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APS March Meeting, Tutorial for Authors & Referees (San Antonio)

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APS March Meeting, Tutorial for Authors & Referees (San Antonio)

  1. 1. 3/4/15   1   Panelists    Ronald  Dickman  (PRE)      Saad  Hebboul  (PRL)    Manolis  Antonoyiannakis  (PRB)     Moderator    Lance  Cooper  (University  of  Illinois)   Tutorial  for  Authors  &  Referees     APS  March  MeeLng  2015   San  Antonio,  TX   Outline   2   1.  The  peer  review  process  in  a  nutshell  (1)     2.  Tutorial  for  Authors  (10)   1.  Manuscript  preparaLon  (3)   2.  RejecLon  Without  External  Review  (1)   3.  To  Resubmit  or  Not  to  Resubmit?  That  is  the  quesLon…  (3)   4.  Typical  misunderstandings  &  faulty  arguments  in  corresponding   with  the  editors  (2)   5.  Useful  resources  (1)   3.  Tutorial  for  Referees  (4)   1.  How  do  editors  select  referees?  (1)   2.  Referee  reports  (3)  
  2. 2. 3/4/15   2   Review process at Physical Review peer review internal review (by editor) review by Editorial Board Member (EBM) Appeal to Editor in Chief (procedural only) Appeal to Editor 3rd round (if needed) 2nd round 1st round New paper Review  process  in  a  nutshell   3   Manuscript  preparaLon   BEFORE writing your paper: • Audience. PRL vs. PR. Style. • Take-home message. Clarity. • Authorship vs. acknowledgment. WHEN submitting your paper: • Additional information for editors & referees • Suggested referees. Conflict of interest. • Other relevant information • Cover letter: Justification. 4  
  3. 3. 3/4/15   3   Manuscript  preparaLon   Title: Concise, accurate, informative Abstract: Problem under study and main findings Intro: Problem, background, motivation, importance, findings Methods: Theory, experiment design, derivations, etc. Results: Findings, plots, fits, measurements, uncertainties, assumptions Discussion and Conclusions: Summary, take-home message, open questions, impact Acknowledgments: Organization and people Reference list: Relevant or related papers 5   How  to  submit?   Important  aspects  of  the  paper:   •  Title,  abstract,  introducLon,  conclusion,  references   •  A  good  cover  leer  (not  the  abstract  again!)   Ac1ons  to  take  before  submi6ng:   •  Proofread.   •  Check  with  less  involved  colleagues.   •  Proper  literature  search  (right  journal?)   •  Suggest  referees  (including  new  refs.)   6  
  4. 4. 3/4/15   4   What  is  it?   An  editorial  rejecLon  leer,  upon  iniLal  receipt,  with  editors’  judgment  of     impact  /  innovaLon  /  interest  /  significance  /  importance     Why?     To  preserve  Lme  &  effort  of  referees  (our  most  precious  resource)…   …  and  help  authors  find  a  beer-­‐suited  journal  with  minimal  delay     How  do  editors  decide?  Red  flags  that  may  warrant  editorial  rejecLon   -­‐   Sloppy  presentaLon,  opaque  wriLng  /  too  much  jargon  &  acronyms   -­‐   abstract  too  technical;  non-­‐understandable  by  non-­‐specialists   -­‐   introducLon:  lacks  clarity,  no  context,  excessive  self-­‐referencing,  poorly   describes  prior  work,  no  broad  picture   -­‐   inadequate  referencing:  too  many  old  /  specialized  /  self-­‐  /  ‘confined’ references   -­‐   no  punch-­‐line  in  conclusions:     à  what  is  the  main  message  of  the  paper?     à  why  is  it  important?     à  how  does  it  advance  the  field?   RejecLon  Without  External  Review  (RWER)     7   To  resubmit  or  not?  That  is  the  quesLon…   •  Should I resubmit my paper? •  How can I make an effective resubmission? Ø Answer all criticism Ø Be factual & collegial Ø Include notes to the editor if needed Resubmission letter: Convince the editor that your paper deserves further consideration 8  
  5. 5. 3/4/15   5   To  resubmit  or  not?  That  is  the  quesLon…   •  Should I resubmit my paper? •  How can I make an effective resubmission? Ø Answer all criticism Ø Be factual & collegial Ø Include notes to the editor if needed Resubmission letter: Convince the editor that your paper deserves further consideration Anecdote # 1 After receiving 1st decision letter from editor: ------------------------------------------------------ “The above manuscript has been reviewed by our referees. The resulting reports include a critique which is sufficiently adverse that we cannot accept your paper on the basis of material now at hand. We append pertinent comments. If you feel that you can overcome or refute the criticism, you may resubmit to Physical Review Letters. With any resubmittal, please include a summary of changes made and a brief response to all recommendations and criticisms.” ------------------------------------------------------ Graduate Student: I guess we should submit this elsewhere L PhD Advisor: We are almost “in”! J 9   As  seen  from  the  authors’  perspecLve     -­‐   Referee  comments  wrong  /  unjusLfied?  à  RRR     -­‐   Referee  does  not  understand  my  paper?  à  RRR     -­‐   Referee  biased  /  unfair  /  has  compeLng  interest?  à  RRR     -­‐   Editor  wrongly  sides  with  the  criLcal  referee?  à  RRR     -­‐   Referee  asks  me  to  cite  irrelevant  papers?  à  RRR     -­‐   Editor  does  not  provide  clear  yes/no  decision?  à  RRR     -­‐   Editor  does  not  firmly  reject  my  paper?  à  RRR     Revise,  Respond  &  Resubmit  (RRR):     A  common[*]  1st-­‐round  remedy   10   [*]  But  not  universal.  See  next  slide.  
  6. 6. 3/4/15   6   However,  please  keep  in  mind  that   the  Editors  need  a  clear  reason  to  publish       à  Try  to  be  a  stricter  judge  for  your  paper     than  the  referees  /  editors  would  be     à  Ask  yourself  (honestly):     Would  it  be  a  mistake  for  the  editors     NOT  to  publish  your  paper?       11   However,  please  keep  in  mind  that   the  Editors  need  a  clear  reason  to  publish       à  Try  to  be  a  stricter  judge  for  your  paper     than  the  referees  /  editors  would  be     à  Ask  yourself  (honestly):     Would  it  be  a  mistake  for  the  editors     NOT  to  publish  your  paper?       12   Anecdote # 2 Referee C, acting as adjudicator, is critical & wants substantive changes. ------------------------------------------------------ A few weeks after reviewing the paper, Referee C moves at authors’ institution as a visiting scholar. He happens to share an office with the grad student who wrote the paper. He is present when the student receives the editorial decision with the referee report. The student is devastated. ------------------------------------------------------ Graduate Student: Oh no! The referee is trashing my paper. He/she says it is not suitable for Physical Review B. L Referee C (concealing his identity): Let’s read more into this report. Is it really that negative? J
  7. 7. 3/4/15   7   Typical  misunderstandings  &  faulty  arguments   When  corresponding  with  editors       This  subject  is  very  important,  so  you  should  publish  my  paper.   Not  every  paper  on  an  important  topic  warrants  publicaLon  in  a  high-­‐ profile  journal   The  broader  subject  may  have  broad  interest,  but  what  about  this  paper?   The  referee  found  no  mistake,  (s)he  only  said  it  is  not  interesLng.   Two  referees  recommend  publicaLon,  only  one  does  not.   Many  papers  on  this  topic  have  been  published  in  PRL,  see  ....   Correctness  is  necessary  but  not  sufficient  for  publicaLon.   So  what?  Look  at  what  the  referee  said.  It  is  the  content  of   a  report  that  maers,  not  the  vote.   So,  enough  already.  This  is  an  argument  against   publicaLon,  not  for  publicaLon...   13   I  am  en/tled  to  two  rounds  of  review  and  expect  the  editor  to  have  another   two  referees  look  at  my  paper   Although  two  rounds  of  review  are  common,  they  are  not  guaranteed.     I  have  published  123  papers  and  have  an  h-­‐index  of  42.  How  can  the  editor   reject  my  paper?   The  editor  has  no  research  experience  in  this  field.  How  can  they  reject  my   paper  without  external  review?   You  published  that  prior  paper  which  is  clearly  less  sophisLcated  than  ours   We  are  mindful  of  the  authors’  prior  record,  especially  in  borderline   cases.  But  we  focus  on  the  paper  at  hand.   The  editor  approaches  the  paper  as  a  general  reader,  and  over  Lme,   builds  considerable  experience.  Also,  she  may  have  discussed  the  paper   with      (a)  other  editorial  colleagues,  or  (b)  with  an  Editorial  Board   Member.     Peer  review  is  a  complex  &  imperfect  process.  Journals  are   ‘distribuLons’:  some  papers  clearly  deserved  publicaLon,  others  barely   made  it.  Maybe  the  prior  paper  was  in  a  field  that  was  hot  at  the  Lme,   and  the  bar  was  lower.  Etc.       Typical  misunderstandings  &  faulty  arguments  
  8. 8. 3/4/15   8   Useful  resources  for  authors   (1)  “Whitesides’  Group:  Wri/ng  a  Paper”,  George  M.  Whitesides,  Advanced   Materials  16,  1375  (2004)       A  classic  paper  on  how  to  write  scien/fic  papers  that  every  researcher  should  read.       (2)  “What  Editors  Want”,  Lynn  Worsham,  The  Chronicle  of  Higher  Educa/on,   September  8,  2008   hp://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2008/09/2008090801c.htm       A  journal  editor  reveals  the  most  common  mistakes  academics  make  when  they   submit  manuscripts.     (3) Strunk and White, The Elements of Style (MacMillan: New York 1979, 3rd ed. So  successful  that  it  is  known  not  by  its  /tle  but  as  “The  LiLle  Book”. Check out APS tutorials on authoring & refereeing Some editorial talks are found on internet (Google search) We look for referees in: • references (authors of, referees of) • related papers in Web of Science, Google Scholar, SPIN, NASA, APS database (authors, citing papers) • suggested referees • referee expertise in APS database (>60,000 referees) • mental database We generally avoid: • Undesirable referees • Coauthors (current or previous) • Referees at same institution as authors • Acknowledged persons • Direct competitors (if known) • Busy referees (currently reviewing for PR/PRL) • Overburdened referees (> 15 mss/past year) • Consistently slow referees (>8 weeks to review) • Referees who consistently provide poor reports How  do  the  editors  find  referees  for  a  paper?   16  
  9. 9. 3/4/15   9   Referee  reports   -Review the manuscript -General comments -Technical details -Recommendation Tips: • Avoid contradictions within a report. • Be collegial and polite. • Can provide confidential comments for the editor only. • If you realize you are non-expert or too busy to review, alert the editor immediately • OK to pass paper to more qualified colleague (but let editors know) • If you have a conflict of interest, alert the editor • If you are qualified to review only a part of the paper, alert the editor 17   Preparing  a  Referee  Report   1)  Summarize  paper:  Show  that  you  understand    the  manuscript  and  the  problem  under  study   2)  Technical  details:   •   Validity   •   Technical  problems  or  comments   •   Improvements  needed   •   Reference  list   •   Style  issues   •   Conciseness  of  presentaLon   3)  RecommendaLon:   •   Accept,  reject,  revise  and  resubmit,  etc.   •   Support  recommendaLon   Tips:   •   Avoid   contradicLons   within  a  report.   •   Be  collegial  and   polite.   •   Comments  solely   intended  for  the   editor?   18  
  10. 10. 3/4/15   10   WriLng  reports   Referee’s role: Advise editors & help authors to improve their papers Ø Summarize result Ø Address respective journal’s publication criteria Ø Answer editor’s specific queries Ø Back up claims (e.g., if it’s been done, give references) Ø Be diplomatic 19   20   Thank  YOU   for  supporLng  our  journals     as  authors  &  referees     (and  readers!)   Acknowledgments:     Various  APS  editors  for  their  slides     (Hernan  Rozenfeld,  Deniz  van  Heijnsbergen,   and  others)  
  11. 11. 3/4/15   11   •   InfluenLal  papers  oten  controversial   •   Experts’  judgment  not  always  faultless   Example:     •   In  10  out  of  the  top-­‐20  cited  papers  in  PRL   (published  in  1991-­‐2000  in  plasmonics,     photonic  crystals  and  negaLve  refracLon)                 at  least  one  (&  someLmes  both)  reports  were   negaLve  in  the  1st  round  of  review   Challenges  for  Editors   21   The editors’ role: to conduct an impartial & thorough scientific review Editors are not technical experts (in general) ⇓ but they do strive to make sure that: - no obvious conflicts of interest occur - referees are experts in the field they review - reports are detailed and substantiated - response of authors is complete, dispassionate, and substantiated - review process is timely (*) - review process is converging to a yes/no decision - no special groups are favored/discriminated against (*)  this  has  many  direct  implicaLons   22  
  12. 12. 3/4/15   12   Editorial constraints: time vs. depth of review 11500 submissions to PRL in 2008 Staff: 12 full time editors 950 manuscripts / editor / year 4 new manuscripts / editor / workday Average time per manuscript ≤ 2 hrs (a highly uneven distribution) 23   George  Whitesides  on  wriLng  a  paper   è   hp://pubs.acs.org/userimages/ContentEditor/1305035664639/Whitesides-­‐ACS-­‐WriLng-­‐a-­‐ScienLfic-­‐Paper.pdf     hps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3mrRH2aS98     ______________________________________________________________________  

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