Should I reply to an editor after a paper has been rejected?

Communicating with journal Editor

It is crucial to develop and maintain a professional understanding with the editor. Although, it’s true that the author generally is hesitant to communicate in the context of the manuscript status. Clear professional discussion on the other hand can be the best way to restrict overthinking by the author and also gives a clear view regarding the fate of the manuscript.

Accepting the unexpected “Manuscript Rejection”

Although, manuscript rejection sets in a sense of failure, and for some time the author goes through a period of “trans” where the acceptance of manuscript rejection is deliberately denied or in some cases is not completely accepted. This is very much normal if its continues for a small period of time. However, a mind full reply to the editor is a must.

Steps to assimilate rejection and “Move on” by replying to the editor

  • Although how depressing or heart-wrenching it may seem, making oneself prepared or the mere thought of writing back to editor post rejection is the 1st step to recovery.
  • The author by deciding to write back to the editor makes up his mind to also read and re-read the loopholes of his work. The latter is the deciding act which in due course of time makes the researcher scholar an “Author”.
  • Once the pitfall or gaps of the paper is ascertained, next crucial aspect is to frame right, affirmative, context-appropriate answers or viewpoint in a polite and elaborate manner to the editor.
  • The author must gracefully accept the rejection and take the comments or query as the “stepping stone to success”.

 

Why replying to the editor is important to post rejection:

  • It’s an important step to become a successful author as it evolves collecting and introspecting the critics.
  • Rejection always does not mean “END OF THE WORLD”, generally the editor recommends the work to other related journals wherein the focus and aims gels better most appropriately with the content.
  • A rejection email by the editor also clarifies the line of undertaking the researcher should take in the future. A free and frank discussion can go long way not only to accomplish your desire to publish but also reboots the positive spirit.

 

Conclusion: It’s always better to reciprocate than to regret. A frank, free, detailed discussion with the editor regarding manuscript rejection can shatter the clouds of disappointment and manifest new zeal and confidence warranted to become a successful author of a peer-reviewed article.

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

Common Reasons Why a Research Paper Gets Rejected by Journals

The publishing industry is enormous and authors are open to choose the appropriate journal for submission. Though there are thousands of journals to choose from, rejection is common in scholarly publishing. The rejection causes demotivation among researchers, who dedicate months to designing and writing a perfectly molded paper.

Here, we have focused on the common mistakes for which academic papers are rejected by journals.

Technical screening

Manuscripts submitted to a reputed high-impact academic journal undergo severe scrutiny even before they are screened by the editorial board members and reviewers.

The primary causes of their rejection at this stage are:

  • The paper is not relevant to the journal’s readers or are not under the aims and scope of the journal
  • Paper lacks novelty in the relevant field
  • Plagiarized content
  • Ethical concerns
  • Unavailability of Informed consent forms of subjects
  • If similar research papers are already under consideration
  • The paper has not been prepared based on the journal’s guidelines
  • Incomplete materials (If the author hasn’t provided the mandatory documents)

Peer review process

After the initial screening, the editors assign the reviewers to initiate the peer-review process. In the peer-review a comprehensive critical analysis of the high-quality papers takes place.

The primary causes of their rejection at this stage are:

  • The aim is unclear and the introduction part lacks clarity
  • Use of insignificant or outdated procedures or methodology
  • Statistical analysis of the data is inadequate and weak
  • Illogical or unstructured arguments
  • The data does not support the conclusions
  • Insufficient data failing to produce a significant result
  • Poor writing or contains too many jargons
  • Inconsistencies in the writing with grammatical and spelling errors

Quality of figures and other issues

  • If an author has failed to obtain written consent of the participants before/during the research.
  • Conflict of interest declaration, copyright issues, plagiarized data, and other ethical concerns associated with the research paper.
  • The journal may not have the space for the paper
  • The paper is incompetent with the high standards of other papers submitted to the journal
  • Non-archival data and of insignificant value to the journal
  • Poorly designed and irrelevant repetition tables or figures

Whatever the reasons, make sure that you read the feedback in depth and reflect on it. Even if you don’t agree with the feedback, it’s still important to understand why someone else might have thought that. Hence, knowing and accepting the reasons for rejection by the journal can significantly enhance the chance of publication in the next attempt.

Portable Peer review: the new efficiency in publishing?

Peer review is perhaps the most critical but difficult step in publishing a research article in any journal. In the academic world, a publication without peer review is generally looked down upon and all major reputed journals follow peer review. Therefore, every author wants to get their research article published in such journals.

However, the entire peer-review process is extremely tedious and time-consuming. It often takes months for reviewers to send their reviews, which is followed by a prolonged process of editing by the author for resubmission; and this cycle continues. In the process, the publication gets delayed, authors may decide to stop pursuing one journal and shift to another journal, only to start the entire process all over again. Many journal editors reject most articles at the initial stage without even sending them for peer review only to avoid the hassle.

To get over this issue, certain journals combined to initiate what was called portable peer review. Portable peer review is a system where an author can resubmit one article manuscript to another publisher while sharing the peer review received from the first journal. Under this mechanism, the second journal acknowledges the review from the first incidence and takes up the process thereon, instead of starting the entire edit and review process from scratch.

There are several businesses that tried to specialize in portable peer review by offering a centralized reviewing service for both authors and publishers. These certified reviews could then be used by authors to apply to different publishers. Publishers too were expected to subscribe to such third-party review services for efficiency.

The initiative that has been active for quite some years has often received mixed responses. Following the initial optimism, the entire process did have very limited off-take. Besides the challenges with revenue models of some of these third-party review services leading to their failure, the biggest challenge for the system was that authors were often not comfortable to share harsh or critical reviews from one journal with another. More often than not, authors shift journals as they are not happy with their reviews; and shift to another journal only for a fresh and more optimistic second chance.

However, following the COVID related challenges, portable peer review seems to be gaining ground. The recently evolved C19 Rapid Review Initiative in medical sciences has received a positive response with nearly 2k reviewers signing up as rapid reviewers from more than 80 countries. The initiative started by Hindawi, the Royal Society, PLOS is now endorsed by SSRN, AfricArxiv, and Research on Research Institute (RoRI).UCL Press, Springer Nature, MIT Press, and Cambridge University Press joined the collaboration with a number of their titles, increasing the original group of nine publishers and organizations to 20 backings the C19 Rapid Review project.

While much of the new drive was necessitated by the need for finding a fast cure for COVID, this drive may change the fortunes of portable peer review in the future.

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.

Understanding Open peer review

Peer review is a critical part of any publication in a respectable journal. However, the entire process of traditional peer review has always been criticized by the academic circle for various reasons. Some of the most common criticisms are:

  • Peer review is a subjective matter that can be both unreliable and inconsistent varying from reviewer to reviewer.
  • There are considerable delays and expenses involved in the entire process, which affect both journals and prospects of the authors.
  • There is a lack of accountability or transparency in the mechanism, leading to challenges of unscrupulous practices by a reviewer, who may choose to subvert publications that might challenge their professional interests.

In contrast to the traditional system of peer review, an alternative structure of open peer review has evolved that has been adopted by many journals today. There does not exist any definite structure to open peer review and there exist various models of open peer review. Some of the most popular forms of open peer review are:

Open Identity Peer review: Under open identity peer review the authors and reviewers are aware of each other’s identities. This is in sharp contrast to the conventional peer review system where either the author does not get to know the reviewer or both author and reviewer do not get to know each other’s identity. Open identity peer review supposedly (a) enhance accountability, further enable credit for peer reviewers, and simply make the system fairer (b) increase review quality, as a reviewer puts more effort into their reviews when their names are attached to them.

Open Reports: Under Open reports peer review, the review reports are published alongside the relevant article. This adds another layer of quality assurance, as the reviews are open to the scrutiny of the wider scientific community. Published reviews are recognition for the reviewer as well and can count in their academic records as well.

Open Participation: Open participation peer review, is a “crowdsourced peer review” that allows the wider community to contribute to the review process. Open participation is often used as a complement to a parallel process of solicited peer review and allows for wider access to reviewers who voluntarily contribute as part of enriching the academic discourse.

Open Interaction: Open interaction takes things a step further and is more like a blog format where the author, reviewer, and others can participate in an open conversation on the publication. Allowing interaction amongst authors and multiple reviewers enables a collaborative process to improve their publication.  This may be done in stages, like opening for comment before final publication.

Open peer review is still an evolving process with newer ideas being experimented. However, open peer review is not aimed to completely replace conventional peer review. This is just another form of reviewing for publication that is gaining favor amongst the academic community.

The Process of Publishing a Research paper in a Journal

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.

Conclusion

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

What you should know about peer reviews

During our university years, we have all heard professors vouching for peer-reviewed publications. We were advised to refer to the research articles that have been reviewed by the experts in that field. In this blog post, we’re going to explore all the important things you need to know about peer-reviews.

Why are peer-reviews important?

 Peer-review is a means of validating research by the experts in that field of study. Once the article or the study is scrutinized by the peer expert, it is fit to be published in a journal and considered positively by governments, scientists, medical practitioners, academicians, etc.

These reviews are highly reliable because they are critically analyzed by the experts and include many helpful findings.

How is a peer review performed?

 Performing a peer review is a rigorous process and it requires one to be an expert in his field. While some lesser-known journals might accept debutants, most publications prefer well-known reviewers. The process involves critically analyzing a study and giving necessary feedback to the author. In some cases, modification is required for the research to be accepted and published. In some other cases, the article could be straightaway accepted or rejected. This approval or verification by an expert is crucial; without this, the authenticity of the research would be doubtful and remain preliminary or incomplete.

The reviewer is expected to follow a set protocol, depending on the standard and requirements of the journal or the publication. Even though there are no universal guidelines, it is advisable that the feedback should be valuable, positive, and honest.

There are three kinds of peer reviews:

  • Single-blind peer review: the author’s identity is revealed to the reviewers, but the reviewers’ details are concealed from the author.
  • Double-blind peer review: both the identities remain hidden.
  • Open peer review: the identities are revealed to both the parties involved

 

How to recognize peer-reviewed journals?

 In a situation where one needs to identify a peer-reviewed journal article, one needs to follow the steps below.

  • Start by limiting the search to peer-reviewed journals only (if possible)
  • If it’s not possible to narrow the search, one can also find the details of peer-review in the article itself
  • You can also check on com to ascertain whether the publication where the article is presented is peer-reviewed
  • If you are a scholar, and you have tried all of the above steps, you can also ask your mentor for help regarding this.

 

Even though peer-reviews can be really helpful in accessing some high-quality content, it also has its limitations and flaws. With the increasing number of publications around the world, it is difficult to find as many esteemed reviewers. Sometimes, if the identity of the author is revealed, the reviewer might form a bias based on gender, nationality, or age. Despite some of these flaws, the role of peer-reviews in providing accurate and reliable information cannot be denied.

Common Reasons Why a Research Paper Gets Rejected by Journals

Publishing industry is enormous and authors are open to choose the appropriate journal for submission. Though, there are thousands of journals to choose from, the rejection is common in scholarly publishing. The rejection causes demotivation among researchers, who dedicate months in designing and writing a perfectly molded paper.

Here, we have focused on the common mistakes for which academic papers are rejected by journals.

Technical screening

Manuscripts submitted to a reputed high impact academic journal undergo severe scrutiny even before they are screened by the editorial board members and reviewers.

The primary causes of their rejection at this stage are:

  • The paper is not relevant to the journal’s readers or are not under the aims and scope of the journal
  • Paper lacks novelty in the relevant field
  • Plagiarized content
  • Ethical concerns
  • Unavailability of Informed consent forms of subjects
  • If similar research papers are already under consideration
  • The paper has not been prepared based on the journal’s guidelines
  • Incomplete materials (If the author hasn’t provided the mandatory documents)

 

Peer review process

After the initial screening, the editors assign the reviewers to initiate the peer-review process. In the peer-review a comprehensive critical analysis of the high-quality papers takes place.

The primary causes of their rejection at this stage are:

  • The aim is unclear and introduction part lacks clarity
  • Use of insignificant or outdated procedures or methodology
  • Statistical analysis of the data is inadequate and weak
  • Illogical or unstructured arguments
  • The data does not support the conclusions
  • Insufficient data failing to produce significant result
  • Poor writing or contains too much jargons
  • Inconsistencies in the writing with grammatical and spelling errors

 

Quality of figures and other issues

  • If author has failed to obtain written consent of the participants before/during the research.
  • Conflict of interest declaration, copyright issues, plagiarized data and other ethical concerns associated with the research paper.
  • The journal may not have the space for the paper
  • The paper is incompetent with the high standards of other papers submitted to the journal
  • Non-archival data and of insignificant value to the journal
  • Poorly designed and irrelevant repetition tables or figures

Whatever the reasons, make sure that you read the feedback in depth and reflect on it. Even if you don’t agree with the feedback, it’s still important to understand why someone else might have thought that. Hence, knowing and accepting the reasons of rejection by the journal can significantly enhance the chance of publication in the next attempt.

Selecting the right journal for publication

Authors need to optimize between many criterions before reaching a conclusion to publish a paper. You need to follow few tips to select the best journal for publication. Firstly, make a list of the journals available. Subsequently check the impact of the journal, confirm the requirement of journal, and verify the journals’ peer-review process. Following the above points in mind you can proceed to choose the best probable journal for your publication.

Reference Link: https://blog.typeset.io/choose-right-journal-early-stage-researchers-guide-ea2cf236dde4