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How to publish your article
in an open access journal
Maria Kowalczuk
Biology Editor
BioMed Central
• The ‘life’ of a paper – what editors and reviewers look for
• How to get your research published
 Planning ahead
 Thin...
• After this workshop, you should:
 Understand what editors look for
 Understand the peer review process
 Gain insight ...
The ‘life’ of a paper
Production Publication
Rejection
Submission
Peer Review
Revision
Accept or Transfer
• Does the work fit the journal’s
scope?
• Is the science sound?
• Is it new/interesting?
• Is it a big enough advance for...
• Ensures that published articles
are scientifically sound
• An opportunity to improve your
work – not an inconvenience
• ...
• Independent experts
 At least two
 Different reviewers may advise on different aspects (clinical
elements, statistics)...
• Quality
 Soundness of research
 Suitability of methods and analyses
 Appropriateness of the conclusions
 Reporting/c...
• Closed peer review
 Single blind
 Double blind
• Open peer review
 Reviewer identity known
 Reports published
Models...
Open peer review
• Peer reviewers often disagree
with each other
• Editor makes a decision
• Editor may seek further advice
• Editor may ov...
Decision after peer review
Accepted
 Well assessed
 Scientifically sound
 Meets journal
threshold
Rejected
 Out of sco...
Separating ‘scientific soundness’ from ‘interest levels’
Rejection – reasons why
Scientific soundness
Results are not soun...
• Manuscripts rejected on ‘interests’ levels may be transferred to
another journal
• Peer reviewer‘s reports also transfer...
• The ‘life’ of a paper – what editors and reviewers look for
• How to get your research published
 Planning ahead
 Thin...
• Plan your publication from the start
• Choose the right journal
• Prepare a ‘good’ manuscript
• Take on board reviewers’...
Key sections in research articles reflect scientific process:
• Background
• Methods and materials
• Results
• Discussion
...
Experimental design – get it right:
[Background]
What is your hypothesis or research question?
What are the aims of your s...
Experimental design – get it right:
[Research/data]
What are the right controls?
Are the sample sizes (n) large enough?
Wh...
Experimental design – get it right:
[Discussion/interpretation]
What do the results really show?
How does this fit with ex...
• Agree on authorship early
• Use ICMJE criteria
• Provide author contributions in manuscript
• Provide correct email addr...
Someone who has only been involved in:
• Acquisition of funding
• Collection of data
• General supervision
Contributors wh...
Publication and research ethics
Consequences of unethical behavior:
• Unable to publish in the future
• (Some) journals ba...
Honestly evaluate your findings:
• How big an advance are your findings?
• How high can you realistically aim?
• Are they ...
Finding the major journals that publish studies in your area of research
Journal prestige:
• Impact factors
• SciMago rank...
High threshold
Low threshold
Interest levels vary between journals
Choosing a journal
Journal-specific policies
Ethical policies:
• particularly relevant for medical
journals
• trial registration
Availability...
One chance to make a good first impression
At submission:
• Thoughtful cover letter
• Well written abstract
• Manuscript i...
• Author contributions
• Competing interests
• Ethics approval
• Animal ethics
• Consent to participate
• Consent to publi...
Cover Letter
• Personal
• Scientific question
• Key findings
• Recent relevant articles
• Significance in the field
• Why ...
Writing the abstract
Specific information about:
• Aim(s) of the study
• Main methods and materials
• Key results
• Conclu...
Formatting the article
• Read the Instructions
for Authors
• Format it correctly
• Write clearly and
concisely.
Figures, tables AND legends
• Illustrate main results
• Logical layout
• Labeled and described in legend
• Stand alone cap...
Suggesting peer reviewers
Some journals ask you to suggest potential peer reviewers
for your paper
Who can you suggest?
• ...
• Online submission form
• Submitting author takes
full responsibility for
‘agreeing’ to terms and
conditions
• Ensure all...
• The ‘life’ of a paper – what editors and reviewers look for
• How to get your research published
 Planning ahead
 Thin...
Tip 1 for writing a good paper
Read many papers
• Know the field
• Join a journal club
• Read outside of your area to deve...
Tip 2
Be objective about your work
.......Editors and reviewers will be 
• Manuscript structure
• Controls and statistica...
Tip 3
Write in good English
• Complex language is not needed
• Poorly written manuscripts get rejected
• Consider using a ...
Tip 4
Decide early on where to publish
• This will help shape your study, based on the goals needed for
publication in you...
Tip 5
Quality is everything
• Try to publish in as high a quality journal as you can
• One great study is better than seve...
Tip 6
Become a reviewer!
• Get used to how to critically assess science – it will
help you to assess your own study
• Ask ...
Respond to reviewers and editors
• Ensure you understand what reviewers
and editors are asking for
• Provide a full, and c...
Tip 8
Learn to live with rejection!
• All scientific careers are faced with rejection
• Take reviewers advice and improve ...
Any Questions?
Maria Kowalczuk
Biology Editor
Research Integrity Group
BioMed Central
Maria.Kowalczuk@biomedcentral.com
Th...
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Workshop Part 3: How to Publish Your Article in an OA Journal (BioMed Central Brazil 2015)

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The third and main presentation in the 2015 BioMed Central author workshop presented at institutions in Brazil.

In this segment, Dr. Maria Kowalczuk, Biology Editor, gives a full lesson on how authors can get their research published in open access journals. Topics covered include structuring your manuscript, peer review, transfers, and many more.

Published in: Science
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Workshop Part 3: How to Publish Your Article in an OA Journal (BioMed Central Brazil 2015)

  1. 1. How to publish your article in an open access journal Maria Kowalczuk Biology Editor BioMed Central
  2. 2. • The ‘life’ of a paper – what editors and reviewers look for • How to get your research published  Planning ahead  Things to consider before submission  Choosing a journal  Preparing to submit • Tips on writing a good paper. Overview
  3. 3. • After this workshop, you should:  Understand what editors look for  Understand the peer review process  Gain insight into the editorial decision making process  Know what information your manuscript should contain  Confidently plan your future publications. Objectives
  4. 4. The ‘life’ of a paper Production Publication Rejection Submission Peer Review Revision Accept or Transfer
  5. 5. • Does the work fit the journal’s scope? • Is the science sound? • Is it new/interesting? • Is it a big enough advance for this journal? What does an editor look for?
  6. 6. • Ensures that published articles are scientifically sound • An opportunity to improve your work – not an inconvenience • If rejected: take criticism on board before submitting to another journal! Why peer review?
  7. 7. • Independent experts  At least two  Different reviewers may advise on different aspects (clinical elements, statistics)  Chosen by the editor  Authors can suggests or exclude peer reviewers • Constructive feedback helps:  Editor to make a decision  Authors to improve their manuscript. Peer review
  8. 8. • Quality  Soundness of research  Suitability of methods and analyses  Appropriateness of the conclusions  Reporting/clarity of the message  Language/presentation • Contribution to the literature  Novelty  Importance/interest • May also comment on  Suitability to the journal‘s scope  Research and publication ethics. What do peer reviewers look for?
  9. 9. • Closed peer review  Single blind  Double blind • Open peer review  Reviewer identity known  Reports published Models of peer review
  10. 10. Open peer review
  11. 11. • Peer reviewers often disagree with each other • Editor makes a decision • Editor may seek further advice • Editor may overrule reviewers • Editor, not reviewers ultimately decides what is published. After peer review
  12. 12. Decision after peer review Accepted  Well assessed  Scientifically sound  Meets journal threshold Rejected  Out of scope  Below threshold  Needs extensive revisions  Inappropriate controls, methods or statistics  Data do not support conclusions  No ethical approval  Misconduct Revisions  Further experiments needed  Discuss limitations  Ensure data support conclusions
  13. 13. Separating ‘scientific soundness’ from ‘interest levels’ Rejection – reasons why Scientific soundness Results are not sound Interpretation is fundamentally flawed Ethical concerns Manuscript cannot be published (in current form) Interest levels Not in scope for this journal Not a big advance Not of interest to this journal’s readership Manuscript suitable for a different journal Transfer offered
  14. 14. • Manuscripts rejected on ‘interests’ levels may be transferred to another journal • Peer reviewer‘s reports also transferred • Faster publication. Rejection on ‘interest’ level
  15. 15. • The ‘life’ of a paper – what editors and reviewers look for • How to get your research published  Planning ahead  Things to consider before submission  Choosing a journal  Preparing to submit • Tips on writing a good paper. Overview
  16. 16. • Plan your publication from the start • Choose the right journal • Prepare a ‘good’ manuscript • Take on board reviewers’ comments. How to get your research published
  17. 17. Key sections in research articles reflect scientific process: • Background • Methods and materials • Results • Discussion • References Planning ahead
  18. 18. Experimental design – get it right: [Background] What is your hypothesis or research question? What are the aims of your study? [Methods and materials] Which methods are appropriate to answer your questions? Planning ahead
  19. 19. Experimental design – get it right: [Research/data] What are the right controls? Are the sample sizes (n) large enough? Which statistical tests? Planning ahead
  20. 20. Experimental design – get it right: [Discussion/interpretation] What do the results really show? How does this fit with existing knowledge? What is new about the findings? Have you considered the limitations? [References] Database searches, e.g. PubMed, GoogleScholar, Scopus Whose research would be affected by this and why? Planning ahead
  21. 21. • Agree on authorship early • Use ICMJE criteria • Provide author contributions in manuscript • Provide correct email addresses for all authors • Tell the Editor about any changes • All authors must agree in writing to any changes Authorship disputes can lead to delays Authorship
  22. 22. Someone who has only been involved in: • Acquisition of funding • Collection of data • General supervision Contributors who do not meet the authorship criteria should be listed in the Acknowledgements Authors should have made substantial contributions, according to ICMJE. Who should not be an author?
  23. 23. Publication and research ethics Consequences of unethical behavior: • Unable to publish in the future • (Some) journals ban authors • Loss of reputation • Loss of employment • Studies without ethical approval (where needed) are rejected.
  24. 24. Honestly evaluate your findings: • How big an advance are your findings? • How high can you realistically aim? • Are they of broad interest outside of your field? Check aims and scope of several journals: • Who reads them? • Who publishes in them? • What type of studies have they published recently? Choosing a journal
  25. 25. Finding the major journals that publish studies in your area of research Journal prestige: • Impact factors • SciMago rankings • Editorial board Choosing a journal
  26. 26. High threshold Low threshold Interest levels vary between journals Choosing a journal
  27. 27. Journal-specific policies Ethical policies: • particularly relevant for medical journals • trial registration Availability of data: • deposition of raw microarray and proteomic datasets • software availability Availability of related submitted manuscripts.
  28. 28. One chance to make a good first impression At submission: • Thoughtful cover letter • Well written abstract • Manuscript including all relevant information • Provide author details (email addresses for all authors) • Providing all the required information will expedite initial decision of whether to peer review. Preparing to submit
  29. 29. • Author contributions • Competing interests • Ethics approval • Animal ethics • Consent to participate • Consent to publish • Standards of reporting • Trial registration. Editorial checklist
  30. 30. Cover Letter • Personal • Scientific question • Key findings • Recent relevant articles • Significance in the field • Why this journal • Any additional information?
  31. 31. Writing the abstract Specific information about: • Aim(s) of the study • Main methods and materials • Key results • Conclusions Indexing and searching: • Use keywords that attract readers Unclear abstract: • The importance of the work is missed • Invited reviewers decline to review.
  32. 32. Formatting the article • Read the Instructions for Authors • Format it correctly • Write clearly and concisely.
  33. 33. Figures, tables AND legends • Illustrate main results • Logical layout • Labeled and described in legend • Stand alone captions.
  34. 34. Suggesting peer reviewers Some journals ask you to suggest potential peer reviewers for your paper Who can you suggest? • Suggest reviewers who have sufficient expertise to assess the methods and study design • Suggest experts from your reading or references • Do not suggest close collaborators • No publications together in last 5 years • Not at your institution.
  35. 35. • Online submission form • Submitting author takes full responsibility for ‘agreeing’ to terms and conditions • Ensure all co-authors have approved the manuscript • Sit back and wait – the hard work is done! Submission
  36. 36. • The ‘life’ of a paper – what editors and reviewers look for • How to get your research published  Planning ahead  Things to consider before submission  Choosing a journal  Preparing to submit • Tips on writing a good paper. Overview
  37. 37. Tip 1 for writing a good paper Read many papers • Know the field • Join a journal club • Read outside of your area to develop broad scope – think about quality • Be aware of reporting guidelines.
  38. 38. Tip 2 Be objective about your work .......Editors and reviewers will be  • Manuscript structure • Controls and statistical tests • Collaborators and co-authors • Aims: what are you trying to show / prove? A clear vision of your project will shape a paper
  39. 39. Tip 3 Write in good English • Complex language is not needed • Poorly written manuscripts get rejected • Consider using a professional copy-editing service.
  40. 40. Tip 4 Decide early on where to publish • This will help shape your study, based on the goals needed for publication in your target journal • Will help define the form of study and advance required • Look at journal’s aims and scope page.
  41. 41. Tip 5 Quality is everything • Try to publish in as high a quality journal as you can • One great study is better than several lesser quality ones • Avoid trying to publish lots of research papers that provide small amounts of new data from a single research project.
  42. 42. Tip 6 Become a reviewer! • Get used to how to critically assess science – it will help you to assess your own study • Ask your supervisor if you can help with the next review they do • You’ll become familiar with issues that reviewers raise as you see other reports.
  43. 43. Respond to reviewers and editors • Ensure you understand what reviewers and editors are asking for • Provide a full, and concise point-by-point response • If you disagree with an issue, provide a clear rationale backed up with references • Give clear indication where revisions in the manuscript have been made. Tip 7
  44. 44. Tip 8 Learn to live with rejection! • All scientific careers are faced with rejection • Take reviewers advice and improve the study / manuscript • If you are invited to resubmit, do the revisions that the reviewers request.
  45. 45. Any Questions? Maria Kowalczuk Biology Editor Research Integrity Group BioMed Central Maria.Kowalczuk@biomedcentral.com Thank you!

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