Writing for publication is a complex task. For many professionals, producing a well-executed manuscript conveying one's research, ideas, or educational wisdom is challenging. Authors have varying emotions related to the process of writing for scientific publication. Although not studied, a relationship between an author's enjoyment of the writing process and the product's outcome is highly likely. As with any skill, practice generally results in improvements. Literature focused on preparing manuscripts for publication and the art of reviewing submissions exists. Most journals guard their reviewers' anonymity with respect to the manuscript review process. This is meant to protect them from direct or indirect author demands, which may occur during the review process or in the future. It is generally accepted that author identities are masked in the peer-review process. However, the concept of anonymity for reviewers has been debated recently; many editors consider it problematic that reviewers are not held accountable to the public for their decisions. The review process is often arduous and underappreciated, one reason why biomedical journals acknowledge editors and frequently recognize reviewers who donate their time and expertise in the name of science. This article describes essential elements of a submitted manuscript, with the hopes of improving scientific writing. It also discusses the review process within the biomedical literature, the importance of reviewers to the scientific process, responsibilities of reviewers, and qualities of a good review and reviewer. In addition, it includes useful insights to individuals who read and interpret the medical literature.
Background: Trying to publish a paper in a top-rated peer-reviewed journal can be a difficult and frustrating experience for authors. It is important that authors understand the general review process before submitting manuscripts for publication.
Objectives: Editors-in-chief and associate editors from top-tier journals such as Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), Toxicological Sciences, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and Chemical Research in Toxicology were asked to provide guidance concerning the writing and submission of papers to their journals.
Discussion: The editors reviewed the manuscript review process for their journals, elaborated on the evaluation criteria for reviewing papers, and provided advice for future authors in preparing their papers.
Conclusions: The manuscript submission process was similar for all of the journals with the exception of EHP that includes an initial screening in which about two-thirds of submitted papers are returned to the authors without review. The evaluation criteria used by the journals were also similar. Papers that are relevant to the scope of the journal, are innovative, significantly advance the field, are well written, and adhere to the instructions to authors have a higher likelihood of being accepted. The editors advised potential authors to ensure that the topic of the paper is within the scope of the journal, represents an important problem, is carefully prepared according to the instructions to authors, and to seek editorial assistance if English is not the primary language of the authors.
environmental health sciences; evaluation criteria; peer review; top-tier journals; toxicology
High predictive validity – that is, a strong association between the outcome of peer review (usually, reviewers' ratings) and the scientific quality of a manuscript submitted to a journal (measured as citations of the later published paper) – does not as a rule suffice to demonstrate the usefulness of peer review for the selection of manuscripts. To assess usefulness, it is important to include in addition the base rate (proportion of submissions that are fundamentally suitable for publication) and the selection rate (the proportion of submissions accepted).
Taking the example of the high-impact journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition (AC-IE), we present a general approach for determining the usefulness of peer reviews for the selection of manuscripts for publication. The results of our study show that peer review is useful: 78% of the submissions accepted by AC-IE are correctly accepted for publication when the editor's decision is based on one review, 69% of the submissions are correctly accepted for publication when the editor's decision is based on two reviews, and 65% of the submissions are correctly accepted for publication when the editor's decision is based on three reviews.
The paper points out through what changes in the selection rate, base rate or validity coefficient a higher success rate (utility) in the AC-IE selection process could be achieved.
The peer review process for the evaluation of
manuscripts for publication needs to be better understood by the
orthopaedic community. Improving the degree of transparency surrounding
the review process and educating orthopaedic surgeons on how to
improve their manuscripts for submission will help improve both
the review procedure and resultant feedback, with an increase in
the quality of the subsequent publications. This article seeks to clarify
the peer review process and suggest simple ways in which the quality
of submissions can be improved to maximise publication success.
Cite this article: Bone Joint Res 2013;2:245–7.
Peer review; Orthopaedics; Journals; Publication; Guidelines; Blinding
Manuscripts have been subjected to the peer review process prior to publication for over 300 years. Currently, the peer review process is used by almost all scientific journals, and The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy is no exception. Scholarly publication is the means by which new work is communicated and peer review is an important part of this process. Peer review is a vital part of the quality control mechanism that is used to determine what is published, and what is not. The purpose of this commentary is to provide a description of the peer review process, both generally, and as utilized by The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. It is the hope of the authors that this will assist those who submit scholarly works to understand the purpose of the peer review process, as well as to appreciate the length of time required for a manuscript to complete the process and move toward publication.
Peer review; quality control; research publication
Objective: To introduce the process of journal writing to promote reflection and discuss the techniques and strategies to implement journal writing in an athletic training education curriculum.
Background: Journal writing can facilitate reflection and allow students to express feelings regarding their educational experiences. The format of this writing can vary depending on the students' needs and the instructor's goals.
Description: Aspects of journal writing assignments are discussed, including different points to take into account before assigning the journals. Lastly, various factors to contemplate are presented when providing feedback to the students regarding their written entries.
Clinical Advantages: Journal writing assignments can benefit students by enhancing reflection, facilitating critical thought, expressing feelings, and writing focused arguments. Journal writing can be adapted into a student's clinical course to assist with bridging the gap between classroom and clinical knowledge. In addition, journals can assist athletic training students with exploring different options for handling daily experiences.
reflection; pedagogy; education
The journal IMPULSE offers undergraduates worldwide the opportunity to publish research and serve as peer reviewers for the submissions of others. Undergraduate faculty have recognized the journal’s value in engaging students working in their labs in the publication process. However, integration of scientific publication into an undergraduate laboratory classroom setting has been lacking. We report here on a course at Ursinus College where 20 students taking Molecular Neurobiology were required to submit manuscripts to IMPULSE. The syllabus allowed for the laboratory research to coincide with the background research and writing of the manuscript. Students completed their projects on the impact of drugs on the Daphnia magna nervous system while producing manuscripts ready for submission by week 7 of the course. Findings from a survey completed by the students and perceptions of the faculty member teaching the course indicated that students spent much more time writing, were more focused on completing the assays, completed the assays with larger data sets, were more engaged in learning the scientific concepts and were more thorough with their revisions of the paper knowing that it might be published. Further, the professor found she was more thorough in critiquing students’ papers knowing they would be externally reviewed. Incorporating journal submission into the course stimulated an in depth writing experience and allowed for a deeper exploration of the topic than students would have experienced otherwise. This case study provides evidence that IMPULSE can be successfully used as a means of incorporating scientific publication into an undergraduate laboratory science course. This approach to teaching undergraduate neuroscience allows for a larger number of students to have hands-on research and scientific publishing experience than would be possible with the current model of a few students in a faculty member’s laboratory. This report illustrates that IMPULSE can be incorporated as an integral part of an academic curriculum with positive outcomes on student engagement and performance.
teaching; writing; research; peer review
Computers are nearly ubiquitous in academic medicine, and authors create and compile much of their work in the electronic environment, yet the process of manuscript submission often fails to utilize the advantages of electronic communication. The purpose of this report is to review the submission policies of major academic journals in the field of radiology and assess current editorial practices relating to electronic submission of academic works. The authors surveyed 16 radiologic journals that are indexed in the Index Medicus and available in our medical center library. They compared the manuscript submission policies of these journals as outlined in recent issues of the journals and the corresponding worldwide web sites. The authors compared the journals on the following criteria: web site access to instructions; electronic submission of text, both with regard to initial submission and final submission of the approved document; text hardcopy requirements; word processing software restrictions; electronic submission of figures, figure hardcopy requirements; figure file format restrictions; and electronic submission media. Although the trend seems to be toward electronic submission, there currently is no clear-cut standard of practice. Because all of the journals that accept electronic documents also require a hardcopy, many of the advantages gained through electronic submission are nullified. In addition, many publishers only utilize electronic documents after a manuscript has been accepted, thus utilizing the benefits of digital information in the printing process but not in the actual submission and peer-review process.
Writing a research manuscript is an intimidating process for many novice writers in the sciences. One of the stumbling blocks is the beginning of the process and creating the first draft. This paper presents guidelines on how to initiate the writing process and draft each section of a research manuscript. The paper discusses seven rules that allow the writer to prepare a well-structured and comprehensive manuscript for a publication submission. In addition, the author lists different strategies for successful revision. Each of those strategies represents a step in the revision process and should help the writer improve the quality of the manuscript. The paper could be considered a brief manual for publication.
scientific paper; writing process; revision
journal selection for publication purposes is one of the concerns of biomedi-cal researchers. They apply various criteria for choosing appropriate journal. Here, we have tried to collect main criteria biomedical researchers use to select a journal to submit their works.
we collected these criteria through focus group conversations with researchers during our careers, feedbacks from participants of our scientific writing work-shops and non-systematic review of some related literature.
we have presented a summative and informative guidance in the selection of journals for biomedical paper submission and publication.
Categorized criteria as a mnemonic tool for au-thors may help the authors in journal selection process.
Journal Selection Criteria; Submission and Publication; Biomedical Papers
The editors of Virology Journal would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 10 (2013). The success of any scientific journal depends on an effective and strict peer review process and Virology Journal could not operate without your contribution. We are grateful to the large number of reviewers (1026 to be exact!), who have done a great job in not only lifting the quality of the journal’s scientific peer reviewing process, but also helped us to achieve our goal of a median time to first decision of just 35 days.
Our record time from submission to online, open access, publication in 2013 was 22 days for a Research Article  and 28 days for a Review . This is a great achievement by any standard. We look forward to your continuous support of Virology Journal either as an invited reviewer or a contributing author in the years to come.
Grant writing is a necessary skill for becoming an independent and successful social work researcher. Since social work dissertation grants are a relatively new trend, students face many challenges in identifying, preparing, and submitting dissertation grants. Lack of resources and experiences, difficulties in protecting time for grant writing, and the uncertainty of success can hinder work on dissertation grants. Thus, this article provides an overview of dissertation grants, including a review of grant mechanisms, suggestions for preparing grants in the context of program milestones, and identifying institutional infrastructure to facilitate submissions. Strategies discussed include how to learn about funding priorities, how to establish timelines to account for grant deadlines, and how to use peer reviews to guide the revision process.
grant writing; doctoral education; research infrastructure; dissertation grants
Head & Face Medicine (HFM) was launched in August 2005 to provide multidisciplinary science in the field of head and face disorders with an open access and open peer review publication platform. The objective of this study is to evaluate the characteristics of submissions, the effectiveness of open peer reviewing, and factors biasing the acceptance or rejection of submitted manuscripts.
A 1-year period of submissions and all concomitant journal operations were retrospectively analyzed. The analysis included submission rate, reviewer rate, acceptance rate, article type, and differences in duration for peer reviewing, final decision, publishing, and PubMed inclusion. Statistical analysis included Mann-Whitney U test, Chi-square test, regression analysis, and binary logistic regression.
HFM received 126 articles (10.5 articles/month) for consideration in the first year. Submissions have been increasing, but not significantly over time. Peer reviewing was completed for 82 articles and resulted in an acceptance rate of 48.8%. In total, 431 peer reviewers were invited (5.3/manuscript), of which 40.4% agreed to review. The mean peer review time was 37.8 days. The mean time between submission and acceptance (including time for revision) was 95.9 days. Accepted papers were published on average 99.3 days after submission. The mean time between manuscript submission and PubMed inclusion was 101.3 days. The main article types submitted to HFM were original research, reviews, and case reports. The article type had no influence on rejection or acceptance. The variable 'number of invited reviewers' was the only significant (p < 0.05) predictor for rejection of manuscripts.
The positive trend in submissions confirms the need for publication platforms for multidisciplinary science. HFM's peer review time comes in shorter than the 6-weeks turnaround time the Editors set themselves as the maximum. Rejection of manuscripts was associated with the number of invited reviewers. None of the other parameters tested had any effect on the final decision. Thus, HFM's ethical policy, which is based on Open Access, Open Peer, and transparency of journal operations, is free of 'editorial bias' in accepting manuscripts.
Provided as a downloadable tab-delimited text file (URL and variable code available under section 'additional files').
The editors of Virology Journal would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 9 (2012). The success of any scientific journal depends on an effective and strict peer review process and Virology Journal could not operate without your contribution. We look forward to your continuous support to this journal either as an invited reviewer or a contributing author in the years to come.
Publication lag between manuscript submission and its final publication is considered as an important factor affecting the decision to submit, the timeliness of presented data, and the scientometric measures of the particular journal. Dual-format peer-reviewed journals (publishing both print and online editions of their content) adopted a broadly accepted strategy to shorten the publication lag: to publish the accepted manuscripts online ahead of their print editions, which may follow days, but also years later. Effects of this widespread habit on the immediacy index (average number of times an article is cited in the year it is published) calculation were never analyzed.
Scopus database (which contains nearly up-to-date documents in press, but does not reveal citations by these documents until they are finalized) was searched for the journals with the highest total counts of articles in press, or highest counts of articles in press appearing online in 2010–2011. Number of citations received by the articles in press available online was found to be nearly equal to citations received within the year when the document was assigned to a journal issue. Thus, online publication of in press articles affects severely the calculation of immediacy index of their source titles, and disadvantages online-only and print-only journals when evaluating them according to the immediacy index and probably also according to the impact factor and similar measures.
Caution should be taken when evaluating dual-format journals supporting long publication lag. Further research should answer the question, on whether the immediacy index should be replaced by an indicator based on the date of first publication (online or in print, whichever comes first) to eliminate the problems analyzed in this report. Information value of immediacy index is further questioned by very high ratio of authors’ self-citations among the citation window used for its calculation.
To describe and discuss the processes used to write scholarly book reviews for publication in peer-reviewed journals and to provide a recommended strategy and book appraisal worksheet to use when conducting book reviews.
A literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Index to Chiropractic Literature was conducted in June 2009 using a combination of controlled vocabulary and truncated text words to capture articles relevant to writing scholarly book reviews for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
The initial search identified 839 citations. Following the removal of duplicates and the application of selection criteria, a total of 78 articles were included in this review including narrative commentaries (n = 26), editorials or journal announcements (n = 25), original research (n = 18), and journal correspondence pieces (n = 9).
Recommendations for planning and writing an objective and quality book review are presented based on the evidence gleaned from the articles reviewed and from the authors' experiences. A worksheet for conducting a book review is provided.
The scholarly book review serves many purposes and has the potential to be an influential literary form. The process of publishing a successful scholarly book review requires the reviewer to appreciate the book review publication process and to be aware of the skills and strategies involved in writing a successful review.
Authorship; Book Reviews; Book Reviews as Topic; Manuscripts as Topic; Publishing; Writing
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research (JFAR) is a new, open access, peer-reviewed online journal that encompasses all aspects of policy, organisation, delivery and clinical practice related to the assessment, diagnosis, prevention and management of foot and ankle disorders. JFAR will cover a wide range of clinical subject areas, including diabetology, paediatrics, sports medicine, gerontology and geriatrics, foot surgery, physical therapy, dermatology, wound management, radiology, biomechanics and bioengineering, orthotics and prosthetics, as well the broad areas of epidemiology, policy, organisation and delivery of services related to foot and ankle care. The journal encourages submission from all health professionals who manage lower limb conditions, including podiatrists, nurses, physical therapists and physiotherapists, orthopaedists, manual therapists, medical specialists and general medical practitioners, as well as health service researchers concerned with foot and ankle care. All manuscripts will undergo open peer review, and all accepted manuscripts will be freely available on-line using the open access platform of BioMed Central.
In this paper author discussed about preparing and submitting manuscripts - scientific, research, professional papers, reviews and case reports. Author described it from the Editor’s perspective, and specially talked about ethical aspects of authorship, conflict of interest, copyright, plagiarism and duplicate publication from the point of view of his experiences as Editor-in-Chief of several biomedical journals and Chief of Task Force of European Federation of Medical Informatics journals and member of Task Force of European Cardiology Society journals. The scientific process relies on trust and credibility. The scientific community demands high ethical standards to conduct biomedical research and to publish scientific contents. During the last decade, disclosure of conflicts of interest (COI ), (also called competing loyalties, competing interests or dual commitments), has been considered as a key element to guarantee the credibility of the scientific process. Biases in design, analysis and interpretation of studies may arise when authors or sponsors have vested interests. Therefore, COI should be made clear to the readers to facilitate their own judgment and interpretation of their relevance and potential implications.
Results and Discussion:
Authors are responsible to fully disclose potential COI . In October 2009 the ICMJE proposed an electronic “uniform” format for COI disclosure. Four main areas were addressed: authors´ associations with entities that supported the submitted manuscript (indefinite time frame), associations with commercial entities with potential interest in the general area of the manuscript (time frame 36 months), financial association of their spouse and children and, finally, non-financial associations potentially relevant to the submitted manuscript. Consumers of medical scholarship expect a reliable system of disclosure in which journals and authors make disclosures appropriately and consistently. There is a stigma surrounding the reporting of COI that should be progressively overcome. Further actions are required to increase awareness of the importance of COI disclosure and to promote policies aimed to enhance transparency in biomedical research. In this article author discuss about important ethical dilemmas in preparing, writing and publishing of scientific manuscripts in biomedical journals.
medical science; biomedical journals; ethics; authorship; acknowledgement; conflict of interest; copyright; plagiarism; duplicate publication.
An estimated $100 billion is lost to ‘waste’ in biomedical research globally, annually, much of which comes from the poor quality of published research. One area of waste involves bias in reporting research, which compromises the usability of published reports. In response, there has been an upsurge in interest and research in the scientific process of writing, editing, peer reviewing, and publishing (that is, journalology) of biomedical research. One reason for bias in reporting and the problem of unusable reports could be due to authors lacking knowledge or engaging in questionable practices while designing, conducting, or reporting their research. Another might be that the peer review process for journal publication has serious flaws, including possibly being ineffective, and having poorly trained and poorly motivated reviewers. Similarly, many journal editors have limited knowledge related to publication ethics. This can ultimately have a negative impact on the healthcare system. There have been repeated calls for better, more numerous training opportunities in writing for publication, peer review, and publishing. However, little research has taken stock of journalology training opportunities or evaluations of their effectiveness.
We will conduct a systematic review to synthesize studies that evaluate the effectiveness of training programs in journalology. A comprehensive three-phase search approach will be employed to identify evaluations of training opportunities, involving: 1) forward-searching using the Scopus citation database, 2) a search of the MEDLINE In-Process and Non-Indexed Citations, MEDLINE, Embase, ERIC, and PsycINFO databases, as well as the databases of the Cochrane Library, and 3) a grey literature search.
This project aims to provide evidence to help guide the journalological training of authors, peer reviewers, and editors. While there is ample evidence that many members of these groups are not getting the necessary training needed to excel at their respective journalology-related tasks, little is known about the characteristics of existing training opportunities, including their effectiveness. The proposed systematic review will provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of training, therefore giving potential trainees, course designers, and decision-makers evidence to help inform their choices and policies regarding the merits of specific training opportunities or types of training.
Training; Writing for publication; Journalology; Author; Journal editor; Manuscript peer review; Publishing
Reading scientific literature is mandatory for researchers and clinicians. With an overflow of medical and dental journals, it is essential to develop a method to choose and read the right articles.
To outline a logical and orderly approach to reading a scientific manuscript. By breaking down the task into smaller, step-by-step components, one should be able to attain the skills to read a scientific article with ease.
The reader should begin by reading the title, abstract and conclusions first. If a decision is made to read the entire article, the key elements of the article can be perused in a systematic manner effectively and efficiently. A cogent and organized method is presented to read articles published in scientific journals.
One can read and appreciate a scientific manuscript if a systematic approach is followed in a simple and logical manner.
Articles; journal; reading; research; systematic
CytoJournal, with its continued contribution of scientific cytopathology literature to the public domain under open access (OA) charter, thanks its dedicated peer reviewers for devoting significant efforts, time, and resources during 2011. The abstracts of poster-platform submissions to the 59th Annual Scientific Meeting (November 2011) of the American Society of Cytopathology (ASC) in Baltimore, MD, USA, were peer reviewed by the ASC Scientific Program Committee.
Reviewers; peer-review; academic editor; cytopathology; cytojournal; Open Access; cytopathology foundation
Most researchers acknowledge an intrinsic hierarchy in the scholarly journals (“journal rank”) that they submit their work to, and adjust not only their submission but also their reading strategies accordingly. On the other hand, much has been written about the negative effects of institutionalizing journal rank as an impact measure. So far, contributions to the debate concerning the limitations of journal rank as a scientific impact assessment tool have either lacked data, or relied on only a few studies. In this review, we present the most recent and pertinent data on the consequences of our current scholarly communication system with respect to various measures of scientific quality (such as utility/citations, methodological soundness, expert ratings or retractions). These data corroborate previous hypotheses: using journal rank as an assessment tool is bad scientific practice. Moreover, the data lead us to argue that any journal rank (not only the currently-favored Impact Factor) would have this negative impact. Therefore, we suggest that abandoning journals altogether, in favor of a library-based scholarly communication system, will ultimately be necessary. This new system will use modern information technology to vastly improve the filter, sort and discovery functions of the current journal system.
impact factor; journal ranking; statistics as topic; publishing; open access; scholarly communication; libraries; library services
Last summer we officially launched the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, published by BioMedCentral, with the aim of establishing a serious, peer-reviewed, open-access online journal that focuses on the multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary fields of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine, drawing on approaches and methods from both the social and biological sciences. The strong start vindicates the widely held belief that the journal responds to a real need within the research community.
The success of the journal has been most gratifying. The steady influx of submissions of high scientific standards illustrates the strong demand for a dynamic, proactive, and open-minded scientific journal in these research areas. Our aim has been to dedicate JEE to the "scientific communities" worldwide, particularly those in the developing countries.
The ability to write clearly and effectively is of central importance to the scientific enterprise. Encouraged by the success of simulation environments in other biomedical sciences, we developed WriteSim TCExam, an open-source, Web-based, textual simulation environment for teaching effective writing techniques to novice researchers. We shortlisted and modified an existing open source application - TCExam to serve as a textual simulation environment. After testing usability internally in our team, we conducted formal field usability studies with novice researchers. These were followed by formal surveys with researchers fitting the role of administrators and users (novice researchers)
The development process was guided by feedback from usability tests within our research team. Online surveys and formal studies, involving members of the Research on Research group and selected novice researchers, show that the application is user-friendly. Additionally it has been used to train 25 novice researchers in scientific writing to date and has generated encouraging results.
WriteSim TCExam is the first Web-based, open-source textual simulation environment designed to complement traditional scientific writing instruction. While initial reviews by students and educators have been positive, a formal study is needed to measure its benefits in comparison to standard instructional methods.
To describe the process of scientific peer review as it is used in the manuscript submission process, assess threats and challenges to the peer review process, and to offer suggestions for enhancing its effectiveness.
Peer review is often seen as one of the hallmarks of scientific publication. The primary goal of peer review is to improve the science within papers that are ultimately published, by helping an editor better understand the strengths and weaknesses of a given paper. This process, while fairly well studied within the medical field, has received almost no attention at all within chiropractic. This paper provides guidance to reviewers and potential reviewers which can help them to understand both the scientific and the human aspects of peer review. This is designed to elevate this function to one trusted by the profession rather than seen as simply another hurdle to overcome. Several future directions are offered, including unblinding the review process for transparency, conducting rigorous studies looking at peer review, and developing formal training programs for potential reviewers.
Peer review is likely to remain in force as a means to provide guidance to authors and editors about the rigor of submitted papers. However, the nature of peer review may be changing and editors and authors need to stay aware of the implications of these changes. Recommendations to open the process, study it and develop training programs are designed to ensure that the process remains as impartial as possible.
Peer Review; Periodicals; Chiropractic