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RSS 2012 Preparing & Submitting the Manuscript

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Manuscripts From A to Z, another great presentation by Dr T Justaniah

Manuscripts From A to Z, another great presentation by Dr T Justaniah

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  • Appealing the decision. If you receive a rejection letter, put it away for a minimum of 24 hours. Knee-jerk responses are rarely rational or well constructed. Also, if you are making fun of us, take special care to ensure you click “forward” and not “reply” to the decision letter, as no matter how amusing I find these letters, they are not usually meant for our eyes (the most entertaining of these e-mails said I deserved a spanking). Determine whether a rebuttal letter is truly your best option, as you may not submit the work elsewhere while the rebuttal is still being considered. But editors and referees do make mistakes, and we are willing to overrule specific points, especially if there were factual errors in the reviews. While I have no statistics on how many rebuttals are successful, I note that the large majority of decisions are not overturned. What helps in a rebuttal letter? As in the point-by-point letter, be polite, even if you disagree. Do not guess at the referee’s identity, as most of the time you are incorrect, and we will not reveal any information related to who did or did not provide input into the decision; it is helpful, however, to have specific evidence if you feel a referee is biased. But do not spend too much time trying to prove the editor or referee wrong; simply explain why your manuscript deserves a second look. You should always offer to add new data and not just make superficial changes. Stress that you are willing to do everything and more to alleviate the editors’ and referees’ concerns and to improve the paper. Point out (politely) what factual errors were made in the interpretations of the data. What doesn’t help (and is more often supplied in rebuttal letters)? Inflammatory language. Calling the editors or referees idiots. Bribes (rare) or threats of varying seriousness (not as rare). Blanket statements that the referees are unfair. Celebrity endorsements like “Nobel laureate X said my paper was great.” Cosmetic rewriting of the paper. Guesses at referee identity followed by personal attacks. Statements about your reputation and where you have previously published. And worst of all, don’t tell us that we “published a worse paper on a similar subject.”
  • Appealing the decision. If you receive a rejection letter, put it away for a minimum of 24 hours. Knee-jerk responses are rarely rational or well constructed. Also, if you are making fun of us, take special care to ensure you click “forward” and not “reply” to the decision letter, as no matter how amusing I find these letters, they are not usually meant for our eyes (the most entertaining of these e-mails said I deserved a spanking). Determine whether a rebuttal letter is truly your best option, as you may not submit the work elsewhere while the rebuttal is still being considered. But editors and referees do make mistakes, and we are willing to overrule specific points, especially if there were factual errors in the reviews. While I have no statistics on how many rebuttals are successful, I note that the large majority of decisions are not overturned. What helps in a rebuttal letter? As in the point-by-point letter, be polite, even if you disagree. Do not guess at the referee’s identity, as most of the time you are incorrect, and we will not reveal any information related to who did or did not provide input into the decision; it is helpful, however, to have specific evidence if you feel a referee is biased. But do not spend too much time trying to prove the editor or referee wrong; simply explain why your manuscript deserves a second look. You should always offer to add new data and not just make superficial changes. Stress that you are willing to do everything and more to alleviate the editors’ and referees’ concerns and to improve the paper. Point out (politely) what factual errors were made in the interpretations of the data. What doesn’t help (and is more often supplied in rebuttal letters)? Inflammatory language. Calling the editors or referees idiots. Bribes (rare) or threats of varying seriousness (not as rare). Blanket statements that the referees are unfair. Celebrity endorsements like “Nobel laureate X said my paper was great.” Cosmetic rewriting of the paper. Guesses at referee identity followed by personal attacks. Statements about your reputation and where you have previously published. And worst of all, don’t tell us that we “published a worse paper on a similar subject.”

RSS 2012 Preparing & Submitting the Manuscript RSS 2012 Preparing & Submitting the Manuscript Presentation Transcript

  • @kaimrc_edu1
  • Preparing & Submitting the Manuscript   4th Research Summer School 9th July, 2012 Taghreed Justinia MSc PhD Asst. Professor, Department of Health InformaticsAsst. Director, Information & Communication Technology KSAU-HS, NGHA Tel. +966 2 6240000 ext. 26217 / 26210 Email: JustiniaT@ngha.med.sa
  • In this session…  Major parts of a Manuscript  Writing skills; suggestions for improvement  Submitting the manuscript; process and adviceLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 3 09/07/12
  • Manuscript writing  The goal of scientific writing in a manuscript is effective communication  The report is precise and to the point: it states the question to which the problem is addressed, the method employed, the results obtained and the relation of these results to other scientific knowledge  The usual requirements of English such as complete sentences, accurate spelling and current grammar is requiredLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 4 09/07/12
  • Major Parts of a ManuscriptLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 5 09/07/12
  • Major parts of a Manuscript 1. Title page  Title  Author’s name and institutional affiliation (disclaimers)  Abstract  Key words 2. Introduction 3. Methods 4. Results 5. Discussion 6. ReferencesLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 6 09/07/12
  • Title  99% of readers will read only the title and abstract of your paper (most will only read the title)  The title should  summarize the main idea of the paper  be a concise statement of the main topic  should refer to the major variables investigated  make electronic retrieval both sensitive and specific.  Do not use abbreviations in the title  Recommended length is 10-12 words  Shorter or longer titles are permissibleLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 7 09/07/12
  • Author’s name & institutional affiliation  The author’s name should appear as normally written  Be consistent!  an author should not use initials on one manuscript and full name on a later one  Institutional affiliation as of the time the research was conducted  Corresponding authors name, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and email address  Email addresses of all authorsLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 8 09/07/12
  • Abstract  A brief summary of the contents and purpose of the article  Approximately 120-150 words (short but informative)  Should contain statements of (a) the problem, (b) the method, (c) the results, and (d) the findings and conclusions  Results are most important, and every abstract should at least contain the trend of the results  State the kind and number of subjects, and the research design  A list of three to nine key words follows the abstractLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 9 09/07/12
  • Introduction  To inform the reader of the specific problem under study and the research strategy  What is the point of the study?  What is the rationale or logical link between the problem and the research design?  What are the theoretical implications of the study and its relationship to previous work in the area?Latest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 10 09/07/12
  • Introduction  Discuss the pertinent literature (not include an exhaustive historical review)  Cite only selected studies that are pertinent to the specific issue  In summarizing earlier works, avoid nonessential details:  emphasize major conclusions, findings and relevant methodological issuesLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 11 09/07/12
  • Methodology  How the study was conducted  Should be described in enough detail to permit an experienced investigator to replicate the study if desired (this applies to quantitative research)  Three labeled subsections:  Participants  Apparatus (or Materials)  Design and ProceduresLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 12 09/07/12
  • Results  Briefly state the main idea of your results or findings  Present detailed summaries in tables or figures (supplementary; not instead of text)  Report the data in sufficient detail to justify your subsequent conclusions  DO NOT discuss the implications of the results in this subsection (save implications for the DISCUSSION section)Latest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 13 09/07/12
  • Discussion  In general, be guided by the following questions:  What have I contributed here?  How has my study helped to resolve the original problem?  What conclusions and theoretical implications can I draw from my study?Latest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 14 09/07/12
  • Discussion  Relate findings of the study to findings reported by others  Provide a deeper understanding of your findings  Do not restate what you have done  Do not focus on yourself - put current results in context with similar data that might interest the readers  The author may  draw inferences from the results  give alternative interpretations  base these firmly on the research findingsLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 15 09/07/12
  • References  Note and adhere to format of journal to be submitted to  Avoid excessive self-citation; make sure to balance between your own work and that of others  Choose references carefully and cite them accurately  Can use reference manager like EndNote/Procite/RefWorksLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 16 09/07/12
  • Appendices  Inclusion of an appendix will help your instructor/reviewers evaluate your paper  Some examples that may be included in the appendix are:  Raw scores and computations used in statistical analyses  In non-experimental research: a questionnaire, consent form, information sheet  Anything you include as an appendix does not count toward the word count of the final paper  Approvals, forms, lettersLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 17 09/07/12
  • Writing SkillsLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 18 09/07/12
  • Problems with Scientific Writing What are the most common problems with manuscripts? The paper is too long Its subject matter is not suitable for the journal The author has not explained the general interest of the specific issues The author assumes too much specific knowledge from the reader The writing and figures are not clear It is not well structuredLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 19 09/07/12
  • Writing Skills Be Accurate Science is a precise discipline. Your descriptions or results may be used by others who need to know they are reliable Be Brief Use only as many words as you need – remove or replace words that are repeated or do not add anything usefulLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 20 09/07/12
  • Writing Skills Be Clear You will not be there to explain to the reader what you mean. If you have to read a sentence again in order to understand it, rewrite it. Better still, give your work to others to read to see if it makes sense to them Avoid long sentences Long sentences are hard to follow. Shorter sentences help you write conciselyLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 21 09/07/12
  • Writing Skills Be concise This keeps your writing from being swamped with unnecessary words  Make your writing clear and therefore easy to follow Most journals have strict word limits!Latest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 22 09/07/12
  • Writing that is not concise The data that were collected in this study were obtained by walking 6 x 500 m transects that traversed, from one side to the other, study plots in each of the four forest compartments (K14, K12, K10) listed in the previous section. All the words that are underlined are unnecessary and can be removed without any loss of important information, leaving: The data were obtained by walking 6 x 500 m transects in each of the four forest compartments.Latest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 23 09/07/12
  • Language and Grammar  Use plain words  Impress the reader with your project, not your knowledge of the dictionary  Avoid jargon and abbreviations as they may not be widely knownLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 24 09/07/12
  • Less is more at this point in time = now at that point in time = then has the ability to = can has the potential to = can in light of the fact that = because in the event that = if in the vicinity of = near owing to the fact that = because the question as to whether = whetherLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 25 09/07/12
  • Planning your paragraphs This is the key to writing logical, structured reports: Start with generalities and then move towards more specific ideas There should be an obvious logical connection between paragraphs There should be one main or theme point per paragraph; if the paragraph contains too many themes, create a new paragraph or paragraphsLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 26 09/07/12
  • Grammar  You can be a very good writer without knowing much about grammatical terms  Simple writing is often easier to follow than writing that uses complex structures  Remember to use the same tense throughout your paper  Most problems occur in long, complex sentences – a good reason to keep them shortLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 27 09/07/12
  • Grammar Make it look good Get rid of ALl typingg an$d sPeling erors; If your writing looks careless, people may not trust the accuracy of your work Be consistent Use the same definitions throughout – if you introduce a definition in the methods, use the same term in the results and discussionLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 28 09/07/12
  • Submitting the ManuscriptLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 29 09/07/12
  • Impact Factors  Impact Factor is:  A measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period  Depends heavily on size of the field  Does not reflect individual articles  Includes self-citations (journal and author)  Review articles skew impact factors  Linked to publication time of journal (2-year timeframe)  Publishing in high-impact journal does not guarantee high citationsLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 30 09/07/12
  • Determining authorship International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Criteria: 3.Substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data 4.Drafting the article or revising it critically for important content 5.Final approval of the version to be published  Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, 3 to be credited. “Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone, does not constitute authorship.” - ICMJELatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 31 09/07/12
  • Word count  Depends on specific journal requirements (refer to the journal guide for authors and submission guidelines)  Could be 22 pages, 5,000 words, 7,000 words, unspecifiedLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 32 09/07/12
  • Submission Procedures  Depends on specific journal guidelines and requirements  Submit by post:  No staples, single sheets  If more than 5 pages manila file  Most journals have online submission procedures  Make sure you have carefully read and adhered to the journal’s list of instructions for authors  No manuscript should be submitted simultaneously to more than one journalLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 33 09/07/12
  • Cover Letter  Title of the research paper  Intended submission type (article, report, letter, review etc.)  Details about the authors and their affiliations  Contact information of the corresponding author  Very brief background on the research field (what are the open questions and why are they important?)  Briefly about the paper’s objectives and findings  Why is the study relevant?  Why the paper should be publishedLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 34 09/07/12
  • The submission process 1. Authors submit to journal 2. Review by editorial board >>Deliberation 3. Peer review by referee>>Return to editorial board>>Deliberation 4. Return to authors with decision letter:  Accept-no revisions (go to step 7)  Accept-minor revisions (most common) > (go to step 5)  Accept-major revisions  Reject P Revision done by authors>>Return to editorial board Deliberation by editorial board>>final decision (accept or reject) e If Accepted  Proofs  PublicationLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 35 09/07/12
  • Turnaround times  No precise answer (but takes a long time)  Depends on many factors  The more revisions the more time  First decision letter could be received within 10-14 weeks  From submission date to final print could take 6 monthsLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 36 09/07/12
  • Editors  Act as quality-control managers  Everything goes through them  Link between author paper, referees and publishers  Make final decisions about acceptance and rejection of papersLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 37 09/07/12
  • Peer Review  Referee/Reviewer:  any researcher in a university or other organization that has demonstrated the required expertise in a specialty area of the paper  Selected by the journal editorial board  Determines if methods and conclusions are sound  Quality control element of science  Blind / double-blind processLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 38 09/07/12
  • What referees & editors look for ignificance of research topic riginality of the work dequacy of approach/experimental design/techniques oundness of conclusions and interpretation elevance of discussion uitability for journal fficiency of organisationLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 39 09/07/12
  • The Decision LetterLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 40 09/07/12
  • Minor revision  The most common response to submissions  Welcome it as a healthy option  Take the advice of the editors and reviewers as constructive  They are professional experts in the field  Their advice will make your paper betterLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 41 09/07/12
  • Major revision id referees misunderstand the paper? o you agree with referees’ comments? f so, accept that the necessary revisions  Will most probably improve the paper; make the changes! oes it require additional lab work? any papers do not get re-submitted at this stageLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 42 09/07/12  binned
  • Dealing with rejection  Everyone gets rejected; don’t take it personally & don’t lose hope!  Many journals have high rejection rates (sometimes up to 95%!)  Remember that most criticism leads to revisions that ultimately improve the paper  Consider editor’s and referees’ comments carefully before deciding what to do nextLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 43 09/07/12
  • What to do with rejection?  Editors and referees do make mistakes:  willing to overrule specific points, especially if there were factual errors in the reviews  large majority of decisions are not overturned  Consider appealing (be aware that it is an uphill battle)  Time is an issue if you want to appeal  Do more work and resubmit as a new paper to the same journal?  Bite the bullet; send to a different journal?  DO NOT use inflammatory language, bribes, threatsLatest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 44 09/07/12
  • Most importantly  Read author guidelines carefully; you will learn a lot!  Enjoy the process  Learn from the process  The more you write and submit, the better you will get!Latest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 45 09/07/12
  • References & further reading How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education by Jack R. Fraenkel and Norman E. Wallen (2006, Book, Illustrated) Bryman, A. and M. Hardy, Eds. (2004). Handbook of data analysis. London, Sage. Silverman, D., Ed. (2006). Qualitative research: theory, method and practice. London, Sage. Bryman, A. (2008). Social research methods. Oxford, Oxford University Press. Corbin, J. and A. Strauss (1990). “Grounded Theory Research: Procedures, Canons, and Evaluative Criteria”. Qualitative Sociology 13(1): 3.Latest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 46 09/07/12
  • Questions?Latest on Journal Manuscript Submissions 47 09/07/12