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10 Common Journal Compliance Errors Made by Authors

Every day several manuscripts are submitted to the journals. However, not all of them get published. Getting a research published is one of the most important achievements of a researcher’s academic career. But every researcher must have faced a rejection at least once in their entire career. There are several cases when the manuscript fails to comply with the target journal’s requirements. Herein we will share ten most common journal compliance errors that authors tend to make in the manuscripts, leading to their rejection:

Failure to Adhere to the Journal Guidelines

Most cases the authors fail to check the journal guidelines while drafting the manuscript and thereby fail to comply with the respective journal guidelines.

Inconsistencies in Data

Often, manuscripts tend to have inconsistencies in the data provided. In some cases, the data may be repeated as well. While sometimes, figures given in text don’t match those in the tables/figures. All these discrepancies related to data lead to the manuscript failing to comply with the journal’s requirements and consequent journal rejection.

Grammatical and Punctuation and Style Errors

These include errors in grammar which are often overlooked by authors. Errors in punctuation and inconsistencies in the style are also common in manuscripts. Journals can reject manuscripts based on these as well. Researchers can avail professional editing and proofreading services to avoid these.

Multiple submissions of the same manuscript

Duplicate publication is against publication ethics, although many authors are not aware of this. Authors are not allowed to submit the same manuscript, or even a part of it, to two journals at the same time. This implies the novelty of the research being lost and hence journals often turn down such manuscripts.

Failure to Review Through the Literature Thoroughly

There are several related studies available and one must read through them during the literature review in order to highlight the novelty of the research topic. Failing to do so may lead to a topic being repeated and thereby resulting rejection.

Conflict of Interest With Respect to Clinical Research Participants

In case of clinical research, the identity of the research participants is usually kept confidential. However, in some cases, case reports are often accompanied by photographs or text that might reveal the identity of the research participant to the reader. This is an unethical practice and if journals identify they tend to reject such manuscripts.

Inconsistencies in References

Missing references, incorrect references that are different from the ones cited in the text, and inappropriately formatted references are commonly observed in manuscripts. Missing and inaccurate references undermine the credibility of a paper.

Long and Incorrect Conclusion Section

It’s important for the conclusion section of a paper to be brief and in accordance with the text and data discussed in the results and discussion section. In cases where it is otherwise, journals may ask for revision of the manuscripts.

Unclear Footnotes

Authors sometime fail to explain things that are obvious to them, for example, that the data values shown in a table are rounded-off values. This information may not be obvious to the reader and should be stated in a footnote. Failing to do so may lead to the manuscript being rejected.

Incomplete Documentation

Besides a well-written manuscript there are several other related documents that are required to be submitted during journal submission. These include forms regarding authorship, conflicts of interest, ethical board approval, etc. But authors find this step cumbersome and often submit incorrectly filled or incomplete forms. This causes unnecessary back-and-forth between the editorial board and the authors, thus delaying the publication process, in some cases even leading to rejection.

We hope you find the list of journal compliance errors commonly made by authors useful. Reading through these will make you aware and help you in avoiding them in your manuscript. In case you intend to check through all the steps of the journal submission process, we have a research guide that is exclusively drafted by our experts to help you with the manuscript submission. Have a successful journal submission!


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