Reasons Why Research Papers Are Rejected

Rejection is quite common in academic publishing, though it is hard to accept. After years of hard work and months of writing a research paper, it is quite hard to accept the inability of a paper to get published. The following are a few reasons why manuscripts are rejected.

  • The author hardly follows the guidelines of the journal they wish to publish

Each journal has a definite aim and scope. Hence it is wise if the authors simply follow the guidelines on their website and maintain their manuscript accordingly. That would make it easy for publication. Formatting the paper as per the author guidelines would further increase the scope of publishing.

  • Paper is under consideration for any other journal

Most of the journals don’t accept a paper that is under consideration in some other journal. Therefore make sure your paper is not under review or submitted in some other for publication. Every journal asks for signed consent for publication; make sure you have a signed consent before publication.

  • Vague Writing

Journals readily accept papers that are clear and concise. In short, use language that would be easy to grasp by the scientific community. The simple language would make it easier for the readers to dig out the knowledge from the research papers.

  • The manuscript is not formatted as per the Journal guidelines

Rather than following your own guidelines, follow the set of rules mentioned in the website for the manuscript. Check for the font size, font type, and spacing and reference styles. Go through the guidelines for figure and table formatting apart from the language fashion.

  • The manuscript is not under the scope of the journal

This is the first and foremost thing an author check before submitting a paper in a journal. Sometimes, authors go for a journal which doesn’t cover their scope. This makes the journal difficult for the paper to accept. Therefore, make sure your scope matches the journals’.

  • Wrong research methodology

Get updated with the latest research methodologies for your research and use them. Using old research methodologies may increase your chances of rejecting the paper. Hence, use the latest techniques.

  • Disobedience of research ethics

It is necessary to comply with the guidelines of the journal such as plagiarism check, consent of the participants, and declaration that the research has been wholly carried out by an individual. Apart from this, an author should present the declaration parts; acknowledgments, funding sources, consent for publication, ethics, and author contributions.

Getting a research paper accepted in the first try is rare. However, keeping these above guidelines in your mind can increase the probability of acceptance of your paper.

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.

Is self-plagiarism ethical?

Research papers or journals are the medium of spreading knowledge and new ideas evolved. Innovative and original piece of work would certainly be more educative and admirable. Nevertheless, authors and writers are often found to be reusing their old piece of work or some extracts from their previous published papers while writing a new research paper.

When questions are raised against this content reuse, authors claim that those stuffs are their own works and materials, and thus, they can reuse them as they wish, and it cannot be termed as plagiarism since they have not stolen the ideas from any other author or source.

The ethics of plagiarism are not applicable to such reuse, as a result of which it has been overlooked till date. While the discussion is whether this reuse is ethical or not, the publications and the journals, on the other hand, have set certain guidelines for such works citing it as Self-plagiarism.

What is self-plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism is a form of plagiarism where the writer reuses his/her own previously published work in portions or entirely while creating a new study paper. It can breach the publisher’s copyright on those published work when it is reused in the new study papers without appropriate citations. Let us now know more about the ethical aspects of self-plagiarism.

Self-plagiarism can be detected when:

a)  A published paper is used to republish elsewhere without the consent of the co-authors and the publisher of the paper or work.

b)  A paper of a large study is published in small sections with an intention to increase the number of publications.

c)  A previously written work either published or not is reused again in portions in the new study papers.

Although the laws of self-plagiarism are not enforced, it somehow reflects the dishonesty of the author. Moreover, the journals and the publishers are rejecting such copy-paste works as they are seeking writings based on original research findings and proper citations of all the references.

Nowadays, journals are also pointing out questions on the reuse of one’s own work. In order to avoid self-plagiarism, one should try to keep his/her work original, and in case it is necessary to include any portion from his/her previous works, it should be then properly cited with proper references. I hope this article will surely help you in detecting prospective self-plagiarism before submitting your paper or work to publications or journals.