7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Journal Rejection

You understand that your scientific research paper needs to stand above the rest. Though seeking is on your list of tasks to complete prior to sending your paper to a journal, you may not realize that there are several steps you can complete in advance to help speed up the process.

Your editing expert will expect you to have done most of the work in advance. This will help them to focus their services on making final improvements related to editing for style and flow, and making corrections related to scientific English terms or difficult grammar translations. While proofreading and editing services may also include checking that your paper matches the standards of your target journal, the more you can do on your own ahead of sending your manuscript to an editing service, the sooner your paper will be ready to send to a journal.

7 Steps to Successful Journal Submission

1. Understand that journals expect a High Standard of English and compliance to guidelines for every paper that they accept. A large part in understanding these criteria is to read the submission and style guidelines for several journals before choosing which one best suits the topic and scope or your article.No matter how cutting edge or relevant the topic of your paper is, you’ll be setting yourself up for rejection if you discount any part of the journal guidelines. Once you’ve decided on which journal to send your manuscript to, you’ll want to get to know the specific criteria of your target journal in order to adhere to each standard without compromise.

2. Read several recent issues of your target journal prior to drafting your paper. This step may seem time consuming, but it’s essential to understanding how the first step (initial acceptance) transfers into a completed work. Some questions to ask while you read may be:

  • Do they use long or short paragraphs?
     — Are there headings and sub-headings breaking up sections?
     — What is the average number of sources cited in each article?
     — How and how often are tables and charts presented to reinforce research?
     — What are the credentials of each author?

If you’ve already written your paper without a target journal in mind, know that the answers to these questions may mean a significant revision is in order. The changes could be anything from rearranging the content to adhering to a designated word count. Either way, this step will help you to organize and structure your paper to match the style and flow of the articles already published in that journal.

3. Know your competition. Do you know who has already written on this topic? What other journals have recently published articles related to the subject matter of your paper? Though journals tend to want to publish new information, if you can find a way to present your research in a unique way, or provide an extensive expansion on recently published papers (not just writing the same information), then your chances of acceptance increase. On the contrary, if you realize that the topic of your research is already saturating the market, then perhaps it’s time to move to a different research topic. More likely, you will be using this step to compare and contrast your article with other articles on the general subject area and not the specific topic of your paper. When you present your knowledge of the current article base as part of your proposal package to your target journal, you will be establishing credibility for yourself and respect for the journal reviewers.

4. Collect adequate and recent sources. Another aspect of establishing credibility as both a researcher and an author is to cite multiple sources throughout your paper. In the fields of science and medicine, advances and research are ongoing. By keeping abreast of how other’s research reinforces the conclusions and data presented in your paper, you will ensure that you have included all the necessary research to support your conclusions.

5. Ensure that your data is presented accurately and correctly. Whether using charts or graphs, color or gray scale, there are several things to consider when choosing which data to present and how to present it. Some things to check for are correct scales of information. For example, if presenting a value of 100 vs a value of 50 in a bar graph, then the bar representing 100 should be double the height as the one representing 50. Even if you’ve explained the data in detail within the text part of the document, a quick glimpse at the graphic should lead to the same conclusions by the reader.

6. Use English editing and proofreading services that specialize in helping ESL authors who are seeking publication in high-impact international journals. Now it’s time to refer back to #1 on this list. You’ve done a lot of work as you traverse the first few steps. Your work is sound and you’re positive your paper fits the criteria of your chosen journal. But, if English is not your native language or you don’t have a lot of experience writing professionally, you’ll want to complete this step. Keep in mind that English proofreading services only cover basic spelling, grammar, typographical errors and consistency. Before you choose editing or proofreading, consider the high-criteria of international scientific journals. Not just any English proofreading service will suffice.

7. Choose an editor who is experienced in the subject matter of your paper and the journal you wish to publish in. When you’re ready to choose a proofreading and editing service, you’ll also want to screen potential editors to find one who is educated and knowledgeable on your topic and has also successfully edited papers or worked with the in-house editorial department of your journal of choice. An editor familiar with your target journal will also be familiar with their style guidelines and may also be privy to details about their acceptance process that can help. Is there a specific journal reviewer to whom you should submit your paper? How long can you expect to wait for a response? Do they accept new authors?

What if you’ve already been rejected?

Sometimes it takes rejection to understand that your paper needs improvement in one area or another. If you haven’t avoided rejection to begin with, know that more often than not papers are rejected several times before they are accepted for any number of reasons. Whether your manuscript has been rejected once or ten times, you can still use the suggestions above to protect yourself against future rejection and increase your chances of acceptance. Above all, consider the substantial benefits and protection that editing and proofreading services can offer.