Basic Questions about Article Rejection

Preparing and submitting scholarly papers requires a significant investment of time and mental energy. When you work hard on a paper, it can be disheartening to learn that it has been rejected. However, it is crucial to note that more papers are rejected than approved.

What are the most common reasons a journal can reject your paper for peer review?

  • The topic of the article is not within the scope of the publication.
  • The article type does not correspond to what the journal typically publishes.
  • The article does not adhere to fundamental journal criteria.
  • The writing does not meet fundamental requirements.
  • Issues with references
  • Author information is missing.
  • Self-plagiarism and plagiarism

What to do if my proposal is rejected?

Take care of yourself.

Rejection is depressing and can be painful. Recognize your feelings. Remember that just your paper has been rejected, not you personally. Try listing your qualities and things you are grateful for or assessing your modest accomplishments to improve your mood and self-esteem.

Consider your objectives.

Avoid getting caught up in the details and instead concentrate on the big picture. Frequently wait a day or two to read comprehensive reviewer remarks, especially when dealing with painful rejections: it can be harmful to immerse yourself in such comments when you are not ready. Peer review is an excellent method, but it is also intrinsically subjective, which means that rejection may be poor luck.

Tell us about your experience.

It’s natural to feel alienated and disconnected following a rejection. Sharing your rejection stories with co-workers or peers will help you get through it, but it will also assist others in dealing with their own.

 What does ‘Reject & Resubmit’ mean?

A choice to ‘Reject and resubmit’ is quite similar to ‘Revise and resubmit.’ The editor believes your study has some merit, but it is not publishable in its current form. Typically, it would necessitate considerable reworking, which would include, in most situations, adding additional trials or redoing the data analysis.

 Can I appeal the decision of the article reviewers to the journal editor?

Suppose you are convinced that you can correct the flaws identified by the editor or reviewers in the article. In that case, you may file an appeal and request rejection with the option for resubmission.

Is it possible for a journal to reject work without explaining?

The article’s content does not fall within the scope of the journal.

  • Noncompliance with the journal’s style, format, or criteria
  • Too many writing errors, such as English language errors.
  • The findings are neither innovative nor significant enough to warrant a significant advancement in the discipline.
  • The article is either too specialized/in-depth or too shallow.

 

Can a journal’s chief edit or publish an article notwithstanding reviewers’ recommendations to reject it?

While the editor-in-chief (EIC) has the authority to accept an article even if reviewers recommend that it be rejected, this is not a regular occurrence. Sometimes an editor will decide that one reviewer’s comments are problematic, possibly because they are overly stringent on the review. However, because most papers have many reviewers, it would be unusual for these difficulties to develop across reviewers.

 Conclusion

The effort you put into your paper submission is not in vain; consider it a step in the academic publishing process. Use any criticism received for the next edition of the paper. Don’t interpret the rejection as a sign that the research in your study isn’t worthwhile. The questions and answers that follow can assist you in deciding what steps to take next with your work.

Plagiarism in Academic writing: How to Identify and Avoid It

Plagiarism is well-known as a breach of publishing ethics which is despised in the academic circle. However, while in some cases the authors engage in deliberate plagiarism, more often than not authors end up being guilty of plagiarism unknowingly. This is because plagiarism, although a very commonly used term, is a vaguely defined concept.

Plagiarism technically means using someone else’s ideas/ intellectual property as one’s own without giving proper credit to the original creator. While the first part (as one’s own) is well understood as improper appropriation, it is often the second part (giving proper credit) where author’s unintentionally falter. 

Some of the most common forms of plagiarism are:

Patchwork: patchwork refers to direct lifting or verbatim representation of another’s work without using quotations or referencing. This is the most blatant form of plagiarism.

Plagiarised ideas: This is when you pass-off someone else’s ideas as your own, even if in your own words or articulation.

Loose paraphrasing: This is the most common form of unintentional plagiarism. Authors, while discussing literature reviews, often write the content of other authors without proper attribution, which technically makes it plagiarism.

Self-plagiarism: This is the most difficult to understand the form of plagiarism. This refers to recycling of one’s own work in multiple publications. While it is difficult to comprehend how one can ‘steal’ from oneself, reproduction of the same work in multiple journal publications or presenting the same content multiple times to bolster the number of one’s publications is a problem in academics that has led to this publishing ethics.

How to avoid unintentional plagiarism:

Proper referencing: while doing your background research, keep meticulous notes of which ideas/sections are from which article. While writing, maintain side notes for proper referencing later while finalizing the article.

Quotes and paraphrasing: authors often tangle themselves up in this issue! For citing what some other author has said, it is advisable to use quotations to drive home a critical or technical detail. While discussing a concept and how others have addressed it, it is better to paraphrase it in one’s own words.

While paraphrasing, one must be careful not to reproduce the same content by just replacing certain words here and there. A proper paraphrasing would be a complete re-articulation of the source material. Proper paraphrasing is rewriting other’s content from one’s own perspective.

In both cases, proper citation or reference is mandatory.

Follow citation rules: every journal has well-defined citation and referencing norms and one must follow them judiciously. Journals nowadays prefer in-text referencing, especially for paraphrasing and quotations and it is a good habit to develop one’s writing style with in-text referencing.

Rewrite your own words: while referring to your own previous works, we often tend to copy-paste paragraphs as one likes one’s own articulation best. However, in order to avoid self-plagiarism, rewrite the content every time for a new article in the context of the new article, and you will see your language will change.

Misconduct in Research Publication

The academic world is not without its flaws. Given the mad rush to get published and the number of publications being a measure of one’s acumen, it is not surprising that many authors often resort to some of the below-mentioned misconducts. However, it must also be remembered that often younger authors unwittingly fall prey to these same misconducts simply because they are too naïve or fail to take proper precautions.

Here are some of the top misconducts in research publication and tips on how to avoid them.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is perhaps the most common and well-understood issue with the publication. It is also technically one of the most complicated to ascertain. Plagiarism refers to the inappropriate usage of other’s ideas or any intellectual property without explicit consent or attribution. Thus, if you pass off someone else’s words or works as your’s own, it is plagiarism.

However, what many young scholars miss out on is that even referring to some other study or project without proper attribution is also plagiarism, even if one does not try to pass it as one’s own idea. While citing an article, unless you quote the entire section under parentheses, you may be guilty of plagiarism. Technically, today in the publishing world it is accepted as a norm that if five consecutive words are the same as source material, it is considered plagiarism. Therefore, it is advised to be extremely careful even in the literature review section to avoid allegations of plagiarism.

Falsification: Data manipulation is one of the biggest problems of any research publication. More often than not, researchers resort to such measures to get more amicable results, to ensure their hypothesis is proven right, or simply to present a more robust and powerful finding than their peers. Technically, there can be 2 types of misconducts; fabrication of data in the form of generating fictitious data, or falsification in the form of selective choosing of data to suit one’s research objective. In either case, it is regarded as manipulation of falsification of data and is considered as grave misconduct.

Data duplication: This is misconduct often done unintentionally though there are instances when unscrupulous researchers do it on purpose. Technically, data duplication refers to creating exact copies same data, usually for back-up. However, in many research methodologies, especially those involving sampling or surveying, mishandling of data can lead to unintentional data duplication within the data set. Often this is done to artificially increase the total sample size, or to cover for failed experimentation. Data duplication leads to amplification of the results and in academic research it is considered a grave methodological error if done unintentionally and a form of data manipulation if done intentionally.

Unethical practices: unethical practices may include exposing individuals of groups to risks (say in medical experiments) without their knowledge, breach of individual privacy, non-anonymization of survey data, improper usage or disposal of hazardous materials, etc. Any research that violates any such norm, even unintentionally, is also considered as misconduct.

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.

Present day research and issues related to it

Modern research has played a significant role in solving life’s mysteries, and has, paradoxically, sometimes added to them, a la the test tube baby and human cloning. With the advent of time, scientists will delve deeper to deliver landmark results in many areas, such as discovering cures for hitherto untreatable diseases, or preventing a cyclone before it causes damage. We can visualize technologically innovative energy sources and their futuristic applications like manipulating the external environment to sustain life on the Moon. Research is an integral part of human activity and is affected by all the factors that have a bearing on human beings in any way. However, amid all such advancements and applications, it is also critically important to recognize the hurdles in the path of modern-day research, and to find solutions to improve future researches.

For more information please check : https://www.pubmanu.com/modern-research-problems/

Modern Research and its Associated Problems

Modern research has played a significant role in solving life’s mysteries, and has, paradoxically, sometimes added to them, a la the test tube baby and human cloning. With the advent of time, scientists will delve deeper to deliver landmark results in many areas, such as discovering cures for hitherto untreatable diseases, or preventing a cyclone before it causes damage. We can visualize technologically innovative energy sources and their futuristic applications like manipulating the external environment to sustain life on the Moon. Research is an integral part of human activity and is affected by all the factors that have a bearing on human beings in any way. However, amid all such advancements and applications, it is also critically important to recognize the hurdles in the path of modern-day research, and to find solutions to improve future researches.

The Research Issues:

  • Practical problems: The problems faced by modern-day research are usually practical ones, such as devising ways and means to increase energy supply to meet the global demand or eliminate environmental pollutants.
  • Ethical issues: In course of their work, researchers are often confronted with certain ethical implications, especially those associated with experiments involving human genetic manipulation, critical organ transplantation, and so on.
  • Challenges for young researchers: Research contracts are generally short-term, which are granted for a period of 3-4 years. This discourages in-depth research on any research problem as it becomes difficult for young and ambitious researchers to present a detailed and satisfying result in the research paper. This builds up enormous academic stress on many talented budding researchers.
  • PhD programs do not help much:  PhD programs offer limited opportunity to the students to equip themselves with the training necessary for pursuing a career beyond the academia. As a result, the number of PhD students graduating every year stands at a new high, but limited academic posts are available for them.
  • Project funding: Due to the overflowing number of grant applications and research proposals, most of them are rejected by the funders. As a case in point, NIH (National Institutes of Health), which funds biomedical research, has reduced its acceptance rate to 18.3% since 2015.
  • Career prospects: A large proportion of researchers will not be able to secure a coveted faculty position in their chosen field of research due to overcrowding of PhD scholars. There is no strict definition for a post-doctoral researcher position, and the job titles often range from employee to associate, trainee, and student. No proper employee status, salary, and other benefits are being provided to the researchers. In addition to this, parental leave is completely subject to the wish of the supervisor. This seems to be a highly prevalent problem in the Indian context. A post-doctoral position is not really a typical job, but only a transitional position. What you aim to gain from such a position depends on the stage of life you are in, the year of your research, etc. Invariably, a re-evaluation is needed each year.
  • Reproducibility crisis: Previously, researchers used to carry out experiments on any existing study outcome for reproduction, with the objective of validating the findings. But modern research is facing an acute reproducibility crisis because of the indifference shown by funding agencies toward such researches. Usually, they prefer to support new or innovative researches. Even research journals are reluctant to publish such studies. Such studies are only entertained in cases where the outcome contradicts the old findings. Often, the low sample size or the poor study design of the old study impedes researchers in replicating the study results.
  • Publication bias: Due to the accelerating publication pressure, scientists are forced to produce flashy results that will enable their paper to get through the editorial peer review process for publication. However, all research papers are not published; only those with a unique conclusion or positive results get through for publication.
  • Citing negative results or selective reporting: Most research journals today have a high rejection rate (nearly 90%). This implies that only papers with the most distinctive findings make it to publication. During the 1990s, 30% of the published papers cited negative results; they have now drastically reduced to 14%. This reflects the apathy of publishers toward researches with negative results and their predilection for positive results. Even project funding affects what the researchers study and publish. Yet, knowing what is false is as important to science as knowing what is true.
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism refers to the practice of affiliating someone else’s work to one’s own and using the findings as one’s own. With short-term projects and constricted timelines, researchers are now opting for this dangerous shortcut to present their paper. However, plagiarism is not at all acceptable in any form and is considered a serious breach of professional conduct, which may lead to legal as well as ethical consequences.
  • Paywall research: The gateways for disseminating research findings have also been a major reason of dissatisfaction among the research community. The subscription charges of paywalled publishers like Elsevier run up to $10,000 or $20,000 a year. This renders them beyond the reach of many researchers. In fact, some scientists pay the charges from their salary as they do not have a budget allocation for such expenditure.

These are some deleterious issues that have plagued the very essence of research.

Understanding Research Paper Retraction

retraction
“The main purpose of retractions is to correct the literature and ensure its integrity rather than to punish authors who misbehave.”- COPE (Committee of Publication Ethics)

An author is expected to submit a paper after checking and rechecking the paper to ensure that it adheres to the journal guidelines and also complies with the general ethics. The paper is again peer reviewed by the journal for accuracy. However, in spite of so many checks, some papers get published with gross discrepancies and are subsequently retracted. Most often, the authors are asked to retract the paper.
A paper is bound to get retracted by editors for reasons such as:

1. Presentation of unreliable data due to misconduct or an honest error
2. Unethical research
3. Plagiarism
4. Re-presentation of data published earlier, for which the author has failed to provide proper referencing or obtain necessary permissions.

Action after detection

In many cases, the journal thoroughly investigates the kind of flaws present in the paper after issuing a warning, which is generally termed as ‘expression of concern.’ If very serious kinds of flaws, such as in correct representation of data or unethical research or plagiarism to an extent where it cannot be ignored is found then in such cases retraction of paper becomes essential. Before the editors of the journal take any action the authors are given an opportunity to retract the paper themselves without citing any reasons. Editors retract a paper as a last resort.

Information of retraction

After the decision to retract the paper has been made, the online version is marked and (or) the pdf version is watermarked ‘retracted.’ A statement is issued clearly stating all the related information about the paper and a valid reason for the retraction. The statement also states who retracted the article. Care is taken to avoid a defamatory statement and. any harmful repercussions that could mislead publications.

Effect of retraction

Retraction of a paper is a source of shame and disgrace for all stakeholders, including the author(s) and the journal. The journal has to bear the shame of not being able to filter the paper before publication and the author gets a black mark on his academic profile forever.

Purpose of retraction

Retraction is a mechanism for alerting the readers and the research fraternity about the publication of the erroneous data and findings published in the paper. It is also a warning against the use of flawed data by others.

Best time to retract

It is best to act as soon as the editor detects the flaws to avoid further damage. This will prevent readers and other researchers from being misled.

The adage “prevention is better than cure” holds true for retractions too. Therefore, the authors should take great care to check the paper carefully before submission to avoid discrepancies and the ignominy of having their paper retracted after publication.

Self-Plagiarism : Unethical Practices in Scholarly Publications

Is it wrong to reproduce one’s own content partially or completely in another publication? The answer is YES, although many people believe to the contrary.

Self-plagiarism is an unethical practice, and is almost as undesirable as plagiarism somebody else’s work. In the world of journal publications, self-plagiarism—or plagiarism for that matter—leads to two major problems: duplicate publications and simultaneous publications. Let’s look at these terms in greater detail.

Self-plagiarism or simultaneous submissions is an unethical practice.

Publication of a paper that has substantial similarities with a paper already published in some other journal is known as a duplicate publication. In duplicate publications, authors source the contents from a prior publication of their own or from the work of others without proper permission. When sourcing any information from published papers, it is mandatory for you to seek prior permission from the publishers as they often hold the copyright to the published paper and not the author of the paper. Another alternative is to use the reproduced information within double quotation marks and clearly indicate the original source. However, the latter solution will only work when the reproduced text is just a sentence or two and used to support your own text.

Submission of the same manuscript to two or more journals at the same time without informing the publishers is known as simultaneous submissions.It is considered as an ‘unethical publishing behavior’ because it could engender a copyright dispute. In addition, publishing the paper at two separate places leads to waste of resources of the publishers and the scientific and academic fraternity as a whole. However, a paper written in a particular language can be translated and published in a different journal after acquiring the necessary permissions.

Duplicate publications and simultaneous submissions have serious consequences. An author engaging in such unethical practices is liable to be summarily rejected by the publishers. Worse still, the offenders could be banned from submitting any paper in the future or blacklisted, which means that they will not be able to get their paper published in any journal.

The scholarly ability and integrity of authors come under the scanner when they use such illegitimate means to get their work published. It is very important to keep the dos and don’ts in mind while publishing a paper and follow the guidelines specified by the target journal. If information published elsewhere is critical for your own research, you need to ensure that you do not violate the time-honoured code of publication ethics. This is because honest and ethical publications area sine qua non for the development of the scholar community.

Retraction of Publications

Your published articles give you recognition as a writer and boost your academic credentials. However, there are special circumstances when an article might be withdrawn or cancelled even after its publication. This process is called retraction of publications.

Research articles go through a review process prior to publication. However, there are occasions when major errors are detected in a research paper after it is published. In such circumstances, the journal is forced to issue a retraction notice to withdraw the publication. Retraction enables journals to alert or inform readers about the errors in the findings or conclusions of the paper. Some journals, however, retract papers without citing specific reasons because they fear a loss of credibility in the journal. In recent months, there is a discernible increase in the retraction rate in the publication industry.

According to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), publications can be retracted by journal editors if:

  • They have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g., data fabrication) or honest error (e.g., miscalculation or experimental error).
  • The findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross-referencing, permission or justification (i.e., cases of redundant publication).
  • It constitutes plagiarism.
  • It reports unethical research.

Even though retraction of a publication is the decision of the journal’s editor, sometimes the author of the paper may also be asked by the editor to formally issue the retraction. In some journals, both the editor and the author issue the retraction notice. Nevertheless, the journal’s editor can retract the published paper unilaterally in case the author refuses to do so.

The retraction notice should cite the reasons for the retraction and clarify whether the retraction is for misconduct or for honest and genuine mistakes. The notice also needs to mention whether the publication is being retracted by the editor or the author. Retracted publications should not be removed either from online or printed copies of the journal; instead, the status of the retraction should be clearly indicated in the publication.

Retraction of publications is likely to have an adverse impact on the credentials of both the author and the journal. Therefore, it is important to take precautionary measures to avoid such a scenario.

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.