The Benefits Of Peer-Reviewing A Manuscript

What Is The Peer-Review Of A Manuscript?

  • Peer-Review is a process in which the Manuscript proposed for the Publication of the Journal is assessed by a group of experts in the appropriate field.
  • It can be said as a sign of recognition in one’s field.

 

Who is involved in the Process of Peer-Review?

  • Experts in the appropriate field.
  • Editorial Board Members.

 

Evaluation Stages

Initial Evaluation

  • Read the Abstract & Conclusion.
  • Skip the Figures, Data, Tables.

 

In-Depth Evaluation

  • Read the entire script
  • Note the details
  • Getting Answer to these Questions
  • Is the quality of the manuscript good for a conclusion?
  • Is the experimental design appropriate?
  • Is there any non-relevant data?

 

How does Peer-Review Work?

  • The Research Scholars writes a Paper & Submits the Manuscript to the Academic Journal that publishes similar or related types of works.
  • The Journal Editor reads the Manuscript and decides whether it meets the criteria for Publication or not. If it is rejected, the manuscript goes back to the Researcher with a polite rejection letter. If it meets the criteria, then the Manuscript is accepted and is sent to the scientific community who will read it as well.
  • The reviewers read the manuscript to evaluate in terms of its purpose, scope, thesis, outcome and ask questions such as
  • Is the topic worth investigating?
  • Are relevant sources being used?
  • Does the evidence support the thesis?
  • Is the thesis clearly and convincingly argued?
  • Is the work original?
  • Once the reviewers have finished reading the manuscript, they send their comments to the editor, who in turn, sends it to the writer another letter that will either accept the paper without revisions or will provide comments and ask for revisions based on the peer reviewers’ evaluation of the work.
  • Once the paper is revised to the satisfaction of the editor and the reviewers take several revisions, the article is published.
  • When using Peer-reviewed articles for research papers and assignments, can use the best data or information available upon which to base your work.

 

Peer Review Methodology

 What are the Questions to be focused on while Peer-Reviewing?

Title

  • Is the title match with the Manuscript?
  • Are the major findings mentioned in the Manuscript?
  • Is the conclusion overstated?

 

Abstract

  • Can the abstract stand alone?

 

Intro

  • Is the Intro brief?
  • Does the intro have the aim or objective of the Research?

 

Methods

  • Are the methods appropriate?
  • Is the statistical analysis provided?

 

Results

  • Is the paper within the scope of the Research?
  • Does the paper address the important & interesting question?
  • Is the Manuscript readable?

 

Over-view of Peer-Review

  • The manuscript should be kept confidential.
  • Feedback should be constructive and must include reasons to support the comments.

 

How is Peer-Review beneficial in Academic Writing?

  • Improves Writing & Critical Thinking Skills
  • Develops Collaborative Learning
  • Encourages the writer to perform better
  • Saves time for Researchers
  • Ensure Quality Research is Published

 

The Peer-Reviewer needs to pay attention to evaluate the Manuscript Readability such as

  • Is the manuscript readable?
  • Are the sentences easy to read?
  • Are the sentences grammatically correct?

 

Conclusion

Peer-Review is a crucial learning process. A Good Peer-Review should be

  • Focused – Main areas should be addressed
  • Constructive – Identification of the Problems clearly
  • Structured – Systematic Approach to the Manuscript
  • Polite & Professional Feedback
  • Listing major strength & weakness
  • Recommend changes to improve

Professional help for a Rejected Manuscript

Getting a journal rejection is never easy. Even though rejections from editors or requests for revision from peer review is a very common happening in the publishing world, it is always a challenge for an author to rework their manuscript for re-submission.

This is where a professional editor and proofreader can help immensely. In today’s world of hectic professional schedules, it is often not feasible for academicians to keep reworking on their manuscripts and more and more authors are now engaging professional services for the same. Even though engaging such professionals obviously involves monetary expenses, there are some key factors why they offer real value for money.

Streamlining of revisions: A rejected manuscript with revisions suggested by peer-review can often be a complex document to work on. It requires proper mapping of the changes required and tracking of the progress of revision. This is where a professional editor can be invaluable. Editors are experts in keeping track of changes/edits and streamlining revision processes. A professional editor can list all the issues, demarcate which areas will require your intervention and which all can be handled by the editor or a proofreader, and help streamline the entire revision process.

Language correction: more often than not, journals reject manuscripts for language-related problems. In most cases, the problems are basic grammatical errors or mistakes in spelling and punctuation or something more advanced like awkward or confusing phrases, failure to observe consistency, improper referencing leading to confusion over terminologies used, etc. A more overarching challenge is the inability of the author to clearly communicate their message within the strict limitations of word count, formatting structure, etc. A professional proofreader can help ease much of these pains. They also bring a critical third person’s perspective of a reader and are better able to identify the problem areas than the author, who is often too deeply engrained to notice such issues.

Technicalities: many a time an author gets lost in the complexities of formatting requirements. Journals have very specific instructions about formatting. This ranges from alignment, referencing syntax, how to label or edit images and graphs, referencing and citation formats, etc. All these technicalities often prove to be confusing for an author whose primary focus is obviously the main content. A professional editor or proofreader on the other hand is more attuned to handle such technical details.

Subject specialization: Often peer-reviews ask for certain technical revisions that require subject specialization. This in turn means that authors require help or advice from their peers or subject experts on these matters. Today, professional editing services offer subject experts advice as well. These experts have the added advantage of having worked on manuscript submission with most journals and therefore have a much clearer understanding of what the editors or reviewers require. They also serve as perfect proxies for potential readers of the article and can offer better insights on the manuscript than most.

A professional editor or proofreader services offer end to end services at every stage of a publication process and are a potent tool for an author.

How to write a Literature Review article for a Journal

 Literature review articles are a critical form of publication. While all research articles require a literature review section, some articles are purely dedicated stand-alone literature reviews only, published as review articles or survey articles by journals. There exists a certain journal dedicated to such articles.

Review articles are extremely popular with professionals, young students, and novice researchers benefiting immensely from such evaluations of the existing literature in their fields of expertise. Review articles also tend to be highly cited, making them appealing for both journals and authors.

Here are some key tips on how to write a good literature review article for journal publication.

Depth of knowledge: depth and breadth of knowledge is necessary to produce a truly insightful and useful literature review for publication in a journal. A review article is not just about reporting recent literature on the subject that you have come across, but really about giving a unique perspective that threads all these together. One has to read the articles, grasp their essence, and then write about it with authority and interpretive wisdom which is intellectually challenging. While most journals prefer to invite experienced experts to write literature reviews, some do accept unsolicited author submitted manuscripts for publication provided they are of high caliber.

Choice of topic: The topic must not too broad and not too narrow and choose one correctly for the type of review you would like to write. Pick a narrow topic if you intend to write a short crisp review, either about a certain procedure/methodology being explored in your field or certain types of experiments being conducted. For a wider and theoretical exploration of new ideas or burning issues in your field, choose a topic that is wide enough so that you will be able to find enough articles to discuss.

Define the scope of the article: It is very important to limit the scope of the article in order to ensure that you do not lose focus. The point of a good literature review is sharing your perspective while amalgamating various perspectives or viewpoints. It is critical not to be deviate in your discussion by shifting focus to what the others were trying to say. Remember, people will read your article for what you want to say.

Thorough background research: a literature review requires thorough background research. You have to extensively read on the subject, even if you are not covering or referencing every article that you read. While the seminal works deserve a focus, remember there are many others who might have contributed to the field as well. It is critical to develop a wider perspective and then focus and cite some key articles only in your manuscript.

Constructive criticism: A review, while being critical, should not be about nitpicking. You may differ with some authors, or highlight some lacuna that needs to be explored in the field. However, your manuscript must reflect areas of development and encouragement for your readers, and offer new grounds for academic activism on the topic. Only then will a journal consider it for publication.

HELPFUL TIPS ON FORMATTINGJOURNAL ARTICLES BY OBSERVING THE GUIDELINES

Submitting a manuscript for journal publication requires an author to strictly follow guidelines suggested by the journals. Failing to follow guidelines leads to the rejection of the manuscript, which is obviously undesirable for any author. Therefore, it is imperative that these formatting guidelines are followed very carefully before submitting an article.

Here are some key pointers to be aware of while formatting a manuscript as per journal guidelines.

The structure of the manuscript: Check carefully the different sections and structure required by the journal for submission. Journals often have specific instructions for Cover page, Excerpts, Executive summary, Abstract, Appendix, References, etc. Not all journals ask for all such sections. For instance, one journal may request for a short abstract, while others may ask for a bit longer executive summary. It is important to follow these instructions as per requirements. Usually, all journals require a cover letter along with the submission as well. Follow instructions on the format for a cover letter if specified.

Referencing: A critical component of any academic article is its references. Strictly follow referencing guidelines of a journal as prescribed in the guidelines. Some journals may request inline referencing, references in footnotes, while others may request for end text references. Moreover, the format of referencing is also critical. There are some general conventions of referencing and most authors are well versed in them. However, it is imperative that you follow the one specified by the journal for its manuscripts.

Formatting: every journal has specific instructions for formatting. Often, journals have different formatting requirements for different stages of the manuscript. For instance. Some journals may request double spacing for the manuscript they require for peer review, while the final print document may be single spacing. Font, font size, spacing, paragraph specifications are some of the key focus areas for formatting.

Diagrams and tables: diagrams and tables are an integral part of a scientific publication, and often manuscripts have a plethora of them. Check the title requirement, size requirement, formatting details for charts, etc for diagrams. A common mistake often done by authors is about the colours used in their diagrams and charts. If the journal does not support coloured printing, your charts and diagrams have to design in black and grey monochrome. You not only have to careful to change the colour tone as per requirements but also ensure the charts and diagrams are distinctive and easy to read in those colour tones.

Word Count: The importance of word count needs to be reiterated. Every section of the manuscript may have word counts and need to be adhered to. If the journal asks for an abstract of 250 words; you need to draft an abstract within 250 words. The same applies for every section, chapter, etc. as may be specified.

Most importantly, read the instructions for each journal carefully. Authors often rehash one submission for another journal; so be careful not to mix up the instructions. The same article for different journals needs to be formatted from scratch to meets each journal’s specific requirements.

Revising your article post reviewer comments

Receiving peer-review comments from a journal often gives rise to mixed feelings. Presuming the editor offers to reconsider your submission post revision, it essentially means the first step of getting your academic paper published in the journal of your choice is successfully completed. However, at the same time, any long-drawn revision process means more effort and resources on the same manuscript which is often a mental challenge as well.

Here is some step by step tips on how to approach the process of revising manuscripts post-peer-review comments:

Take it easy: Once you receive peer-review comments, the first reaction is to go through it at one go in excitement. However, responding to the comments must be done in a much calmer manner. It is best to revisit the comments after a few days, once you have worn out the initial feelings.

Organize: read the comments multiple times. Often, reviewers suggest certain major and minor comments. Authors often lose sight of the minor comments while they are pre-occupied to deal with the major comments. However, as a professional, you are expected to address each and every comment.

It is suggested that you tabulate the comments in detail. Demarcate each comment in certain categories: editorial changes, formatting related changes, comments on methodology, comments on data-work, etc. Once you have tabulated the comments, estimate how much time and effort it will require you to address all those comments. This then gives you a more definitive idea of how much effort you need for revision to address all peer-review comments.

Take a call: actually, it involves multiple calls, but you should take them one by one. First and foremost, you need to decide if you will make all the revisions requested or not. Often, reviewers may make suggestions to which you need not necessarily agree to.

Some comments are tricky, especially those related to the research itself – to the methodology used, for instance, or the results obtained and the conclusions drawn from them. These may require considerable revision requiring extra time and funding to accomplish, or they may necessitate thinking about and reporting your research in different ways.  You need to decide whether you want to walk the mile or stick to what you already have produced.

All these decisions lead to the final call; if you still want to pursue publishing the academic paper in the journal. You may choose to accept some constructive comments which may help you improve your manuscript, but prefer to submit the improved draft to some other journal.

Respond to the editor: Irrespective of what calls you take, as a professional courtesy, write back to the editor who has shared the feedback with you. Share the list of comments, address each comment as to whether you disagree to it (and why) or you agree (and what you are going to do to address it). If you are keen to pursue publishing in the same journal, let the editor know by when you can re-share the manuscript based on your time estimation.

AUTHORSHIP GUIDELINES AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS

All reputed peer-reviewed scientific journals have very well-established systematic structures in place which any author submitting a scientific research paper for publication is expected to abide by. These instructions are shared by the journals in the form of authorship guidelines.

A journal’s instructions for preparing the scientific research paper for submission may seem straightforward in the beginning, yet these instructions can be tricky to follow with precision and consistency. While each journal has its own set of rules and regulations, there are some common features that are mirrored across each.

Authorship: One of the most critical components of manuscript submission is establishing the authorship of the scientific research paper. A solo endeavor by a researcher is a simple case with sole authorship. However, in most practical cases today, scientific research projects and papers often require contributions from many individuals and this makes the assignment of authorship difficult. For instance, you may be working as a researcher in a lab, but working under the supervision or instructions of a lead researcher/project in charge. In such a case, there are risks of conflict of ownership of authorship over any scientific research paper emerging of this project.

Every journal requires one principal point of contact as the author of the manuscript. The journal communicates with this central author for all communications and the onus of the veracity of the content lies with this author. Every journal has author guidelines on how to set the principle authorship and you must follow it stringently.

Copyright: related to the issue of authorship is the issue of copyright over the article. A scientific journal will only accept to publish a manuscript if it is guaranteed copyright over the article it publishes. This, in turn, means you must guarantee that (a) the article is not submitted for publication to any other journal, or the similar findings by the same set of researchers in not replicated in any other publication; (b) the co-authors have agreed not only to have you as a principal author but also entitled you to permit copyrights to the journal; (c) your institution/academy has no issues with copyright over publications of research activities conducted there.

It is advisable to follow the author guidelines very carefully in the process of making the submission to avoid copyright problems later on.

The rigor of study: For reputed journals to accept your publication, you have to establish the rigor of your study. Empirical research designs need to state the extent to which the studies are representative of a particular population, with supplementary materials including data quality control, alternative models, explicit formulas used in statistical analyses, and modeling.

Today there exist several professional services who specialize in scientific journal publication as they are well versed with the particular requirements of each such journal. They can help a young author navigate the complicated route to a successful publication and it is advisable to resort to such services for a hassle-free experience.

General Discipline for Writing Scientific paper

Conducting scientific research and writing a research paper for publication requires a different skill set. Scientists often come up with poor write-ups, as they mostly ignore the requirements for drafting a good research paper. This often leads to adverse comments from peer reviewers and even rejection of manuscripts.

Here are a few pointers of common errors and how to address them.

Word limit, page limit, figure limit, and limited attention spans are some of the constraints within which a scientist has to write a research paper. It is advisable to set certain objectives as benchmarks while meeting these constraints. The basic objectives are (a) clarity on the purpose of the research paper, the key hypotheses and the message it tries to convey; (b) the target audience, journal of publication, and intended outreach;

A scientific paper encounters thousands of critics during peer review as they often fail to convey their intentions. If scientists do not clearly define and communicate terminologies, concepts, or technical matters in their scientific paper, other scientists reading the paper will use their own logical reasoning to fill in for what is missing, and this often creates a gap. Therefore, it is important to give special attention to glossaries, etc. to clarify the exact meaning of any technical term being used in the research paper manuscript.

Often, scientific papers have multiple scientists contributing as authors. In such cases, usually different sections of papers are initially written by different people. This creates sharp distinctions, as often the tone and syntax of different sections are markedly different. Such differences affect the experience of reading the scientific paper and often the real message gets lost. This is where a professional editor becomes critical for reviewing the manuscript before it is finalized for publication.

It is very critical to stick to the correct format for a scientific article. Formatting includes the structure of the paper, depending on whether it is presented as a review, commentary to an ongoing discussion, reporting of primary investigations, etc. Formatting includes proper structuring of the paper with an introduction, literature survey, discussion of methodology, proper reporting of findings, etc. Each of these sections to have its own proper syntax and format.

A research paper should be written in an authoritative style, but must not be preachy. Criticisms to other’s work under the literature survey section must be logical and not become dismissive of their work. Affirmation for one’s arguments must allow for space of contradictions and not pose to be definitive and absolute.

DEALING WITH MANUSCRIPT REJECTION

Getting a rejection letter from a journal is one of the most disconcerting experiences for any author. Statistical evidence suggests all authors including the most experienced ones face rejection even at matured stages of their careers. There is evidence that a rejection from one journal is not the end of the road for the author or even for that particular manuscript. However, there is no denying the fact that a rejection letter hurts a lot. So, how does one deal with it?

Take a step back: Accepting rejection is particularly hard at the beginning of one’s career. You may look back on all the effort put into writing, editing, and formatting the paper and consider all that as a complete waste of time. However, these are initial reactions that are normal and hence allow them to phase out. Once you have read the review, put it away for several days. What seems shocking and rude on the first day starts to look more manageable by the third day. Getting some distance on the comments is useful for the next steps.

Understand why it was rejected: the review letter will have clear answers to your primary question; why was it rejected? Read the letter objectively once you get over the shock.  Poor language is an extremely common reason for manuscript rejection along with formatting issues. Many journal editors reject an article at the initial stage because of other factors such as multiple articles on similar lines or topics etc. If your manuscript was sent for peer review, it means the set of challenges are quite different. Read the review comments carefully and try to understand where exactly the challenge lies: methodology, main argument, presentation of academic evidence, a lacuna in rigor. A ‘revise and submit’ may be as bad as a rejection but it also leaves enough scope to work on for the next round.

What to do next? Contrary to initial feeling, you actually have multiple options before you: (1) abandon the paper, (2) send the paper without a single change to another journal, (3) revise the manuscript and send it to another journal, or (4) protest or appeal the decision and try to resubmit the paper to the rejecting journal. While the initial reaction may be towards options (1) and (4), it is really the options (2) and (3) that makes more sense. However, all four options are equally valid and what you decide to do must be based on sound reasoning.

Conclusion

Even though it may sound ironic, it is better to be prepared for rejection even at the time of drafting the manuscript for journal publication. Some prepare to send it to multiple journals from the onset. Some look forward to peer-review under rejection only to polish the manuscript for a better journal. Many authors have experience of the same paper being rejected multiple times before it was finally published. Rejection is just another stepping-stone for an academic career.

How to Overcome Difficulties in Academic Writing

Academic writing is a skill essential for anyone looking to pursue higher academics. Academic writing is a specific type of writing that involves a lot of reading or material collection, doing in-depth research and critical analysis of scholarly literature, planning of the entire presentation, revising contents and structure, etc. Invariably it ends up involving rewriting, editing, proofreading, and formatting to make it more professional and efficient.

Academic writings can be in the form of essays, term paper, thesis, dissertation, research reports, etc. depending on the core academic activity on which the final manuscript is to be based. While each of these forms has its own peculiarities and specific requirements, there are certain commonalities that every budding academician needs to keep in mind. Making essays with seotoolscentre sentence rewriter can be way easier and faster.

The first key element for academic writing is self-organization. Academic writing is different from other forms of writing as it requires strict discipline not only in preparation for the content but also in how the content is presented. Any academic manuscript needs to be organized in a standard format: an introduction that includes the hypothesis or the premise which is essentially what the entire manuscript tries to address; the body of the content, which should include separate paragraphs discussing evidence that supports or negates the hypothesis; and a conclusion that ties everything together and conclusively connects it to the hypothesis. Self-organization starts with narrowing down the planned manuscript to chalk-out a basic outline even before the first words are drafted.

Research of secondary literature or ‘literature review’ is an essential part of any academic writing. Before one delves into one’s own hypothesis and arguments in favor or in opposition to it, it is customary to first review and present the viewpoints/evidence already presented by all others/peers in this field. Any such research needs to be reported with proper citation and accreditation as deemed fit. Plagiarism is a major problem in the field of academic writing and special care needs to be taken to ensure (a) no referencing is missed out for any secondary source of material and (b) the language of presentation is an authors’ own and not just a plain copy-paste of the original manuscript. One can always quote others but that needs to be done in a limited capacity and in proper formatting and protocols for quoting and citations.

Editing of the manuscript is an absolute must for any academic writing. Grammar, style, and punctuation are incredibly important if the article is to be understood and taken seriously. Language and vocabulary are important, and using jargon just to sound smart often results in the opposite effect if used inappropriately as it exposes overcompensating in their writing. Each body paragraph must start with a topic sentence that presents the main idea of the paragraph and express your point of view, and each paragraph much end with its own mini-conclusion of the discussions covered that logically leads to the next paragraph.

Academic writing is a habit developed by practice and is an integral part of the entire academic exercise.

Mastering the three stages of manuscript editing

Editing your own creative work could sometimes seem intimidating, mainly because looking at your own work with a critical eye is not as easy as it seems. It’s not just about spelling and grammar. Editing is a skill that sometimes requires you to get rid of even your most favorite terms and terminologies. To be a great editor, you would have to detach yourself from your own script and get acquainted with the ‘backspace’ button.

Here are the three stages of manuscript writing:

Content or Substantive Edit

This is the most time-consuming part of manuscript editing. Remember, there is always a better way to present your manuscript. Start by giving yourself some time away from your script so that you can develop a fresh take on what you’ve written. The focus of your editing exercise this time should be on the structural aspect, and you would need to pay attention to what works well and what looks awry. Revisit your overall paper at least three times, pay attention to the text, data, accuracy, and overall consistency and presentation. A professional subject matter editor always takes care of the content issues to make sure your writing is ready to be submitted for publication.

Copy Edit  

Once you have dealt with the structural errors by making the necessary revisions, it’s time to copy edit your paper to ensure correct formatting, grammar, margins, font size, etc. This includes all things technical and presentation-based. Copy editing requires you to pay attention to the tone, language, phrasing, parts of the speech, undue repetitions, etc. A copy edit makes your work free of any technical errors that might be a hindrance at the acceptance stage in the publication cycle. It is indeed a skill, and good copy-editing includes eliminating any wordiness in order to improve readability. Even though copy editing does not take as much time as a content edit, you would still be required to give a good amount of your time to this.

Proofreading  

Proofreading is the third stage in editing your manuscript. Unlike copy edit and content edit, this stage requires you to separate your text into sections, and concentrate on one section at a time. You can consider printing a hard copy if reading online is a problem. By now, you must have clearly understood the focus of the overall paper; therefore at this stage, you must examine each sentence individually for syntax, spelling, and grammar. You should recheck any dates, data, names of people, places, etc. that you have mentioned in the text to ensure accuracy.

Conclusion

We live in a world of technology, and a lot of things become easier with the resources available online. To support your manuscript editing skill, do not hesitate to refer to online applications or websites that might come handy to do minor language, spelling, and phrasing edits. Also, it is advisable to let peers re-read your scripts before starting the edit to incorporate third-party suggestions.