Importance of quality content in SCOPUS

Publication in a reputed, high-impact indexed journal is the primary metric for a researcher. However, selecting the right journal can be a complex task. Researchers need to optimize between different criteria before reaching a decision. The journal selection process involves different factors: identifying the scope of the journal, impact factor, the reputation of the journal, specific indexing, issue release periodicity, and open access fee/publication fee.

SCOPUS indexing and content curation

SCOPUS indexing SCOPUS is one of the largest indexing databases for journals and books in the medical and life sciences field. Advantages of publication in SCOPUS indexed journals include: increase in the visibility of your publication(s), peer-review process, reaches global audiences.

SCOPUS is the most recommended database as the researchers can effortlessly find relevant and trusted research and access data that can help them to select the most appropriate journal for their research paper.

The research publication industry has seen a signification growth and almost everyday new journal is being launched. Hence, there is a necessity to identify and eliminate poor-performing and predatory journals from the list while selecting the right journal for publication.

SCOPUS is a database of journals that includes only the reputed, good performing, high-impact, and peer-reviewed journals.

The journals or publishers added to the SCOPUS list undergo a rigorous evaluation process by the subject experts of the Content Selection and Advisory Board (CSAB). The board determines the eligibility of the title and removes poor-performing and predatory journals.  The board along with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) decides whether to include a new journal, discontinue an indexed journal, or continue with a journal.

SCOPUS and the CSAB ensure that the users get the best possible evidence for their work and only reliable journals and their content is available to the researchers.

Re-evaluation criteria

In addition to the selection criteria, there is continuous monitoring and re-evaluation process which ensures that the quality of the indexed journals should be maintained.

There are 4 criteria that are considered for re-evaluation of an indexed journal:

  1. Poor performance
  2. Doubt about peer-review process or publication standards
  3. Data curation
  4. Data metrics (periodicity, number of original articles, diversity, novelty, etc.)

Poor performance of the journals

The underperformance of a journal is determined by analyzing three metrics:

  1. Self-citation rate (Higher self-citations)
  2. Total citation rate (Fewer citations)
  3. CiteScore (Lower CiteScore compared to other peer-reviewed journals)

In conclusion, the information or data provided by the SCOPUS are highly recommended and hence, there is a necessity from this indexing end to provide reliable content, include reputed journals (exclude predatorily), and update the database regularly.

How to resurrect a rejected manuscript?

Rejection of your research paper by a journal does not necessarily imply that your research is fundamentally unsuitable for publication. This is because rejection depends on several factors that might not be solely linked to the main thrust of your research. Besides, the reviewers who evaluate your paper are not familiar with your credentials and therefore might not emphasize the positive factors in your paper. Therefore, it is important that you do not get disheartened or overly disappointed. With certain modifications and perseverance, it is definitely possible to resurrect your research and see it through to publication.

In fact, there are several positive takeaways from a rejection. The well-known chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie carried out a systematic study of the rejection procedure and concluded that most manuscripts do not go through large-scale modifications on their way from a rejection to eventual publication. Therefore, a rejection does not signify that your paper is beyond redemption. In fact, there is every chance that the paper will ultimately find its destined forum for publication.

On the other hand, a study by Vincent Calcagno, ecologist at the French Institute for Agricultural Research in Sophia-Antipolis, has concluded that a research paper goes through several iterations and modifications from the time of its first submission until its final acceptance. These changes contribute significantly to the improvement of the research. The study also observed that research papers that have gone through one or more rejections before publication tend to be cited more than those that have been published following their first submission. This trend is evident after about three to six years following publication.

Calcagno argues that the influence of peer reviews and the inputs from referees and editors makes papers better and each rejection improves the quality of the manuscript from the last attempt. There is also a theory among certain editors to “reject more, because more rejections improve quality.”

Therefore, instead of giving in to despair, it is important to patiently evaluate the reasons for rejection and the associated comments, and to act on them in future submissions of the paper. You can also take recourse to professional editing services to refine your manuscript and help in the submission of the paper to other journals.

The following are some guidelines for first-time writers in making their papers more acceptable:

  • Select an innovative and interesting research topic.
  • Ensure that your writing is well-organized and lucid as it flows from its aim to the conclusion through the methodology, results, and discussion sections.
  • Stay away from plagiarized text and ensure that your research is original and unpublished.
  • Select the most suitable journal that has a good scope for your research topic.
  • Follow the reviewer’s suggestions on your paper in case of a rejection, so that it is in better shape for the next submission.

In case the reviewers cite the reason of unsuitability of your research for the target journal, it is important to prepare and resubmit it to another more suitable journal. If it gets rejected again, keep working on your paper and make repeated attempts at submission until it gets accepted. After all, patience and perseverance are two important virtues of any writer. As the well-known 19th-century American writer Elbert Hubbard said, “A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.”