Can an Author’s Editor Help Expedite Peer Review
of the Manuscript They Edit?

Presented by:

Donald Samulack, PhD
Preside...
The World Is so Flat
…It’s Starting to Curl!
Survival of the Fittest
Science Research

• Territory size shows the proportion of all scientific papers published in 2001...
Survival of the Fittest
Science Growth

• This map shows the growth in scientific research of territories between 1990 and...
There Is a Tsunami Coming
Current and projected publication trends

Source: Royal Society of London, Knowledge, Networks, ...
There Is a Tsunami Coming

Source: http://sciencewatch.com/grr/building-bricks (April 15, 2013)
The Research Dilemma

“Unfortunately, neither the researcher’s fascination
with their work, nor their desire for a clear-c...
Success = Pleasing the Gatekeepers

Anything you do that makes the job of the
Journal Editor or the Peer Reviewer easier,
...
Journal Editor and Reviewer Bias
•
•
•
•
•
•

By-line bias
Institutional bias
Geographic bias
Language bias
Research integ...
Bias Surrounding Research Integrity
Q: How do East-Asian submissions compare with those from
other non-English speaking co...
Quirks of the English Language

You don’t have to be really smart to read this. In the
dno’t
raelly smrat raed tihs.
Elgns...
Common Reviewer’s Criticisms
Importance of the Topic
• Rehash of established facts
• Insignificant research question
• Irr...
Common Reviewer’s Criticisms
Overall Presentation of Study and Findings
• Poor organization
• Too long and verbose
• Failu...
Looking for Solutions
• The pending impact of the publication tsunami, administrative
challenges of manuscript triage, gro...
Looking for Solutions
• What is the role of professional editing services (author’s editors)
in helping non-native English...
Research by Editage
• First, we looked for weaknesses in how journals structure their
“Instructions for Authors” in an att...
Study Design

Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for publication in Lear...
Study Results (Slide 1 of 3)

Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for pub...
Study Results (Slide 2 of 3)

Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for pub...
Study Results (Slide 3 of 3)

Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for pub...
Study Conclusions (1 of 2)
• An author’s editor, in addition to checking the grammar, writing
quality, and style of manusc...
Study Conclusions (2 of 2)
• Further, an author’s editor should provide the author tips to
improve the overall structural ...
Contact Information
Helping Authors Get Published

Donald Samulack, PhD
President, U.S. Operations
Cactus Communications /...
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Can an Author’s Editor Help Expedite Peer Review of the Manuscript They Edit?

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Journal editors and peer reviewers represent the ultimate gatekeepers in the publication of high-quality scholarly works. Yet, for authors with English as a second language who are trying to get their research published in SCI-indexed, high-impact, English-language journals, there are many hurdles related to the basic structure of the manuscript that confront them. Journal editors are becoming burdened with an ever-increasing number of manuscript submissions from non-English speaking authors, worldwide. Reviewers do not wish to be burdened with papers that are poorly crafted. A good author’s editor, while working on behalf of the author, really manages the best interests of all stakeholders in balance (author, editor, peer reviewer). This presentation will explore these dynamics and highlight the value of various forms of editorial review prior to manuscript submission.

Editores de periódicos e revisores por pares representam os guardiões supremos na publicação de trabalhos científicos de alta qualidade. No entanto, para autores com o inglês como segunda língua, que estão tentando publicar nos periódicos indexados no Science Citation Index (SCI), de grande impacto, em língua inglesa, enfrentam muitas dificuldades relativas à estrutura básica do manuscrito. Os editores de periódicos estão ficando sobrecarregados com uma quantidade cada vez maior de submissões de manuscritos de autores não falantes de inglês, no mundo todo. Os revisores não gostam de ser encarregados de artigos mal-elaborados. Um bom editor, enquanto trabalha em benefício do autor, na verdade, conduz no melhor interesse de todos os envolvidos (autor, editor, revisor por pares). Esta apresentação explorará essas dinâmicas e realçará o valor de várias formas de revisão editorial anteriores à submissão do manuscrito.

Los editores de revistas y revisores representan los guardianes últimos en la publicación de trabajos académicos de alta calidad. Sin embargo, para los autores en que el inglés es su segunda lengua, que están tratando de conseguir que su investigación sea publicada en revistas indexadas en SCI, de alto impacto, en inglés, hay muchos obstáculos que enfrentan relacionados con la estructura básica del manuscrito. Los editores de revistas están siendo sobrecargados con un número cada vez mayor de comunicaciones manuscritas de autores de habla no inglesa, en todo el mundo. Los revisores no quieren hacerse cargo de trabajos que están mal diseñados. Un buen editor de autor, al mismo tiempo que trabaja en beneficio del autor, realmente gestiona los mejores intereses de todas las partes interesadas en equilibrio (autor, editor, revisor). Esta presentación explorará esta dinámica y pondrá de relieve el valor de distintas formas de revisión editorial antes de la presentación de manuscritos.

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Can an Author’s Editor Help Expedite Peer Review of the Manuscript They Edit?

  1. 1. Can an Author’s Editor Help Expedite Peer Review of the Manuscript They Edit? Presented by: Donald Samulack, PhD President, U.S. Operations Cactus Communications / Editage Helping Authors Get Published Help
  2. 2. The World Is so Flat …It’s Starting to Curl!
  3. 3. Survival of the Fittest Science Research • Territory size shows the proportion of all scientific papers published in 2001 written by authors living there. • The number of scientific papers published by researchers in the United States was more than three times as many as were published by the second highest-publishing population, Japan. Source: http://sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/worldmapper/display.php?selected=205 (April 15, 2013)
  4. 4. Survival of the Fittest Science Growth • This map shows the growth in scientific research of territories between 1990 and 2001. If there was no increase in scientific publications that territory has no area on the map. • In 1990, 80 scientific papers were published per million people living in the world, this increased to 106 per million by 2001. This increase was experienced primarily in territories with strong existing scientific research. However, the United States, with the highest total publications in 2001, experienced a smaller increase since 1990 than that in Japan, China, Germany and the Republic of Korea. Singapore had the greatest per person increase in scientific publications. Source: http://sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/worldmapper/display.php?selected=206 (April 15, 2013)
  5. 5. There Is a Tsunami Coming Current and projected publication trends Source: Royal Society of London, Knowledge, Networks, and Nations, 2011
  6. 6. There Is a Tsunami Coming Source: http://sciencewatch.com/grr/building-bricks (April 15, 2013)
  7. 7. The Research Dilemma “Unfortunately, neither the researcher’s fascination with their work, nor their desire for a clear-cut recipe for success in publishing is of much help in actually getting published.” —Benson and Silver, 2013 (What Editors Want)
  8. 8. Success = Pleasing the Gatekeepers Anything you do that makes the job of the Journal Editor or the Peer Reviewer easier, makes the manuscript more attractive!
  9. 9. Journal Editor and Reviewer Bias • • • • • • By-line bias Institutional bias Geographic bias Language bias Research integrity and ethics bias Methodology bias • By the time the journal editor and/or the reviewer has read the title and the abstract, bias has set in! • Bias is unfortunately a by-product of scientific scrutiny.
  10. 10. Bias Surrounding Research Integrity Q: How do East-Asian submissions compare with those from other non-English speaking countries? – In terms of compliance with ethical guidelines – 1.9% 18.5% East Asian submissions better East Asian submissions worse 44.4% 35.2% Submissions from all non-English-speaking countries similar I don't know A survey of 54 journal editors of English-language US and European journals
  11. 11. Quirks of the English Language You don’t have to be really smart to read this. In the dno’t raelly smrat raed tihs. Elgnsih language it doesn't matter in what oredr the English lugnagae deosn't mttaer waht order ltteers are in a word. The only iprmoatnt thing is that letters wrod. olny important tihng taht the first and last letters are positioned in the right frist lsat ltteers pneiostiod rghit pclae. The rest of the letters can be jumbled and you place. rset lrtetes jmulebd can still read it without problem. This is because the sitll raed wiuthot porbelm. Tihs bcuseae huamn brain does not read every letter by itself, but human barin deos raed ervey lteter istlef, lokos for sncetnene and luganage petatnrs. looks sentence and language patterns.
  12. 12. Common Reviewer’s Criticisms Importance of the Topic • Rehash of established facts • Insignificant research question • Irrelevant or unimportant topic • Low reader interest • Little clinical relevance • Not generalizable Study Design • Poor experimental design • Vague/inadequate method description • Methods lack sufficient rigor • Failure to account for confounders • No control or improper control • No hypothesis • Biased protocol • Small sample size • Inappropriate statistical methods, or statistics not applied properly Adapted from: Byrne DW. Publishing your medical research paper. What they don’t teach in medical school. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1998.
  13. 13. Common Reviewer’s Criticisms Overall Presentation of Study and Findings • Poor organization • Too long and verbose • Failure to communicate clearly • Poor grammar, syntax, or spelling • Excessively self-promotional • Poorly written abstract Interpretation of the Findings • Erroneous or unsupported conclusions • Conclusions disproportionate to results • Study design does not support inferences made • Inadequate link of findings to practice • Uncritical acceptance of statistical results • Failure to consider alternative explanations • Unexplained inconsistencies • Inflation of the importance of the findings • Interpretation not concordant with the data • Inadequate discussion Adapted from: Byrne DW. Publishing your medical research paper. What they don’t teach in medical school. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1998.
  14. 14. Looking for Solutions • The pending impact of the publication tsunami, administrative challenges of manuscript triage, growing burden of peer review, and inefficiencies in journal production processes necessitate studies on how to make the process more efficient. • While we can’t “fix” the tsunami – and we are probably only experiencing the first swell – we can look up-stream to build efficiencies in pre-submission and pre-peer review processes.
  15. 15. Looking for Solutions • What is the role of professional editing services (author’s editors) in helping non-native English-speaking (NNES) authors get their work published? • Is there a place for manuscript screening services? • Is there a rationale for commercialization of peer review? • Where should efforts be placed?
  16. 16. Research by Editage • First, we looked for weaknesses in how journals structure their “Instructions for Authors” in an attempt to identify how journals should communicate these instructions more effectively. o Best Poster at the Council for Science Editors meeting in Montreal, Canada in May, 2013 (a copy of the poster can be found at our booth) • More recently, we asked whether there were any specific errors peer reviewers most frequently point out in manuscripts of nonnative English-speaking (NNES) authors that an author’s editor could/should fix before manuscript submission; the premise being that if these could be fixed before submission, then the burden on the peer reviewer would be lessened, and the process expedited.
  17. 17. Study Design Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for publication in Learned Publishing (ALPSP). Awarded “Best Poster” at the ISMTE/EASE conference in Brussels, Belgium in September, 2013.
  18. 18. Study Results (Slide 1 of 3) Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for publication in Learned Publishing (ALPSP). Awarded “Best Poster” at the ISMTE/EASE conference in Brussels, Belgium in September, 2013.
  19. 19. Study Results (Slide 2 of 3) Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for publication in Learned Publishing (ALPSP). Awarded “Best Poster” at the ISMTE/EASE conference in Brussels, Belgium in September, 2013.
  20. 20. Study Results (Slide 3 of 3) Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for publication in Learned Publishing (ALPSP). Awarded “Best Poster” at the ISMTE/EASE conference in Brussels, Belgium in September, 2013.
  21. 21. Study Conclusions (1 of 2) • An author’s editor, in addition to checking the grammar, writing quality, and style of manuscripts they edit, should point out instances of incomplete and unclear reporting, especially in the Methods and Results sections. This is crucial for the study to be able to be replicated by other research groups. • Special attention should also be paid to ensure that figures and tables are consistent with (but not redundant to) the information presented in the text.
  22. 22. Study Conclusions (2 of 2) • Further, an author’s editor should provide the author tips to improve the overall structural organization of the Results and Discussions sections. • A qualified author’s editor helping an author address these aspects before submission will allow the peer reviewer to focus on the validity of the science and novelty of the study. • Thus, an author’s editor can indirectly help expedite the peer review process.
  23. 23. Contact Information Helping Authors Get Published Donald Samulack, PhD President, U.S. Operations Cactus Communications / Editage donald.samulack@editage.com Cactus Communications Inc. 1 Neshaminy Interplex, Suite 206 Trevose, PA 19053 USA T: +1-267-332-0051 ext. 104 F: +1-267-332-0052 www.editage.com.br Dr. EddyTM personifies our efforts to support authors with good publication practices. He can be found at Editage Insights. (www.editage.com/insights/tutorials)
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