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Editorial Evaluation of Manuscripts Thomas S. Rieg, PhD Head – Clinical Investigation Department Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, VA.

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Presentation on theme: "Editorial Evaluation of Manuscripts Thomas S. Rieg, PhD Head – Clinical Investigation Department Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, VA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Editorial Evaluation of Manuscripts Thomas S. Rieg, PhD Head – Clinical Investigation Department Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, VA

2 Acknowledgments Evaluating Manuscripts: An Editors Perspective by Dr. Myron Eisenberg, VA Medical Center, Hampton, VA All the journals that have rejected my papers in the past

3 Objectives Designed for those thinking about writing an article for publication in a professional journal Editors perspective someone who reviews manuscripts and determines accepted, returned for revision, or rejected Help avoid certain pitfalls leading to rejections

4 Several Sections 1.Common Manuscript Flaw describes problems leading to revise and resubmit or reject 2.Elements of the Perfect Manuscript things that reviewers and editors look for 3.Lethal Flaws which will lead to an editorial decision to reject the paper 4. qualities of the Perfect Author At the conclusion should be aware of what not to include as well as what to include in your manuscript

5 Three Types of Journals 1. Refereed Journals use reviewers to determine the suitability and adequacy of papers 2.Non-Refereed Journal, do not use a review process Typically the journals editor makes this decision by him or herself 3.Cost per page Journal

6 Refereed vs. Non-Refereed Journal Non-refereed journal may be acceptable and even advisable for the first time or novice author The quality of refereed journal invariably of higher Manuscript submission ALWAYS is improved as a result of critical review. Having your work critically examined by your peers can be a threatening experience it is ultimately a worthwhile one one which will ultimately improve the submission a piece of work that will carry YOUR name on it

7 From Manuscript to Article Submit Manuscript to Journal Editor Editor or Peer Review Changes by Author Resubmit to Journal Copy Editor Print Editor - proof

8 Nine Common Manuscript Flaws

9 1 - Inadequate Review of the Literature Manuscript presents an inadequate review of the literature even though the research itself is highly relevant to the subject area Not necessary that a review of the literature contain a copious review of all literature It is important to cite major directly relevant studies particularly recent vintage Post-hoc Literature review is Possible

10 2 - Inappropriate Citations The citations refer to studies which are largely irrelevant to the research Citations are falsely used to support research findings Occasionally errors of this type are correctable If the citation problems are pervasive the manuscript is likely to be rejected

11 3 - Unclear Introductory Section Introduction sections which are fairly obscure Commonly mention studies which are not directly relevant to the issues advanced Highlighting variables which cannot be found in the methodology section The purpose of the Introduction is to let the reader know what will be studied and why Hourglass Analogy The Introduction Section can be Rewritten

12 4 - Unclear Research Question Not describing the methodology in sufficient detail Methodology should be specific enough that it could be replicated based on the information given The reviewer should not have to wonder about exactly how the study was conducted The sequence of events in conducting the study is unclear Again, Rewriting will be Necessary

13 5 - Measures Inadequately Described Relates to unclear methodology happens frequently enough to merit separate mention Insufficient information regarding the measures used or collected makes it difficult for the reviewer to make a final judgment regarding publishability Adding Descriptions will be Suggested

14 6 - Unclear Analysis The analysis used in evaluating the data sometimes is not explained clearly, For example, multiple regression analysis frequently do not provide information regarding the order in which the variables entered the regression equation Such shortcomings, while annoying, often are correctable

15 7 - Inappropriate Statistical Techniques. The author must use appropriate analysis techniques Research studies sometimes use analyses, which are incorrect for the type of data Parametric tests are used with ordinal data Analysis may be inappropriate a more suitable or powerful type of analysis might be the substitution i.e., a MANOVA or ANOVA when the data contain multiple related dependent variables.

16 8 - Poorly Conceived Discussion. Discussion section, which Wanders makes dubious connections to only marginally related research just rehashes the results section Usually involves major Investment to rectify

17 9 – Length or Brevity A manuscript can be rejected or returned for revision if it is too lengthy especially when the subject matter doesnt support the papers length Usually returned with directions to shorten it often with a specific number of pages Shorten or Expand as Requested

18 Elements of the Perfect Manuscript

19 The Perfect Manuscript The perfect manuscript is well organized logical thought processes by the author Communicates to readers what the author understands about the research must be told coherently to the readers

20 The Perfect Manuscript The manuscript should try to: address readers alternate hypotheses and interpretations of the results defend the form of the questions asked consider other forms of the questions marshal support for the authors choice of hypotheses, methods, and interpretation of results

21 The Perfect Manuscript Written in English not pseudo-scientific jargon. Some specialized words are needed in some circumstances most ideas and procedures can be described well in English

22 The Perfect Manuscript Begins with an appropriate review of the literature General principles always to be followed are that 1. the literature cited should represent the background for the research 2. the literature cited should not be selectively biased towards the authors hypotheses

23 The Perfect Manuscript Uses appropriately sophisticated statistical analyses Overkill side use of elaborate ANOVA designs and analyses with too few subjects Naïve side use of many univariate comparisons when a single, multivariate procedure would serve far better

24 The Perfect Manuscript Makes appropriate claims for the scope and importance of the research exaggerated claims for the generality of results and their importance for the field To be publishable, a piece of research does not have to revolutionize and area, just make a contribution to its development

25 Four Lethal Flaws Leading to Rejection

26 1 - Inappropriate topic for the Journal Domains of subject matter which they consider appropriate for their particular publication Frequently domains are stated in a policy statement in the journal usually appears on the inside front or back cover or in the first several pages of the journal Best way to get a feel for appropriate subject matter is to examine issues of the journal spanning two or more years When a topic is inappropriate, the editor will immediately reject the manuscript

27 2 - Outdated research question Address an issue with little or no reference to or consideration of relevant previous literature Such research often is not offered as a replication or extension of previous research; rather, it is presented as if it were a unique approach It is rejected because it adds little to what is already known

28 3 - Measures of unknown validity or reliability Use of measures that apparently were constructed for the particular research but provide no basis for establishing the validity and/or reliability of such measures Frequently even the theoretical rationale is not established in the manuscript Such measures usually are difficult to accept and the paper is rejected

29 4 - Faulty research design The research described has not been designed appropriately to test the hypotheses Manuscript is automatically rejected in that there is no way to correct this error

30 The Perfect Author

31 Qualities of the Perfect Author? Must anticipate and accept rejections Most manuscripts are initially rejected It is critical to an authors personal adjustment that they anticipate this outcome for initial submissions

32 Qualities of the Perfect Author? Must be able to defend his or her point of view It is possible that paper was sent to the wrong journal Can write to the editor and appeal the decision with a well-reasoned response Not very helpful to accuse the editor or the reviewers of malevolence

33 Qualities of the Perfect Author? Flexible about making revisions that do not substantially alter the thrust of the manuscript

34 Qualities of the Perfect Author? Brave enough to consult with colleagues before submission Much grief and rejections would be modified if more authors got criticisms from their friends and associates before asking for a more formal review

35 Qualities of the Perfect Author? Persistent in pursuing a line of research Authors need self-confidence to follow their own best judgment in the research they do not to say that blind ignorance of others opinions is good courage to disagree for a time until the research develops and the arguments become more persuasive to others is necessary

36 Qualities of the Perfect Author? Learns from adversity Previous experience with rejections and revisions gives knowledge of flaws to avoid and toughens one to future adversities

37 The End Questions? Comments?

38 Review

39 Review: Common Manuscript Flaws 1.Inadequate review of the literature 2.Inappropriate citations 3.Unclear introductory section 4.Unclear research question 5.Measures inadequately described 6.Unclear analysis 7.Inappropriate statistical technique 8.Poorly conceived discussion 9.Length of Manuscript

40 Review: Perfect Manuscript 1.Be well organized 2.Communicate to readers 3.Address alternate hypotheses and interpretation 4.Marshal support for choice of hypotheses, methods and interpretation of results 5.A minimum of pseudo-scientific jargon 6.Have an appropriate review of the literature 7.Use appropriately sophisticated statistical analyses 8.Appropriate claims for the scope and importance of the research

41 Review: Lethal Flaws 1.Inappropriate topic for the Journal 2.Outdated research question 3.Use of measures of unknown validity and/or reliability 4.Faulty research design

42 Review: Perfect Author 1.Ability to anticipate and accept rejection 2.Ability to defend his or her point of view 3.Capacity to remain flexible about making revisions 4.Persistence in pursuing a line of research 5.Ability to learn from adversity


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