Recently I met with someone who is the editor for one of the top journals in my field. We discussed what would increase your chances of pleasing a journal editor. He gave me three clear pointers that I thought would be interesting to the readership here. But, I also think I’m going to try a different method to get them to you: mail. There are about 2000 RSS subscribers, and only a few dozen email subscribers. I think it’s those subscribers show a lot of commit to what I have to say here and it’s about right that they get extra content. If you use RSS over email because you find it more convenient, then my apologies. You can always subscribe to get the content, then unsubscribe, although I plan to decouple the two sources and prepare extra content that goes to the mail subscribers only in the future.
Why have I been doing so much more Twining than blogging and social networking? First of all, I’m not interested in having a conversation with the entire general public, or ever being an A-List blogger, or interacting with networks of random strangers. What I want is to efficiently participate in many different specific groups and communities around particular interests and relationships I have.
I still think that ap.com could be a great community where we share really effective tips (this one email is probably one of these). Just a quick reminder that posting is open to anyone who has anything to say (posts are reviewed). There is a post describing how to make a post. And of course, the comments are open.
EDIT: Since lots of RSS subscribers felt alienated, I have added the content here. I hope you understand why I thought it might be sensible to keep it to a reduded audience. The error in my logic was that email subscribers show more commitment: in fact RSS subscribers think the technology is superior and that’s why they do not subscribe using email.
As promised in my blog post, here are three tips to increase your
chances of pleasing a journal editor (and getting your paper published).
(1) Don’t take no for an answer. This editor told me that in many cases the reviews were not completely damaging, but many authors assumed that the paper was beyond repair and never resubmitted. Sometimes, even though you didn’t get a ‘revise and resubmit’, you can write back to the editor and say that you do not agree with some of the reviewers’ points, and that you have fixed the paper. Note that you were not invited to resubmit, but you are doing it anyway. Sometimes the editor will agree with your point and keep the process going.
This little sneaky tactic can save you a lot of time waiting for another journal to start the process from scratch, not to mention psychological wear-and-tear taking rejections.
Note: my editor in question said he would be more than happy to reevaluate such cases, but he may be an exception.
(2) Write it clearly. In a world where everybody rushes papers for publication, a well-written paper feels like fresh air. How do you know your paper is well-written? Leave it alone for a week. If you come back to it and you cannot understand your own point at first read, rewrite. Use your lay-man friends, or people from a different discipline, as testers.
Another trick that I’ve seen good writers do is to use very large fonts so they concentrate on one paragraph at a time (one screen full of large fonts). They move to the next screen only when they are totally satisfied with their writing. This often involves rewriting each sentence a few times, and shortening it.
(3) Don’t resubmit in a week. It shows disrespect for the entire review process. If the reviewers and editor took a few hours of their time to make your paper better, by all means do not disregard the changes they propose. Rarely you can address all suggestions in just one week.
What happens when you take an extraordinarily large time to resubmit? I thought it’d be catastrophic, but this editor concretely thought that this is not an issue. Sometimes life gets in the way. By all means resubmit even if you think your reviews have forgotten about you. They probably have anyway even if you submit in a snap
Hope this helps!