Can Authors Editor’s Help Expedite Peer Review of the Manuscripts They Edit?

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In October 2013, Donald Samulack, President, U.S. operations at Editage, attended the SciELO 15 Years Conference held to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the SciELO Network. The primary focus of the conference was on open access publishing and the challenges currently faced by journals. The panel of speakers at the conference included Donald Samulack. Donald presented an interesting session titled Can an Author’s Editor Help Expedite Peer Review of the Manuscript They Edit? as part of the panel on “Experiences, Solutions, Products, and Services of Scientific Communication.” Editage was one of the sponsors of the event, which was held from October 22-25 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The conference attracted a daily visitors as 400 academicians, including editors, publishers, researchers, and authors.

Transcript of Can Authors Editor’s Help Expedite Peer Review of the Manuscripts They Edit?

  • 1. Can Authors Editors Help Expedite Peer Review of the Manuscripts They Edit? Presented by: Donald Samulack, PhD President, U.S. Operations Cactus Communications / Editage

2. The World Is so Flat Its Starting to Curl! 2 3. Survival of the Fittest 3 Territory size shows the proportion of all scientific papers published in 2001 written by authors living there. The number of scientific papers published by researchers in the United States was more than three times as many as were published by the second highest-publishing population, Japan. Source: http://sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/worldmapper/display.php?selected=205 (April 15, 2013) Science Research 4. Survival of the Fittest 4 Science Growth This map shows the growth in scientific research of territories between 1990 and 2001. If there was no increase in scientific publications that territory has no area on the map. In 1990, 80 scientific papers were published per million people living in the world, this increased to 106 per million by 2001. This increase was experienced primarily in territories with strong existing scientific research. However, the United States, with the highest total publications in 2001, experienced a smaller increase since 1990 than that in Japan, China, Germany and the Republic of Korea. Singapore had the greatest per person increase in scientific publications. Source: http://sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/worldmapper/display.php?selected=206 (April 15, 2013) 5. There Is a Tsunami Coming 5 Current and projected publication trends Source: Royal Society of London, Knowledge, Networks, and Nations, 2011 6. There is a Tsunami Coming 6 Source: http://sciencewatch.com/grr/building-bricks (April 15, 2013) 7. Unfortunately, neither the researchers fascination with their work, nor their desire for a clear-cut recipe for success in publishing is of much help in actually getting published. Benson and Silver, 2013 (What Editors Want) The Research Dilemma 7 8. Anything you do that makes the job of the Journal Editor or the Peer Reviewer easier, makes the manuscript more attractive! Success = Pleasing the Gatekeepers 8 9. By-line bias Institutional bias Geographic bias Language bias Research integrity and ethics bias Methodology bias By the time the journal editor and/or the reviewer has read the title and the abstract, bias has set in! Bias is unfortunately a by-product of scientific scrutiny. Journal Editor and Reviewer Bias 9 10. Q: How do East-Asian submissions compare with those from other non-English speaking countries? In terms of compliance with ethical guidelines Bias Surrounding Research Integrity 10 1.9% 44.4% 35.2% 18.5% East Asian submissions better East Asian submissions worse Submissions from all non-English-speaking countries similar I don't know A survey of 54 journal editors of English-language US and European journals 11. Quirks of the English Language 11 You dont have to be really smart to read this. In the English language it doesn't matter in what order the letters are in a word. The only important thing is that the first and last letters are positioned in the right place. The rest of the letters can be jumbled and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human brain does not read every letter by itself, but looks for sentence and language patterns. You dnot have to be raelly smrat to raed tihs. In the Elgnsih lugnagae it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers are in a wrod. The olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers are pneiostiod in the rghit pclae. The rset of the lrtetes can be jmulebd and you can sitll raed it wiuthot porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn barin deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but lokos for sncetnene and luganage petatnrs. 12. Common Reviewers Criticisms 12 Importance of the Topic Rehash of established facts Insignificant research question Irrelevant or unimportant topic Low reader interest Little clinical relevance Not generalizable Study Design Poor experimental design Vague/inadequate method description Methods lack sufficient rigor Failure to account for confounders No control or improper control No hypothesis Biased protocol Small sample size Inappropriate statistical methods, or statistics not applied properly Adapted from: Byrne DW. Publishing your medical research paper. What they dont teach in medical school. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1998. 13. Common Reviewers Criticisms 13 Overall Presentation of Study and Findings Poor organization Too long and verbose Failure to communicate clearly Poor grammar, syntax, or spelling Excessively self-promotional Poorly written abstract Interpretation of the Findings Erroneous or unsupported conclusions Conclusions disproportionate to results Study design does not support inferences made Inadequate link of findings to practice Uncritical acceptance of statistical results Failure to consider alternative explanations Unexplained inconsistencies Inflation of the importance of the findings Interpretation not concordant with the data Inadequate discussion Adapted from: Byrne DW. Publishing your medical research paper. What they dont teach in medical school. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1998. 14. The pending impact of the publication tsunami, administrative challenges of manuscript triage, growing burden of peer review, and inefficiencies in journal production processes necessitate studies on how to make the process more efficient. While we cant fix the tsunami and we are probably only experiencing the first swell we can look up-stream to build efficiencies in pre-submission and pre-peer review processes. Looking for Solutions 14 15. What is the role of professional editing services (authors editors) in helping non-native English-speaking (NNES) authors get their work published? Is there a place for manuscript screening services? Is there a rationale for commercialization of peer review? Where should efforts be placed? Looking for Solutions 15 16. First, we looked for weaknesses in how journals structure their Instructions for Authors in an attempt to identify how journals should communicate these instructions more effectively. Best Poster at the Council for Science Editors meeting in Montreal, Canada in May, 2013 (a copy of the poster can be found at our booth) More recently, we asked whether there were any specific errors peer reviewers most frequently point out in manuscripts of non-native English-speaking (NNES) authors that an authors editor could/should fix before manuscript submission; the premise being that if these could be fixed before submission, then the burden on the peer reviewer would be lessened, and the process expedited. Research by Editage 16 17. Study Design 17 Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for publication in Learned Publishing (ALPSP). Awarded Best Poster at the ISMTE/EASE conference in Brussels, Belgium in September, 2013. 18. Study Results (Slide 1 of 3) 18 Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for publication in Learned Publishing (ALPSP). Awarded Best Poster at the ISMTE/EASE conference in Brussels, Belgium in September, 2013. 19. Study Results (Slide 2 of 3) 19 Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for publication in Learned Publishing (ALPSP). Awarded Best Poster at the ISMTE/EASE conference in Brussels, Belgium in September, 2013. 20. Study Results (Slide 3 of 3) 20 Study design and execution by Shazia Khanam and Clarinda Cerejo at Editage; accepted for publication in Learned Publishing (ALPSP). Awarded Best Poster at the ISMTE/EASE conference in Brussels, Belgium in September, 2013. 21. An authors editor, in addition to checking the grammar, writing quality, and style of manuscripts they edit, should point out instances of incomplete and unclear reporting, especially in the Methods and Results sections. This is crucial for the study to be able to be replicated by other research groups. Special attention should also be paid to ensure that figures and tables are consistent with (but not redundant to) the information presented in the text. Study Conclusions (1 of 2) 21 22. Further, an authors editor should provide the author tips to improve the overall structural organization of the Results and Discussions sections. A qualified authors editor helping an author address these aspects before submission will allow the peer reviewer to focus on the validity of the science and novelty of the study. Thus, an authors editor can indirectly help expedite the peer review process. Study Conclusions (2 of 2) 22