Archive for the ‘Advancing with Advances’ Category

Advancing with Advances- How to Publish and not Perish (Part 8): More Publishing Tips from Academic Editors

What happens to your paper after submission? 

Step by step assessment of papers by academic editors at RSC Advances

Meet the Editor:

Professor Leyong Wang is based at the Institute for Supramolecular Chemistry and Smart Materials at Nanjing University. He handles papers in the areas of drug delivery, organic catalysis, synthesis & assembly of nanomaterials.

Professor Leyong Wang, Nanjing University

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

“As the associate editor, I am very pleased to receive and read well-organized and well written manuscripts with high quality and exciting results. Therefore, we could provide more excellent papers to our audience of our journal. When I receive a new submission, I will read the manuscript quickly, normally in 5-10 minutes.

Firstly, the cover letter is read, which is regarded as the dialogue between authors and Associate editors. From the cover letter, I would like to know the important background and the exciting results of the present research. Why did the authors think the contents of this manuscript are  exciting and challenging work?

Then, I will read the Graphic abstract and abstract quickly to know if the authors have clearly shown the exciting and informative results in present manuscript, and then if its contents lie inside the stated aims and scope of the journal.

Next, I will read the manuscript quickly while checking the References and Supporting information. From the introduction session, I would like to know if the authors establish the background of the problem studied and if the discussion only repeats the results but does not interpret them with the help of suitable literature cited. Some times, I realize that submitted manuscripts do not follow the format specified by our RSC journals. To be frank, it is a not pleasurable feeling during a quick reading. It means the authors did not read the authors guides of RSC Advances during the preparation of their manuscript. The authors should convince the associate editor, on behalf of readers to some degree, that the research is both sound and important through their writing.”

Last but not least, the professional supporting materials is very important to prevent the manuscript from being prescreened. I would like to see a  clear and professional description of experimental procedures. For the synthetic experiments, the reported compounds here should be given the physical data, for example 1H NMR and 13C NMR with in  professional style. I am sure, without the professional writing of experimental session and well updated suitable references, it is not easy to believe the reliability of results and discussion of a submitted manuscript.

I fully understand the feeling of authors when they receive the reject letter without reviewer reports. I do hope this kind of rapid decision is seen as favorable, because it allows the authors to quickly turn around the papers for submittal to a different journal, or to re-organize and re-write their manuscript for re-submission to us for consideration quickly. Of course, I do hope that this decision (Prescreen without review) will not discourage the authors from submitting the authors’ future work to us.

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

“Writing a professional paper is a challenging job for our authors. In fact, it is not easy to give the best piece of advice. If I have to give one, in my opinion, in the process of writing research papers, it is would be better to give the draft outline of this research paper, knowing the highlights of your research papers, give a catchy and informative title to your research paper, then continue writing an abstract in a short paragraph which provides key information of submitting paper in an easy-to-grasp manner.

I also have a reminder here. Every author is suggested to read the pre-submitted manuscript carefully with the arrangement of the corresponding authors. This action could remove some typos and grammar errors, even such low-level “stupid” mistakes.
In the end, I always warmly welcome the authors to submit their high-quality, and exciting research work to our RSC  Journals with good preparation and wish our authors continued success in their  research endeavors.”

Meet the Editor:

Professor Andrea Pucci is a Full professor in Industrial Chemistry at the University of Pisa, Italy and handles papers related to solar energy, optical materials and nanomaterials.

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

“Mainly due to the lack of novelties after a literature survey. Then, when the manuscript are reported with poor care in general of the RSC Advances regulations.””

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

“In the introduction, clear statements of the novelties reported should be provided. Then, comparison of the main outcomes with those from the literature are appreciated.”

We hope that you find these insights from Professor Wang and Professor Pucci useful while writing your next paper!

Tune in next week for our final set of publishing tips from our academic Associate Editors !

You are welcome to send in any questions you have about peer-review or publishing to advances-rsc@rsc.org 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)

Advancing with Advances (Part 6): featuring Dr. Ranjit Koodali (Western Kentucky University, USA), Professor Luigi Vaccaro ( University of Perugia, Italy), and Professor Thierry Ollevier, (Université Laval, Québec Canada)

Advancing with Advances (Part 7): featuring Professor Steven McIntosh, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, USA and  Dr. Lubomír Rulíšek, Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague

 

 

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Advancing with Advances- How to Publish and not Perish (Part 7): More Publishing Tips from Academic Editors

What Can You Do to Improve Your Manuscript? 

Two Experienced Associate Editors offer words of Advice. 

This week we are going to hear from two more Associate Editors who offer their useful advise in how to improve your manuscripts chances of acceptance.

Meet the Editor:

Professor Steven McIntosh is based at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, USA. He handles papers focused on electrochemistry and catalysis.

 

Professor Steven McIntosh, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, USA

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

There are a few reasons I reject manuscripts without review. The most common is a lack of fit for the journal with the manuscript not describing a true advance in chemistry. Some manuscripts fall down at the ”advance’ category in that they report work that is reproducing well-established results or appearing as a more preliminary investigation rather than a thorough investigation in a new area. Other manuscripts are better suited to specialized journals in other fields, I commonly reject manuscripts that are more focused on mechanical or chemical engineering topics rather than chemistry.

The other reason I reject manuscripts without review is when the manuscript clearly does not meet the depth of study required for the journal. Some submitted manuscripts contain experimental results without a supportive contextual discussion and literature review. A manuscript should have a narrative theme that describes and supports the claimed scientific advance.

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

My advice is to clearly make the case that the work is an advance over previous studies. This requires the author to describe the existing state of the art understanding, methodology, or performance level and then clearly show that their work advances beyond this. This requires comparison between their work and the existing state of the art in a clearly presented set of results. I’d also say not to forget to establish trends in your experimental data and provide negative tests. This can be as simple as providing data showing performance in the presence/absence of individual components or as a function of composition. Often these trends and comparisons are the key to establishing the purported advance in our understanding.

 

Meet the Editor:

 

Dr. Lubomír Rulíšek is based at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague (IOCB). He regularly handles manuscripts in computational and theoretical chemistry.

Dr. Lubomír Rulíšek, Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague

  1. What are your most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript without review?

As an Associate Editor handling mostly manuscripts from the broad field of molecular modelling in biochemistry, biology, and material chemistry; I tend to reject manuscripts that do not have present the clear validation of the computed data.

Typically, a modelling/docking study is presented, carried out with fairly standard computer software, that ends with reporting computed free energies of binding for a series of (computationally) tested compounds. It ends with the statement: “Our modelling/docking study showed a potential of the compound X and Y to be the great inhibitor of the enzyme Y (where Y is very often one of the SARS-CoV-2 enzymes these days)” Then, then paper typically contains a very descriptive paragraphs of all interactions, detailed discussion of the computed data, etc. However, in my eyes, without experimental validation of the computed data, the results are meaningless; given the inaccuracies of the force-field based protocols. I am not saying that I expect the authors to do the experiment, but to clearly and convincingly show on a known series of compounds tested on the same target with the known experimental binding constants that the used protocol works and the data thus can be trusted. The second typical examples of the manuscript that I reject are those that are out of scope. This is mostly in material chemistry and such manuscripts almost entirely lack chemistry: molecules, compounds, structures, and their transformations, which is in my eyes the definition of chemistry.

  1. What would be your best piece of advice to a submitting author?

To read their paper with the critical eyes and ask yourself two questions: (1) Do I want to publish this manuscript, just to add one item onto my list of publications (requested, in some countries, by committees, grant agencies, etc.) or do I report a truly exciting science that I enjoy? (2) Does anybody else than myself and co-authors of the paper care about the results presented therein?

 

Tune in next week for our final blog with our academic Associate Editors! However, do not fear, we will be back with Bob Baker on how to improve your cover letter in a couple of weeks!

You are welcome to send in any questions you have about peer-review or publishing to advances-rsc@rsc.org 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)

Advancing with Advances (Part 6): featuring Dr. Ranjit Koodali (Western Kentucky University, USA), Professor Luigi Vaccaro ( University of Perugia, Italy), and Professor Thierry Ollevier, (Université Laval, Québec Canada)

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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 advances-rsc@rsc.org 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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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 advances-rsc@rsc.org 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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Advancing with Advances- How to Publish and not Perish (Part 4)

How are papers assessed by academic editors at RSC Advances

Insights from editors handling computational chemistry papers

We are delighted to continue sharing with you publishing tips and tricks from our editors.

Meet the Editor:

Professor Megan O’Mara is a group leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. She handles papers in the areas of computational biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, and drug discovery.

Professor Megan O’Mara

1. What is the most common reason for rejecting a manuscript without review?
I review a lot of computational and biomolecular papers. My most common reason for rejecting a manuscript without review is it doesn’t contain sufficient chemistry to make an impact in the field of chemistry. I often get papers that focus on the cell biology of a particular process. While this is interesting, it doesn’t contribute to the chemistry. Likewise, method development papers and docking studies are often written from a perspective that does not emphasise or provide new insights into the chemistry (including biochemistry) of the research.

2. What is the best piece of advice you could give a submitting author?
For computational papers, make sure you introduce the problem and experimental rationale behind your study. Emphasise the chemical basis of the results and give evidence for how your studies provides additional evidence into the chemical basis of a process.

Meet the Editor:

Dr Giacomo Saielli, is a senior researcher at the University of Padova, Italy and is an expert in computational materials chemistry, gels and soft matter.

Dr Giacomo Saielli

1. What is the most common reason for rejecting a manuscript without review?
There are two types of manuscript that I reject without peer review.
The first type is concerned with manuscripts that have nothing to do with chemistry. It does not happen very often, but sometimes I receive papers dealing with mechanical engineering, geology, mathematics. It might be the case that a vague relationship with chemistry can eventually be found in the paper (after all, the only truly chemical-free type of matter are probably neutron stars), but such relationship is so weak that I cannot take the work as a chemistry paper. Often in these cases I also note that none of the references cite a chemistry journal, which is also an indication that RSC Advances is not the right choice. Of course, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary works with a significant chemistry component are welcome, since these highlight the role of chemistry within the other sciences.

The second type of manuscript is – and this is rather obvious – papers where the work is really poor from a scientific point of view. This might happen with computational and experimental works alike, but since my area of expertise is computational chemistry it occurs to me more often to find computational papers, rather than experimental papers, in this category. In the majority of such cases, the main point is not that the work is wrong, often the computational protocol is correctly applied. However, that alone is not enough to make good science. Due to the availability of many computational chemistry software, it can happen that the Authors correctly solve a problem that had been already solved, maybe with a slightly different method, in the literature, sometime several years ago. Therefore the novelty is very low.

2. What is the best piece of advice you could give a submitting author?
Based on my comments above, my first recommendation for Authors is to make sure that the manuscript is dealing with chemistry and it has a potential interest for the chemistry community. It should be clear for the Authors that the “C” in RSC Advances means Chemistry.
The second recommendation is to make clear what the scientific issues that the Authors wish to discuss are and how they have been addressed in the published literature: do we really need another quantum chemical calculation of the energy/structure of this particular molecule or another molecular dynamics simulation of this particular material? Maybe yes, but it should be stated clearly why and what new insights the calculations are revealing.

Meet the Editor:

Dr Pablo A. Denis is based at the Faculty of Chemistry of the Universidad de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay (UDELAR) and handles papers in the field of computational nanoscience.

Dr Pablo Denis

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

The most common reason for my rejections without review is that the authors did not perform a complete investigation of the literature, and a large part of the results were published previously.

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

My best piece of advice is related to point 1. I strongly recommend performing an extensive investigation of the literature and squaring the results in the context of the literature. By doing so, the authors can decide themselves if the work is worth publishing and where.
Publishing trick: Making an attractive graphical abstract!

We hope that you find these insights from Megan, Giacomo and Pablo useful while preparing your next manuscript!

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 advances-rsc@rsc.org 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

 

 

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Advancing with Advances – How to Publish and not Perish (part 3)

Interviews with Associate Editors

Our Associate Editors offer some Advice

 

At RSC Advances we have a team of seventy hard working Associate Editors who handle your manuscript, from initial assessment to their final decision.

To gain more insight into the world of peer-review, we have asked our Associate Editors two questions:

  1. What are your most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript without review?
  2. What would be your best piece of advice to a submitting author?

Here are what some of our Associate Editors had to say:

 

Professor Brenno A.D. Neto, Universidade de Brasília, Brazil

     1. What are your most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript without review?

I see two main reasons to deny an article for publication without peer-review. The first reason is because it actually lacks the expected advance/impact in the subject of the submitted work; and it is not rare to see these manuscripts. The second reason is even more common in those rejected manuscripts I handle as an Editor, that is, when the expected characterizations of the claimed structures are missing or are incomplete. Several mistakes could be avoided with proper characterizations.

2. What would be your best piece of advice to a submitting author?

Be clear and objective when you write the cover letter. Always check if you are presenting/submitting a well-composed manuscript. This is indeed very important! Also, remember that Science should speak by itself, thus the use of self-promoting words (or buzzwords) in general only backfires on authors.

 

Dr. Donna Arnold, University of Kent, UK 

     1. What are your most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript without review?

One of the most common reasons I reject manuscripts at prescreen (reject without peer review) is for lack of novelty and impact. This is often that there is no cover letter stating what the novelty and impact of the work is. The second reason is usually due to scope. It is important to consider if RSC Advances is the right place for the work. Again this is something which can be addressed in a good cover letter!

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

A couple of pieces of advice beyond a good cover letter. Authors need to consider if RSC is the right place for the work they want to share. With any manuscript the most important thing for the research is for the manuscript to reach the right audience. Sometimes it is tempting to make these decisions based on metrics rather than where the work might reach the best audience. RSC Advances has a wide readership, a good question to ask yourself is, is the work of wide interest or would the work be better in a more focussed journal. Also remember, Associate Editors do look up the work/materials in Web of Science to see what has been done previously in the area. This give the context for the work and we are looking to see if the work extends the current state-of-the-art, has impact, or if it is incremental. Again, it is good to ask yourself this question before you submit. These are questions I ask about my own manuscripts and information, which I include in the cover letter to help convince the editors to consider my work.

 

Professor Nestor Mariano Correa, Universidad Nacional de Rio Cuarto, Argentina

     1. What are your most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript without review?

When a manuscript arrives at my desk the first thing that I do is see how different from what is already known in this subject. I expect to read it in the cover letter but, this does not always happen. Thus, in my case, this is the main reason for rejecting without review: the lack of originality of the work.

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

My advice to all the authors that want to send a manuscript to RSC Advances is to take the time to prepare a good cover letter, indicating the advances in the field that the work will do and, to clearly stress the novelties from works already published. A good (short) abstract, introduction that clearly highlights the goals of the work, and concise and convincing conclusions are always welcome.

 

We want to thank Brenno, Donna and Nestor for providing such informative answers, and we hope you find them useful in your next submission to RSC Advances!

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

Tune in next week for more interviews with our Associate Editors where they discuss their most common reasons for rejecting manuscripts and reveal more publishing tips!

 

If there is something you would like covered in our next article, please send in any questions you have about peer-review or publishing to advances-rsc@rsc.org or post them on Twitter @RSCAdvances #AdvancingWithAdvances.

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Advancing with Advances- How to publish and not perish (Part 2)

Why did in-house editors reject my paper? 

From the perspective of two staff editors at RSC Advances

Research papers submitted to RSC Advances are subject to initial quality checks by in-house editors before they are passed on to our expert Associate Editors for assessment.  This week we are going to take a peek behind the curtain of the editing team at RSC Advances and see how in-house editors reject papers that do not meet the journal’s criteria.

Editors first check whether a manuscript is within the scope of the journal as described on the journal website. Papers published in RSC Advances must present insights that advance the chemistry field or be of interest to chemists.  Most of the manuscripts we reject for being out of scope may contain some chemistry (for example, a chemical compound used as a drug or for drug delivery) but with the primary scientific advance in a different field such as pharmacology, statistics, genetics, etc. Manuscripts that are out of the scope of the journal are rejected without peer-review no matter how sound the science is.

Once editors are satisfied that the paper fits within the scope of the journal, we go through your manuscript to ensure that all relevant and correct documents for submission are present. All our experimental data reporting requirements can be found online. The emails we most frequently send as editors are those requesting authors for supporting data as what was supplied did not meet our requirements. We cannot publish papers where the data provided does not meet our data standards. For example, all Western blot and other electrophoresis data should be supported by the underlying uncropped and unprocessed raw images, all new small molecule crystal data must be present in the  CIF (Crystallographic Information File) format, etc.

Burlington House, London (Headquarters of the Royal Society of Chemistry)

In addition, do keep in mind good publishing practices and follow the ethical guidelines that we have listed on our Author hub. Key points to keep in mind are:

  1. Make sure you address the scope of the paper in your cover letter or in your bibliography by citing previous work from the same journal and/or similar journals.
  2. Use your own words to describe previous work and experiments, and make that sure all your references are correct.
  3. Avoid making unsupported claims about your findings and provide all data supporting your findings either in the main paper or in the Electronic Supplementary Information. The Royal Society of Chemistry also strongly encourages authors to deposit the data underpinning their research in appropriate repositories.
  4. Only submit your manuscript to one journal at a time.

Thomas Graham House, Cambridge (where Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing is based)

If your paper has already been peer-reviewed at another Royal Society of Chemistry journal, please make sure to address the previous reviewer comments and revise the paper before submitting it to RSC Advances (and preferably include the point-by-point response to the previous referee comments as well). We feel that it is very important that the time and efforts of our reviewers are duly acknowledged in this manner, and this process should also help to improve the quality of work published in our journals. Be firm yet diplomatic in your responses to referee comments (even if the referees are confrontational).  There is nothing to be gained in responding aggressively, even if you are sure you are right.  Even if the referee reports are very negative, your paper may still be accepted if the Editor is convinced by your rebuttal letter.

In-house editors support external expert Associate Editors in their handling of papers, but we also support authors too. If you have any queries about data or scope pre- or post- submission of your paper, please do get in touch with the journal and we will be happy to help.

We hope that we have provided some clarity about why in-house editors at RSC Advances reject papers and what can be done to avoid this in any future submissions!

Tune in next week for interviews with three of our Associate Editors where they discuss their most common reasons for rejecting manuscripts and reveal their best publishing tips!

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

 

 

 

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Advancing with Advances- How to publish and not perish (Part 1)

Why did the editor reject my manuscript? 

Guest post by Professor Robert Baker, Trinity College Dublin

Most of the readers of this blog are driven by curiosity. The question “why?” is something we have at the forefront of our scientific endeavours. Why did this reaction give black insoluble gunk? Why is the reaction yield 5% (rounded up)? Some of the more interesting results have come from questioning the “why?” of failed reactions – Vaska’s complex was discovered by accident, Kubas discovered the first dihydrogen complexes because of a poor yield, and there are many more examples from all branches of chemistry.  Then we spend ages analysing the data; “why?” did the NMR spectrum have too many peaks. After that we put all the answers to our “why?” on paper and send it to a journal for peer review. But how many times do we receive the following email from an editor rejecting our carefully crafted manuscript?

Dear author,

Thank you for your recent submission to RSC Advances, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. All manuscripts are initially assessed by the editors to ensure they meet the criteria for publication in the journal.

After careful evaluation of your manuscript, I regret to inform you that I do not find your manuscript suitable for publication in RSC Advances because it does not meet the novelty and impact requirements of the journal. Therefore your article has been rejected from RSC Advances.

Yours sincerely,

The Editor

 

Professor Robert James Baker is an Assistant Professor at the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin and an Associate Editor as well as Editorial Board member of RSC Advances

In this series we will explore some of the pitfalls of submission from an editor’s point of view and move your science forward. From experience, some of the common problems revolve around cover letters, how the manuscript is presented and how to respond to referees’ comments – “why” did they not get it? “why” didn’t I think of that?

Later on in this blog series, I will be sharing some of the cover letters and reviewer responses that accompanied rejected as well as successful manuscripts that I authored (and the stories behind them) in order to highlight that not only manuscripts require to be revised. As an Associate Editor in the areas of spectroscopy, homogenous catalysis and inorganic chemistry at RSC Advances, I come across several manuscripts with cover letters in the following format:

Dear Editor:

 Here we submit the paper entitled “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”. We would be grateful if the manuscript could be reviewed and considered for publication in RSC Advances. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Signed- The authors

Such redundant cover letters do not help the cause of the manuscript. At the very minimum, the cover letter should clearly state the advance made to literature in a manner that helps editors and reviewers evaluate the manuscript.

Here are my:

Most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript without review?

  1. Does the introduction set the scene – what is the problem the authors are looking at and why is it different to the literature. Context is key. So very short introductions with few references to the state-of-the-art are not good.
  2. Remember it is a results AND discussion section on a discussion of YOUR results. Again context – are your results good, bad or indifferent?
  3. Does the introduction and conclusion match the results? It is surprising how many manuscripts give a very ‘templated’ introduction on results from the last paper and not this current one.

Best piece of advice to a submitting author?

You are telling a story of WHY your results are important. Lead the reviewer and reader by the hand, explain everything that is important, but do it succinctly. The reader of your article wants to learn something new, so tell them what is new.

Having a manuscript rejected by an editor or peer reviewers is sometimes tough to take, especially in the early stages of your career. It’s frustrating and annoying but it happens to everyone; the comments are on your work, not you as a person or scientist. The best (though not necessarily easiest) way to look at it is as a learning experience. For example, I submitted a manuscript early in my career with the elemental analysis mixed up between two compounds; a referee picked up on this and the whole report was:

“The bulk purity of the compounds has not been proven, therefore none of the conclusions are remotely valid. Reject.”

I have not made the same mistake again!

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

Tune in next week for our feature on how manuscripts are rejected by professional editors on scope and/or data concerns!

 

 

 

 

 

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Introduction to Advancing with Advances: How to publish and not perish?

 

A blog series on how manuscripts are rejected at RSC Advances.

Over the five next weeks, we will be releasing a new post every Wednesday in collaboration with Professor Robert Baker, Trinity College, Dublin who is an experienced Associate Editor and member of the RSC Advances Editorial Board. We will be shedding light on why manuscripts are rejected from RSC Advances and what you could do as an author to increase your chances of acceptance.

We have lined up for you:

  • An introduction from Prof. Baker, who will draw on his experiences as an author and Associate Editor on how editors assess manuscripts.
  • Perspectives from in-house Editors on why manuscripts are rejected without peer-review.
  • Associate Editors at RSC Advances, who work in different research areas, reveal why they reject manuscripts and share their best advice with authors.
  • Tip and tricks on how not to write cover letters and respond to reviewer reports.
  • And in our final post, Professor Baker will summarise how small changes in the way research is presented could improve your manuscript.

I hope you are as excited as we are about this series, and we hope it will be helpful to anyone hoping to submit to RSC Advances.  You are welcome to send in any questions you have about peer-review or publishing to advances-rsc@rsc.org.

Tune in next week for our first post from Professor Baker!

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