Clay Stobaugh
Clay Stobaugh
EVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Wiley
Deb Wyatt
Deb Wyatt
Editorial Director, ANZ, Wiley

Over 80 delegates attended Wiley’s 2015 Australian executive seminar earlier this month, among them Editors, librarians and Society executives representing some of the country’s leading research journals and institutes. Held in the State Library of Victoria, the theme of the day was Global Trends in Research Publishing and the wide-ranging agenda promised to deliver insights and global perspectives on publishing, practical information and case studies, and an excellent opportunity to network.

The day kicked off with an overview of global trends by Wiley’s Senior VP for Society Services, Andy Robinson. Taking a long-range view of research journals publishing, Andy described the key trends to watch in the next five years, and highlighted in particular the potential of hyperconnectivity and mass collaboration in a globalized and digitally advanced landscape.

Wiley_Seminar_2015_online_18.jpgDaniel Johnston of Publons described his vision for “speeding up science through rewarding peer review” and joined a lively panel on peer review, with contributions from Editors Mike Bull of Austral Ecology and Frank Bongiorno of History Australia, and Wiley’s own Melbourne-based ScholarOne expert, Martha Rundell. There was an engaging debate about peer reviewer recognition as well as peer-review efficiency and the importance of mentoring for prospective reviewers.

On the topic of ‘Raising the Global Profile and Impact of your Journal’ Wiley’s Chief Marketing Officer, Clay Stobaugh, led the audience on a journey through Wiley’s proprietary customer experience framework, and offered some practical tips on how to increase attention, influence and impact. In keeping with the theme of attention and impact, Annika Dean from Scimex and Anne Harvey from Altmetric delivered excellent presentations on the communication of research and measurement of its attention. Chris Elliott of Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health delivered an inspiring, educational and thoroughly enjoyable case study on his experience developing and executing a social media strategy. Chris spoke about the immediate impact that JPCH’s social media strategy had in raising awareness of children in detention on Nauru and described how the Editors have used social media to give a voice to patients in new ways, as we see from Talia’s story.

Our final session covered research data, looking at all aspects of data publication, citation and policies. ANDS CEO, Wiley_Seminar_2015_online_26.jpgRoss Wilkinson, set the scene with an overview of global research policies and a compelling description of the future for Open Data with the power of ‘data as a means of discourse’. Samantha Robertson of the NHMRC brought us the funder’s perspective on research data and its management, and covered issues specific to the Australian context, while Simon Goudie from Wiley spoke about Wiley’s partnership with figshare, and gave some practical advice for the audience on data citation and journal data policies. John Rolf, Editor of Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, shared his perspective on the implementation of a journal data policy, and shared some very entertaining insights into what keeps Editors up at night.

Some clear themes developed throughout the seminar, and left delegates with much to discuss over drinks in the bluestone courtyard at the end of the day. The importance of customer experience in ‘The Age of the Customer’ resonated through many of the sessions, in particular a need to work collaboratively to foster greater connectivity and information sharing both within the research community, and with the wider public and policymakers. Quality and value are of course of crucial importance to all stakeholders in the research enterprise: reproducible research; peer review that delivers a valuable experience for authors; managed, FAIR data; and meaningful metrics that show both immediate impact and long-lasting influence. Efficiency is also a key consideration, particularly around peer review, where all contributors would embrace greater speed, less administration and less duplication of effort.

Slides from the day are all available here. Tell us what you think at #wileyseminarANZ and get in touch with us if you’d like to join us next year: auswileyforum@wiley.com!

Image Credit (1st image) Peer Review Panel session. Source: Sadira Campbell

Image Credit (2nd image) Chris Elliott talks social media strategy. Source: Sadira Campbell


Our Top Ten Posts of 2015

Posted Feb 4, 2016
    Anne-Marie Green
Anne-Marie Green
Communication Manager, Wiley

It's that time again. The year end is approaching, whether we're ready for it or sad to see it go. Regardless, what better time to stop and take a look back at our ten most popular posts published in 2015? Here they are, in order of popularity.

1. Writing a literature review: six steps to get you from start to finish

2. How to turn your dissertation into journal articles

3. 10 types of plagiarism in research

4. 8 reasons why journals reject manuscripts

5. Across the desk: an editor's guide to peer review best practice

6. How, when and why to say no to a review request

7. How to deal with reviewer comments

8. 4 simple steps to growing usage for your article: a guide to Kudos

9. The twelve habits of highly productive writers

10. How can I use Google Scholar Citations for scholarly profiling?

Obviously, posts focused on getting published and peer review struck a chord with our readers and we hope they've been helpful to you.

Finally, we wanted to say thank you for reading and engaging with Wiley Exchanges in 2015. We'll be taking a break over the holidays and early into next year to work on improvements to Wiley Exchanges which we're excited about. Check back for updates!

Happy holidays and a very happy new year!

    Ed Williamson
Ed Williamson
Society Marketing, Wiley

Andy Burman, CEO of the British Dietetic Association, frames why events like ACUK are so important “Association events are crucial to the association and society sector, providing insight into current trends, innovation and new ideas. There can be no complacency in our sector and, as an association CEO and an independent consultant, being part of innovation, and implementing change, is key to what our members and stakeholders expect. There is huge value in collaboration, joint learning and sharing experience. This is one of the most collaborative sectors to work in and I am constantly, pleasantly surprised by how common the themes are that we all face.”

ACUK15 is a place where you can do this. There was a fantastic buzz from over 100 societies, with 35 from the academic sector sharing successes to follow and failures to avoid. We are keen to be a part of this energetic, collective force to help mission driven organizations push forward their goals.

Societies and associations are based around members who have a common goal; their needs must be central to all operations. This was a point Anne Francke, CEO of Chartered Management Institute, made in her opening address. Davina Quarterman from Wiley followed on from this theme by presenting on the varied generations that make up society membership and how they differ. The findings come from Wiley’s membership survey of 14,000 respondents. See her slides for more on this talk:

please mind the age gap.PNG

Anne also made the point that you shouldn’t be afraid to be commercial, to use commercial language, techniques and practices where appropriate and to call revenue profit. Profit that goes back into your organization of course! Gavin Sharrock’s session on how to use content marketing and advertising to generate revenue followed this theme closely. As a learned society, you have a huge asset in the form of content. It can be used beyond your journal to produce revenue. Gavin offeredbest practices and led discussion. One of his points was to know how your different audience segments search for your content. Surgeons and diabetologists search for the same information in different ways. Surgeons tend to use a few carefully selected key words, they do this in the evening after their normal work day and want to read a very in depth article in long form. In contrast, diabetologists tend to search using a whole sentence between seeing patients and want short articles that outline the key details for them as quickly as possible. Malcom Perryman, Sponsorship and Affinity Manager, RICS responded,“I’ve been in advertising for 20 years and this was extremely thought provoking” See the Slideshare for more information on his talk.

Sharing your experience and knowledge with your peers at events like this helps all societies to move forward. You can look over the Wiley’s, as well as others’ slides at the Associations Network’s website: www.associationsnetwork.org/uk. We hope to see you at events like this in the future. And, lastly, happy holidays!


    Patrick Johnston
Patrick Johnston
Director, Information Modeling, Wiley

woman with laptop.jpgWhat does “annotating all knowledge” mean for authors and readers of scholarly content? Why is it important for Wiley to participate?


Annotating All Knowledge is a coalition driven by the Hypothes.is Project involving over 40 scholarly publishers, platforms, libraries and technology partners.


Scholarly publishing is undergoing a sea change. As governments and institutions strive to make the results of research more and more accessible, the publishing industry is adapting. Open Access was an important step towards authors providing unlimited access to their research, and Wiley has fully embraced this.


In the meantime, the way readers intellectually engage with the substance of what is written has evolved very little, even as the interpretation of what writing is and how it is represented has broadened. There has been much progress in getting machines to understand things on our behalf, but comparatively little in enabling people to understand each other in more meaningful ways.


Social media have given us a plethora of channels through which we can talk about things, allowing thought to spread with efficiency undreamed of even twenty years ago. However, these channels are not designed for depth and analysis. While 'free' in the commercial sense, they silo our interactions in exact opposition to the principles on which the Web was founded, namely the democratization of knowledge.


The idea behind Open Annotation is to restore that balance, and to bring deeper meaning to the way we interact with published content. Building on the very machinery that enables the Web to function, the result is a standard way to enable comments and conversations in context, in a way that is not bound to a specific platform, publisher, or encoding, and in a way that makes it simple and intuitive for people to talk to people and learn from each other, and build vibrant communities that extend human knowledge.


The purpose of the Coalition is to move from definition of a proposed set of standards to their universal adoption and implementation. Wiley is fully committed to making this happen, enabling annotation to reflect the richness of scholarly thought through the content we publish online. Wiley is also committed to evolving the Standard, and to bringing annotation to a number of areas in the publication process, facilitating a richer user experience for our authors and reviewers. Wiley’s many society partners are supporting this effort. Brooks Hanson, Director of Publications at the American Geophysical Union, agrees that “this is another important area where collaboration and support by publishers will accelerate needed technological changes that will help enrich scholarly communication.” Wiley believes this will ultimately benefit everyone involved, including those creating, communicating, reading and using content.


Image source: Cheryl Savan/Shutterstock

    Helen Eassom
Helen Eassom
Author Marketing, Wiley

With over 641 million people online, China currently has the world’s largest population of internet users, and this number is only going to grow as more and more Chinese citizens get connected. Wiley has just signed a license agreement with Chinese internet giant Baidu, but what does this mean for you as an author?


Firstly, some background…


The global search engine market continues to be dominated by Google, with 54.7% of worldwide search ad revenues in 2014. However, since the Google ban in China, it has lost out on a huge proportion of the market (21.97% of the world’s internet users are Chinese). Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, and has undoubtedly gained from Google’s loss – the company will see its global share of search ad revenues increase from 6.4% in 2013 to 8.8% in 2015.


How does this affect authors?


Since the Google ban in China, traffic from Google and Google Scholar to Wiley Online Library and other publisher platforms has been significantly affected. For example, visits to WOL from Google dropped by around 30%, and from Google Scholar, by around 15%. China is the second biggest research output provider in the world, and for authors who want to be read and cited in China, the Google ban has major implications for discoverability.


In June 2014, Baidu launched Baidu Scholar with the aim of becoming the biggest research platform in China, and, through the acquisition of English language resources and publications, to become the best English language search platform in China. By the end of 2014, Baidu Scholar included hundreds of thousands of academic websites and had indexed over 100 million literature resources in total, providing free access to a huge amount of Chinese and foreign literature.


Baidu scholar.pngResearchers are able to carry out an advanced search (by keyword, author, title and field), plus an advanced filter and ranking (by professional field, time, document type) to find the document that they want. Additionally, for each article, the author information and publication source are easy to view, making Baidu Scholar a very real rival to Google Scholar.


Between October and December 2014, daily traffic visits to Baidu Scholar averaged around 8 million, with approximately 20% of total queries in English. Baidu aims to be able to compete with Google Scholar in terms of its English language resources, and with this in mind, is rapidly expanding its English resource coverage through license agreements. It has already closed deals with 11 major publishers, including Wiley.



Through signing the license agreement with Baidu, Wiley expects that the discovery of Wiley English content at Baidu and Baidu Scholar will be enhanced for Chinese researchers. Traffic to Wiley Online Library from China via Baidu should also increase.


Wiley is committed to making research impactful across all markets, and the license agreement is good news for authors who want their work to be as visible and discoverable as possible, as well as for Chinese authors and researchers who want to be able to find it easily. China is a massive market but has different means and media to provide discoverability of scientific content. This new cooperation between Wiley and Baidu is yet another initiative from Wiley to help its author and researcher community increase impact for their research output, and improve that discoverability.


Image source: Baidu Scholar

    Vikki Renwick
Vikki Renwick
Assistant Marketing Manager, Author Marketing, Wiley

The latest webinar to come from the Wiley Author Services Channel gave an overview of the best way to report and present data during the research process. All too often authors have their research rejected because of the reporting of their statistical methods. Our aim, as always, is to help you gain an insight in to what you can do to increase your chances of having your article accepted.

Rachel Zawada of Wiley’s Author Marketing Team was joined by four experts who provided recommendations, best practices, and real-life examples for presenting research that is transparent, robust, and most importantly, reproducible.

The speakers and topics were:

William Irish.jpg

William Irish, PhD, MSc, Vice President, CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services, Raleigh, NC
“Reporting of Statistical Methods and Results: Importance of Good Communication”
William looked at the common mistakes and pitfalls that usually occur during the research process when presenting statistics.



Dana Turner.jpgDana Turner, Design and Methods Advisor, Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain
“Best Practices for Reporting Methods and Statistics & Ways to Avoid Common Pitfalls”
Dana highlighted the common problems that occur and gave real-world examples of how they can be rectified by comparing the original and a revised version.



Benjamin Hofner.jpg

Benjamin Hofner, Reproducible Research Editor, Biometrical Journal; FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
“Reproducible Research - A Review and Recommendations”


By introducing the Reproducible Research Initiative which started in the Biometrical Journal, Benjamin gave an overview of the common issues and problems that occur and how to overcome them.





William Jacoby.jpg

William G. Jacoby, Editor, American Journal of Political Science; Professor, Michigan State University
“The Replication Policy at the American Journal of Political Science: Experiences during the First Six Months”
William talked about how the new AJPS replication policy makes an important contribution to the infrastructure of social science research.



After we’d heard from our speakers, we turned to the audience to answer some of the great questions that had been asked during the presentations. We looked at the difference between quantitative and qualitative reporting, a journal’s reporting guidelines and space limitations for data in an article.

If you are interested to find out more about reporting for reproducibility, you can watch the recorded version via our webinar channel. While you’re there you can take the time to find out more about Peer Review, Open Access and Abstracts.

    Kathryn Chaloux
Kathryn Chaloux
Associate Editor, Wiley

Lily Pulitzer print.gifFor a new prospective author, selecting which journal to publish in can be a bit like my process of selecting an outfit in the morning- and if your research is anything like my wardrobe, this can be a difficult task. Questions running through your mind probably mirror mine every day- What do I want to communicate to the world? How exactly do I want to do that?

You may want to publish in the classic, multidisciplinary Ralph Lauren cable knit sweater of academic journals, or maybe you’re willing to explore the experimental, niche journal that makes a statement akin to a colorfully patterned Lilly Pulitzer dress. As you know, selecting a journal to publish in makes a statement to your community and the world around you, and you want to choose the journal best suited (OK, pun intended) to your research. Below are a few first steps.

The options for selecting an academic journal to submit to are endless, and it’s important to find the right journal to ensure the best chance of your article’s acceptance. There are four main components that you can look out for when selecting a publication: ease, quality, reach, and impact.

1. Ease
There are tens of thousands of academic journals to choose from, and Wiley alone publishes more than 1,600 journals across life, health, and physical sciences, social science, and the humanities. It can be difficult to narrow down which journal is best suited to your article, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that your research should be relevant to the journal you select. Try beginning your search by using keywords, or seek out the journals colleagues in your specialty are publishing in. Wiley Online Library allows you to search for journals alphabetically, by subject area, keyword, or contributor.

Further, the most importance resource to any author is their own network. Along with consulting closely with any co-authors you may have, don’t be afraid to ask colleagues, peers, advisors or fellow society or association members for advice on the best fit for your research.

2. Quality
Of course, you want to make sure that the journal you select entertains a reputation of both high quality and publishing excellence. Visit the journal’s homepage, which contains any society or association affiliations, editorial board information, as well as aims and scope for the journal. Equally as important for any author is to select a journal that follows the highest standards in publishing ethics.

3. Reach
Making sure that your article is accessible to a wide, global audience is also imperative. Look into whether the journals on your shortlist are widely distributed and published on a recognized online platform. Many publishers (including Wiley) also partner with philanthropic groups such as Research4Life to put content in the hands of readers and researchers in developing world institutions at little or no cost.

4. Impact
Publishing in a high impact journal is likely of utmost importance to you. Though the impact factor may still reign supreme among metrics, article-level metrics such as Altmetric, are emerging as important tools to represent the multidimensional impact of a journal. Many early career researchers are keen to see how their research impacts the larger community.

Remember to keep ease, quality, reach and impact at the forefront of your mind when searching for a journal to publish in. And best of luck on your journey to making a statement-whether it be through fashion or publication.

Image Credit:Lily Pulitzer print Source: http://www.lillypulitzer.com

    Charon Pierson
Charon Pierson
Editor, Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners

nurses in OR2.jpgJournals in clinically related disciplines may feature manuscripts with a clinical focus, yet much of the guidance about reviewing manuscripts is focused on the research manuscript For reviewers accustomed to doing research or reviewing research manuscripts, the switch to reviewing clinically focused work can be difficult. Additionally, clinicians not experienced in scholarly writing might be reluctant to even agree to review a submitted manuscript.

General guidelines about the ethical conduct of peer review apply to all reviewers , but the following specific considerations will improve the experience for reviewers of clinical manuscripts.

1. The purpose of clinical manuscripts is to inform clinicians of new applications of research to practice. The important point to remember is a clinical article should be organized around a clinical question, not a research question. Reviewers need to ask themselves, will this manuscript lead clinicians to a new understanding of a disease process, therapies, behavioral interventions, assessment techniques, or genetic foundations of some condition. If the answer is no, then the manuscript is not likely to appeal to a clinician.

2. Clinical advances lag behind research, so timeliness is very important in clinically focused articles. If the information is “old news” then the manuscript is not likely to appeal to a busy clinician trying to translate evidence into practice. A reviewer’s expert knowledge of the field is a valuable asset here.

3. Clinicians are busy people tasked with caring for patients or running departments. They make many decisions in a day that have great impact on the lives of people. A useful article for this audience will contain accurate, complete, and current evidence presented in an easy to read style and format. A concise abstract, helpful tables, figures, photographs, and links to additional resources are key elements that will attract a busy clinician. A summary statement that clearly identifies a “take home” message will drive interested readers to the article.

4. Information on drug therapy is a particular issue for clinically focused manuscripts. Statistical significance in drug comparisons is not particularly helpful (p values), yet that is likely what is reported in research. Clinicians need information about clinical significance or importance of the findings. The author should provide a concise description of the magnitude of the effect of a drug and should clarify whether or not the research is sufficient to change clinical practice. For example, research that demonstrates a 2mm Hg decrease in blood pressure by drug A over drug B may produce statistical significance, but that difference is not clinically important enough to change a patient’s medication regimen. This is an important area for comment by the reviewer.

5. Evidence-based practice is the hallmark of health care in the 21st Clinicians make decisions based on current scientific evidence, their own clinical expertise, and patient factors. Some of those patient factors include financial issues, literacy of the patient, and personal preferences or religious beliefs of patients. For example, low cost generic drugs might be as effective as higher priced trademarked drugs; complicated regimens of multiple medications might not be feasible for low literacy or homeless patients; and some interventions, although highly clinically effective, might be in opposition to patients’ religious beliefs. A good reviewer will address these specific issues if applicable.

6. A clinically focused manuscript might include a case study of a real patient to illustrate the application of evidence to practice. Reviewers should always question whether or not the patient could be identified from the clinical data, including any photographs, radiographs, or genetic information provided. Protection of patients’ privacy is a serious ethical issue for journals and many require a patient consent to publish a case study. If this is not clear in the manuscript, the reviewer should raise the question.

Peer review is an important part of the production of scholarly work. When peer review is done well, authors benefit from the opportunity to improve their work; editors benefit from the clinical or research expertise of reviewers; and most importantly, the consumers of scholarly work such as journal readers, clinicians, patients, institutions, and the public, are reassured of the value and accuracy of the scientific record.

Source: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock

    Elizabeth Lorbeer
Elizabeth Lorbeer
Library Director, Western Michigan University School of Medicine

468963875_285439714_285439715_256224451 (1).jpgEach year I make my professional pilgrimage to Charleston, South Carolina to attend the Charleston Conference. In its 35th year, the conference serves for many as an opportunity to take a yearly pulse on the world of scholarly publishing and the role libraries play in acquiring and disseminating the written word. It’s also a chance for librarians, publishers, consultants, and vendors of library materials to share and exchange ideas. The conference promotes harmony and growth as we seek out solutions in making content available to our users, ensuring our longevity as providers, and finding a common ground in which to do so. In our fellowship, our common purpose is to share our ideas with each other, encourage understanding and healthy debate. We know we are better together.

This year’s Charleston Conference had an upbeat vibe. We’re doing more interesting things, expanding our territories in the academy, as we’re finding newer ways to distribute content. Print collections are moving offsite, or being recycled, in favor of repurposing the library space for collaborative activities. The way our users interact with library materials is changing too.   Although we still engage in some traditional activities, we’re using social media channels, marketing, and harnessing the power of library champions to expose our collections and services. As Jim O’Donnell pointed out in his session “Star Wars in the Library”, while we continue to grapple with what to do with our baby boomer book collections-materials too young to be in the public domain and too old to be digitized-there is still a sense of urgency to be good custodians and preserve published literature.   On the flip side, we have the ability to offer large amounts of published work on demand in the digital environment. Our collections grow larger each year thanks to demand driven systems, the increase of Open Access publications, and successful indexing of our institutional repositories in our quest to become an information paradise.   Although imperfect, we’re still sorting out the reasonable path to removing the barriers of digital rights management (DRM) for electronic textbooks. We’re still counting usage on our collections. We continue to be fascinated by how users use our subscribed content, and we continue to introduce new methods of counting the importance of a work. We want to know the impact the work and its author has on the discipline, while finding new ways to increase our role in helping to expose our institutional authors. We’re still trying to have it all, but instead of talking about publisher package deals, we’re talking about alternative means to acquiring content. We’re still seeking pricing models that allow us to provide content at the point of use that is fair and reasonable for all parties.

Librarians continue to talk about our place in the scholarly publishing continuum. We know where we’re headed, and it is a new season of opportunities for libraries and publishers to greet a new generation of users. We’re producing and disseminating new knowledge faster then ever before, and need special skills in text mining and data science to keep up. We need each other to distribute and preserve knowledge, we need diversity amongst our ranks, and a common understanding that subject content serves many masters. Some of us have completely digital operations, where others of us serve both a print and electronic master, but we can all agree that our physical library space has changed. Our traditional space welcomes new campus tenants as we push our stacks and accompanying print content to storage, and direct traffic to our online discovery systems. Some of us no longer call ourselves librarians, but use the term informationists, interactionists, and digital strategists to describe our work.

Credit Image:Source - Getty Images

    Helen Eassom
Helen Eassom
Author Marketing, Wiley

Last year, we wrote about the steps Wiley is taking to target plagiarism. For each manuscript submitted to a Wiley Open Access journal using the ScholarOne submission system, an automatic report is generated using the iThenticate anti-plagiarism software, a process that benefits authors and editors alike by ensuring high ethical standards across the open access programme. Plagiarism however, continues to be a huge problem in scientific publishing. In order to address these ongoing issues, a deeper knowledge and understanding of the nature of plagiarism is required. With this in mind, iThenticate have conducted a survey of scientific researchers, in which respondents were asked to both rate the severity and commonness of ten forms of plagiarism. The following infographic (used with permission from iThenticate) shows the ten types, along with percieved commonness and seriousness. You can also view the survey summary here.


Research ethics plagiarism infographic.png

research ethics.PNG

    Jill Yablonski-Crepeau
Jill Yablonski-Crepeau
Author Marketing Manager, Wiley

What aspects of peer review do you find the most challenging?  When we asked individuals from around the globe this question, their answers ranged from balancing support and criticism, to accepting the feedback, to finding the time.  Take a look at all the responses in the video below and let us know what you think is challenging about peer review in the comments section or Tweet us @WileyExchanges.  We want to hear from you!

What aspects of peer review.PNG

    Margaret Kearney
Margaret Kearney
Vice Provost, University of Rochester

Picture this. The same article receives these three reviewer recommendations:

Peer-review-pic-3.jpg• Reviewer #1: Recommends rejecting the manuscript for publication. Comments include a need to demonstrate that analyses were two-tailed tests, better defend the use of a certain statistic to judge model fit, and add several points to the Discussion section.

• Reviewer #2: Recommends that the authors revise and resubmit. Comments, which include disparaging language (“surprisingly weak,” “obvious to others in the field”), note cumbersome writing, insufficient literature review, and overly long Discussion section.

• Reviewer #3: Recommends that the editor accept the paper. Comments include suggestions on how to clarify the research questions, details that should be added on the sampling and data collection approach, a recommendation to add a table of correlations, and aspects of the findings that could be highlighted in the Discussion.

As editor of a research journal, if I receive the three hypothetical reviews summarized above, should I focus on the confidential recommendations regarding acceptance or on the review content? Should I rescind one if I find it completely inaccurate or unnecessarily hurtful? What action is best for the journal? What is best for the state of knowledge in the field? What is best for the author?

Editors balance these questions daily as they make final decisions on manuscripts submitted for publication. Their decisions are shaped by the journal and its audience, the nature of the writing talent available, the level of competition for acceptance and page space, and many other factors, but some common principles can be found.

The first principle in my decision-making is that the reviewers’ recommendations are not a vote and I have no obligation to follow the majority, or indeed, any of the recommendations. Instead, I use reviewers as consultants. Reviewers are selected because they have indicated when joining my review panel that they have relevance to the manuscript. Plus, I know the strengths of most reviewers.  If a statistician has a comment about statistics, it carries more weight with me than if a clinical leader makes such a comment. Conversely, if a statistician comments on the relevance of content to health care clinician readers, those comments will be taken with a grain of salt.

The second principle is that the editor is the arbiter and interpreter to the author of contradictions and confusion in review content. That does include the option to rescind, edit, or de-emphasize a review. I do sometimes edit adjectives and adverbs in reviews to make them civil, and communicate with reviewers whose approach is consistently unhelpful. If reviews are very discordant or complex, I include in the decision letter some guidance as to how to prioritize. I generally support the well-reasoned, well-defended, and important comments and put less emphasis on others.

In making a decision based on the reviews above, I would probably keep the paper in the pipeline and ask for revision and resubmission. No reviewer identified a fatal flaw in the study being described that cannot be remedied in revision. In the reviews above, #1 and #3 provide concrete issues that can be addressed, but #2 provides few specifics on where the problems lie.  Authors who are uncertain how to respond to a mix of feedback can and should contact the editor to gain a better understanding of how to proceed.

The peer review process is essential to progress in the literature in any field. If you are a reviewer, please consider yourself one of several important judges of, and contributors to, the quality of presentation of a future contribution to the field, rather than the sole decider of its fate. Whether or not you think the paper has a future in print, provide concrete and polite suggestions without overplaying your own research, and trust that the editor does not expect you to comment on aspects of the paper in which you are not an expert. If you are an author of a work in revision, please use your editor for guidance as needed to respond to conflicting recommendations. If you are an editor, take the time to scan each review for plausibility and civility, and assist the author as needed to separate the wheat from the chaff and give each review the attention it merits.

Credit Image/Source - iStockphoto

    Jo Wixon

On a cold day in Frankfurt, a record number of staff from publishing companies large and small, publishing consultants, suppliers and a smattering of self-publishing societies met for a day to network and catch up on important initiatives in publishing.

After a blue sky keynote speech by Robert Hariri, Co-Founder of Human Longevity Inc. about the time being right to take personalized medicine further, with the aim of extending human lifespan, by early detection of the propensity for disease and treatment or lifestyle modification to tackle it, we came back down to earth to cover important matters directly related to publishing.

Presenting the results of STM’s consultation on article sharing, H Frederick Dylla pointed out that publisher's advice to authors on article sharing needs to be clear, and consider scholarly collaboration networks. He urged everyone to review the STM Principles, and, if you think they are reasonable, to sign up.

Caroline Sutton also appealed for support from scholarly publishers, and societies who own journals, to spread the word to authors: “Before you submit your work (particularly to a journal you have never heard of that has contacted you out of the blue), visit http://ThinkCheckSubmit.org, and follow the guidance to evaluate the journal.” For more information, see our recent post on the organization.

An array of inspiring case studies of advances made by researchers, clinicians and librarians due to Research4Life access to journal content, from Richard Gedye, moved all to agree that we must tell this story more widely, as it shows that what we do as scholarly publishers makes a difference.

Laurel Haak explained that ORCID is a hub that connects identifiers for people, places and things; it provides 'plumbing' and used properly, can lead to trust. For this, publishers must require authentication when asking authors to supply ORCID IDs with their submissions, which could allow for automatic updates of ORCID and other author profiles with their new publications.

Michael Jubb reviewed the findings from Monitoring the Transition to Open Access a study into the effects of RCUK’s open access policy following the Finch Group Report. He too stressed the need for more clarity from publishers on their policies regarding article posting, and stated that the STM Principles are critical for improving this. Key observations from the data were:

  • Gold OA journals made up just <17% of titles in Scopus by 2014
  • UK authors showed a stronger preference for hybrid OA titles over gold or green OA than global authors
  • A strong correlation between mean APC paid by UK universities and the impact factor of the journal
  • Of the 280 learned societies in the UK, 63% published one journal and 22% two or more titles
  • Of those UK learned societies with journals, 24% are self-publishing and 76% work with a publishing partner
  • For more than 50% of UK learned societies with journals, their journals income funds more than 50% of their charitable expenditure
  • 24% of articles had a free version posted online regardless of publishing model, with about half of these being illicit

Next came an amusing, but sobering demonstration from Roger Schonfeld of the frustrations for some academics of off-campus access to newly published journal articles, and the continued difficulties that can be experienced upon reaching campus and using a PC. The takeaways from his report on Streamlining access to scholarly resources were: understand the use of your platform in the library system environment and off-campus; set expectations for how quickly your new content appears in discovery services; eliminate mobile user interfaces; and enhance single user accounts, perhaps using single sign-on.

The day was rounded off by a CEOs panel of Brian Crawford (ACS), Tracey Armstrong (CCC), Ron Mobed (Elsevier), Steven Hall (IOP), and Philip Carpenter (Wiley).

Most of the panelists agreed that the sources of competitive advantage lie in service levels (to authors, readers or society partners) and technology (but only by keeping moving!) This chimed with a question on whether publishers are becoming technology companies, and was it worth investing in new journals if so; here all felt that it was not an either/or situation, but rather that we need to make the best use of technology to help readers find the information they need faster, and also that content, albeit perhaps in a different form than journals in the future, will still be key, as will publishers’ role in filtering it for quality.

CHORUS received multiple plaudits as the most impressive new entrant, with nods also to CrossRef for great collaborative work and continuing to have good ideas; and to the importance of analytics offerings.

On the effects of green OA and 12-month embargoes, it was felt by all that although commonly perceived as workable, a 12-month embargo period does in fact have an impact and there would be some titles that could not survive it, since much of an article’s usage happens beyond 12 months after publication.

Other questions mainly focused on the publishing workforce, including recruiting and retention of top performers. Steven Hall voiced a concern about a dearth of top class talent in our industry; Ron Mobed said they tackle this by recruiting outside our industry, pulling in bright people from other areas who would rather work for a company with a purpose. Philip Carpenter recognized the need to invest in top performers so they’ll want to stay, and for the job to be worthwhile and valued, with their contributions noticeably appreciated; this was echoed by Tracey Armstrong who advised giving people something intellectually stimulating to work on as that is highly motivating, with the whole team being close to the core mission. Brian Crawford felt similarly, that individuals who work for societies want to serve the field, and feel closely tied to the mission, a point also acknowledged by Steven Hall.

Speaking on gender diversity in the workplace, all acknowledged the issue of the scarcity of women at the top, as exemplified by the make-up of the panel itself, and all parties are actively working on this, some with outside help from consultants. Tracey Armstrong quoted an advisor who had told her it could take 7-10 years to diversify. She said that finding great mentors was key, and advised finding out what it’s like for women at lower levels of your organization: “talk to the women below the ceiling”.

The discussions left us all with quite some food for thought, and the women in the room departed with inspiration from Tracey Armstrong about advancing their careers and acting as leaders. Coupled with the insights into key initiatives from the morning, and all the great networking done at lunch and during coffee breaks, we all left richer for the experience.

    Chloe Tuck
Chloe Tuck
Assistant Editor, Technical Editorial

Getting rejected stinks. Wouldn’t it be great if we could appeal people’s decisions in life? Imagine asking someone on a date and getting rejected. What if you could submit an appeal letter explaining your argument with data to back it up? If only. Well, in science, you can.

As an Editorial Assistant, I’ve seen quite a few appeal letters submitted to my editors. While most are well-written scientific responses, some are emotionally driven criticisms of the nonscience kind. Rage and disappointment seep off the page. Scientists have an incredible amount invested in their work but personal attacks on the editors or reviewers will not overturn a rejection. In this brief piece, it is my aim to explore appeals in the scientific community and their place in the peer-review process, and conclude with a bit of advice we can all take away.

Scientific work can be quite difficult. In fact, I’m of the opinion that we should all be out there thanking scientists every day. What they do is hard enough and, on top of that, they’re expected to publish, which is no easy feat.

Dr. Daniel Kohane, Associate Editor of Nano Letters, likens publishing to dating: “Quite frankly, one accepts the fact there is a certain amount of subjectivity. It’s very much like dating. You have a general sense of what league you’re in. Most authors take rejection as part of the game.”

Of course, this is much easier said than done. In an article about her journal’s appeal process, Dr. Jillian Buriak, Editor-in-Chief of Chemistry of Materials, writes that getting rejected isn’t easy: “Having one’s paper declined is far from a pleasant experience and, as we know personally, the experience stimulates a range of emotions and reactions.”

I am certainly not faulting authors for the deep disappointment and frustration that a rejection letter can cause, nor am I suggesting that authors should refrain from appealing. As Dr. Kohane notes, “people have a right to appeal. The paper is the fruit of their hard work. They have a right to advocate for themselves.”

Editors and reviewers are people just like authors. In other words, they make mistakes. Sometimes, they miss a point and an appeal gives the author an opportunity to expand upon that point. As Dr. Paul Weiss, Editor-in-Chief of ACS Nano, explains in an editorial that gives a breakdown of appeals handled by his journal, “Sometimes, we overlook a key aspect of submitted work; we have found that appeals help us identify these papers, and several have ultimately been published.”

Dr. Kohane personally experienced this when he appealed the rejection of a paper he coauthored: “One of the reviewers just completely shot [the paper] down. It was just a rogue reviewer—as if someone said, we don’t need antibiotics. In fact, the paper was accepted.”

If the editors or reviewers have missed a point, it could be that the authors need to revise their work. In an article on the review process for his journal, Dr. Prashant Kamat, Deputy Editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (JPCL), writes that “authors need to realize that the origin of this misunderstanding may lie in his/her presentation of the results.” Dr. Weiss echoes this sentiment, noting that, “As scientists and authors, it is up to us to make ourselves understood in our writing and otherwise.”

I spoke with a Managing Editor/Freelance Scientific Writer who talked about the value of appeals from an author’s standpoint. For the authors, appealing is always worth it. Authors may wish to challenge a disappointing decision if the reviews in the decision letter appear bland. It’s possible that the reviewers shared more detailed information with the editors that was not included in the rejection letter. Moreover, the often nuanced language in rejection letters can be a big obstacle to non-native English speakers.

Appeals are helpful to more than just authors. They can occupy an important place in the scientific community. In his article on appeals in ACS Nano, Dr. Weiss highlights their importance: “Appeals effectively give us a series of live case studies of how we understand the state of nanoscience and nanotechnology, as well as a way to move ACS Nano forward.”

We’ve seen that appeals can and should be included in the peer-review process, but what should they look like? As I mentioned, I’ve seen attacks on the editor and the reviewers as well as personal notes that do not deal strictly with the science at hand.

In his article, Dr. Kamat explains that authors should refrain from making nonscientific remarks, such as “the reviewer is not qualified” or “he/she has a biased opinion.” Dr. Kohane expresses similar concern about the importance of being professional: “Appeals that are not successful are those that are scientifically weak and where either side is disrespectful or unreasonable.”

A Managing Editor I spoke with agrees that an effective rebuttal letter should be professional and objective, provide data refuting the reviewers’ concerns, and include evidence supporting any claims of bias. The letter should thank the editors and the Editorial Board for their expertise.

My colleague notes that the appeal letter “gives points not understood by the reviewer, does not take the one positive reviewer comment and run with it. It deals with the real content of the reviews and addresses it now or says we can address it.”

What these letters should avoid are personal attacks, attempts to identify reviewers, emotional appeals, and cosmetic changes. Dr. Kohane echoes this sentiment, explaining that appeals should be polite and constructive, or rather, factual: “Politeness is important because the editor has put a lot of time and effort [into reviewing the paper], and to be rewarded by a rude email, that just doesn’t help. Also, odds are the editor wants to help you but needs rational ammunition to do so.” This ammunition does not come in the form of attacks. It comes directly from the data.

One Managing Editor/Freelance Scientific Writer I spoke with concurs that “generally, the Editor-in-Chief is on your side.” Editors will help if there is a reasonable argument for further review, rooted in the work itself. Dr. Weiss, in his article on how appeals are handled in ACS Nano, recommends highlighting the novelty of the work and the broad interest of the work in addition to addressing referee comments.

So, what should authors know going forward? Being polite is key. Sticking to the facts and avoiding personal attacks is also imperative. Appeal processes may vary depending on the journal. Authors should keep in mind that the response time frame may also vary, as additional input from specific content editors or reviewers may be necessary. It is important to remember that Editorial Offices cannot change the decision on a manuscript; rather, they can be used as a resource for the process.

It should also be stressed that, as pointed out by Dr. Buriak, editors and reviewers aim to treat manuscripts the way they hope their own would be treated. Editors and reviewers understand what it’s like to be on the other side of the decision letter.

As a final takeaway, a Managing Editor/Freelance Scientific Writer I spoke with recommends that authors should wait 24 to 72 hours before responding to a decision letter—then re-read the email. This simple process will remove much of the personal bias that could pollute appeals letters written in rage or disappointment.

What allows the peer-review process to operate honestly and effectively is for authors, reviewers, and editors to respect their distinct roles and to appreciate each other’s profound contribution to published works and the general scientific dialogue. Rejection is disappointing, but remaining polite and professional is essential. Courtesy occupies an important place in the peer-review process. It is my hope that all involved in the peer-review process will pause, think, and reflect on the points raised here before writing or reviewing their next appeal letter.

The article above is republished with permission from Editorial Office News, published on behalf of ISMTE.

    Jaslyn Tan
Jaslyn Tan
Senior Marketing Manager, Wiley Singapore

We recently spoke with Dr. Tadahiro Takada, founding President of the Japanese Society of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, to get his insights on the use of mobile apps to facilitate clinicians' decision making and improve clinical practice.


Q. Can you tell us more about the rationale/reason for developing an app? What were your objectives?

A. We developed “Biliary Tract Cancers Classification (BTC C 2015)” and “Biliary Tract Cancers Guidelines (BTC GL 2015),” with the aim of allowing biliary tract cancer specialists to make judgments directly linked to clinical practice, and to concurrently facilitate revisions to new international codes.

The content of this mobile app was simplified and clarified, with the intention of promoting an easy way for health professionals to make judgements in clinical settings, and to improve their clinical practice for patients.

Q. Who’s the target audience?
The target audience consists of cancer specialists and other health professionals involved in the clinical practice for patients with biliary tract cancer. We hope that this app will provide more information and deeper insight for patients and their families when they are seeking a decision on the available treatment options.

Q. What are some of the benefits to clinicians?
This app enables users to determine the cancer stage using the checklist function in BTC C 2015, as well as to email the input checklist as findings.

Furthermore, BTC GL 2015 is designed to allow immediate access to necessary information with minimal operation, such as linking to clinical questions corresponding to diagnostic and treatment algorithms.

The app is available in English as well as Japanese; therefore, it can be used by health professionals worldwide.

Q. What challenges did you face as you developed the app?
The most difficult challenges were figuring out how to create an app that allows users to easily and clearly understand important medical matters, and how to promote simplified and accurate medical judgments on diseases.

Q. Why did you chose to partner with Wiley to develop this app?
Wiley is a partner in the publication of the Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Sciences, which is the official journal of the Japanese Society of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, and has also published papers in this journal that form the basis of this app. Because Wiley already has a shared information system and is skilled at creating mobile apps, we commissioned Wiley to develop this app.

Q. What is your advice to fellow society officers who might be interested in developing an app?
An important role of medical societies is considering how to clearly convey the latest medical information to health professionals and patients. Therefore, clinical practice guidelines and classifications should be widely disseminated. It is also important that such information is readily available in clinical settings; therefore, potential developers must bear all of this in mind when they work on the development of a mobile app.

Q. Did the final product achieve your objectives?
We are satisfied with this app, but globally speaking, there are not enough clinical practice guidelines or evidence for biliary tract cancer. In addition, as scientific knowledge continuously advances, new insights that are not included in this app may emerge. At the Japanese Society of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, we aim to provide the latest information by continually updating these guidelines and classifications. We strongly hope that this app will benefit many patients suffering from biliary tract cancer and assist the clinicians treating these patients by sharing this app worldwide, rather than focusing on a single country.

Both apps are now available for download from the App store or Google Play.

Dr. Tadahiro Takada Source: Japanese Society of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery

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