Understanding manuscript evaluation by high impact journals

Every academician wants to publish their articles in high impact journals. This in turn makes it extremely challenging as all such journals are flooded with submissions. In fact, for many of these journals, it is a challenge for the editorial team to select suitable articles to publish from the sea of submissions.

As an author, while you already have clarity of what you want to convey via your article, you also need to understand what the editorial board of a high impact journal is looking for to publish. Therefore, it is important to understand the manuscript evaluation process of such journals.

What is manuscript evaluation: Essentially, A manuscript evaluation is an in-depth, developmental, and structural manuscript editing report developed by the editorial team of a journal. It provides a bigger picture of the manuscript by deeply analyzing its many facts and is shared by junior editors with senior colleagues. The manuscript evaluation covers technicalities, like whether the manuscript follows author guidelines, whether proper citations, indexing, and data labeling have been done, etc. All these can be covered by proper manuscript editing at the end of the author before submission.

The other critical aspect of manuscript evaluation is the qualitative assessment of the article. This looks into the structure and organization of the article, the clarity of ideas espoused, the brevity and consistency of the language in which it is written.

Do your basic hygiene check: every author must focus on manuscript editing to ensure a basic standard before submission, especially to high impact journals. Articles written badly, with poor language or paragraphing are automatically rejected. The manuscript should have a clear point of view of the research and should deviate in course of the narrative. Structure and organization of the article, be it in terms of sections, paragraph construction, the flow of a narrative from one section to the other, must be well planned and executed.

Evaluate your work from an editor’s point of view: any editor of a high-impact journal is very conscious of maintaining the high impact quotient of their publication. Therefore, they are not only looking for good quality papers but are also keen to publish papers that they feel will be widely quoted and cited. Therefore, they are also assessing the impact factor of your manuscript. Some of the criteria they have are:

  • Will other researchers be interested in reading the study?
  • Does the article match the journal’s present audience, or help reach out to newer audiences?
  • Does the importance of the advances offered in the article up to the standards of the journal?
  • Does the manuscript add additional value to any discourse or does it just add noise to an already busy field of study?

When you write your manuscript, relook it from the editor’s point of view and check if your research meets these criteria.

Lastly, do remember that it is only after the Chief Editor has passed your manuscript will it be shared for peer review. So, you need to clear it with editors before a field expert actually evaluates your article.