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Paper written! Now for the harder part: getting it published! Sue Silver, PhD Editor in Chief Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment Ecological Society of America Washington DC, September 2009 Getting published © S Silver September 2009
2 Three secrets to success Choose the right journal Find and follow the Instructions to Authors Don’t get rejected without review
Other topics to cover How to write a cover letter Submission do’s and don’ts Top reasons articles get rejected Responding to reviewers’ comments Rejection – what now?!
4 What kind of information do I have? What kind(s) of paper(s) should it go in Who needs to know? Does the journal publish this type of paper? How quickly does the journal publish papers? Choosing the right journal Getting published © S Silver September 2009
5 Time to publication Journals with high rejection rates are not necessarily quicker at making decisions Decision times are sometimes quicker for short papers Some journals publish online before the paper appears in print Choosing the right journal Getting published © S Silver September 2009
6 Three vital steps to successful manuscript publication: FIND the Instructions to Authors READ the Instructions to Authors FOLLOW the Instructions to Authors Instructions to Authors Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Options regarding cover letters No cover letter A brief note A short letter A long letter Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Basic information Title Names of all authors Contact information for corresponding author The correct journal name! What goes in a cover letter? Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Source information (workshop, interdisciplinary collaboration) Explanation of scientific content (short) What is new Why it is important Why this journal? Why now? Conflict of interest statement What goes in a cover letter? Getting published © S Silver September 2009
“In this manuscript we attempt to explain why, although the ecological processes that create treeline patterns across western North America are mechanistically similar, and are linked to climate, actual patterns differ greatly. We discuss what this means in terms of treeline response to climate change.” Scientific content Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Charcoal is generated in all biomass burning events and is one of the only legacies of forest fire. However, to date, it has received very little scientific attention. In this manuscript, we summarize the existing literature on charcoal deposition, ecological function, and storage in forest ecosystems. We also provide an analysis of how forest management influences charcoal formation and discuss the implications for long-term carbon storage in forest ecosystems of the Rocky Mountain region. Statement of what is new Getting published © S Silver September 2009
“Our findings (on dramatic increases in nitrogen and phosphorus in freshwater ecosystems) have direct implications for stream management and restoration…..” Why findings are important Getting published © S Silver September 2009
These findings should be of great interest to both applied scientists and policy makers. We therefore believe Frontiers would be the ideal forum to highlight these new insights. Why this journal is appropriate Getting published © S Silver September 2009
“ We think this is timely because of the recent discovery of quagga mussels in Lake Mead, MV, which has lead to a lot of management- related initiatives.” Why publish NOW Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Before submission (text), DO Check that all references appear in both the text and the reference section Check that all references are correct Check that any internet links are still live Abide by the upper word limit and requested number of references Submitting your manuscript Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Before submission (figures), DO Provide low res figures for peer review/ high res versions for publication Provide all figures and tables mentioned in the text Get permission from the publisher before reproducing a previously printed figure Acknowledge the source of each photo/graph that is not yours Submitting your manuscript Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Submitting your manuscript When resubmitting to a new journal following rejection, DON’T Send the same ms – follow the Instructions to Authors of new journal Leave the references in the style for the previous journal Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Wrong journal Science is flawed/incomplete/not new Journal doesn’t accept that type of article Article too long/short Article written at wrong level for this readership High submission rate/rejection rate High impact factor journal Journal has a backlog of papers Top reasons articles get rejected Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Right journal Science flawed Science incomplete Science not well explained Science not new Article too long Article too short Article written at wrong level Article poorly written Conflict of interest Top reasons articles get rejected Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Reject Major revision Minor revision Provisional accept Accept The decision letter Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Rejection Read the decision letter carefully Consider whether the paper is more appropriate for another journal Consider whether the work involved in submitting elsewhere is worthwhile Choose the next journal carefully and reformat the paper accordingly Use reviewers’ comments to strengthen your submission To appeal or not to appeal? Responding to reviewer comments Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Major revision Study the reviews carefully (don’t take offense) Use the comments to improve your paper Include a detailed response with the new draft Divide comments into groups and prioritize All comments/criticisms must be addressed but not all have to be accepted Responding to reviewer comments Getting published © S Silver September 2009
Responding to reviewer comments Be positive Be polite Be concise Start with a paragraph outlining the major changes Deal with points one by one Refer to text where changes have been made (page/line numbers) List suggestions you rejected and explain why Getting published © S Silver September 2009
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