12 Questions From Our Early Career Researchers Publishing Seminar

March 4, 2016 Vikki Renwick

raised hands.jpgThe Author Marketing team hosted a webinar this week, which was an Introduction to Publishing for Early Career Researchers. Graham Woodward, Associate Marketing Director, and I were joined by 4 of Wiley’s experienced editors:
• Fiona Hutton, Executive Editor, Open Access
• Allyn Molina, Publisher, Life Sciences
• Andrew Moore, Editor-in-Chief, BioEssays
• Simone Taylor, Publisher, Engineering

Along with viewers from 29 countries worldwide, we outlined the publishing process, including: where and how to begin writing, the peer review process and how to increase the exposure of a paper post publication. The interactive session left us with some interesting questions that we didn’t find time to answer; so, as promised, here they are:

(And, by the way, don’t worry if you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording at any time online, via our Webinars page.)

1. What do I do if I do not find a suitable person to proofread my paper before sending it to an Editor?
Wiley offers a manuscript formatting and language editing service that you can use prior to submitting your manuscript for peer review. Your manuscript will be read and copyedited by a specialist researcher in your field and returned to you for submission. You can also choose to receive a Certificate to state your manuscript has undergone this level of copy editing and share that directly with a journal editor. More details about the editing service can be found at wileyeditingservices.com; if you are convinced of your science, be perfectly open with the editor and state that you are aware that the English needs attention. It is not unimaginable that a solution could be found, but the better one would be to try as hard as possible to get a native speaker to look over your paper. If you ask: is the quality of English good enough for you to consider putting this paper into peer review? You are likely, at least, to get an honest answer.

2. Is publishing a full text (pdf version) on ResearchGate or Academia.edu or Mendeley an offense?  As researchers should we share only the link or the full text?
Yes, posting the final publisher version to a website is an offense; it has to be the submitted version or an accepted version after an embargo of 12/24 months. Our self-archiving policy is:
For the majority of Wiley journals articles published in the traditional way, (i.e., not open access through OnlineOpen, or our open access option) the following permitted uses apply:
Submitted Version (preprint) - Authors may self-archive the submitted version of their papers on their personal websites, in recognized not for profit subject-based preprint servers or repositories such as ArXiv, (full list below) or in their company/institutional repository or archive. The submitted version may not be updated or replaced with the final published version of record (VoR) The version posted must acknowledge acceptance for publication and, following publication of the final paper, contain the text: "This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: [FULL CITE], which has been published in final form at [Link to final article]." Authors are not required to remove preprints posted prior to acceptance of the submitted version.
Accepted Version (postprint) - Authors may self-archive the peer-reviewed (but not final) version of their papers on their own personal website, in their company/institutional repository or archive, and in approved, not for profit subject-based repositories such as PubMed Central, following an embargo period of 12 months for scientific, technical or medical journals, and 24 months for social sciences and humanities journals. Wiley has specific agreements with some funding agencies. The version posted may not be updated or replaced with the VoR and must contain the text "This is the accepted version of the following article: [full citation], which has been published in final form at [Link to final article]." In addition, authors may also transmit, print and share copies with colleagues, provided that there is no systematic distribution of the submitted version, e.g. posting on a listserve, network or automated delivery.

3. Is it viable to have an undergraduate dissertation published?
No, the editor will request that in support of a primary research article.

4. What is the consideration given to a first time publisher? Is it the same, more, or less than an experienced writer's work?
In the primary literature, editors should judge an article for suitability for potentially being published solely on the basis of the science. In the review literature, it does, however, certainly help if it is clear - via provenance or co-authorship - that the paper has a great deal of experience behind it. This is understandable in the review literature, and bear in mind, every editor takes a risk of time and resources with a paper.

5. Is the impact factor for both journal and author?
The generally known impact factor is for the journal. However, some people refer to the h-index as a kind of author impact factor. This recently published article introduces a new author impact measurement that is very similar to the journal impact factor.

6. How much does the quality of articles vary when the Open Access publishing model is used?
Editors, at least here at Wiley, are expected to apply the same standards across all journals, regardless of their publication models.

7. Why is the reason for rejection not given for some submitted articles?  Then, when one asks what the reason is, the reason given is that there is no recognized author on this subject. If we are at the forefront of a new research area, how can we then get published?
This is a hard one, but when it comes to review articles, most editors will want to see that the author has quite a lot of experience in that field. Often, such an article stands a better chance if it has co-authorship with an experienced researcher, or if it is clear to the editor that the paper is basically coming from a group that has great experience in that particular area.

8. If I intend to publish two continuous articles with almost the same introduction and heading but they complete each other, e.g. one for computer techniques and the other for computer analytics, how do I make sure I don't self-plagiarize?
If there is a publication that could potentially publish both, you should consult with the editor as to how to go about this. If you decide to publish in two separate publications, it's probably best to explain to the respective editors that each paper is part of a complementary pair. I'd say that in this case, however, it's probably best to try to find a single journal that would publish them back-to-back or in sequence. On the other hand - particularly if you find a journal with suitable readership - you could simply combine the two into one paper. Trans-disciplinary papers - particularly if well-written for their respective readership range (e.g. from molecular biologists through to computational biologists) are extremely useful contributions to the literature.

9. Do you believe the general rules presented during this webinar also apply to social science research? Are there any major differences between natural science and social sciences in the publishing process?
The general principles of writing that were presented apply to all scientific writing; in fact, most of them apply to all writing.

10. Sometimes an author writes an appeal letter to the editor asking him or her to review it again. How effective is this?
It depends. Let's assume first that the editor has rejected the paper purely on scientific grounds: If the letter is a highly-charged criticism of the editor's decision, without much substance of relevance to the review reports, then it stands a bad chance of success: this is not viewed by the editor as a rebuttal, but rather a criticism of, or appeal to, the editor's judgment, and if the editor is confident of her/his judgment - which most are, if he/she has appointed appropriate peer reviewers - then she/he should stick by the decision. By the way, it is very rare that a paper is scientifically sound, but in terms of format and language quite unsuitable for publication, in which case an editor's decision could be greatly influenced by that aspect: i.e. most papers that are that bad don't go into peer review, or if they do, they are thrown out by the reviewers on non-scientific grounds. Ordinarily: If the appeal is accompanied by something in the way of a scientific explanation as to why the author thinks the reviewer(s) have misjudged something, then it stands a fighting chance. The editor might then decide to invite a formal rebuttal from the author(s) that includes a point-by-point response to the reviewer criticisms. This must be very carefully constructed by the author(s), and the chances that the reviewer(s) concerned respond at all, or in useful measure, is probably around 50%. However, at that point, or even before, the editor can choose to put the paper out to peer review with a different (set of) reviewer(s), and that does happen occasionally (though infrequently). All editors worth their salt can, for example, appreciate a clash of cultures in a particular field, and can then modify the course of action based on that background. So, if scientifically reasoned, and put to the editor as a request for formal rebuttal of the reviewer criticisms, such a course of action is worth a shot, because there are at least two ways in which it can lead to a reassessment of the paper. Bear in mind, the editor's time is very limited, and so he/she will not be able to pursue your case ad infinitum.

11. Is there a deadline for the time to submit a conference paper to be sent for publication after the conference?
That really depends on where you are submitting your article and how. For example, if you are formally part of the conference proceedings, or a special issue of a journal following a conference, then it is very likely there will be a deadline to work to that will be closely tied to the conference. However, if you simply plan to publish some closely related research following on from key topics discussed at a conference, then the timing is more flexible.

12. As a student, what if I cannot afford the publishing fees? Does that mean I cannot get published?
There are several models for publishing in journals. Open Access (which means that your article will be freely available online to all) does carry a publishing fee. However, there are a wide array of academic journals that are free to publish in and for which subscriptions are then paid (typically by an institutional library) to provide access to the journal articles. Wiley has more than 1,600 journals in the scientific disciplines that carry no fee for publication.

About the Author

Vikki Renwick

Author Marketing, Wiley // Vikki works in the Author Marketing Team and is, among other tasks, responsible for the Author Workshop Program.

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