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