As a researcher, you have a vast amount of intelligence and knowledge in your brain. That doesn’t mean you’re immune to making errors, though, and this is a frequent occurrence when scholars submit their manuscripts for publication. Since it’s already a cumbersome process to send in your work and await approval or rejections, finding out that there’s a minor error you overlooked that requires you to revise your work is an unnecessary and irritating headache.
Proactively searching for errors helps you to reduce the possibility that your work will be rejected. These common manuscript submission mistakes made by others are things you should specifically look to avoid.
Tips for Publishing Your Work
Before you revise your manuscript for submission, there are a few tips you can follow to attempt to give yourself the best chance of being approved the first time you send in your article, such as:
● Choosing the right journal.
Make sure the research you are submitting is in line with the scope of the journal. You are wasting your time and the editor’s if you attempt to get published with a journal that doesn’t match the subject of your paper. You can determine the journal’s scope by looking on their home page and finding the section that specifically gives author instructions. Look in their database for articles that might be similar to yours.
● Ensuring your sources are thorough and cited clearly.
Editors are knowledgeable about the subjects they are planning to publish, and if it seems like an idea was already published, they’ll expect you to cite your source. Electronic searches can quickly determine whether you’ve plagiarized or not, so don’t cross your fingers and hope you get away with it. If you don’t cite correctly, even when it’s your own work, this is seen as plagiarism or self-plagiarism and can have disastrous consequences to your reputation. Even paraphrasing is a practice that should be avoided.
● Watching for ethical situations.
If a journal is concerned that there are ethics in question, chances are, they’re going to reject your study immediately. There are guidelines that you must follow, particularly when you are dealing with research regarding topics like human or animal welfare, subjects that would have conflicts of interest, or any dispute as to the authorship of the work. Make sure you are adhering to all legalities and ethical guidelines in both the field of science and writing. Disclose all approvals you have received transparently to the editor along with your submission.
With these tips in mind ahead of time, you can focus on preparing your work for possible publication and avoiding common errors.
Common Errors in Manuscript Submissions
No matter how intelligently your work is put together, it’s easy to overlook simple mistakes. These errors can cause your work to be rejected, though, adding weeks or months to your publishing timeline. If your research needs to be published timely to be relevant, this is often a death sentence to all your hard work. To avoid this problem, watch for these common errors that are frequently seen in manuscript submissions:
● Using the wrong format specified by the publisher (you may have to change these formatting requirements every time you submit to a new journal)
● Missing a clear purpose statement inside your introduction
● Too much clinical terminology (the paper needs to be professional but reader-friendly)
● Using single sentence paragraphs
● Using bullet points
● Using too many abbreviations or not explaining the abbreviations used
● Attempting to use the format of an annotated bibliography instead of an introduction
● Leaving out the sample size estimate
● Using findings that are not specific enough
● Leaving out estimates of reliability, validity, or other necessary parts of the outcome measures
Before you submit your work, make a checklist of these factors to look for. Review your work and highlight all of the requirements that the journal publication asks for, as well as these parts of your paper.
To ensure you have caught everything, give a clean checklist and paper to a peer or an editor you hire. Have them look for and highlight each aspect as well. With this system of checks and balances, you can feel confident knowing you are sending the best copy you can to the publisher for possible approval.