Advancing with Advances- How to Publish and not Perish (Part 5): Publishing Tips from Academic Editors

Why has your paper been desk-rejected by an editor ? 

How can you improve your chances of publication?

This week we hear from three more Associate Editors of RSC Advances, who offer their advice on increasing the chances of your paper getting accepted. All of these editors handle catalysis-focused papers.

Meet the Editor:

Professor Franck Dumeignil is based at the University of Lille, France and has been working on RSC Advances since 2016. Professor Dumeignil handles papers in the areas of catalysis, carbon materials, spectroscopy, and biofuels.

Professor Franck Dumeignil, University of Lille, France

1. What is the most common reason for rejecting a manuscript without review?

a. A paper that is “too specific” such as papers dealing with a very local themes linked to local environment, etc., without any outputs that could be more globally used.
b. A paper that is not really dealing with Advances in Chemistry, but rather using conventional “Recipes” and “as-usual characterization techniques” in a very incremental way.
c. A paper lacking in characterizations to strengthen/support the conclusions.

2. What is the best piece of advice you could give a submitting author?

I learned that from my supervisor in Japan when I was a post-doctoral researcher: “When you submit a revised version of your paper, always do your best to satisfy the reviewers (of course it does not mean that any debate is definitely and unilaterally closed but imagine that you are actually the reviewer receiving answers and comments).”

Meet the Editor:

One of our newest Associate Editors, Professor Xi Chen joined us in March 2022. Xi is an Associate Professor based in Shanghai Jiao Tong University and mainly handles papers on catalysis.

Professor Xi Chen, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

1. What is the most common reason for rejecting a manuscript without review?

The most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript without review include the lack of novelty and poor manuscript quality. The novelty of a work is a crucial factor to determine whether a paper is worth publishing or not. The authors are suggested to highlight the unique creations or advances of the work clearly and properly in the Abstract as well as the Introduction with sufficient literature reviews. Apart from novelty, the quality of the manuscript is also important. A manuscript with poor writings, low figure quality, careless errors, unlogic flows, etc. will remarkably impair the readability and credibility of the work.

2. What is the best piece of advice you could give a submitting author?

Since the novelty of work is important, the authors are suggested to pinpoint the novelties and clarify them in a best way to the reviewers. Besides, the RSC templates are strongly suggested to be used for submission.

Meet the Editor:

Manojit Pal is a Professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry based at Dr Reddy’s Institute of Life Sciences, India. He handles papers in the areas of chemical biology and catalysis.

Professor Manojit Pal, Dr Reddy’s Institute of Life Sciences, India

1. What is the most common reason for rejecting a manuscript without review?

I think this somewhat tough to decide the fate of a manuscript without performing peer review which could be disappointing or even annoying to authors who are especially in the early stage of their career. Frankly speaking, I am not a great believer of rejecting manuscript without peer review because as an author I believe and understand that most of the authors do perform some checking or assessment regarding suitability or appropriateness of their manuscript before submitting to a particular journal. However, this is not the case always and that is where an editor needs to check the suitability of a manuscript submitted to the particular journal.

The second most common reason to me (and probably obvious to any other editor) is the lack of novelty or originality. While this is a relative term and generally varies from journal to journal, for RSC Advances a descent level of novelty is required for a manuscript to be considered further. If a literature search provides enough evidence in support of the fact that the submitted work is not new or the results can be anticipated easily then the chances of rejection without peer review become high.

The other issues that I find occasionally but not frequently include erratic study design, incorrect approaches, choice of wrong illustrations, wrong statistics, poor writing etc. However, I generally exclude manuscripts that are transferred in from other RSC journals because I respect the opinion of the editor of the corresponding journal where the manuscript was initially submitted.    

2. What is the best piece of advice you could give a submitting author?

If you are aspiring for a rapid publication, wider readership as well as faster dissemination of your quality work via an internationally recognized and one of the professionally managed leading publishing houses then choose RSC Advances as home of your paper. It is known that apart from maintaining the high-quality RSC journals are broadly cited and globally appreciated. Also, make sure that the manuscript depicts your expertise in the particular field, quality writing, and excellence in study design and methodology etc. These are the essential components that are normally considered for assessing the integrity or trustworthiness as well as scientific impact and importance of the manuscript submitted.

We hope you find these insights from Franck, Manojit and Xi useful while preparing your next manuscript for submission at RSC Advances!

Tune in next week for  yet more insights from our academic Associate Editors !

You are welcome to send in any questions you have about peer-review or publishing to or post them on Twitter @RSCAdvances #AdvancingWithAdvances.

Don’t miss out on our previous tips on how to publish and not perish below:

Advancing with Advances – Part 1

Advancing with Advances – Part 2

Advancing with Advances – Part 3

Advancing with Advances – Part 4


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