Q: Is there anything I can do to avoid journal rejection?
I am currently preparing my manuscript for a journal publication. Please advise what I should know or do so as to avoid rejection or comments such as re-write, re-phrase etc., from the editors?
Rejection is natural part of the journal decision making process and there is no way to avoid it. Instances of manuscripts which are accepted directly without any revisions are extremely rare. Moreover, the expectations regarding quality and novelty are often dependent on the journal. For instance, a paper that has been rejected by one journal can be accepted with revisions by another journal.
However, as an author, you should ensure that your manuscript is structured well, flows logically, and is written in grammatically correct language. You can take the help of a professional editor if you are not sure about the language and flow of the paper. Apart from this, you should also ensure that you have followed the author guidelines provided by the journal. You should also follow best publication practices and avoid getting embroiled in issues such as plagiarism, duplicate submission, salami slicing, etc.
If you do all of this, you will have put in your best efforts towards creating a perefct manuscript. However, in spite of this, you cannot be sure that your manuscript will not be rejected or receive requests for revision. You will have to follow the reviewer comments carefully and improve your paper based on the suggestions. Even if the paper is rejected by one journal, it will definitely be published elsewhere. This is something that most researchers face and you should be prepared for it.
All of the comments from Editage Insights are right on. Receiving comments about rewriting, rephrasing, etc. should be welcome input. If the reviewer is only providing a general "re-write this" comment with no examples, that is difficult to deal with. A co-author or someone who did NOT write your paper may be able to look at your paper afresh to help you figure out what you can do to improve it. I learned long ago that good writing is good editing, so be ready to openly receive input from reviewers who took the time to read your submission. Also, be ready to edit and rewrite, sometimes more than one time.
If the paper is not flowing well, another suggestion may be to go back and pull out or re-invent the outline for your paper, section by section if needed. You can then re-write from there. Reading aloud may also help with flow. The suggestion to use an editor is wise too. Additionally, what I often see is writing that often uses long, awkward sentences, or overuse of passive voice. In general, the literature view and method can be a place where one might use the passive voice when referring to previous research or to what was performed. For the introduction and later in the discussion writers can use the active voice to describe the present study, where the reader is encouraged actively read and engage in the paper.