Responses to Author Queries

1. Which types of studies are more preferred – quantitative or qualitative?

A qualitative study is subjective and mainly focuses on philosophies and opinions whilst a quantitative study is objective and based on hard data. Most research studies nowadays tend to use both methods; a qualitative approach is used to develop a theory and then a quantitative one to test it.

The choice of approach depends upon several factors:

  • Discipline – Qualitative studies are commonly performed in disciplines such as humanities and social sciences.
  • Research question and methodology – Even in humanities, quantitative research is preferred if a survey consisting of closed-ended questions is undertaken.
  • Personal preference – Some researchers prefer quantitative research since it is based on hard data and requires strong analytical skills in order to craft a clear and logical argument. However, using a mixed approach –combining both methods is becoming increasingly common among researchers.


In conclusion, it is difficult to define which approach is better or preferred. It is, therefore, best to choose an approach based on the nature and requirements of your study.

Suggested reading:

Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (2003). Handbook on mixed methods in the behavioral and social sciences.

Bryman, A. (2006). Integrating quantitative and qualitative research: how is it done?. Qualitative research, 6(1), 97-113.


2. Why is Literature Review not a part of IMRaD format?

The IMRaD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) format is the most commonly used structure in scientific writing as it makes easy for a reader to navigate the article. Following this format is a great way of avoiding unnecessary detail and presenting relevant information in a clear and logical order.

Whether to use the method or not, depends on two factors:

A narrative literature review critiques summarizes and draws conclusions in a given subject area from a theoretical point of view. Since it does not follow a set methodology, evaluation criteria for the studies included or answer specific quantitative research questions, the IMRaD structure is not commonly used to write it. In contrast, the IMRaD format is preferred while writing a systematic review as it uses a well-defined methodology to identify, select and evaluate studies in order to answer a specific research question.

  • Choice of journal

Although the IMRaD method is not commonly used to write narrative reviews, few journals may still prefer it as it is a good way of presenting a paper in a clear and organized manner. Therefore, it is best to check the format preferred by your target journal prior to writing the review. If not mentioned explicitly, previously published material in the journal should be reviewed for recommendations.


3. What do you mean by “Fast Track” peer review? Are the fees for “Fast Track” Review higher?

Peer review is one of the crucial steps in the publication process. It assesses and scrutinizes the research on the grounds of quality and originality and validates the paper for publication. The process is often intensive and slow, resulting in delay, which can range from a few months to a year. Traditionally, peer review has been single or double blind; however, alternatives like open review and fast track review are gaining interest from the researchers.

Many journals offer a fast track/prioritized publication. Elsevier, Springer, and Taylor & Francis are a few top publishers who offer these services. The timeline can range from a few days to one week and the complete process from submission to publication can take 3 weeks to 6 weeks. Following considerations are involved in choosing fast-track peer review:

  • When research is urgent and can significantly affect the clinical outcome or public policy- many journals offer the fast track service based on the evaluation of reasons provided by the researchers in the cover letter.
  • Journals/researchers may also decide to put a paper on fast-track peer review if similar research from other labs or a competing journal is being published.
  • Many researchers opt for this track when they have to meet deadlines for publication, research grant or for follow-up research.


Some journals do charge extra fees to expedite the peer-review process when compared to the standard process.  The guidelines, fee structure, and timelines should be available on the respective publisher’s websites.


4. Who manages the IF ratings of a journal? Are these ratings reliable?

Introduced by Eugene Garfield, the Journal Impact Factor (IF) indicates the relative significance/importance of the journal in its respective field. Many researchers base their decision to select a journal for publication based on the prestige and IF. IF is calculated only after the journal has completed a minimum of three years and therefore, new journals do not have an IF. For a particular year, the IF is the average number of citations per article published in that journal during two preceding years.

Mathematically, it is expressed as:

IF2015  = Citation2013 + Citations2014 / Publications2013 + Publications2014

IF is calculated for indexed journals annually by Thomson Reuters under Journal Citation Reports™. The latest list of indexed journals can be found here: Journal Citation Reports 2016.

In terms of reliability, this method does have some concerns like

  • Dependence on type of research field
  • Statistical representation of articles is not effective – few articles can be cited more often than others in a particular journal
  • Flawed calculation method


IFs have a large, but controversial, influence on the way published scientific research is perceived and evaluated. Moreover, the available alternatives like H-Index, Eigenfactor, and Altmetrics have not been able to make a significant impact yet. IF, thus, continues to dominate the journal quality landscape. Notably, it is possible to examine the impact factor of the journals in which a particular person has published articles. This use is widespread, but controversial. Garfield also warns about the “misuse in evaluating individuals” because there is “a wide variation from article to article within a single journal”.

Because “the impact factor is not always a reliable instrument”, in November 2007 the European Association of Science Editors (EASE) issued an official statement recommending “that journal impact factors are used only—and cautiously—for measuring and comparing the influence of entire journals, but not for the assessment of single papers, and certainly not for the assessment of researchers or research programmes.”


5. Which journal database or index is better—SCOPUS, Thomson or EBSCO?

You can search multiple databases as there does not exist a single database that will comprise all papers. It can help you to gather more information and reduce the biased search.

The decision to choose a database depends on the following factors:

  • Subject area/discipline
  • Database stores resources from which date or year
  • Resource/data type: books, papers, thesis, conference proceedings, etc.




Web of Science



Multi Multi

Multi (database aggregator)

Database Date

1996 1900 onwards

Varies based on different databases which are being accessed

Data Type

· 21,000 peer-reviewed journals, including 3,800 open access titles

· 360 trade publications

· Articles in press from more than 5,000 publishers

· 120,000 books

· 6.8 million conference papers from 83,000 conferences

· 27 million patents

· 12,000 peer reviewed journals

· 50,000  books(2005-present)

· 160,000 conference proceedings

· Full-text journals magazines

· Books

· Monographs

· Reports

· Government documents

· Streaming video


· User-friendly

· Comprehensive coverage in social sciences, humanities, and technology

· Covers publications from a longer period.

· Good list of indicators

· More than 300

full-text and secondary research databases

· Single customizable search point


· H-index

· Impact factor

· Immediacy index

· AI (article impact)

· EF (Eigenfactor)

· Citation median

· Total no. of citations

 · Total no. of citations

· SJR (SCImago Journal Rank)

· SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper)

· H-index

Varies based on different databases which are being accessed



· Cited Reference Search

· Citation Mapping

· Alerts and RSS-feeds

· Citation Report and H-index,

· Author Finder

· Journal Citation Reports database


· Author Identifier

· Affiliation Identifier

· Cited Reference Search

· Alerts and RSS-feeds

· Citation tracker

· H-index

· Scopus Journal Analyzer


· Search Alerts in RSS

· Visual Search

· Citation Output/report

· Results “clustering”

Search Guides:

Scopus: https://www.elsevier.com/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/79196/scopus-quick-reference-guide.pdf

Web of Science: http://wokinfo.com/media/pdf/qrc/wos-corecoll_qrc_en.pdf

EBSCO: https://help.ebsco.com/interfaces/EHIS/Using_EHIS/Choosing_EHIS_Databases


6. Can you provide us a method by which we can find a journal with high impact factor?

You can get details about IF of journals based on your field of study through these portals:

You can access the IF of the indexed journals through an individual user or institutional user login as it is a subscription based service.

You can access details about SJR and H-index of the listed journals.

Often journals do publish their IF on their websites, so if you are interested in any particular journal do browse through the websites for more details.


7. What are the steps to increase citations of my published paper?

Citations are important in order to give credit to the sources, avoid plagiarism, and to trail back to the peer-reviewed work of the original author. For authors, the number of citations is associated with the impact, reach, and importance of their other research.

  • Strong and structured article: Write an effective manuscript with a clear and concise and with relevant. This step helps in search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure it appears in the search results for higher readability.
  • Decide on the right journal: Make sure to choose a right journal to reach out to the right audience for your research. This increases visibility and chances of citation.
  • Cite others’ and your work: Citing your peers’ or colleague’s work that is similar to or contrary to your work. Also, cite the experts in your field.
  • Use ORCID as a unique identifier to distinguish yourself from others and maintain your publication database.
  • Promote your research: Share your research on relevant platforms like conferences, meetings or discussion forums. You can also use social media outlets like ORCID and LinkedIn. However, be mindful of the copyright licensing aspect if you have already published your paper in a journal.


8. What is your opinion on peer review for open-access journals?

Traditionally, peer review is of the closed type, which can either be a single-blind (reviewers identities are hidden) or double-blind (authors and reviewers identities are hidden). However, in recent times, there have been newer forms of peer review like open peer review, collaborative peer review, post-publication peer review, transparent peer review, and transferable peer review that have been widely adopted by many open-access journals to bring innovation and more transparency in the review process. Nature Communication, for example, has recently adopted the transparent peer review process for all articles published in its journal. Even publishers like Elsevier, are currently conducting trials on open reviews where the review reports are published alongside the manuscript once it is accepted by the journal. These initiatives show that the peer review process in open access journals could give rise to a more open science and help in the advancement of scientific research.


9. What is your advice on publishing in open access journals?

Open access journals primarily differ from subscription journals in their ability to easily access articles once it is published. This is a huge benefit for authors when publishing their research in open access journals as their articles now become easily available to everyone online without the need of paying any charges to view the articles. This ease of access leads to increased visibility as well as increased citations as more researchers can read and use the research knowledge. Open access articles also help stimulate research innovation by inspiring researchers to build upon the published research thereby improving multidisciplinary research endeavors.


10. What is the difference between gold open-access and green open-access journal?

There are two major routes for Open Access:

  • Green Open Access – This is also called as “Self-archiving”. Authors are allowed to post a copy of their manuscripts in open access repositories (institutional repositories or subject repositories) thus making them readily available even before the research is published. These manuscript versions can either be in the form of a pre-print or post-print or the actual published version after a fixed embargo period as mentioned by the respective journal.
  • Gold Open Access – The author is charged a publication fee called Article Processing Charge (APC) once the article is accepted which then makes the article easily available to everyone. Currently, a number of funding agencies pay for these charges on behalf of the author. Another form of gold open access is called Hybrid open access in which some only some articles published in the journal are made open access after payment of the APC while the rest are available on subscription basis.


For a simplified understanding on open access and its different routes, please check this infographic.


11. Is there a site where conferences are listed?

There are a few websites that maintain a list of global conferences that take place throughout the year. Some of these websites can be found below:



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