Journal Editors Tell Us How to Publish Successfully

March 30, 2017 Vicky Kinsman


Following on from Wiley’s recent webinar for early career researchers in India, expert editors Katy Dillon and Anne Nijs are here again to share their top tips to help you publish with success. Submitted by our live webinar audience, read on for their answers to your questions about submission, peer review,writing for SEO and more. And don’t forget you can catch up now with the webinar available here on demand to hear the rest of their advice for anyone starting out in their research career.

Anne Nijs is Deputy Editor of the European Journal of Organic Chemistry. Katy Dillon is Associate Journals Editor for the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, which Wiley publishes on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry.

Questions for Anne Nijs

Q. How long does it take to get a paper published after submission?

A. The reviewing/publication time strongly depends on the area of research and the journal. For the European Journal of Organic Chemistry at Wiley-VCH, the time from submission to publication of the final version of record is about 65 days for Full Articles and 45 days for Short Communications. The average time for Review-type articles is a bit longer with 90 days.

Q. Before submitting a manuscript should I check for plagiarism from my side?

A. It is best to avoid any form of plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) while preparing your manuscript. Therefore, a plagiarism check before submission should not be necessary anymore; however, it is never wrong to check again carefully before submission.

Q. What would the world limit be for a review paper?

A. The word limit strongly depends on the journal and the type of review article, that is, whether it is a comprehensive overview or some form of a mini-review. Mini-reviews serve the same purpose as a full review but are shorter (often with a maximum allowed word limit), have fewer references and do not always provide the same depth of discussion. At the European Journal of Organic Chemistry we publish so-called Microreviews, which are intended to be focused reviews of about 12 typeset journal pages (20–40 manuscript pages). I would always advise to look at the author guidelines of the specific journal for more information on the review type and for instructions on the length, because some journals strictly adhere to this.

Q. Can reviews be published by new authors or is it necessary for reviews to be completed by seasoned authors only?

A. Review articles are most often invited by journals. They provide comprehensive background and detail about all aspects of the topic that have been published to date, and are usually written by more experienced investigators who have established a solid reputation in their field. However, it is not uncommon for early career researchers to write review-type articles; I would advise contacting a journal with a proposal/outline of the planned review article to gauge their interest before undertaking the significant investment of time and effort involved in writing a review.

Q. Is there any importance on usage of special characters in keywords?

A. Try to avoid using special characters or symbols in the keywords as they limit the discoverability of your paper when using search engines, such as Google or SciFinder.

Q. What is the best way to deal with rejection from a review? What should you do if a reviewer rejects with limited feedback or suggestions?

A. Treat this decision as an opportunity to improve your paper! Look at reports carefully and objectively and consider making the recommended changes because an unchanged paper may be sent back to the same referees by the next journal or you might likely get the same or similar comments even from different referees.

Every author has the right to appeal a rejection, but you should only do so if you have solid scientific reasons, that is, the referee has misunderstood the concept of the paper/overlooked key aspects of your work or has scientifically inaccurate reasoning. However, if it is only a matter of difference of opinions, one should not appeal. If you want to appeal a rejection, write a detailed letter to the editor with point-by-point responses to the reviewer’s comments; that means, which changes have you made in response and also provide arguments why certain changes have not been made. Also, include evidence, citations and data to back up your claims. Remember that your response might go back to the previous reviewer(s), so keep it objective and based on scientific aspects. Also, leave it a day or two: things can often look a bit different when they are read a second/third time a few days after initial disappointment.

Q. What is the best tool to use for referencing?

A. In my experience the best tool for referencing is EndNote.

Q. Is it necessary to have an ORCID ID?

A. Most Wiley journals now require an ORCID ID. These are a great way to make all your professional work identifiable as yours, especially if you have a common name. You can find out more about ORCID here and use the Wiley Author Compliance tool to check if your journal has an ORCID policy.

Questions for Katy Dillon

Katy Dillion.jpg

Q. What are the requirements for review paper acceptance?  Is there any chance for theoretical review paper acceptance?

A. Editors look for reviews that are comprehensive and, most importantly, provide a critical analysis of the subject. Remember also to check for a maximum word count so that you do not exceed it.  With regard to theoretical review papers, this will vary from journal to journal, so check the author guidelines carefully and contact the editorial office if you are unsure.

Q. Are there concessions available to publishing fees?

A. There are discounts and waivers available to authors based in certain countries, as well as discounts for members of particular learned societies in specific journals.  More information can be found here.

Q. Where can I find out more about SEO?

A. Advice on writing for SEO can be found here on the Wiley Author Services page.

Q. I find some journals in the field to be similar based on aims and scope. However, my paper will probably find a home only in one. How should I select the most probable home from this set so that I avoid repeated rejection until I find the paper a home?

A. There is no guaranteed way of getting the right journal the first time, and it is a tricky thing to judge.  To increase your chances of getting accepted by your first selection, study their recent publications closely.  Are they publishing the kind of studies that your paper is based on?  How does the novelty of your research compare to what has been published?  Is your paper aimed at the same kind of audience as the current publications?  You can also improve your chances of acceptance by avoiding common reasons for rejection: make sure you are certain that your manuscript fits the journal Aims and Scope, have the language of your paper checked to make sure it is the best it can be, and consult the author guidelines to make sure you have tailored your paper to the journal (editors appreciate the extra effort that shows you are interested in their journal in particular).  Some journals refer promising but unsuitable manuscripts to a companion journal, which could work to your advantage, so check whether this is an option.  You can also send an abstract to the journal’s editorial office before you submit, to check its suitability.  Not all journals will answer these pre-submission queries, but many will.

Q. Is there any software or tool which can rephrase our language to give the most appropriate scientific English words?

A. I’m not aware of one, and translation or editing by a human being gives you the best chance to get nuances of language right.  Wiley offers editing and translation services where subject experts will work on your paper.

Q. Do you have any advice for new writers or PhD scholars?

A. Think about your manuscript from the point of view of the person reading it.  Is it clear to someone who doesn’t know your research what the aim and context of your work is?  Are there any details that need explaining?  Could someone reproduce your experiment using the description in your manuscript?  Also think about your own experience as a reader – what do you like and dislike when reading papers?


For further practical tips and expert guidance on the process of writing and submitting your research, the peer review process and post-publication SEO and promotion, visit our webinar channel where all of our content  is available for free and on demand.


About the Author

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