, after rejection, the EGUsphere preprint will no longer be listed on the HESS website.


I am aiming to resubmit. Can a manuscript that was previously posted in the HESS discussion forum be resubmitted via EGUsphere?

Manuscripts should only be resubmitted after rejection if they were significantly enhanced and substantially revised to compensate the weaknesses reported by reviewers in the first instance. However, a substantially revised version of a manuscript can be submitted via either the discussion forum of HESS or EGUsphere.


A preprint targeting peer-review in an EGU journal is already posted on another preprint server.

How should authors proceed?

The EGUsphere guidelines state that "it is inappropriate for an author to submit preprints describing essentially the same research to more than one server to be posted simultaneously". Hence, additional submission of a preprint to EGUsphere is not possible. For such cases, we allow linking of a previous preprint to EGUsphere as an external preprint where it will undergo full peer review guided by an EGU editor. Please find more information on external preprints joining EGUsphere.

The action authors need to take is:

  1. update their posted preprint on the external server with the latest version of your manuscript;
  2. submit it as an "external preprint" to EGUsphere.

How do editors treat such manuscripts?

Please note that no corrections or revisions can be implemented at the access-review stage since the external preprint will not be re-posted on EGUsphere, but only opens a public discussion page with the abstract and the preprint PDF linked to the original source (external preprint server). Other than that, editors apply all criteria as for any other preprint submitted to HESS.


I have an EGUsphere question, who do I contact?

  1. For non-technical questions related to the screening process of EGUsphere preprints, please contact the EGUsphere coordinator.
  2. For technical questions related to user interfaces or automatic process emails, please contact the Copernicus Publications' editorial support team.

Where can authors find guidance on data and software deposition, availability, and citation?

Copernicus Publications is a signatory of the Commitment Statement in the Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences. The Enabling FAIR data project provides extensive guidance on questions relating to data and software deposition, citation, and availability. This guidance is mostly also applicable for data outside the Earth, space, and environmental sciences: