Important pre-submission checks to help you sail through peer review
With ‘Trust’ being the central theme of this year’s Peer Review Week, I would like to pose a question to you: what makes you trust a piece of scientific literature? Is it a research topic that lends a fresh perspective to a certain field of study? Is it the accuracy of numbers and figures? Is it the fact that the study is reproducible? Or is it a cohesive and well-written paper that has been published in a reputed journal? For most in the scientific community, a trusted, high-impact article will consist of a combination of all the above factors. According to the 2018 Global State of Peer Review report by Publons, more than 13.7 million manuscripts are submitted every single year!1 So, how do scholarly journals pick out the best research from a multitude of papers? This is where the peer review process comes into the picture, putting each manuscript through stringent checks to ensure the research is significant and of the highest quality before it is deemed worthy of publishing.
Researchers across the world strongly acknowledge the value of the peer review process. In the Global State of Peer Review report by Publons published in 2018, it was found that a whopping 98% of researchers considered this process either important or extremely important, recognizing peer reviewers as the quality gatekeepers of science.
However, the rapidly rising volume of submissions is putting this crucial and time-consuming process, which involves a corroboration of new research, under immense pressure.
Challenges faced by peer reviewers and authors
The lack of monetary compensation or even recognition for reviewers, and the need to balance manuscript reviews with their own work, is taking a toll on the peer review process and leading to reviewer fatigue.
In fact, data shows that almost 50% of peer review is performed by a very small pool of referees (only 10%). With the growth in scientific output every year, it is becoming increasingly difficult for journals to find experienced peer reviewers across subject areas. This further strains the editorial process, with 75% of journal editors stating that just “finding reviewers and getting them to accept review invitations” is the hardest part of their job. And it’s not just editors; this also affects authors who submit their manuscripts for publication.
Source: Editage Insights Q&A Forum
Most authors find the long wait time between submission and publication quite frustrating, and not just because of the uncertainty of getting accepted, but also because of the revisions required before acceptance.
Here, the dwindling pool of reviewers can cause further delays in an already stretched out process. Data shows that the editorial process, from submission to peer review to final acceptance, can take as long as 4-8 months; if the decision is to ‘revise and resubmit’ (which is most common), review times can easily surpass a year. This imbalance in the peer review process, which upholds scientific integrity, has prompted authors across the world to get more involved.
So, how can authors ensure that their manuscripts sail through the review process, not only increasing the possibility of acceptance but also reducing the burden on peer reviewers?
How can YOU, as the author, accelerate the submission process?
What if we told you that authors have the power to accelerate the submission process? It’s true. Let’s explain this with a quick example. You visit a local bank for some work, only to find a long line of people ahead of you. Frustrations grow when you finally reach the counter, only to find that you’re missing key data or documents; you have to go back and re-do the entire process! You can avoid such situations, and have a stress-free experience, just by checking that you have all the necessary documents with you. Why? Because it saves time and effort, for both the bank employee and you, if you come in totally PREPARED.
The same logic can be applied when you’re preparing your manuscript. The importance of a thorough check before submission can’t be emphasized enough. It can increase your chances of acceptance, reduce review time, and avoid desk rejection. But where to begin?
To help you get started, we’ve assembled a checklist to help you avoid common causes of prolonged review time like writing and organization, plagiarism, journal mismatch, or missing information. Feel free to download it, print it, and use it as a handy guide for your pre-submission review!
A 5-point checklist for your research paper
Ready to submit? Be sure to review and revise your manuscript for a better shot at acceptance!
Ask yourself these questions before you proceed to submission
- Language quality
-Is my manuscript free of spelling and grammatical mistakes?
-Am I using the right terminology?
-Does my paper reflect intelligible word choices, structured sentences, and a logical flow of information?
-Is the language used appropriate for scientific literature?
-Am I using upto-date references?
-Are my citations in order?
-Is my reference list formatted according to my journal’s guidelines?
-Are all my intext citations included in my reference list?
- Tables & figures
-Is any information repetitive, unclear, or difficult to understand?
-Are the table titles, figures and graph legends, and image captions presented correctly?
-Is there any missing data in my figures?
-Have the tables and figures been duly cited?
- Cover Letter
-Have I included all correspondence information?
-Have I disclosed all commercial or financial relationships that may be potential conflicts of interest?
-Have I mentioned that my study is devoid of any ethical concerns, and has been approved by my institution?
-Has my manuscript been checked for plagiarism?
-Does my paper include all necessary sections—Introduction, Discussion, etc.
-Are all the images in my paper ethically compliant?
-Have I drafted a manuscript considering the word limit prescribed by my target journal?
If you’ve answered yes to most of the questions above, then you are probably ready to submit your paper. These checks, as you may guess, are important and yet can be time-consuming for a busy researcher like you who has so many other things to work on.
Complete all checks within 5 minutes with R Pubsure!
Do you find evaluating your manuscript time-consuming and confusing? Don’t know how you can improve your paper? Turn to R Pubsure and get a secure, accurate, and comprehensive AI-enabled manuscript submission readiness check in minutes! Based on 18+ years of editorial intelligence and advanced AI technology, R Pubsure gives you with a fast, objective, and in-depth review of your paper before you get ready to submit it to the journal. Polish your work with the R Pubsure Report and receive the R Pubsure Certificate of submission readiness, which can be shared with the journal editor to help accelerate the publishing process.
- Visit https://pubsure.researcher.life and choose your preferred plan
- Upload the manuscript you want assessed and get the R Pubsure Report
- Improve your work to get the R Pubsure Certificate of submission readiness!
By checking a research paper against key editorial requirements, R Pubsure helps authors identify and fix potential problems early on, reducing both the time needed for reviews and requests for revisions. On the other hand, papers polished to ensure readability, compliance, and completeness, also makes a peer reviewer’s job easier by allowing them to focus on the research, thus, speeding up the entire publication process. 2
Intrigued? Visit R Pubsure and play an important role in relieving the burden of peer reviewers, while also increasing your chance of publication! Got questions? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you out.
1. Publons Global State of Peer Review Survey, 2018. Available online at https://publons.com/static/Publons-Global-State-Of-Peer-Review-2018.pdf
2. C. Leonard- Peer review made easier: PubSURE at a glance, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.editage.com/insights/pubsure-connect-a-platform-that-makes-peer-review-easier-for-authors-and-journals?refer=insights-search-posts
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