How to Make Your Journal Manuscript Published

By Jeanne Reyes,2014-05-11 19:50
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How to Make Your Journal Manuscript Published

    How to Make Your Journal Manuscript Published

    I. Introduction

    Journals are usually sponsored and published by learned societies or associations in some countries, monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly.


    1. Address a problem or an issue important to your audience and present

    sound arguments clearly and coherently.

    2. Write for a much narrower audience: specialists in a field, who share

    assumptions, knowledge, and backgrounds and who have the need and

    interest to read carefully.

    3. Vary somewhat in style from one journal to another, even within the

    same field.

    4. Present the arguments original, new, different and unexpected. ?;The process of paper submission for publication

    Authors; to look carefully at the table of contents of a Query Manuscript submission

    Acknowledgment of editorial board

    Manuscript Examination





    Paper Publication

    Editor's Processing

    Author's Proofreading

    Author's Revision

    Author's Withdrawal

Editor's Examination

    Invited Reference's Examination

    Author Query Query

II. Where and how to submit the manuscript

    ?;Choice of Target Journal

    Depending on the nature of your work; identifying those journals that publish in your subject area.

    First, to read the masthead statement ( a statement, usually on the 'title page' at the front of the issue, giving the name of the journal, the publisher, and a brief statement of purpose) in a current issue of each journal you are considering; to read the 'scope' paragraphs that are usually provided in the Instructions to current issue.

    After knowing several journals suitable for you to submit, you may consider the prestige factor. You can form reasonable judgments by just a bit of bibliographic research. You will certainly know the important papers that have recently been published in your field. Make it your business to determine where they were published.

    Now you limit your choice among Journal A,B and C. Suppose that Journal A is a new, attractive journal published by a commercial publisher as a commercial venture, with no sponsorship by a society or other organization; Journal B is an old, well-known, small journal, published by a famous hospital or museum; and Journal C is a large journal published by the principal scientific society representing your field. Journal C is probably the most prestigious. It also will have the largest circulation. By publication in such a journal, your paper may have its best chance to make an impact on the community of scholars at whom you are aiming.

    Journal B might have almost equal prestige, but it might have a very limited circulation, which would be a minus; it might also be very difficult to get into, if most of its space is reserved for in-house material.

    Journal A almost certainly has the disadvantage of low circulation (because of its comparatively high price, which is the result of both the profit aspect of the publisher and the fact that it does not have the backing of a society or institution with a built-in subscription list).

    ?;Manuscript Submission

    Having selected a suitable journal, you can now submit your paper to the target journal.

    Whom will your paper be sent to? In general, there are several cases for you to choose from.

    1. Send to the Editorial Board or the Editor's Office. This is preferred by most of the publishing houses.

    2. Send to the Divisional Associate Editor, who will make the preliminary judgments and assign the artic le to the corresponding Line Editor. 3. Send to the Executive Editor, or a certain previewer, or other particular receiver designated by the Editorial Board of the journal.

    Do not neglect the nitty gritty of sending your paper in:

    1. Meet the special quantity requirements made by the journal. Some journals require duplicate full texts while others request a single full text and two abstracts.

    2. Prevent your paper or the accessories from being spoiled. Use a strong manila envelope or even a reinforced mailing bag. Make sure that you apply sufficient postage and that you send the package by first-class mail. The figures, tables, photos, and drawings that are usually separated from the text should be sealed in cartons or bamboo tubes in transportation, if necessary.

    3. Send a covering letter with the manuscript. Manuscripts without covering letters pose immediate problems: To which journal is the manuscript being

    submitted? Is it a new manuscript, a revision requested by an editor (and if so, which editor?) , or is it a manuscript perhaps misdirected by a reviewer or an editor? If there are several authors, which one should be considered the submitting author, at which address? The address is of special importance, because the address shown on the manuscript is often not the current address of the contributing author. The contributing author should also include his or her telephone number in the covering letter or on the title page of the manuscript. If necessary, you may append to other recommendation letters written by famous savants.

    This may be helpful in getting your paper published. Here is a sample covering


    November 8, 2000

    Dear Dr. ________:

    Enclosed are two complete copies of a manuscript by Mary Q. Smith and John L. Jones titled " Fatty Acid Metabolism in Cedecianeteri." Which is being submitted for possible publication in the Physiology and Metabolism section of the Journal of Bacteriology. This manuscript is new, is not being considered elsewhere, and reports new findings that extend results we reported earlier in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (135:112-117, 1998). An abstract of this manuscript was presented earlier (Abstr. Annu. Meet. Am. Soc. Microbiol., p.406, 1998).

    Correspondence regarding this manuscript should be sent to me at the address shown in the above letterhead (not the address shown on the manuscript, from which laboratory I have recently moved).


    Mary Q. Smith

    III. Receipt Acknowledgment

    Most journals send out an "acknowledgment of receipt" form letter when the manuscript is received. If you know that the journal does not, attach a self-

    addressed postcard to the manuscript, so that the editor can acknowledge receipt. If you have had no word about the disposition of your manuscript after 6 weeks have elapsed, it is not at all inappropriate to send a courteous inquiry to the editor. If no reply is received and the elapsed time becomes 2 months, a personal phone call may not be out of place.

    IV. The Review Process

    ?;The editor makes several preliminary decisions.

    First, is the manuscript concerned with a subject area covered by the score of the journal? If it clearly is not, the manuscript is immediately returned to the submitting author, along with a short statement pointing to the reason for the action. Remember, however, that such a decision is not rejection of your data or conclusions. Your course of action is obvious: Try another journal. Second, if the subject of the manuscript is appropriate for consideration, is the manuscript itself in suitable form for consideration? Are there two double-spaced copies of the manuscript? Are they complete, with no pages, tables or figures missing from either copy of the manuscript? Is the manuscript in the editorial style of the journal,l at least as to the basics? If the answer to any of the above questions is "no," the manuscript may be immediately returned to the author or, at the least, the review will be delayed while the deficiencies are rectified.

    Only after these two preconditions have been met is the editor ready to consider the manuscript for publication. Sometimes the editorship may invite some particular specialists to examine the paper from the point of view of its scientific merits and the qualities of its language and style. The editor's decision will be one of three general types, commonly expressed in one word as "accept", "reject" or "modify."

    ?;The accept letter

    Finally, you get "the word." You receive the editor's letter which announces that your manuscript has been accepted for publication. When you receive such a

    letter, you have every right to treat yourself, to celebrate and to admire yourself. The reason is that there is a relative rarity of the event. For instance, in the good journals (in biology at least), only about 5% of the manuscripts are accepted as submitted.

    ?;The modify letter

    More likely, you will receive from the editor a bulky manila envelope containing both copies

    of your manuscript, two or more lists labeled "reviewers" comments," and a covering letter from the editor. The letter may say something like "Your manuscript has been reviewed, and it is being returned to you with the attached comments and suggestions. We believe these comments will help you improve your manuscript." When you receive a modify letter, examine it and the accompanying reviewers' comments carefully. If you do decide to revise and resubmit the manuscript, try very hard to meet whatever deadline the editor establishes.

    If you meet the editor's deadline, he or she may accept the manuscript forthwith. Or, if the modification has been substantial, the editor may return it to the same reviewers. If you have met , or defended your paper against, the previous criticism, your manuscript will probably be accepted. On the other hand, if you fail to meet the deadline, your revised manuscript may be treated as a new manuscript and again subjected to full review, possibly by a different set of reviewers. Thus, it is wise to observe carefully the editor's deadline. Here is an example to warn those who receive the modify letters. An editor became angry when a poorly prepared manuscript that was returned to the author was resubmitted to the journal with very little change. The editor then wrote the following letter:

    Dear Dr. ____:

    I refer to your manuscript _____________ and have noted in your letter of August 23 that you apologize without excuse for the condition of the original

    submission. There is really no excuse for the rubbish that you have sent forward in the resubmission. The manuscript is herewith returned to you. We suggest that you find another journal.

    Your sincerely,


    ?;The reject letter

    Almost all editors say "unacceptable" or "unacceptable in its present form", seldom is the harsh word "reject" used. Two things will be done after receiving the reject letter. 1.

    Remind yourself that you have a lot of company: most of the good journals have reject rates approximating 50%. 2. Read the reject letter carefully because there are different types of rejection.

    Three kinds of reject letters:

    1. total rejection. (If you get this type of letter, you probably should not

    resubmit it anywhere.

     2. Pointing out your manuscript which contains some useful data but the data are seriously flawed. ( If you get this type of letter, you should considerably revise and resubmit your manuscript.)

     3. Pointing out your manuscript which is basically acceptable, except for a defect in the experimental work ( perhaps the lack of a control experiment) or except for a major defect in the manuscript. (If you get this type of letter, you probably should consider the necessary repairs, as detailed in the reviewers' comments, and resubmit a revised version to the same journal. If you can add that control experiment, as requested by the editor, the new version will almost certainly be accepted. Or : if you make the requested major change in the manuscript, e.g. totally rewriting the Discussion, your resubmitted manuscript is quite likely to be accepted.

    Here is a rejection slip from a Chinese economics journal:

    We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of a lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years, we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity. ;;Reasons for rejecting article manuscripts

    According to a survey by Richard M. Davis of 85 journal editors from professional scientific and technical societies, the most common reason for rejecting an article is that the subject is not suitable for the journal. Reasons for rejecting article manuscripts:


    Not suitable for journal (63)

    Not timely (4)


    Questionable significance (55)

    Questionable validity (39)

    Too shallow (39)

    Too exhaustive (8)


    Too long (26)

    Too short (4)


    Bad organization (35)

    Ineffective expression (33)

    Ineffective or unusable illustrations (11)

    Failure to follow style guide (4)

    ;;Contributors’ most common mistake

    Organization and Presentation

    Rambling--- do not show problem or significance of results

    No summary

    Failure to make a case

    Failure to cite previous work

    Too long--- overly detailed information

    Poor graphics

    No mention of uncertainties

    Technical errors


    Failure to follow instructions for authors General

    Unaware of the scope of the journal--- look at a few issues and see what

    we publish

    Too PR oriented--- tooting their own horns

    Insignificant papers--- not up to professional standards Expression

    Lack of clarity, conciseness ( not having a good topic statement and a

    clear pattern of organization.)

    Grammar errors

    Failure to write for the audience --- use of highly specialized terms

    ;;General advice to contributors


    Follow the guidelines in the journal and style manual, submit a clean manuscript


    Write clearly, distinctly, concisely

    Be specific, avoid esoteric jargon

    Construct well-designed paragraphs

    Take cultural differences into account

    Revise several times before submitting

    ;;Organization and Presentation

    Think about the audience--- its interests

    Show significance to the reader and the field

    Emphasize what is relevant

    Cite appropriate related work--- omit unnecessary reference to your own

    Spend time on organization--- state the problem, significance, result

    Don’ t try to cram too much detail into an article

    Use a title that states or at least implies the major findings.

    State the major findings in an informative abstract.


    Don’ t rush into print. Proofread your paper for errors.( errors of form,

    errors of substance: miscalculation, misrepresentations of date, misleading

    claims.) Suggestions:

    first, proofread substantive errors; second, proofread for sequencing errors;

    finally, proofread for spelling and grammar errors.

    Substantive errors: Are your calculations / data correct? Have you plotted your curves accurately? Have you got the right dates, times, places, job titles, model numbers?

    Sequencing errors: page numbering, references, illustrations, footnotes, report, sections, lists, figures, steps in a procedure, etc.

    Misspellings: (Many readers attach great importance to spelling, seeing it as a sign of how careful and even of how well educated the writer is. Correct all spelling errors!)

    Grammar errors: subject-verb agreement; indefinite / definite articles; tenses; connectives; punctuation

    Get colleagues to read and comment, put it in a drawer for some days and then revise

    Review process and suggested changes

    Don’ t pester the editor

    ( pester: to annoy someone repeatedly, esp. by asking them to do something.)

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