Most Common Reasons for Journal Editors Rejecting Paper

Rejection is unpleasant for everyone since it is demotivating. Even top scientists have encountered rejection in their carrier. Academic publishing, on the other hand, is rife with rejection. Any script could be rejected for multiple causes, which could be grouped into two categories: technical and editorial.

Technical reasons 

Fragmented information, like narrow sample size or missing or ineffective controls

The data obtained from the investigation is inadequate to form the conclusion stated in the manuscript. If the size of the taken sample is tiny or the control isn’t distinct, this can happen. If the obtained data doesn’t support the hypothesis of a paper, rejection is inevitable.

Poor analysis like using improper statistical tests or nonexistence of statistics altogether

At the time of research and scientific study, statistical analysis of the gathered results is of utmost importance. Choosing a suitable statistical technique to examine the research findings, alternatively, can be puzzling. The acquired outcomes are doubtful because of inappropriate analysis and the use of an unproductive technique.

Unsuitable procedure for replying to the hypothesis or using a timeworn methodology

Using an outdated research methodology while innovative methods promise further precise results will result in rejection. The most likely conclusion will be that the results collected are faulty because there are better means to carry out the research.

Editorial reasons

Out of scope

Each journal has a well-defined goal and scope, which may be seen on their website. Early-career researchers frequently miss this step and submit manuscripts to journals without considering if their work provides value to the publication and its audience.

Inadequate impact/quality of research

If the paper’s topic isn’t of curiosity to the audience of the journal, it will very certainly be rejected. It could also be that the paper’s findings are not up to the mark, or that the manuscript is clearly part of a larger study that has been divided up to make as many articles as possible.

Ignoring research ethics like signed patients’ consent from or approval from an ethics committee

Papers that deal with ethical issues or appear to be based on unethical behavior, particularly those that do not approach these issues with a critical eye are unlikely to be accepted.

Absence of appropriate formatting necessities

In general, authors do not read/follow the clearly stated guidelines or the ‘house-style.’ For example, incorrect citation style is a common mistake that stands out right immediately. Another quite easy-to-spot manuscript is one that has probably been rejected a number of times previously, not revised, and the submission feels like the authors have decided ‘any journal, will do.

Nonexistence of current references or prevalence of self-citations

The content of the article must be supported by up-to-date references, failing which the paper will be rejected by the journal editor. Furthermore, the number of self-employed people has increased.

Poor technical Language in writing the paper

Some of the rejections are due to poor language quality, which makes it difficult for readers to understand. Rejection will also occur if there is insufficient detail for readers to adequately comprehend and replicate the authors’ findings and experiments.

Conclusion

Journals reject papers for publication for a variety of reasons, some owing to the research quality or paper, and others because of wholly needless causes such as mismatch with the journal. Furthermore, even high-quality articles are frequently rejected by journals due to space limits or other concerns. The above-mentioned reasons are some of the most common reasons for rejection, but not all. Other reasons include lack of space for more publication; the journal may have published another paper with similar research and does not wish to revisit the field and publication bias.

Importance of an apt title for your research paper

Writing a research paper with innovative and groundbreaking findings might be a difficult task in itself, but a carefully formulated title is also just as important.

A Good Research Paper TitleBy its sheer positioning at the top, the title occupies a pristine position in your research paper and readers, reviewers, and editors are inadvertently drawn to it first. This makes it imperative on your part to give considerable time and thought to go through several iterations before finalizing the title of your research paper. The title needs to be clear, concise, and indicative of the research topic.

Often, readers consider the title as the primary parameter to check the suitability and importance of a research work. Hence, the title should be enticing without being verbose, so that the reader is persuaded to read the abstract that follows the title. Much like the cover of a book, it is the main heading of a research paper that leaves an indelible imprint in the reader’s mind. Besides, in this age of Internet search queries, the title can technically act as a metadata string that highlights the aim of your research and helps other researchers locate your paper when they use a web crawler.

The following are some tips for making your title more meaningful and easily discoverable by search engines:

  • Use proper sentence structure in the title.
  • Consider the target audience of your paper before selecting words for the title and structure them accordingly.
  • Think of a short title that best expresses the salient features of your paper.
  • Avoid descriptive, interrogative, or rhetoric titles for scientific research papers.
  • Try to include the fine points of the subject population (e.g., children with autism and alcohol-withdrawn patients, etc.).
  • Focus of the title should be on the outcome of the study.
  • Restrict the use of abbreviations unless they are exceptionally common.
  • Never construct the title on the basis of statistical findings of the paper.
  • Use punctuations wisely.

Title tells the objective of the paperA title of an article or a paper, irrespective of its type and genre, should be able to express the main objective of the paper in order to be useful for readers or researchers. That will lead more web searches to your research paper and increase the chances of it being cited in other research work.

Ghostwriting: The Paid Writing

Those who are new to this term should not apprehend it as writings by Ghost!!! However, medical researchers’, authors’ and editors’ fraternity are well-versed with this term.

Ghostwriting denotes to the practice of writing for and in the name of someone else especially a named author or writer. This practice has become a widespread trend these days.

Ghostwriters, as it sounds, are definitely not the ghosts but are those hired writers who do not claim their own creative works. They are the individuals who usually make significant contributions to the research or writing of a manuscript for the medical fraternity or institutions. They are heavily paid for selling their creativity.

Despite of its widespread usage, it is difficult to track down the ghostwriting practice in the medical writings, journals and research papers. No wonder, the secret behind the term coined is its invisible omnipresence.

A study done by journal PLoS Medicine revealed the rise in the practice of ghostwriting. This paid form of writing has raised both ethical and legal aspects in medical journals. It puts an impact on the integrity of the scientific facts and figures used for a particular medical research. Fingers are now being pointed on the ethics of the medical journal publications.

Moreover, it is now considered as a legal offense and can bring misconduct to the researchers or authors or writers paying for such malpractice. Legal experts are accounting such writing as professional fraud and misconduct.

The Internal Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has finally designed some guidelines to curb this ghostwriting trend and provide the credit to its original writer/author only. As per these guidelines, the authorship of a research paper is judged on the basis of:

  1. Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
  2. Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
  3. Final approval of the version to be published.

We hope this article will surely help you in understanding the present practice of ghostwriting, which is gradually becoming a burden for the journals, especially medical journals.