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SUCCESS IN STM PUBLISHING (HOW TO GET PUBLISHED) a. Manuscript preparation and submission b. Most common reasons for rejection c. Handling reviewer comments.

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Presentation on theme: "SUCCESS IN STM PUBLISHING (HOW TO GET PUBLISHED) a. Manuscript preparation and submission b. Most common reasons for rejection c. Handling reviewer comments."— Presentation transcript:

1 SUCCESS IN STM PUBLISHING (HOW TO GET PUBLISHED) a. Manuscript preparation and submission b. Most common reasons for rejection c. Handling reviewer comments

2 a. Manuscript Preparation and submission

3 a. SCIENTIFIC REVIEW PROCESS Completion of research Preparation of manuscript Submission of manuscript Assignment and review Decision Revision Resubmission Re-review decision Acceptance PUBLICATION Rejection (adapted from.ppt presentation of Adair TH, 2006)

4 a. FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS What do you have to say? Is it worth saying? What is the right format? What is the audience? What is the right journal?

5 a. BEFORE YOU START Define study team and roles Think about eventual authorship situation Search the literature thoroughly Talk to a statistician about study design and subsequent analysis Randomised controlled trials (RCT) should be registered and follow a checklist like CONSORT ACCEPTED!!

6 a. AUTHORSHIP Omission – major contributors left out Ghost – a company ghost writes the paper – exposes a conflict of interest Guest – important name Gift - sycophantic invitation Non-consultation – some authors not shown final version All of above can cause BIG conflicts!

7 AUTHORSHIP QUALIFICATIONS 1 Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data 2 Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content 3 Final approval of the version to be published Authors should meet all conditions 1, 2 and 3 *


9 a. SEARCH ENGINES OVERVIEW FREE SEARCH TOOLS PubMed ( Google ( Google Scholar ( HighWire Portal ( SPECIALISED PORTALS: CTSNet portal ( SUBSCRIPTION BASED: ISI Web of Science ( Scopus ( Journals@Ovid ( MD Consult (

10 a. RIGHT JOURNAL - MAIN CONSIDERATIONS PubMed/MedLine/Current Contents listing SCI Impact factor - average number of times published papers are cited up to two years after publication. Print circulation and on-line usage Do your peers/assessors read it? History/prestige/society affiliation Review/publication speed Articles cited in your reference list lead you to the right choice of journal

11 a. TARGETING JOURNALS - SIGNIFICANCE OF WORK Global – go for big international multidisciplinary journal like: Nature, Science, PNAS, Lancet, NEJM Discipline (global) – go for international speciality journal like: Circulation, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Brain Research, Cancer Letters Regional - go for regional speciality journal like: Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals Local – go for national level journal – like Italian Journal of Pediatrics, Indian Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Confirmation or Repeat study (me too) – go for high acceptance rate journal – often author-pays – like PLoSONE, Nature Communications, SpringerPlus

12 a. JOURNAL SELECTION Search SCI journals listing: http://ip- bin/jrnlst/jloptions.cgi?PC=Dhttp://ip- bin/jrnlst/jloptions.cgi?PC=D Check-out the aims and scope of your target journal Revise your manuscript to suit any specific journal requirements

13 SPECIFY SIGNIFICANCE State clearly in the‘Introduction’ the significance of your work: international, discipline, regional, local or confirmation Specify exactly how you set-up the literature search (PubMed etc. search set-up) In China studies often include very large patient groups – much larger than USA and European equivalents. Provide details in the cover letter and upload additional patient group information as supplemental files – improves credibility The reviewer has to either accept or disprove your assertions!

14 a. WHAT TYPE OF PAPER? Description: of new event/process/technique/case hopefully not resembling anything known or used (can be novel but not important) – e.g. Case report, How-to-do-it, Technical note Analysis: testing a hypothesis - determining the fundamental processes involved in or responsible for an action, reaction, or other natural phenomenon – e.g. Original article, Research paper Compilation: state-of-the–art overview of how things are but does not test how things work – hypotheses are not tested – e.g. Literature review (Systematic review, Best evidence topic, Meta-analysis), Editorial Correspondence: commentary on any of above – e.g. Letter to the Editor, Editorial comment

15 a. INSTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS - USE MODELS Read carefully the Instructions for authors Look in free content for typical article elements (e.g. for case report)

16 a. MAIN ON-LINE SUBMISSION SYSTEMS They are all similar in their requirements

17 a. TIPS FOR USING ON-LINE SUBMISSION SYSTEMS Compile all metadata, cover letter, manuscript incl. tables, supplemental files, artwork files (separate) before you start If its your first time with the system - get help Register an account – don’t duplicate accounts Don’t duplicate submissions

18 b. Most common reasons for rejection

19 b. TEN COMMON REASONS FOR REJECTION 1 Unoriginal work 2 Unsound work 3 Incorrect journal 4 Incorrect format 5 Incorrect type allocation 6 Previous rejection 7 Slicing & Duplication 8 Plagiarism (= copying) 9 Unready work 10 English so bad it’s ambiguous

20 b. UNORIGINAL WORK: Doesn’t expand knowledge (even at local level) Information of low or little interest BUT some new journals like PloSONE and Nature Communications seem to be less concerned about this REJECTED!!

21 b2. UNSOUND WORK: Experimental set-up flawed Statistical analysis flawed: inadequate controls, hypothesis not adequately tested Evidence/suggestion of scientific fraud or data manipulation! Retrospective studies are limited in terms of their experimental set-up – i.e. no randomisation or control group etc. – therefore rarely make it into top journals REJECTED!!

22 b3. INCORRECT JOURNAL E.G.: Case report submitted to a journal that doesn’t publish them Local confirmation (me too) submitted to an international journal Subject area ‘outside’ scope of target journal Highly experimental/theoretical study submitted to a clinical journal REJECTED!!

23 b. INCORRECT FORMAT: Too many: authors, figures, tables, words, references etc. Style (e.g. references) corresponds to another journal = giveaway rejection At EJCTS 2/3 of submissions were formally incorrect and needed to be returned at least once. Repeated non-conforming submissions can lead to author watchlisting REJECTED!!

24 b5. INCORRECT TYPE ALLOCATION: Case Report submitted as Letter to the Editor Case Report and Literature Review – a contradiction in terms Original Article with only 3 cases! Meta-Analysis to be submitted as Original Article or Literature Review? (check journal) REJECTED!!

25 b6. PREVIOUS REJECTION: Previous rejections often resubmitted to same journal – detected by duplicate search Previous rejections from other journals often badly disguised – cover letter, wrong (other journal) format Both of above bad psychology RE-REJECTED!!

26 b7. SLICING & DUPLICATION: Over-slicing (salami slicing) your work is attempting to squeeze too many publications out of the same study material – often backfires Duplicate or redundant publication is attempting to publish the same material in different places Both above are risky strategies !! REJECTED!!

27 DEFINITION OF DUPLICATE OR REDUNDANT PUBLICATION: 1 The hypothesis is similar 2 The numbers or sample sizes are similar 3 The methodology is identical or nearly so 4 The results are similar 5 At least one author is common to both reports 6 No or little new information is made available Normally all of above should apply but policy varies


29 b8. PLAGIARISM (= COPYING): 5 types: Direct, Template, Mosaic, Paraphrase, Insufficient acknowledgement (declining level of severity) Theft of intellectual property Easy to do – cut and paste Easy to detect – i-Thenticate Easy to avoid – turnitin, WriteCheck (Google) Very serious implications! = bans and high profile dismissals REJECTED!!



32 b9. UNREADY WORK: Work submitted too early Draft manuscript submitted before all authors consulted Artwork incomplete or low quality Parts missing REJECTED!!

33 b10. ENGLISH SO BAD IT’S AMBIGUOUS If the English is so poor that the meaning is ambiguous, it is impossible to review or indeed publish Submitted English must be ‘at least’ unambiguous Use excellent translators and verify meaning at all stages English polishing and pre-submission editing by International Science Editing strongly recommended REJECTED!!

34 b. HANDLING REJECTIONS Don’t recommend contesting or appealing rejections Never resubmit a previously rejected paper to the same journal Take the reviewer’s comments and benefit from them Submit your revised paper to a different journal Only appeal if feel you have received biased review – possible reviewer conflict of interest!

35 c. Handling reviewer comments

36 c. YOU RECEIVE GREAT NEWS! – BUT You receive notification from the Editor that your paper can be revised for reconsideration by Journal A This is a great opportunity But needs to be handled correctly/carefully! Don’t respond immediately – sleep on it and discuss with co-authors! Only then proceed

37 c. RESPONDING TO REVIEWERS Prepare your responses carefully Reviewer can be wrong! Be tactful and enthusiastic – thank the reviewers Do not respond to reviewers while upset Get help from other authors Get help from a statistician (if required) Never telephone the editor

38 c. POINT-BY-POINT APPROACH If not already the case, convert reviewer/editor’s comments into a series of clear points and questions Answer/respond to each item directly below it In doing this do not edit out unwanted comments or questions

39 c. EXAMPLE - POINT-BY-POINT RESPONSE 1 The authors should give more detail of the methodology. Two sentences were added to clarify the process (para 2 on p. 3). 2 Figures 2&3 legends are transposed. The legends for Figures 2&3 have been corrected. 3 Units should be SI and in a standard format throughout. Units standardized SI eg. mg s -1 throughout.

40 c. HIGHLIGHTED VERSION OF REVISED MANUSCRIPT Make life as easy as possible for the (very busy) reviewers and editors! Remember that editors and reviewers are almost never paid for their journal work!

41 c. RESUBMISSION OF REVISED MANUSCRIPT (GENERIC) Provide cover letter Provide response to reviewers and editors (statistician) Provide an unmarked version of your revised paper Provide a marked version of your revised paper – highlighting changes Provide all source files for artwork (e.g.: high resolution images) - saves time Reread the specific journal instructions to authors and revision letter

42 c. LOGISTICS Respond as quickly as possible – you then help the Editor to shorten average publication times (= everybody happy) If you need more time (new experiments needed etc.) ask for it in advance to avoid timing-out

43 c. STRATEGY Respond quickly, clearly, fully and politely Respond tardily, unclearly, incompletely and rudely Most journals do reserve the right to reject revised papers ACCEPTED!! REJECTED!!

44 c. REMEMBER Every journal policy is (slightly) different Manuscript revision is a sensitive and delicate game Play the game well and you will succeed! A bit of psychology goes a long, long way!

45 FURTHER INFORMATION Day RA, Gastel B. How to write and publish a scientific paper. 7 th edn, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008 ISI Impact factor: PubMed/MedLine: International Science Editing: ExcelSTM (authorship workshops):

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