New Section Editor-in-Chief of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in Applied Sciences Journal

Applied Sciences journal announced the appointment of new section editor-in-chief for Computer Science and Electrical Engineering section. Professor Andrea Prati was appointed at this post in the beginning of November.

Reference Link: http://www.mdpi.com/about/announcements/1078

BSMMU signs MoU with BMJ and icddr,b

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with British Medical Journal (BMJ) and International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) with a goal to collaborate various research initiatives in the field of clinical sciences from a common institutional platform. The initiatives include sharing of facilities, knowledge and experience, assistance with clinical research, training and the preparation of research protocols, organizing workshops and scientific seminars to groom the future scientists and clinicians in order to tackle the unforeseen public health challenges.

Reference Link: http://www.dhakatribune.com/feature/health-wellness/2017/08/29/bsmmu-bmj-icddrb-mou-clinical/

Altmetric Badges integrated to EuroIntervention Journal

Europa Digital & Publishing announced the integration of Altmetric badges to the EuroIntervention Journal. These badges aid in providing a colourful, distinctive and instantly recognisable visualisation to help showcase the wider influence and dissemination of your published content. EuroIntervention aims at displaying the up-to-the minute insights on individual research outputs and assessing the reach and influence amongst a broader audience.

Reference Link: https://www.altmetric.com/press/press-releases/altmetric-badges-now-available-on-eurointervention-journal/

Correlation between impact factor and rejection rate: Myth or fact?

impact-factor

Impact factor (IF) is a measure of the reputation and health of a journal, but not the sole determinant. Therefore, authors must not consider it as a be-all, end-all yardstick or stricture while finding the right journal for their paper. The scope of a journal, its audience, and types of articles it publishes are equally, if not more, significant than the IF.

Grading the authors based on the merit of their publication portfolios is an arduous and tricky task. Several institutional committees often rank the authors based on their previous achievements for promotions, funding, and honors. In many academic circles, the IF of a journal is adopted as a parameter for assessing the quality of a published article, thereby sidestepping a comprehensive review of the article.

In scholarly publishing, a general perception among authors is that journals ranked with a high IF are highly selective and follow strict criteria for paper selection. It is also conjectured that these journals accept only those manuscripts that have extremely significant and novel outcomes, and hence more likely to attract many citations.

However, several past studies have established that there is no correlation between rejection rate and IF. These studies have cited instances of journals that have low IF and high rejection rates, which prove that IF is a poor predictor of the rejection rate and merit of a journal.

Frontiers, a leading open access publisher, plotted the IFs of 570 journals against their rejection rates and found absolutely no prime correlation between the two elements. Several studies have an alternative explanation for journals that have a high IF and a high 90-95% rejection rate. According to these studies, the high rejection rate is because the journals give precedence to prominent authors and select works that are likely to attract broad acceptance from the target audience. Consequently, many papers are rejected by them when submitted at the first go.

The way the IF is mishandled or misapplied by authors/selection committees constitutes a blemished metric in several ways. Therefore, it is important to avoid the long misconstrued notion that authors with many publications in journals that have high IFs and high rejection rates are more meritorious and bigger achievers than others who have publications in journals with medium or low IF.

Journal Impact Factor: All That Matters

The impact factor, often abbreviated as IF, is a measure reflecting the average number of citations that a paper published in a journal receives over a defined period of time. Conceptually developed in the 1960s by Eugene Garfield, founder of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), IF is now frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field. Journal impact factors are published annually in Science Citation Index (SCI) Reports.

Researchers are often conditioned to believe that IF matters the most. Publication in journals with a high IF is regarded as an indication of the quality of the research published, and by implication, the quality of its authors. Therefore, it is not surprising that publishing in high IF journals is an aspiration for most scientists as it often plays an important role in their career prospects and progression.

High IF journals are widely read. But there has been a discrepancy regarding the importance of journal IF among researchers. Journal ranking systems have evolved in the present-day world and allow for better comparisons. Sadly, they are often ignored even when such rankings may benefit a given journal. But even these systems are not foolproof and can be quite flawed, especially those assuming that the scientific value or quality is less if the scope of a discussion is small. A more appropriate approach could be to say that the best journals are those that can rank high in one or more categories or ranking systems, rather than reducing the overall journal quality and usefulness to a single number.

IF, originally designed for purposes other than the individual evaluation of the quality of research, is undoubtedly a useful tool provided its interpretation is not stretched far beyond its limits of validity. Having said that, the research quality cannot be measured solely using IF. It should be used with caution, and should not be the dominant or only factor accounting for the credibility of a research.

Why journal articles face rejection?

When a manuscript is submitted to a journal, it undergoes a thorough quality check under the peer review process before being sent to the chief editor. Most articles face rejection during this process. There are several reasons for this.

1. The article is beyond the scope of the journal

Your article can be immediately rejected if it is not appropriate for the journal’s readership and does not meet the journal’s aims and scope. Besides, it is also likely to be rejected by the editorial board if it does not match the specified journal format. For example, if a review article is submitted to a journal that does not have the scope for publication of such articles, the editorial board is likely to reject the paper summarily.

2. The paper lacks key elements

The paper is unlikely to be approved if it is incomplete and lacks any important information, such as author’s affiliations, e-mail address, keywords, figures and tables, in-text citation of figures and tables, references, a proper structure, etc.

Lack of novelty and originality in the paper or suspicion of plagiarized information can also lead to an almost instantaneous rejection. Incomprehensible articles that show poor language skills of the author are also not acceptable.

3. The paper failed the technical screening process

If you have submitted your paper to more than one journal simultaneously, a particular journal might consider it unethical. Consequently, the paper is likely to fail the technical screening process. Even papers that do not meet the technical standards of the preferred journals are also rejected in the screening process. For example, a paper might be rejected for non-compliance with certain points in the submission checklist.

4. The paper is conceptually weak

While conceptualizing the paper, the author might fail to resolve certain fundamental problems that could result in unoriginal or impractical results. These problems include flaws in the study design, incomplete data analysis, use of an inappropriate method for statistical analysis or a poorly formulated research question. These basic defects might lead to rejection of the paper.

5. The paper is not well prepared for the journal

A paper is liable to be rejected if it is not formatted according to the journal guidelines. Disregarding such guidelines might result in excessive use of jargons, deviation from the focus of the journal, improper formatting of figures and tables, poor organization of contents, inadequate description of the methodology, poor writing standards, complex and convoluted sentences, and frequent grammatical errors. These factors will have a negative impact on the reviewers and will probably contribute to a rejection.

6. The journal is overloaded with submissions

Sometimes, a journal receives a flood of submissions within a short period. This restricts the available space to include papers in several forthcoming issues. Consequently, rejection is inevitable for many submissions, including some high-quality manuscripts. Conversely, a journal might receive several papers on the same or related topic. In such a situation, the journal will be forced to cherry pick and might return some well-conceptualized papers in the process.

7. Journals have their decision-making policy

Rejection of the paper also depends on a journal’s decision-making policy, which varies from journal to journal. Some journals forward the paper for a second screening if they are unsure about the quality of the manuscript. On the other hand, editors of certain journals aim to publish papers that are related to current research topics and their acceptance rate is directly proportional to the number of articles received in this genre.

As evident, there is a gamut of reasons for the rejection of a paper and the author needs to take cognizance of these facts for a better understanding of the rejection process. The author needs to keep in mind that the quality of a paper is not the sole reason for rejection; several other reasons can also contribute to the rejection of a submitted paper.

Public Writing on the Web

Multimedia

 

First and foremost, we must keep it in our mind that websites are addressed to users rather than readers. In other words, they must provide information in such a way that it is consistent with the nature of their medium, as well as makes full use of the medium’s resources. Digital capabilities are often grouped under the supportive term multimedia. The multimedia includes text, graphics, sound, video and animation. The potential of multimedia is increasingly being recognized and utilized in most areas of communication, like education, entertainment, business, etc. In fact, new fields of communication have emerged through the use of multimedia applications, such as the creative combination of educational, information and entertainment techniques that has come to be known as edutainment and infotainment. The fact that the digital medium is actually a collection of different media capabilities gives the web designer a singular task to coordinate the different media and produce, through their combination, an effective and compelling result. However, the technology for graphics, sound, video and animation is constantly changing. In this regard, a necessity arises to focus more on the text, about which we will discuss in our next blog.

Email

Email is a very swift method of correspondence. Through an email one can send data or information across the world to multiple recipients in a few seconds, at a fraction of the cost of the courier or postal charges. This is a great advantage but can be a drawback too. As once the sent button is hit there can be no recalling of the information sent. Though some software is found which can retrieve a sent email but it is not popular and easily available.

An email can be seen and read simultaneously by many recipients, open to a more constructive criticism and feedback. Another disadvantage of emails is that due to their ease and simplicity, emails often tend to be associated with speech and casual language rather than formal script, which can lead to miscommunication.

When sending email as part of a professional communication, keep in mind these two points:

  1. An email message is a written text; therefore, it is bound by the conventions of writing. The audience and purpose should determine the relative formality of style and the amount of detail. Ease of transmission and deletion does not justify sloppy composition, wrongly spelt words and ungrammatical sentences. A very common complaint with business emails are that writers seem abrupt and disrespectful and seem written in haste.
  2. Email does not replace hard copy. Printed and signed documents are still considered more binding and formal than soft copy. Therefore, it is always better that even when you email a report for fast transmission, make sure to send a hard copy to formalize the communication. Firstly, it is still easier to lose documents in cyberspace. Secondly, there can be technical glitches’ with electronic communication, whereas print can fall back on the universality and reliability of paper.

The closest hard document to an email message is the memo. Email headers, for instance parallel memo headers, comprising From, To, Subject and Date. Therefore, construct an email message like a memo. This means you should:

  • Begin with an opening address: This could be ‘Dear’ … … for more formal correspondence or ‘Hello … ‘ for less formal. You can omit an opening address if the message is one in a series of reply exchanges on a topic.
  • Place your main message as close to beginning as possible: Give as much information possible in the first paragraph. All details must be given in following paragraphs.
  • Write in full words and paragraphs.
  • Never use uppercase to emphasize anything, its better to italicize the word.
  • End the mail by clear stating the expected response by the person after reading the email.
  • Sign your message with your name and affiliation and contact number.

Other points to be kept in mind while writing an official mail are keep short paragraphs while writing emails. Do not use headings, tables or formatted text in the body of the email. If there is large data then include those in attachments and not in the body of the email.

Use of email is appropriate in cases where even their deletion will not cause any problems. They can be used instead of letters in case of external communication and memos in case of internal communication. It is always better to get a hard copy for binding contracts or information that needs to be recorded.

Print vs. Electronic Writing

Strengths of Print Writing

  • We can read printed documents much easily than electronic ones. Reading online increases reading time by about 25%. This is because the visual resolution of a printed material is about 250 times sharper than the computer screen.
  • Print media offers more portability. We can read a book/newspaper/magazine anywhere without the hassle of hardware.
  • Print materials are faster to skim through. They can also be easily shuffled compared to online pages.
  • It is easier to underline or highlight something on paper.

 

Strengths of Electronic Writing

  • Generally, online publishing is more cost effective than print publishing.
  • Online publishing provides more scope for experimenting with style and space.
  • Colors appear more bright in online pages (use RGB) compared to print pages (use CMYK).
  • It is much easier to edit or update online content. It can be done with just a few clicks. In print media, for updating any information, the whole thing needs to be reprinted, which increases expenditure.
  • The use of multimedia helps to present online materials in a much more pleasing and entertaining manner.

Electronic writing offers more interactivity. For example, in surveys, people respond more readily to online requests.

INTERNET AND WORLD WIDE WEB

In our day-to-day life, we often confuse the Internet with the World Wide Web. However, they both differ to some extent. The internet includes the web, as well as it is the infrastructure level of the medium, including services such as email, etc. On the other hand, the web is the public face of the internet medium, where users access information about products and services by visiting their respective websites.

It is quite necessary to remember that the internet is just a medium and not a document type. It provides the means of transmission and exchange of information presented in different document types. For example, we can’t sent a report via email as an attachment, or post it as a portable document format (pdf) on a site. The document would still be a report, regardless of its medium of transmission. In other words, while composing it, we should follow the conventions and expectations of report writing. Microsoft word, for instance, creates documents that are generally intended to be read in printed form or hard copy, even though they have been created and maybe even sent in a digital medium.