How to Write a Review Article for a Scientific or Academic Journal

Writing a peer review for a journal publication is a very important job. Any journal referring to you for peer review requests your expertise to judge if a review article meets the academic standards for publication. However, peer review is not like evaluating a submission by a student under you. Every reviewer needs to balance the perspective of the author of the publication along with the requirements of the journal.

How to approach reviewing an article

  • Start with first understanding the requirements of the journal. Most journals provide very specific instructions about the types of review articles they publish and what they expect from a reviewer. An academic journal for humanities might want narrative reviews based on the reviewer’s extensive knowledge and experience, whereas a scientific journal may prefer systematic reviews. It is best to discuss with the journal editor what exactly they are looking for from a reviewer.

 

  • Read the review article with an open mind and several times. Do remember the job is not to draft the review article as you would write it. Rather, you have to understand and respect the author’s academic Even if you may disagree with some arguments of the author, it is the author’s right to publish his arguments as long as the author is giving proper academic arguments and evidence. Your job is to ensure the review article is academically sound for journal publication.

 

  • While giving feedback to the author on the review article, remember that your ultimate goal is to discuss what the author needs to do in order to qualify for publication. The point is not to nitpick the manuscript but provide constructive and critical academic feedback that the author can use to improve their study for publication in the journal. Write the type of review you would like to receive if you were the author.

 

  • Draft a template for your review. Start with a summary of the review article that reflects what you understand of the article. This is a good start as it helps sync your thoughts with the author, and also helps the journal Follow it up with a listing of minor or major issues with the review article. Major issues refer to gaps in arguments, academic critique or fundamental questions with the research methodology, etc. Minor issues are missing or misplaced references, technical clarifications, etc. a reviewer can also add some comments addressed to only the journal editor, about issues with language, presentation, any problems with why this review article does not match the journal objectives or any such matters which you want to convey to the journal.

 

Conclusion

A reviewer has a very critical and moral responsibility. It is also an interesting job as it allows one access to the most latest academic work even before it is published. An empathetic and constructive reviewer can help both a journal and an author enrich their academic credentials.

DEALING WITH MANUSCRIPT REJECTION

Getting a rejection letter from a journal is one of the most disconcerting experiences for any author. Statistical evidence suggests all authors including the most experienced ones face rejection even at matured stages of their careers. There is evidence that a rejection from one journal is not the end of the road for the author or even for that particular manuscript. However, there is no denying the fact that a rejection letter hurts a lot. So, how does one deal with it?

Take a step back: Accepting rejection is particularly hard at the beginning of one’s career. You may look back on all the effort put into writing, editing, and formatting the paper and consider all that as a complete waste of time. However, these are initial reactions that are normal and hence allow them to phase out. Once you have read the review, put it away for several days. What seems shocking and rude on the first day starts to look more manageable by the third day. Getting some distance on the comments is useful for the next steps.

Understand why it was rejected: the review letter will have clear answers to your primary question; why was it rejected? Read the letter objectively once you get over the shock.  Poor language is an extremely common reason for manuscript rejection along with formatting issues. Many journal editors reject an article at the initial stage because of other factors such as multiple articles on similar lines or topics etc. If your manuscript was sent for peer review, it means the set of challenges are quite different. Read the review comments carefully and try to understand where exactly the challenge lies: methodology, main argument, presentation of academic evidence, a lacuna in rigor. A ‘revise and submit’ may be as bad as a rejection but it also leaves enough scope to work on for the next round.

What to do next? Contrary to initial feeling, you actually have multiple options before you: (1) abandon the paper, (2) send the paper without a single change to another journal, (3) revise the manuscript and send it to another journal, or (4) protest or appeal the decision and try to resubmit the paper to the rejecting journal. While the initial reaction may be towards options (1) and (4), it is really the options (2) and (3) that makes more sense. However, all four options are equally valid and what you decide to do must be based on sound reasoning.

Conclusion

Even though it may sound ironic, it is better to be prepared for rejection even at the time of drafting the manuscript for journal publication. Some prepare to send it to multiple journals from the onset. Some look forward to peer-review under rejection only to polish the manuscript for a better journal. Many authors have experience of the same paper being rejected multiple times before it was finally published. Rejection is just another stepping-stone for an academic career.

The Process of Publishing a Research paper in a Journal

The publication of a research paper in a journal is a long and painstaking process. It involves many stages that need to be completed at the author’s end before submission to a journal. After submission, there are further steps at the publisher’s end over which the author has no control. In order to get a successful publication in good time, it is important for an author to understand the various steps involved in the process.

It all starts with the draft manuscript. A properly edited research paper, with proper references along with a good title, a short but precise abstract, and a detailed cover letter is the first step.

Any research paper submission for publication in a journal goes through an editorial screening to start with. The authors must ensure their research paper matches the focus area and objectives of the selected journal so that it is not rejected at the first stage. The best way to go about it is to follow the journal’s instructions with precision and consistency. Research papers that clear editorial screening are then forwarded for peer review.

Peer review is often a time-consuming process. Two or more reviewers are usually chosen of which one might be picked from experts the authors suggested as potential reviewers in their initial submission. Those engaging in the peer-review process are professionals from their fields of expertise who have other engagements and hence they often take time to revert back. Reviewers recommend immediate acceptance without changes or immediate rejection without reconsideration, although reconsideration after minor/ major changes is the common response.

The final decision on any research paper is taken by the editor, who reverts back to the author with comments from the editorial team or peer review. The author has to respond to the editor with a revised manuscript along with a detailed letter that explains exactly what changes were made and a compelling academic or scientific reason why certain suggestions were not accommodated.

Depending on the gravity of changes involved, the editor may decide to take a call by themselves or re-share the research paper for the second round of peer review. These processes, even though they delay the publication process, only help improve the quality of the publication and hence are very important.

When the paper is finally accepted by the editor, it goes into production for final checking and reformatting to fit the journal’s conventions and styles. The journal may revert to the author for a final proofread of the final manuscript they design for publication.

in case of a rejection, the journal will convey why the research paper was rejected. The author can take note and either rewrite the research paper to fit the journal or share it with some other journal for consideration.

Conclusion

Clarity over the publication process by a journal is important for authors, and they should prepare accordingly to ensure a smooth publication process.

Diabetic Mice Improve With Retrievable Millimetre-thick Cell-laden Hydro-gel Fiber

There has been a recent advancement in the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes as the researchers at the Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo) found out that the diameter of hydrogels carrying cells can establish its longevity after transplantation, making the cell therapy for Type 1Diabetes Mellitus efficient. In short, researchers have come up with a fiber shaped hydrogel transplant that can be successful at treating T1DM.

Type 1 Diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, is becoming an increasingly common disease among young and adults alike. A 2017 report revealed that about 425 million adults in the age group of 20-79 were living with diabetes around the world. The cause of Type 1Diabetes Mellitus is autoimmune destruction of -βcells that are responsible for producing insulin which is an important hormone that facilitates sugar flow in the cells to produce energy.

At the moment, the treatment for T1DM involves timed exogenous insulin administration and continuous blood glucose measurements. This creates an unnecessary burden not only on the patient but also on the health system. The aim of the new cell therapy is to eliminate the need for insulin replacement as it focuses on substituting lost pancreaticβ-cells. Although cell replacement therapy appears to be an interesting option, its clinical success is quite limited. It is often compared to an organ transplant that depends highly on the transplant -acceptance. Foreign body reactions are common factors behind transplant rejection. The idea behind cell therapy is to make use of hydrogels to provide long-term protection for transplanted cells.

This is not the only research that focuses on the replacement of damaged cells to cure this auto-immune disorder, the whole pancreas transplant has already been successful at many clinics. It was noted that even though blood sugar levels were immediately restored following the transplant, the survival rate of the transplanted pancreas was as low as six months. This improved over the years with the advancement of technology but even at present, the transplant doesn’t survive for more than three years.

Interestingly, the study conducted by the researchers at the University of Tokyo revealed that the diameter of these hydrogel fibers can be detrimental in anticipating foreign body reactions. The tests were conducted on diabetic mice. Barium alginate (Ba-Alg) hydrogels with different fiber diameters were implanted into normal mice. This was done to demonstrate that immune reactions seemed quite low at 1.0 mm. In order to further concretize the claim, researchers compared these findings with the foreign body reactions at 0.35 mm. The results revealed that covering hydrogel in 1.0mm-thick fibers resulted in long-term immune-protection for islets of Langerhans and also helped maintain glycemic control in diabetic mice. These fibers also facilitated the easy flow of small molecules of glucose, insulin, and oxygen to pass through the membrane, which is crucial for better functioning of the cells.

The findings definitely give hope, and more clinical trials could be helpful in repairing all possible loopholes.

Raw milk may do more harm than good

There is a popular belief that consuming raw milk or raw milk products is a healthier option, in contrast to consuming pasteurized milk or milk products. There exists a lot of misconceptions about pasteurization, with some suggesting it leads to loss of essential nutrients while others accuse pasteurization as an artificial or ‘unnatural’ processing of milk that risks spoiling the product.

However, scientific studies have found all such allegations to be unfounded. But what is more disconcerting is that scientific evidences suggest consuming raw milk or raw milk products poses definite health threats for us and that pasteurization of milk is critical before it is consumed.

Some critical scientific evidences from across the world suggest:

It is true that the heating process during pasteurization affects some nutrients in raw milk; viz thiamine, vitamin B6 and folic acid within the B-complex, and vitamin C. However, our present diet ensures these nutrients are received from other sources and hence missing them in milk products does not affect us much.

In contrast, raw milk or raw milk products have a higher content probability for harmful germs like Brucella, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. Between 1993 till 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA reported 127 outbreaks of diseases due to raw milk, which includes 1,909 illnesses and 144 hospitalizations.

Scientists at UC Davis have discovered that unrefrigerated milk, often done intentionally to allow it to ferment to produce clabber actually leads to these bacteria developing anti-microbial resistance genes which then makes them immune to antibiotic medicines.

The gastrointestinal tract in humans in modern times are often not able to digest certain components which we could earlier; or resist certain types of bacterial infections. A major factor in this development has been the advances made in medicines and how the human digestive system has evolved with these advances. Thus, the gastrointestinal tracts of infants and young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems such as people with cancer, an organ transplant, are unable to face the challenges of the different types of bacteria present in raw milk. While most healthy people can recover from an illness caused by harmful bacteria in raw milk products, there always exists the risk that some may develop symptoms that are chronic, severe, or even life-threatening.

A big form of risk stems from raw milk products like cheese, with a new-found customer preference for hand-made cheese or what is known as artisan cheese. Often these are part of ‘back to nature’ products, where the milk and cheese are produced in ‘organic farms’ with pasteurization. While handmade cheese from pasteurized milk is not a concern, such products from unpasteurized milk risk contamination (animal feces, dirt), cow diseases (mastitis, bovine tuberculosis), cross-contamination from dairy workers, etc that raises the risk of harmful elements in the raw milk thus produced.

It is therefore always advisable to consume only pasteurized milk and milk products.

How to Overcome Difficulties in Academic Writing

Academic writing is a skill essential for anyone looking to pursue higher academics. Academic writing is a specific type of writing that involves a lot of reading or material collection, doing in-depth research and critical analysis of scholarly literature, planning of the entire presentation, revising contents and structure, etc. Invariably it ends up involving rewriting, editing, proofreading, and formatting to make it more professional and efficient.

Academic writings can be in the form of essays, term paper, thesis, dissertation, research reports, etc. depending on the core academic activity on which the final manuscript is to be based. While each of these forms has its own peculiarities and specific requirements, there are certain commonalities that every budding academician needs to keep in mind.

The first key element for academic writing is self-organization. Academic writing is different from other forms of writing as it requires strict discipline not only in preparation for the content but also in how the content is presented. Any academic manuscript needs to be organized in a standard format: an introduction that includes the hypothesis or the premise which is essentially what the entire manuscript tries to address; the body of the content, which should include separate paragraphs discussing evidence that supports or negates the hypothesis; and a conclusion that ties everything together and conclusively connects it to the hypothesis. Self-organization starts with narrowing down the planned manuscript to chalk-out a basic outline even before the first words are drafted.

Research of secondary literature or ‘literature review’ is an essential part of any academic writing. Before one delves into one’s own hypothesis and arguments in favor or in opposition to it, it is customary to first review and present the viewpoints/evidence already presented by all others/peers in this field. Any such research needs to be reported with proper citation and accreditation as deemed fit. Plagiarism is a major problem in the field of academic writing and special care needs to be taken to ensure (a) no referencing is missed out for any secondary source of material and (b) the language of presentation is an authors’ own and not just a plain copy-paste of the original manuscript. One can always quote others but that needs to be done in a limited capacity and in proper formatting and protocols for quoting and citations.

Editing of the manuscript is an absolute must for any academic writing. Grammar, style, and punctuation are incredibly important if the article is to be understood and taken seriously. Language and vocabulary are important, and using jargon just to sound smart often results in the opposite effect if used inappropriately as it exposes overcompensating in their writing. Each body paragraph must start with a topic sentence that presents the main idea of the paragraph and express your point of view, and each paragraph much end with its own mini-conclusion of the discussions covered that logically leads to the next paragraph.

Academic writing is a habit developed by practice and is an integral part of the entire academic exercise.

AI making its way to improve results and efficiency in Cardiovascular Imaging

Artificial intelligence is showing reassuring results in cardiology, especially in the area of cardiovascular imaging. Ever wondered how it works? 

Machine learning algorithms (a subdivision of AI) are making it possible for cardiologists to find out new opportunities and delve into new discoveries difficult to be noticed using conventional techniques. This offers newer gateways helpful in medical decision-making.

Key features of AI in Cardiovascular Imaging:

  • AI can help improve performance at low cost thereby facilitating decision making, interpretation, and precise image acquisition of anatomical structures as well as diagnosis.
  • The big data obtained using imaging will be helpful in personalizing medical treatments and keeping an electronic record of patient data, health records, and outcome data.
  • It is believed that this will help physicians work more efficiently on core issues while computers will handle the technical part.

 

Different kinds of imagining possibilities using AI

Echocardiography – This is the most commonly used imaging technique in cardiology, but it is highly user-dependent. It is also important to undergo serious training in order to interpret the results accurately. AI can be a low-cost alternative to provide a standardized analysis of echocardiographic images. It has already shown great success in this area.

Computed Tomography – AI has been greatly appreciated in the field of cardiac CT as it has helped in noise reduction, and image optimization thereby preventing invasive coronary angiography (ICA) in the identification of severe stenosis.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging – This includes anatomical images of various aspects of the heart including flow imaging, contractile function, perfusion imaging, and myocardial characterization. As is the case with Echocardiography, MRI is also highly user-dependent. Reports have shown that implementing computer-aided detection in the clinical setup can increase accuracy and simplify the analysis.

Nuclear Imaging of the heart – This is performed to assess any perfusion defects within the myocardial lining. AI-based models can improve the clinical value of the results obtained. AI-based models have been highly successful at detecting abnormal myocardium in CAD, and their efficiency is at par with manual analysis images received.

Conclusion  

Technology is not new to humans. We’re getting more and more comfortable with the idea of relying on machines for safer and more accurate conduct of our day to day lives. In the case of cardiovascular imaging, AI has proved itself promising in various ways. Here are the reasons why the medical industry is ready to adopt computer-aided detection and diagnosis in Cardiology:

  • Detection and diagnosis of disease
  • Interpretation of data
  • Collection and comparison of data for future studies
  • Clinical decision making
  • Accurate image acquisition of images
  • Reducing health care expenditure
  • Reducing the workload for physicians

 

AI seems to have a lot of pros for the medical industry, but it needs to be made perfect with more testing and re-testing. It will definitely be a great tool for cardiologists as it is capable of recognizing patterns that are otherwise difficult to assess for the human brain.

What Is a Good Impact factor of a Journal?

Any researcher looking to publish an article gets tangled in the web of journal impact factor and how to select the best journal to target. While it is easy to know the impact factor of a journal, it is altogether a different challenge as to how to interpret this number. Here is an easy guide to journal impact factor and what it means.

What is the impact factor of a journal?

This is the easiest question to answer! The Journal impact factor is a measured frequency-based on citation numbers of articles from a journal in a particular year. First introduced by Eugene Garfield, the founder of the Institute for Scientific Information, the simple formula is Impact factor =A/B for any given year (X), where A is the number of citation of articles published in years (X-1 & X-2) by indexed journals during Year X; and B is the total number of citable items like articles and reviews published by that journal in the years (X-1 & X-2). Impact factors are calculated each year by Thomson Scientific for those journals that it indexes (it was 12,298 for 2017) and are published in JournalCitation Reports.

So, what are the caveats?

  • Remember, the impact factor is always dated back 3 years; one cannot know the impact factor of the present year as it will come after 2 years.
  • Impact factor analysis is limited to the 12,298 journals indexed for the JournalCitation Reports covering 27 research disciplines only. Impact factor can be calculated only after completing the minimum of 3 years of publication and therefore it cannot be calculated for a brand new journal
  • The impact factor only denotes citation of journals and not individual articles That is done by other measures like the H-index.

How do we interpret the value of a journal’s impact factor?

This is where things start getting tricky! In most fields, the impact factor of 10 or greater is considered an excellent score while 3 is flagged as good and the average score is less than 1.

However, the impact factor is best read in terms of subject matter in the form of the 27 research disciplines identified in the JournalCitation Reports. Some science streams have higher frequencies of citation while some subjects like streams in humanities may have a lower frequency of citation.

The best means of judging a journal based on the impact factor is noting the comparative score of the journal with others in the same field. So, if a journal A has a score of (say) 5 while the next journal B has a score of 2, that is different from a journal C having a score of 10 while the next journal D has a score of 9. It is the relative score that matters while choosing a journal for publication.

In Conclusion

The impact factor of a journal, although the most credible metric for judging journals, must be properly contextualized. There are other factors too must be considered for articles published in any journal.

Mastering the three stages of manuscript editing

Editing your own creative work could sometimes seem intimidating, mainly because looking at your own work with a critical eye is not as easy as it seems. It’s not just about spelling and grammar. Editing is a skill that sometimes requires you to get rid of even your most favorite terms and terminologies. To be a great editor, you would have to detach yourself from your own script and get acquainted with the ‘backspace’ button.

Here are the three stages of manuscript writing:

Content or Substantive Edit

This is the most time-consuming part of manuscript editing. Remember, there is always a better way to present your manuscript. Start by giving yourself some time away from your script so that you can develop a fresh take on what you’ve written. The focus of your editing exercise this time should be on the structural aspect, and you would need to pay attention to what works well and what looks awry. Revisit your overall paper at least three times, pay attention to the text, data, accuracy, and overall consistency and presentation. A professional subject matter editor always takes care of the content issues to make sure your writing is ready to be submitted for publication.

Copy Edit  

Once you have dealt with the structural errors by making the necessary revisions, it’s time to copy edit your paper to ensure correct formatting, grammar, margins, font size, etc. This includes all things technical and presentation-based. Copy editing requires you to pay attention to the tone, language, phrasing, parts of the speech, undue repetitions, etc. A copy edit makes your work free of any technical errors that might be a hindrance at the acceptance stage in the publication cycle. It is indeed a skill, and good copy-editing includes eliminating any wordiness in order to improve readability. Even though copy editing does not take as much time as a content edit, you would still be required to give a good amount of your time to this.

Proofreading  

Proofreading is the third stage in editing your manuscript. Unlike copy edit and content edit, this stage requires you to separate your text into sections, and concentrate on one section at a time. You can consider printing a hard copy if reading online is a problem. By now, you must have clearly understood the focus of the overall paper; therefore at this stage, you must examine each sentence individually for syntax, spelling, and grammar. You should recheck any dates, data, names of people, places, etc. that you have mentioned in the text to ensure accuracy.

Conclusion

We live in a world of technology, and a lot of things become easier with the resources available online. To support your manuscript editing skill, do not hesitate to refer to online applications or websites that might come handy to do minor language, spelling, and phrasing edits. Also, it is advisable to let peers re-read your scripts before starting the edit to incorporate third-party suggestions.

Psychological impact of social quarantine on children

Mental health is the least privileged topic in our society and health sector fraternity. The lack of physical manifestation unlike other disorders and the orthodox notion of being called “Mental” restricts the much-needed attention. Clinical depression or mental health issues are silent killers, claiming millions of lives worldwide.

The age bracket of depression

Adulthood confined depression, due to loss of loved ones, broken relationships, or financial and professional issues, is a preconceived notion of our society. On the contrary, the latest studies have widened the age bracket commencing from early childhood. Research highlights that social isolation in children has long term effects on psycho-emotional development along with a negative impact on brain structure and functioning.

Tracing the origin of depression

“Human beings are social animals” highlights the gravity of social behavior since time immortal. Mental health is regulated by a close-knit framework of biological, psychological, and social factors. The latter being a prerequisite for healthy mind development during the early years of life. Loneliness management is far more challenging in children, due to the constant state of psycho-emotional evolution. Emotional turbulence, incomplete cognitive development, and lack of analytical thinking in early childhood can magnify the detrimental effects of loneliness. Therefore; minimization of later by healthy socialization from the very beginning is warranted.

Self Socialization: management of child subconscious mind

Current research has highlighted the immediate and prolonged effects of loneliness on stress management ability of mind in children. Thereby, making children predisposed to depression in later years. The gross adverse effects of loneliness duration are far more overwhelming than the intensity per se, as pointed by researchers. Training children subconscious mind to recognize, evaluate, and understand the emotions, similar to growing up in physical dimensions is crucial. Emphasizing and educating for the bigger picture known as life with “ALL IS WELL” affirmation and solution derived approach should be taught from early childhood. Systematic handling of emotion and channelizing energy towards creative thinking via the understanding of mind machinery is requisite. Socializing with the self and outside world, counseling, and family support can determine the attenuation of detrimental effects in children. This way of living or exercise has far more magnitude while dealing with children’s mood disorders. Disturbed socio-emotional state due to stressful events or sedentary behavior can be rectified by engaging with self and others.