Advancing with Advances- How to Publish and not Perish (Part 6): Publishing Tips from Academic Editors

How are papers assessed by academic editors at RSC Advances

Insights from editors handling catalysis, nanoscience and sustainable synthesis papers

We are delighted to continue sharing with you publishing tips and tricks from our editors who have listed their:

a) Most common reason for desk-rejecting a paper

b) Top tip to authors

Meet the Editor:

Dr. Ranjit Koodali is the Associate Provost for Research & Graduate Education at Western Kentucky University. He handles papers in the areas of photocatalysis, solar energy and nanoscience.

Dr Ranjith Koodali, Western Kentucky University, USA

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

RSC Advances disseminates new findings broadly in the area of Chemistry to the scientific community. With this broad scope and goal in mind to share exciting and new findings in Chemical Sciences, authors are encouraged to look at the scope and specifically the comprehensive list of subject categories to come to an informed decision if their work falls within this list. Also, it may be advisable to look at past issues and check if work that is planned to be submitted is covered in the scope. If the completed project falls within the scope of RSC Advances, then it may be best to provide a compelling narrative in the manuscript as to one or more of the following:
1. What gaps or ambiguities exist in the literature?
2. What new knowledge or scientific advance is being shared with the public?
3. How does the scientific community benefit from the work being published?
4. Are there some potential applied research benefits from the fundamental or basic research question being addressed?
5. Is prior literature cited and discussed in context of the current work?
6. Does the data support the hypothesis and conclusions?
The lack of specificities related to the questions above lead Associate Editors to question the quality, novelty, and scope of the submitted manuscript.

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

A cover letter providing a compelling reason regarding the need to publish the submitted work and a manuscript that does not have typographical errors help Associate Editors come to an informed decision if a manuscript can be sent for reviews.

Meet the Editor:

Professor Luigi Vaccaro is based at the Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Perugia and handles papers related to nanoanalysis, catalysis, stereochemistry and sustainable synthesis.

Professor Luigi Vaccaro, University of Perugia , Italy

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

A manuscript must certainly contain sufficient elements of novelty that should be clearly and easily recognizable during the first quick read of the abstract.

Besides novelty, the lack of a solid experimental section and supporting material is also very important while a routine application of known protocols makes the contribution to be of limited interest.

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

Clearly define the advance in terms of novelty or clearly identify the new information reported in the contribution. A scheme, a graphical description is often very helpful for the reader.

Authors, by preparing this simple scheme, will also have a decisive chance to evaluate their own work before the submission.

A contribution with a solid experimental section where all materials prepared are completely and efficiently characterized also bring an useful piece of information implementing the original idea and highlighting the need for an additional contribution.

These elements should be also presented in the cover letter in a simple and schematic style that will facilitate the reader who is generally trying to save time and get the most useful information in the most straightforward manner.

Meet the Editor:

Professor Thierry Ollevier, FRSC is a Full Professor in Chemistry at Université Laval, Québec (Canada) and handles papers in the areas of organocatalysis, bioorganic catalysis, and stereochemistry.

Professor Thierry Ollevier, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

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

One of the most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript without review is an evident lack of advancement of science with respect to the state-of-the-art. This weakness is especially clear when the background literature and the context of the research are not presented in an appropriate manner.

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

A submitting author should present a concise summary of the state-of-the-art and state well-defined, targeted, objectives. The manuscript should be structured to focus exclusively on the substantial advancement or new insight being reported. All arguments to highlight the advance should be placed in the context of the existing literature. The potential reader should readily get a clear understanding of the new elements brought by the manuscript.

We hope that you find these insights from Ranjith, Luigi, and Thierry useful while writing your next paper!

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): featuring Professor Robert Baker (Trinity College Dublin)

Advancing with Advances (Part 2): featuring editorial insights from staff editors at RSC Advances

Advancing with Advances (Part 3): featuring  Professor Brenno A.D. Neto (Universidade de Brasília, Brazil) Dr. Donna Arnold (University of Kent, UK), and Professor Nestor Mariano Correa (Universidad Nacional de Rio Cuarto, Argentina)

Advancing with Advances (Part 4): featuring Professor Megan O’Mara (Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology), Dr Giacomo Saielli (University of Padova, Italy), and Dr Pablo Denis (Universidad de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay)

Advancing with Advances (Part 5): featuring Professor Franck Dumeignil (University of Lille, France) Professor Xi Chen (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China), and Professor Manojit Pal (Dr Reddy’s Institute of Life Sciences, India)



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