Guide to Conducting Meta-Analysis

Before knowing the systematic steps to meta-analysis, let us first know what it means by Meta-analysis.

What is a meta-analysis?

In simpler terms, meta-analysis is a quantitative study comparing the results of two or more different primary studies with conflicting results using a statistical procedure. It is used to establish a statistical significance.

Steps to meta-analysis:

There are four steps to conducting a meta-analysis.

  1. Framing a research question

The first step is to frame a clear and interesting question. As it is a quantitative study, the PICO framework is being used to formulate the question (where PICO stands for Population, Intervention, Control, and Outcomes).

  1. Searching the literature

After framing the question, the next step is to search all the databases to find a sample that is similar to our study. The most relevant way is to use a keyword search as it yields almost accurate results. Those results will help us to understand our topic much better.

Inclusion and Exclusion criteria

After finding out a list of studies, the researcher now decides which studies will be included and excluded from the process of meta-analysis.

  1. Choosing a meta-analytical method

There are four meta-analytical methods, three fixed-effect methods, and one random-effects method. Choosing the correct meta-analytical method should depend on the framed research question.

The three fixed-effect methods are

  • Mantel-Haenszel method – This test is also known as the Cochran–Mantel–Haenszel test (CMH) and is used in the analysis of stratified or matched categorical data.
  • Peto Method – This method can only be used to pool odd ratios. It is a sum of ‘O-E’ statistics where ‘O’ stands for the observed number of events and ‘E’ for the expected number of events.
  • Inverse Variance Method – In the inverse variance method, the weight given to each study is the inverse of the variance of the effect estimate.

The random-effects method is an assumption that the observed data can vary across studies.

  1. Finding out the result

The last step is to find out the results using one of the meta-analytical methods and report them.

While reporting the results, the researcher uses tables and figures that include all the information showing effect sizes, number of observations, errors, etc. Along with that, whatever data is present in the tables and figures should also be explained in the results or discussion section. The researcher should always mention the heterogeneity measures so that the readers don’t find it false.

Conclusion

This editorial makes you understand what meta-analysis is, along with the basic step-by-step process to conduct a meta-analysis. The methods here are a general structure that includes framing a research question, searching the literature, choosing the right meta-analytical method, and at last, finding out the result and reporting it.

Post Acceptance Changes of Manuscripts

Proofs are supplied to the corresponding author once your manuscript has been approved for publication. Once approved by the corresponding author, your paper is assembled into an issue of the journal and published in its final form. After providing your proof revisions, you are not expected to provide additional input as the piece’s author.

There are three stages between submission and publication in a peer-reviewed journal:

  • The time elapsed between submission and the first decision.
  • The amount of time required for the authors to revise
  • The time it takes from acceptance to publishing. 

    Peer review occurs when an article is submitted to a target journal. However, multiple processes are frequently only known to the related author. When you make a manuscript submission to a journal, it travels quite a distance, and the manuscript status is tracked with the help of the manuscript number. If a paper is accepted after peer review, it goes through proof development and a review procedure before being published. This process is a time-consuming process that necessitates a thorough examination of your manuscript’s publication-ready version. If you make a mistake here, it may be tough to fix!

     Changes to Authorship

    Requests for adding an author before publication are less difficult to arrange than requests after publication. Requests to add authors before publication typically comes from inside the existing author team. When requests are made after publication, they rarely come from inside the existing team but rather from a disgruntled team member who believes they deserved authorship but were not properly credited.

     Changes to Manuscript

    Copyediting the manuscript carefully ensures that it is accurate, clear, legible, written in good English, and adheres to the journal’s house style. Typesetting in the journal’s format for print or pdf, with the appropriate fonts and symbols, and with the figures in their final sizes, is what typesetting entails.

    After consulting with co-authors, the corresponding author returns the PDF to Proof checking Services. Authors can assist by asking just necessary modifications (such as typos). Authors may believe their figures are too small and request that they be expanded. After the corresponding author and Proofreading Services have agreed on all revisions, a subeditor rereads the entire proof and cycles with the typesetter until it is finally correct.

    Errors Spotted by Readers

    Aside from what has been said above, inaccuracies in published articles may be discovered by readers other than the author. In such circumstances, the editor must seek clarification from the appropriate author. Furthermore, if necessary, agree on the phrasing of a corrigendum or erratum that meets the author’s and reader’s approval.

    The most serious cases involving requests for revisions to published articles occur when a reader reports that an article is:

    • Replicated or plagiarised
    • Data that has been faked or manipulated
    • There are catastrophic errors that the writers cannot repair or explain in an erratum or corrigendum. 

      Conclusion

      Requests to make changes to manuscripts after approval are quite rare. Editors do not keep a systematic record of such incidents. As a result, it isn’t easy to estimate how frequently this occurs or what the most common causes are.

Co-author Guide and Acceptance letter in a Journal

Some journals may send Co-Authors an email containing deep links to confirm Co-Authorship. Corresponding Authors may also be allowed to control the Other Author verification procedure by the Journal.

Who is the Co-author?

A Co-author is someone who has made a significant contribution to a journal publication. They also share accountability and responsibility for the outcomes.

If an article has more than one author, you’ll choose the corresponding author. This person will be in charge of all article correspondence and sign the publishing agreement on behalf of all authors. The corresponding author is in charge of ensuring that all of the authors’ contact information is correct.

Roles of Co-author

  • The corresponding (submitting) author is exclusively responsible for communicating with Scientific Reports and handling co-author correspondence. Do Correction and proofreading of manuscripts. Handle modifications and re-submissions of updated manuscripts until the manuscripts are accepted.
  • Accepting and signing the Author Publishing Agreement on behalf of all necessary co-authors and obtaining the signature of any third-party rights owners.
  • Arranging for APC (article processing charge) payment. Under Open Access Agreements, the corresponding author’s affiliation is considered to assess eligibility for discounted or waived APCs.
  • Act on behalf of all co-authors in responding to post-publication requests from all sources, including issues about publishing ethics, content reuse, and the availability of data, materials, and resources.

There are several compelling reasons why you should work together on a publication. Collaborations in research are one of the finest reasons. Collaborations in research might be one of the most satisfying aspects of your scientific career. Working with “masters” in your profession or experts from other fields can substantially extend your horizons and provide you with access to knowledge, methods, infrastructure, and labor. Collaborations in research frequently result in two or more publications. It is common for one publication to be driven by your partners in these instances. Your contribution is recognized with a co-authorship, several co-authorships, or, in ideal cases, an asterisk indicating “equal contribution.”

Acceptance letter for co-authors

Journal editors exclusively send emails to the corresponding author, not the co-authors. The corresponding author is the journal’s sole point of contact. The corresponding author’s responsibility is to relay the editor’s messages to the co-authors. Journal editor cannot send individual acceptance letters to every co-author. As a result, You should contact the associated author and request that the acceptance letter is forwarded to you if you require it.

Conclusion

Based on the Authors position in the research process and paper preparation, authors can be designated as the lead author, first author, co-author, or corresponding author. The corresponding author is in charge of the manuscript during the submission, peer review, and production processes.

From submission to publication, all communication will be with the relevant author. However, there is a recurrent dispute over whether or not an article can have more than one associated author. Some or several co-authorships may enhance scientific cooperation and reciprocal intellectual stimulation and expand your publication list and fill gaps in your publication history.  It is better to avoid publishing too many papers with many co-authorships.

Best Ways to Improve Journal Submission for Publication

The process of preparing a manuscript effectively enough to get it approved by a journal can be overwhelming, given the ever-increasing quantity of papers submitted for publication. Publishers don’t want to confront a gradual reduction in the number of submissions to their publication, but it happens all too regularly. The source of the collapse may not be obvious at first glance, but a close review of the journal may show several reasonable causes and possible solutions.

Here are the five ways to Improve Journal Submission for Publication:

Don’t put off writing until the last possible moment

Rejection and disappointment are less likely with a proactive approach and mindset. A logical flow of activities should dominate every research activity followed when drafting a manuscript. Re-reading your text at different times and possibly in other locations is one of these actions. Re-reading is critical in the research sector because it aids in identifying the most common faults in the paper that could otherwise go unnoticed.

Follow the journal’s guidelines for the author

Journals may set word limits for specific sections of the article, such as the Abstract (or Summary) and the Introduction, in addition to page limits and total word counts. The word restrictions must be rigorously adhered to by the authors. These portions should be written with caution. The manuscript’s Conclusion section is also crucial since it states the study’s preliminary results and how the study contributes to the respective field of research. Researchers frequently skim through studies, focusing primarily on the Abstract and Conclusions sections. As a result, it’s vital to concentrate on writing. Following the journal’s recommended sequence also aids in the development of coherence, allowing readers to comprehend the study better. Publishing the figures and tables in the journal’s preferred format is critical. It’s worth noting that the structure and style of each journal differ.

Learn Academic Writing Style

A formal style is used in modern academic writing. Concentrate on three important areas to improve your academic writing skills:

  • Write objectively and clearly
  • Use Accurate English
  • Use Technical Words

Get feedback from Peers

Once all of the manuscript’s elements have been put together, the authors should proofread the data and figures are precise and full.  . Proofreading is a must, and sharing your publications with peer groups and soliciting their criticism is quite beneficial.  The scientific study requires data collecting, and scientific research articles typically include data in tables, figures, graphs, or other statistics.

Use AI Tools for Proofreading

Machine learning algorithms are used in AI writing software to guide users through various stages of the writing process. Localization, grammar, research, and tone checks are all included in these products. Natural language processing (NLP) is used in these technologies to analyze text and provide recommendations or relevant information. AI can help authors write faster and more confidently, making time-consuming material creation more doable. Examples of Proofreading Softwares are Grammarly, ProWriting Aid, Hemingway App.

Conclusion

Before submitting work, authors should carefully read the journal’s rules. The quality and clarity of the writing and how the results are presented influence the possibility of the paper being accepted for publication.

Response to Reviewer Comments

  • Handling reviewer’s comment?

Reviewer’s comments should be taken positively and provide a scope for improvement.

  • Type of revision

Revisions can be minor or major. Whatever may be the case, it needs to be addressed. Sometimes reviewers write revisions that may span many pages and still are termed as minor. Whether minor or major, comments or revisions are often very error-free and informative. The comments are very clear with no possibility of doubts.

  • Arranging the comments

Comments are sometimes are not in form of a list and are retained with the text. In such a case, the comments should be shorted down and incorporated in a tabular format. The tables should have details of comments and also the response that is been given. All minor comments such as spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, style, and font should be addressed first. By dealing with minor ones first you will realize that maximum comments are being shorted out as we make errors while we write.

Comments should be answered in a well-mannered way; the writing style should be polite and not rough.

The comments should be addressed completely. Never ignore any comment.

Answer the comments with evidence. You must provide supporting evidence for the facts you mention.

Be optimistic that your efforts will be recognized and result in a successful publication.

Reasons for Facing Desk Rejection

There are numerous causes for rejection; however, desk rejection or rejection without peer review is one of the most annoying emails an author gets. It’s not uncommon to have a paper rejected. To decide how to continue from there, you must first understand why the journal editor did not send it out for peer review.

It’s critical to comprehend the reasons behind a rejection before deciding on a strategy. It’s usually simple to extract the criticism about your work from a peer review report and organize your next steps accordingly. It can be more difficult to comprehend why your work was rejected by the journal editor without having been sent out for review. This blog post summarizes the five most prevalent reasons for rejection without peer review to assist you decides on a resubmission strategy.

  1. If the manuscript does not meet the journal’s objectives or scope

It’s doubtful that the paper will be approved if it won’t be of interest or value to the journal’s readers. When deciding which magazine to submit to, always read the Aims and Scope to get a sense of the types of papers the journal is searching for. In other words, does your work, beyond its scientific scope, fit the journal’s unique geographical region? Distinct journals have different scopes, which are usually quite narrow. Make sure your manuscript is appropriate for the journal you want to submit it to.

  1. If the results of your research were not significant or new enough

Journal editors frequently reject papers without submitting them for peer review because they do not believe the manuscript is appropriate for their publication. If you submit your manuscript to a publication with a diverse audience in terms of expertise, the editor may decide that your study isn’t of sufficient interest to a large enough section of the readership.

It’s also possible that the journal editor isn’t sure that your findings are substantial enough to warrant publication. This implies they may not anticipate their having far-reaching repercussions for your field of study. It is usually also necessary for journals with high journal impact factors if the research is original and has not been published before, even if only in part.

  1. If plagiarism is too high

Plagiarism should be avoided at all costs. You could be accused of plagiarism if you intentionally or unintentionally plagiarized the work of other researchers. Manuscripts are run through various plagiarism detection software programmes by publications. If there is more than 20% duplication in a manuscript, it will be returned to the authors for editing. The publishers may report the material as plagiarized if that percentage is significantly greater. If you effectively plagiarize your own work by merely repackaging it, you may be called out.

  1. If your data is inadequately presented, and you applied inappropriate methods

Editors of broad-read journals typically cover a significant percentage of a research field, thus they are unlikely to be specialists in your research topic. As a result, people are likely to skip over your Results section and instead focus on your data when evaluating the quality of your research.

Even if the journal editor is unfamiliar with your research topic, you may expect them to have a strong awareness of what is going on in your field in general. As a result, if they see that you employed an obsolete method or didn’t use a strategy properly, your work will most likely be rejected right away.

  1. If there are issues with language, writing, and spelling

The document’s language, organization, and any tables or figures must all be of sufficient quality to be examined; if this is not possible, the paper will be rejected. Your abstract, cover letter, references, and, if applicable, your discussion and/or conclusions section are usually of particular interest to journal editors (s). It’s usually a good idea to have someone else look through your paper before you submit it; the second set of eyes can help you catch any mistakes you may have overlooked.

There are other causes for submission rejection, but these are only a few of the most typical issues cited by journals. For busy researchers, it may appear to be a lot of work, and this is where we, ManuscriptEdit may help.

What is the Method Section of a Research Paper?

The method section represents the various procedures used to prove the research question or hypothesis.  It represents the experimental procedure conducted during the course of study in a detailed manner so that the reader can understand and if needed can reproduce. The method section is a specific and integral part of a research paper.

  • Importance of method in a research paper?

It provides the opportunity to judge the authenticity and reproducibility of the experimental procedures.

  • The framework of Method Section

The integral components that make a method section are participants, apparatus, and procedure.

Participant: It represents the animal, human being, or every specific substance on which experiments were conducted. It also represents the structural, functional, or any specific attribute of any entity that is examined.

Apparatus: It is the instrument used to conduct the study.

Procedure: It’s the step-by-step process of doing some activity to obtain results. The outcome whether positive or negative is reported. Generally, the procedure is repeated multiple times to ascertain the reproducibility of the results.

  • An important point to be mentioned while writing the methods?

Experiments conducted on human subjects should have clearance from the ethical committee. Some journals ask for ethical approval numbers as a mandate criterion for the submission of the article. Also, informed consent from the patient is a mandate in the case reports and other types of manuscripts as it may contain pictures from recognizable parts of the body.

Also, the Manuscript should comply with the Declaration of Helsinki and IRB guidelines. The former is a set of ethical guidelines from the world medical association while the latter protects the rights of human subjects participating in any research venture.

  • Extensive Literature searches

Databases such as Medline, PubMed, Google Scholar are pioneer repositories to get explore relevant Methods as per the research question of your article. The collection of context-specific and precise keywords is the important component that ascertains successful outcomes without being carried away from the topic.

  • What should be incorporated in a Method Section

Provide in-text citation

The past work that has been referred to for using a particular method should be cited in the method section to give due acknowledgment to the concerned author.

Source of participants

The details from where the non-human subjects came from should be mentioned. Details such as the total number of animals, Number of male/ female counterparts, sex, age, mating history, medical history are few attributes that should be mentioned. In the case of human subjects, the place of study such as hospital, medical college details should be mentioned. If any database or repository was used to procure medical records of participants then the details should be provided.

Inclusion / Exclusion

The basis for the elimination or incorporation of any parameter should be mentioned.

Grouping of participants or subgroup formation

Any subgroups that were formed for specific testing or any modification of protocol to emphasize some facts are also mentioned in the method section.

Study Design

An author should in detail, describes the step-by-step preparation conducted during the course of the study. The particular chemicals, Drugs, instruments, kits, dyes used along with their brand details should be mentioned. It should give a detailed overview of each and every step such as the number of washings, incubation time, amount of solvent, etc. The aim is to provide necessary details so that the study can be reproducible.

Statistical analyses

Details of statistical tests used in the study should be mentioned.

  • Pits fall in writing Methods

Unnecessary information should be avoided. The background of the study should be in the introduction and not in the methods.

An author should emphasize how the methods helped them to address the research question.

Any hindrances that were faced while performing the experiments and how modification helped to overcome the same should be mentioned.

  • Conclusion

During the course of experimentation, an author should not overemphasize the instruments and should write the methods as and when the experiments were performed to avoid missing any details.

Publications of Clinical trials in Scientific Journals – Mandatory

A large number of clinical trials are conducted every year however researchers get limited excess of these data.

  • What are clinical trials?

These are the study conducted on a large group of people to evaluate the efficacy of drugs in a particular disease or test a particular surgical procedure or even in behavior analysis. They are effective means by which scientists understand the pros and cons of any drug or treatment strategy.

United States Food and drug administration (FDA) initially gives the approval to begin the clinical trial. The texts are performed in the laboratory animals to get a preliminarily set of information pertaining to the study; subsequently, human trials are followed based on efficacy and safety.

Publishing Clinical trails

Conducting clinical trials is aimed to get the needed scientific intervention within a requisite time period to acquire sufficient scientific evidence which can shape our scientific understanding. Clinical trials are published in medical journals or are part of clinical trial registries.

However, as per reports around 50 % of trials remain unpublished post-completion.

  • Clinical trials on kids and young subjects to evaluate a drug should not just remain as a piece of data in gov. It is due to the potential value of the information that cannot be accessed by the general public until it gets published. Also, the due repotting of clinical data in the context of kids can be lifesaving also.
  • The publishing of Clinical trials should be a mandate, as the scientist by delaying or not publishing the data are predisposing the life of many innocent people especially if a drug is investigated for studies for its potentially dangerous side effects.
  • Also, companies conduct clinical trials to hype up their products. If the company product is not performing well then most likely they keep hanging around.
  • Clinical trials not getting published as the researchers don’t find the results very interesting to be part of a peer-reviewed journal. Results having novelty or not should be a part of a publication.

Duplicate or Simultaneous Submission and Publication

It is mandatory for authors to agree with the publication ethics while submitting their research papers for peer review to a journal. The articles submitted for publication must be original and must not have been submitted to any other publication. However, it is often seen that the authors disregard this requirement and submit the same research paper (or with minor modifications) to two or more journals. Like plagiarism, the duplicate submission can be of different types: exact duplicate, partial duplicate (substantial), or duplicate with minor changes (article title, references, or authors).

Issues with Duplicate Submission

Duplicate submission is an unethical practice and violates the copyright norm. It leads to the wastage of editorial and review resources. The publication record of the author includes misleading information. The same research paper appearing in two journals raises questions about the reputation and peer review policy of the journals. Another similar practice involves splitting up a single study to publish multiple articles (salami-slicing), to increase the number of publications.

Avoiding Redundant Publication

For authors: If the two research papers are not the exact copy of each other and the author wishes to submit them to two different journals, then the author must:

  • Disclose the details of each paper to both the journals
  • Inform both the handling editors (managing editors) that a similar research paper is under review in another journal (use cover letter to inform).
  • Explain the distinct difference between the two research papers and why two research papers were produced instead of one from the same topic
  • Do not replicate content from other published paper
  • Each paper must address separate research questions.

 

For journal’ reviewers:

  • Always use text-matching or plagiarism tools for screening redundant publication
  • Check the extent and nature of overlapping
  • Major overlapping: identical or very similar findings and/or evidence that authors have sought to hide redundancy e.g. by changing the title or author order or not citing previous papers)
  • Minor overlapping: overlapping in the methodology section or re-analysis of the data
  • Inform the editor about the redundant publication

 

Dealing with Dual Submissions

While working on two different manuscripts that use the same dataset, or if the article is going to be published in different languages, always let the editors know about the plans.

Contact corresponding author in writing, ideally enclosing signed authorship statement (or cover letter) stating that submitted work has not been published elsewhere and documentary evidence of duplication.

Contact author in neutral terms/proceeds with review expressing concern/explaining journal’s position. Explain that secondary papers must refer to the original and request a missing reference to the original and/or remove overlapping material.

In conclusion, ultimately, there’s no need to send out the same manuscript to multiple journals at once. It’s against most publishers’ policies and will only cause delays or even retractions.

How to publish your research paper in a journal indexed under SCOPUS database?

Founded in 2004, SCOPUS is one of the largest indexing databases for journals and books in the medical and life sciences field. Over 25,000 journals and 200,000 books are indexed under the SCOPUS database. Publications are the primary metric for success in the research field. Publication in a high-impact and peer-reviewed scholarly journal is the ultimate aim of a researcher to demonstrate his/her credibility. Popular and reputed databases such as SCOPUS indexes the journals by considering several factors; regularity (issue release frequency), type of review process (peer-reviewed or not), and reputation of the journal. Hence, publication in a SCOPUS indexed journal can be challenging. The following section describes a step-by-step process that will help you to publish your research paper in a suitable journal indexed under the SCOPUS database.

Performing search in the SCOPUS database

It is effortless to search for SCOPUS indexed journals under a specific category or with a keyword on the homepage (https://www.scopus.com/sources.uri). One can search for a specific journal just by providing simple details such as –

  • The specific subject of interest,
  • Title or Keyword of the specific journal/publication,
  • Name of the publisher, and
  • ISSN code

However, if one is not sure of these details, he/she can perform a broader search by selecting the specific subject area of the research.

Identifying the target journal

Check for the aim and scope of the journal, examine the nature of the journal, and ensure its peer-review process. Research about the journal performance and understand the review and publication timelines. Confirm whether your target journal is indexed in SCOPUS by performing a search in the database, as mentioned in the above section. Keep ease, quality, reach and impact at the forefront of your mind and look for the appropriate publishing models (Open Access or Subscription-Based).

Preparing the research paper based on journal guidelines

Author guidelines are made available by the author in the author’s information or about the journal section. Follow the guidelines provide while formatting your paper and attach a cover letter (must) and mention the reason if any of the given instruction is not followed. Always limit the number of tables and figures and remove additional information to concise the data. Prepare figures and tables carefully and format exactly as mentioned in the guidelines. The length of the manuscript must be considered while formatting. An ideal length for a manuscript is 25 to 40 pages, double spaced, including essential data only. Write a concise and straight-to-point conclusion. Do not just repeat the abstract; the conclusion should explain the novelty of the research and the future aspects.

Submitting Your Paper

The final step is to submit the final formatted paper to the target journal via the submission portal. A good and complete understanding of the journal’s terms and conditions is required while submitting your paper. One should be aware of where to submit a paper, submission deadlines, submission fee, or open access fee, and any other procedural necessities to follow before submission.

In conclusion, having a research paper published in a Scopus indexed journal is of great importance for researchers. Researchers require carefully preparing and understanding all the requirements for formatting and submission. The requirements for scientific publication in a SCOPUS indexed journal are very high, and every researcher must understand this before submitting their work for review.

ManuscriptEdit helps authors and researchers at every step of their publication journey by offering dynamic and customizable editorial services including Proofreading, Formatting, and Journal Recommendations and Submission.