I cannot imagine that anyone ever submits a manuscript with the thought that there is a high probability of it being rejected. Therefore, it comes as a surprise and disappointment to authors when their manuscripts are rejected. Here are a few points to consider that will help your manuscript move smoothly through the publication process.
- 1Review the Aim and Scope of the journal and specific sections to assure your manuscript fits. Being rejected due to “outside of the Aim and Scope” is not an evaluation of the scientific validity of the manuscript, but rather that the topic does not conform to the focused areas of the journal.
- 2Make a strong case in your introduction for your manuscript being a “unique contribution”. Claims based on a particular set of variables not being previously tested (say, pH) are usually not enough for an original contribution. Moreover, remember that if you claim that “there has been very little work done on sweet potato protein” that all the editor/reviewer has to do is search “sweet potato protein” in one of many search engines to check the validity of that claim. Several times I have seen this happen only to have the reviewer point out 10 to 20 relevant manuscripts published in the past few years.
- 3Recommend a set of reviewers that have clear credentials in the research area but are not your local colleagues or co-authors on a previous manuscript. One of the biggest challenges for any editor is to find reviewers who can provide a comprehensive and fair review within a reasonable time frame. Consider yourself becoming a reviewer that fits that description!
- 4Once the reviews are in and you have revised your manuscript, make it easy for the editor to see how you have responded to every comment. Revised manuscripts that make it very easy for the editor to determine if the revised manuscript is acceptable have: 1) a list of all comments, your responses to comments and where to find changes in the manuscript and 2) changes marked by red font. In other words, make it as easy as possible for the editor to understand how you addressed the comments. There are no set of rules that, if followed, would guarantee acceptance of a manuscript. However, conforming to the above recommendations should increase the probability of success. Speaking of probability, do not forget the appropriate statistics when needed!