Most top research journals reject 80% to 85% of the paper submissions. Getting published in a prestigious journal is hard - a good topic, rigorous research, breakthrough insights and data, etc. At SCIJournal.org, we receive daily emails asking our advice on how to get published on top journals in their field. Here is a quick answer to your emails:
You should be asking them - your publishers.
The truth is most top journals have their own submission procedures and research standards. How you package your findings in compliance with standards of a particular institution or journal is a battle itself.
So, let's get into it.
Like we have discussed in this article on Good Impact Factor, you want to choose journals based on relevance AND "prestige" (we won't lie; most people think this way).
Besides this, it can be especially difficult to get published in high impact journals if you have not been chaperoned into it or don’t have these attributes. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your best. After all, even the best researchers were novices once.
Here are some basic pre-submission tips that can reduce your chances of a rejection:
Every journal has word limits and citation guidelines that are usually set in stone. So, if a rule says that you have to follow MLA 8, don't digress and submit with APA with a note saying you will change it once the research is accepted for publication.
It signals that your attention to detail is lacking or you do not hold your paper in high regards. Similarly, submitting a paper that exceeds the word limit by a wide margin in the hopes that the editor will trim it for you also points to the same issue in your own prowess as a researcher. Revise your paper before submitting it to increase your chances of getting accepted.
Although we have been clear that scijournal.org do NOT handle research papers, people seem to have a hard time reading instructions. They keep sending us papers. No surprise, the research papers submitted to us without reading our Guidelines are the ones that look like the author is expecting us to help them edit the paper. It looks unfinished without the basic thesis structure that one would expect from even a Master student.
Sorry for being harsh. I hope by reading this article, you are not one of them.
One or two typos are forgivable, but if a paper is riddled with grammatical errors and run-on sentences as well, it will not be put forward for peer review. Submit work that is professionally written AND carefully reviewed. Strive to make your writing as simple as possible. Do not try to disguise your lack of depth with complicated words. It will not help.
Get into the habit of using free tools like Microsoft Word Review and use the “Read Aloud” function. You will be surprised how your paper can be edited just a bit more. Paid tools like Grammarly can also help you with your paper and written communications by giving you suggestions. We will do a separate review on tools that will make you a better researcher. One of my personal favorite is the free tool Hemmingway Editor. I typically keep my writing for online readers at grade 7 to 9 (okay maybe 10-11 for more educated readers like you at SciJournal.org).
Why? Consider it a courtesy that we understand you are likely a busy professional or researcher. You are probably tired of the kind of dry and bureaucratic writing at most universities. So, we want to keep our writings sharp and crispy. Get to the point and move on. Avoid unnecessary big words when a small word would do. But, have the courage to give the concept enough room and depth it deserves.
For example, learn from the writing of the Prospect Theory by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky published in 1979 or the Judgement under Uncertainty in 1974. If you have not been exposed to this writing (and the theory), you should make time for it. It's one of more useful knowledge that can improve your decision making process. In case you need some external validation, Prospect Theory was cited in the decision to award Kahneman the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.
Scientific journals that have a high impact factor work to improve the reach and acceptability of their articles in the scientific community at large. This increases competition between the uncountable manuscripts they receive so only a fraction are deemed publishable.
Besides following the aforementioned pre-publishing tips, to increase their chances of getting published, scientific writers have to make their work reader friendly or engaging - a monumental task owing to the stiff and technical aspect of their content.
To improve the probability of getting accepted, researchers need a good story to base it on and give their message meaning. This idea sounds logical, but it can be difficult to implement for scientific writers who often handle several different findings while drafting their paper.
Here are some ways these writers can make their work palatable to reviewers and editors:
Before even starting on your paper, describe the concept to a friend, a relative or a peer but make sure your explanation does not take longer than a minute. The limited duration will allow you to focus on the key points of your research. If you can describe your research in a few words, you should be able to expand it without losing focus.
Jot down three to five salient features of your research paper and then expand on them one by one following a logical sequence of events. It will keep your paper cohesive and reader friendly from start to finish.
Step 3 - Summarize Your Work In One Sentence
If you can summarize your entire paper in one sentence, you basically have the keystone on which your entire research will hinge on. Refer to it when you find yourself getting off topic while writing your paper to maintain its integrity throughout.
Once you have the main concept of story mapped out and key message is clear in your mind, you can start your manuscript. After you are done, read the text through at least twice and ask yourself the following questions:
Go through these questions at each stage of the manuscript i.e., the introduction, material, research methods and discussion. If you come up with positive answers, keep the information and if not, delete it. It will help you clarify your story and keep your text concise.
By aligning your manuscript to the scope of your target journal, you can reduce chances of a rejection. The biggest journals may not be the best choice for a researcher who has never been published before. Look for publications that are oriented towards your thesis at first or a journal that specializes in one of the subtopics of your dissertation. University based journals often focus on niche topics so those are a great place to start.
Irrespective of the depth of knowledge or invaluable insights a research paper provides, when it comes to publishing, it ends up becoming only a piece of paper if it fails in readability and comprehensibility. No journal that has a high impact factor will consider it. Work your way up to these journals by refining your academic writing skills. Find out where you can get your work published at SCI Journal.
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