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Articles Related by ‘Rejection’

05 August 2013  |  Posted in Choice of journal, Rejection, Review Criteria  |  Comment on this post »

It’s every professor’s nightmare. At the end of a project, he and his graduate student write up the results of the research, and submit the paper. The journal editor promptly responds that they have already received and accepted a paper on a closely related topic. In light of this development, the editor is doubtful that the journal should publish their paper. The professor is distraught, and the graduate student still more so. Have his years of his work been for naught? Certainly not. Although being scooped will take some of the sheen off the paper, it should and can be published. Here are some strategies.

Emphasize differences:
Is the rival paper really so close in topic? If there are significant differences in mechanism, substrates, etc., publication may still be appropriate. Point out the differences. Perhaps the paper is complementary to the one already published, extending its mechanisms into new areas. If the paper involves synthesis of the same molecule, were different pathways used? Does your method have advantages in high yield, or low cost? Was a new synthetic method invented which will have broad application in other areas?

When I was in graduate school I submitted a paper invoking a pentacoordinate intermediate and a pseudorotation mechanism to explain ligand permutation in a tetracoordinate silicon compound. During the review process a paper came out showing the X-ray crystal structure of a pentacoordinate compound prepared from “our” tetracoordinate silane, and, sure enough, their 5-coordinate compound easily underwent pseudorotation. Scooped! However, their specific pseudorotation mechanism was only one of several possibilities we discussed in our paper, and we did not consider it to be the most likely for our case. We were dealing with the kinetics of an unstable intermediate in solution, not an isolable compound, and our mechanism was unique. We pointed out the unique elements of our paper and it was accepted and published only a few months after our rival’s paper (in the same journal).

Simultaneous (almost) publication:
The quest for priority in publication can be overdone and is sometimes downright silly. If two groups are working towards the same goal, does it really matter if one publishes results a few weeks or a few months before the other? Historians will eventually give both researchers credit for the discovery. If an earlier paper is published on a truly identical topic, about the best you can do is argue that your paper serves to verify the results of the former one. This is essential in science. Any important finding must be confirmed and repeated. Make sure the published paper notes that the manuscript was received by the editor prior to the publication of the earlier paper. This way, the work’s independence will be established if not its priority.

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.

03 November 2010  |  Posted in Rejection, Review Criteria  |  2 Comments »

A fact that is not very widely known or universally accepted by authors is that manuscripts may be rejected without the due and expected peer review process. While manuscripts have to go through the peer review process in order to be published, they can be rejected without peer review. For high-impact, general science journals, the majority of submitted papers may be rejected in this manner. While this may appear surprising or disturbing, it is essential to understand the underlying reasons and the inevitability of this undesired aspect of the research publication process.

There could be many reasons for rejection without review:

  1. Content of the article is not within the scope of the journal.
  2. Non-conformity with journal style, format or guidelines.
  3. Duplication or large overlap with existing work or apparent plagiarism.
  4. Results are not novel or significant enough; lead to only an incremental advance in field.
  5. Article is too specialized/in-depth or superficial.
  6. Limited interest to journal target audience.
  7. Poor quality of research.
  8. Results or interpretation are too preliminary or speculative.
  9. Lack of clarity/conciseness in presentation.

Rejection without peer review is necessary for several reasons:

  • The ratio of submitted to published manuscripts is large, especially for the best journals.
  • There is a need to optimize resources available to journal, in terms of the time and effort of editors and reviewers.
  • In the absence of this process, there would be delays in publication of all manuscripts.
  • If all submitted manuscripts are sent for peer review, reviewers would be overburdened leading to frustration or lack of quality in peer review.

Some undesirable consequences are:

  • Good papers may not be published.
  • Authors may be unjustly dealt with due to the insufficient knowledge of editors or their poor judgment.

The mechanisms for rejection differ based on the journal:

  1. Editor-in-chief makes the decision solely.
  2. One editor reaches a decision in consultation with other editors.
  3. The decision is made at a joint meeting of the editorial board of the journal.

A good understanding of the above mentioned issues can help authors circumvent the possibility of having their manuscripts rejected without being evaluated by a reviewer. It is advisable to put the manuscript through a pre-submission peer-review process, either in the form of advice from colleagues or by utilizing professional services.

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.

13 October 2010  |  Posted in Rejection, Review Criteria  |  Comment on this post »

In evaluating a manuscript submitted for publication in a journal, a peer reviewer takes into account many factors. The primary considerations related to quality, originality and presentation are listed in the attached presentation. Based on these, suggestions are outlined, which would minimize the possibility of rejection.

The next post will describe the importance of numerical accuracy, particularly with respect to the treatment of errors.

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.

11 October 2010  |  Posted in Journal requirements, Rejection  |  Comment on this post »

Researchers usually dread the prospect of having their manuscript rejected when it is submitted for publication, since it represents a big setback to their endeavors. There are myriad reasons for this, and it is essential to understand the fundamental considerations involved in maximizing the probability of acceptance. This post outlines the journal requirements and research aspects with an example of relevant data.

The next post will summarize the typical concerns that a peer reviewer may have, and some tips to reduce the chances of rejection.

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.

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