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Posts Tagged ‘journal’

These are hard times for the print media. Newspapers and magazine subscriptions are declining and a number of publications have folded or cut back on their offerings. No wonder. Why pay money to get a newspaper delivered to your door step when you can read the same news on your laptop, and for free?
Will the same trend of online publication sweep up scientific publications? Although the major journals are making gestures at an online presence, they still rely primarily on paper and ink and restrict print or online articles to those who will pay to read them. However, “open access” online publications are challenging traditional journals and there are titles that cover just about every discipline. For example, Libertas Academica (Aukland, New Zealand) publishes 87 peer reviewed journals, ranging from Air, Soil and Water Research to Virology: Research and Treatment. Many of their journals are “insightful,” for example, Analytical Chemistry Insights, Autism Insights, Cell Biology Insights, Organic Chemistry Insights, and some twenty-odd Clinical Medicine Insights in various disciplines. No doubt the insight tag is applied to distinguish their journals from similar names that are better known.

Almost all of these Libertas Academica journals are open access—anyone can open and read an article by clicking on a pdf link on the website with no charge. This is great for the reader but not so great for the author. The publisher must make a profit somehow, so the authors pay for publication. These “article processing fees” average about $1500 but vary from $950–$1848, a lot less than the $3000 that Elsevier charges to make its articles open access, but not trivial.

Other online open access journals charge much lower fees. The European Journal of Chemistry has fees that total about $200. If an author wants to publish in an online, open access journal, this can be done at an affordable price and will theoretically reach a larger audience than more prestigious journals that restrict access. The question remains, what sort of reputation do online journals have? At the moment I don’t think any online-only journals rival traditional journals in terms of prestige. But many of them are respectable. If you are considering publishing in one of these journals, scan through the table of contents and see who is publishing in it. Then read a few articles and see what sort of quality they are.

Many online journals are only a few years old and haven’t had time to establish their reputations. But I predict they are a wave of the future. Remember that twenty-five years ago the entire internet was a joke, a refuge for “the eccentric, the untalented, and the shrill.” No more.

Some links to online open access journal information

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

08 November 2010  |  Posted in Journal requirements, Text formatting  |  1 Comment »

Authors are required to follow prescribed writing styles, formats and guidelines mandated by a research journal when submitting articles for publication. This is to ensure that an article is consistent with the language and presentation quality characteristic to that journal. These criteria are usually outlined on the “Instructions to Authors” (also referred to as “Guidelines to Authors”) page/s of the journal. The first step in preparing an article for publication is to check the requirements specified by the chosen journal.

There are several generic requirements and conventions, and in addition there are ones pertaining to specific subject areas. These are related to language and presentation, conventions, notations, citations and other aspects. These guidelines are typically updated at periodic intervals at meetings of eminent and experienced editors in specific fields. Some of the commonly used style guides and manuals are listed below.

Listing of style guides
 Type/Subject Area

 Association/Organization  Style Guide

 General  Modern Language Association

 MLA Style Manual: 3rd Ed.

 General  American Psychological Association

 APA Style Manual: 6th Ed.

 General  University of Chicago Press

 Chicago Manual of Style: 16th Ed.

 Physics and Astronomy

 American Institute of Physics  AIP Style Manual: 4th Ed.
 Chemistry  American Chemical Society

 ACS Style Guide: 3rd Ed.

 Biology  Council of Science Editors

 CSE Manual: 7th Ed.

 Mathematics  American Mathematical Society

 AMS Handbook

 Engineering  Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers  2009 IEEE Style Manual
 Medicine  American Medical Association  AMA Manual of Style: 10th Ed.
 Meteorology  American Meteorological Society  AMS Style Manual

The above list is representative, but is not meant to be comprehensive.

Once an article is written in conformity with the appropriate guidelines specified above, professional editing services can be utilized to crosscheck or improve on both language and presentation aspects. This can serve to expedite both the editorial and peer-review process, and increase the chances of acceptance of the article for publication.

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.

01 November 2010  |  Posted in Choice of journal  |  1 Comment »

Publication usually represents the culmination of most research efforts. The process of selecting the appropriate journal has become increasingly complex due to the proliferation of journals, areas of specialization and emergence of interdisciplinary topics. Authors have to optimize between many criteria or constraints before reaching a decision about where to publish. Listed below are some tips about the factors which need to be considered and the approach to be adopted.

The first step should be to clearly define the goals of the proposed article. Once this is done, information on various aspects relevant to these goals can be gathered, after which an informed decision can be made about the journal and article type which offers the best fit for the particular situation.

Step-by-step process of selecting the right journal for publication

Step-by-step process of selecting the right journal for publication

The various stages in the decision-making process can be summarized as follows:

Knowing the options: It is essential to obtain reasonably comprehensive knowledge about available journals in the given subject area. This can be done by consulting your peers, searching through online listings, and checking with professional associations.

Determining the impact: The recognition factor is obviously an important consideration. Quantitative measures such as the Impact Factor, Journal Rank, Article Influence and H-Index are used. These are generally linked to the citation rate for articles published in the journal however these values and the absolute numbers of citations can both be scrutinized.

Journal scope and policies: The subject areas covered and the types of articles published should be ascertained. This will contribute towards addressing the suitable target audience. Further, information about the editorial policies and practices should be obtained in order to anticipate any situations that may emerge during the submission and peer-review process.

Journal requirements and distribution: Most journals follow a certain style and specify requirements for the article. Consistency of the article with these requirements should be ensured. The mode of distribution (print/online) and number of subscribers decides the reach of the journal. For open-access journals, where the content is available to all, having an estimate of the typical number of readers helps.

Peer-review factors: Information about the peer-review process for the specific journal, including stature of reviewers, objectivity and timelines, should also be gleaned from a variety of sources. Actual values or estimates of rejection rates should be obtained.

Urgency of publication and cost: There is a time lag between submission and publication of an article, which is dependent on editorial processing schedules, time for peer review, and periodicity of production and publication. This time lag should be taken into account for timely dissemination of the research. The costs involved in publishing (whether page or peer-review charges) may also be a factor based on the available research budget. For new journals, future viability should be taken into account.

Using the above considerations and following the various steps mentioned should allow selection of the best possible journal in terms of visibility and quality, and publication and dissemination of the research within the specified constraints.

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

28 October 2010  |  Posted in Choice of journal, Impact of article  |  4 Comments »

Journals have differing recognition factors, which can be specific to a field or applicable across multiple disciplines. The quality and impact of the journal is usually apparent through how widely it is read, how often it is cited, and its perception in the community. The quality and impact can be quantified in terms of various widely-accepted parameters, among others the Impact Factor, SCImago Journal Rank, Article Influence and H-Index, which are described in brief in this post. In general, these parameters are based on the number of citations received for articles published in the respective journal as compared to others.

The Impact Factor is calculated over a three-year period and represents the average number of times papers are cited up to two years after publication. For example, the Impact Factor of a journal for the year 2009 would be the ratio of the number of times articles published in that journal during 2007-08 were cited in indexed journals (part of a predefined selection) during 2009 to the number of articles published in 2007-08.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

A typical example of SJR and citation data

The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) is a scale which orders journals based on the average number of weighted citations received by an article in the chosen year divided by the number of manuscripts published in the journal during the previous three years.

The Article Influence quantifies the average influence in a period of five years following the publication of the article. It is the ratio of the EigenFactor score of the journal to the number of articles in the journal, normalized as a fraction of all articles from among a predefined selection of over 7000 journals. The Eigenfactor score is determined using the number of times an article has been cited in the previous five years, and is weighted in favor of highly cited journals, with self-citations being excluded. The mean value of the Article Influence score is 1.0, with a value greater or lesser than 1.0, indicative of above-average or below-average influence, respectively.

The H-index was suggested by Jorge E. Hirsch, and is a measure of the scientific output of a research entity. It can be applied to scientists, research groups, institutions or countries. For example, a researcher has an index equal to H if he/she has published N papers and H of these papers have greater than or equal to H citations, while the rest have less than or equal to H citations. The H-index takes into account both the number of publications and citations, and is a quite useful alternative to conventional approaches for quantifying impact.

Typically, researchers prefer to publish in “high-impact” journals since that assures them of a better and a wider audience, and also leads to advancement of their career and research funding. However, the downside is that due to the high volume of articles submitted to such journals, the rejection rates tend to be high. Therefore it is quite important to select the most appropriate journal for publication by optimizing between the quality of the article submitted and the recognition factor of the journal. This contributes toward maximizing the impact of the article for the given situation.

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

Research paper topics, editing proofreading serviceHow to publish in a research journal
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