Thomas Gaston
Thomas Gaston
   Managing Editor, Wiley

For peer reviewers, reviewing resubmissions can be tricky – what should you be checking and commenting on? Has the author responded to points raised previously? How has it changed from what was submitted before? With the help of the Peer Review Management team here at Wiley, we’ve put together this helpful infographic to guide you through the process of reviewing resubmissions.




Visit our peer review resources page for more guidance.


    Rowena Murray
Rowena Murray
Professor, University of West Scotland

Rowena Murray1.jpg

I’m back at a writing retreat with PhD students from across the UK and beyond, trying to find something to say about writer’s block, a little worried that I don’t yet have a focus for this piece.


No one at this retreat knows what I’m writing about, but already this morning at breakfast we started talking about barriers to writing. One PhD student says she can’t write in the PhD room at her university because there are too many people, and it’s open plan. Another PhD student who has been coming to retreats for a while says that although she knows that using the retreat timings works for her, when she tries to replicate them at home she struggles to start the first session at 9:15. Once she gets going, she’s fine, but getting started is a hurdle.


I get this too. I was asked to write this blog because of something I wrote about writer’s block, but I don’t want to just repeat what I said there or in the section on writer’s block in How to Write a Thesis I thought about developing some of the points in a chapter I’ve just finished (Giving Feedback on Research Writing, Carter and Laurs, Forthcoimg 2017), but decided they were not relevant. Nor do I want to spend too long on definitions – not feeling ready to write, procrastination, perfectionism, impatience, writing-related anxiety etc. So, I know what I don’t want to write, but not what to write.


Nevertheless, I started writing in the first hour of this retreat, between 5.30 and 6.30 last night. Partly because retreat is a great place to get writing done, and partly because I wanted to think about how writing retreats could help with writer’s blocks.


I wrote some notes. A few sentences. Three headings. A couple of quotes. Several short paragraphs on different topics. Before I knew it I had 500 words, but some of it was repetition, and I didn’t have a unifying idea to hold it all together. I hadn’t found anything new to say. So, even once I had started writing, even when I had written plenty of words, there was still uncertainty – should I just start again?


Uncertainty is always there. In fact, if I were not attending this retreat right now I might not be writing this. To be truthful, I started this writing session at 9.30 this morning by writing something else. That sounds like displacement – although it was on my list of goals for this retreat – but it helped me start writing and thereby get over my uncertainty. Yes, I knew, as I wrote, that I was still working out the content of this piece on writer’s block. Yes, I knew I would revise it for focus and coherence. Yes, I know that in many ways the content is a work-in-progress. So, while some uncertainty went away because I started to write, there was still uncertainty about content and coherence. It just moved from one facet of writing to another; the uncertainty was still there.


The key, for me, is not waiting until I know the full story before I start writing. It’s about starting to write and thereby developing content and coherence. You have to be careful with this – I am particularly prone to chucking more and more points into my writing and losing coherence in my argument. I spent years doing this as an undergraduate and for the first year or so as a PhD student. To this day, I still get this in feedback on my journal articles – too much going on, needs focus. It’s not as simple as generating text – that we can do – since generating text has its pros and cons. I realize this and consciously manage it. I’m not always successful, which is why I find talking about writing-in-progress and getting feedback on drafts really helpful.


This may be why writing with others in writing groups and retreats works better than writing alone. At least some of the time, for some people, it helps us manage the anxiety of getting started and helps us work through other anxieties that crop up once we have started, such as, ‘is this good enough?’.


This is not to say that academics, researchers and doctoral students are particularly prone to anxiety, but that it helps to acknowledge that the apparently simple first step of starting to write brings uncertainty, and that knowing this does not make anxiety go away. Maybe it’s not always ‘anxiety’ but uncertainty, and uncertainty can trigger anxiety, and anxiety is one of the causes of writer’s block.


This can be debilitating: no sooner have you got over the hurdle of getting started than you face other uncertainties. Even if you have good writing practices, a space where you can write and something to write about, there is still anxiety in that moment when you are about to start. Each step could trigger anxiety for PhD students. Yet, they have experience of working through this too. They have plenty of knowledge about their subjects. The difference between them and me is that they have less experience of working through these moments than I do.


Are we trying too hard not to repeat our previous errors? Is that even feasible? Should we, instead, write, then define how we want to revise, rather than wondering why we never did it in the first place?


What do you think? Leave your thoughts on writer’s block in the comments below.


Rowena Murray is Professor and Director of Research in the School of Education at the University of the West of Scotland. She writes books and articles on academic writing.


Image Credit: Rowena Murray

    Samantha Green
Samantha Green
Society Marketing, Wiley

The world of research communications has changed significantly since the 16th and 17th centuries, when scientific studies were kept secret to build the prestige of noble patrons. Our short comic strip walks you through some of the changes in research communication, copyright, and collaboration.


For an in-depth overview on the current state of open science, check back later this week for our new primer for societies.

    Samantha Green
Samantha Green
Society Marketing, Wiley

You’ve sent out a survey, and you’ve received great responses. Hundreds, even thousands, of people answered your questions. You have looked at the results and noticed some interesting trends.


Now what?


How can you use the results of your survey towards an even greater understanding of who your respondents are?


One great way that we get deeper insight into survey respondents is through segmentation. Of course, data can be segmented in many different ways: by demographic, by geography, etc. But one of the most powerful forms of segmentation is needs-based segmentation. We sat down with Joe Stephan, president of Broadview Analytics, to talk through some of the how’s and why’s of needs-based segmentation.Joe Stephan.jpg


Q. What is needs-based segmentation, and how can it help an organization understand their community?
Segmenting target customers is a well-known business technique that is used to organize and prioritize markets. Companies have traditionally organized customers either based on how to find
them (demographics) or based on products that the company wishes to sell them (Lines of Business). A needs-based segmentation places the customers’ desires at the forefront of how a company designs and markets products or services. By understanding the markets’ needs, companies can tap into a customer’s journey and offer them the right product with the right messaging at the right time.



Q. Where do you start with this analysis? How do you get from raw data to an audience segment?
A needs-based segmentation requires a quantitative survey. The choice of questions is very important and must address why an individual is interested in the product, the problems they are
trying to solve, the solutions they are using, the challenges they face and their desired outcomes. The segments are created based on the survey data using statistical algorithms that find key commonalities and difference across the individuals.


While statistical methods play a key role in segmentation, the final segments have to be psychologically consistent and realistic across all of the measures. The final segments should
be easily recognized within the audience.


Q. Can you explain a few more of the techniques you use? Factor analysis, cluster analysis?
The most important thing with segmentation is to invest time and effort into writing the survey questions. Start at a high level and work down to the actual statements. This step
requires a strong understanding of the community, and should include feedback from all key stakeholders.


The first analytical step used to create the segments after data collection is Factor Analysis. This technique identifies the core trends (latent factors) within a question, which helps
mitigate the variation found within surveys. For example, instead of having 15 attributes of motivations, we have four factors that show the high-level motivations. The next step uses Cluster Analysis to group segments based on similarities and differences on the factor scores. A variety of cluster solutions are typically examined to determine the one that has the best
explanatory power.


The segments are built from the clusters by comparing where each group is statistically significantly different from the others. A detailed profile is built from the list of items, providing
context into what each segment wants, why they want it and who they are.


Q. Do you have any advice for combatting bias in segmentation analysis?
Many organizations are tempted to segment their CRM (customer relationship management) data based on behavior. There are many sophisticated programs that show sales trends, but those programs are unable to provide any insight into why it happened. Segmenting based on recent behavior may provide good targets for a campaign, but it does not provide context into the optimal approach. Marketing based only on insight from behavior ultimately hampers acquisition and limits growth potential. Another pitfall is when organizations rely only on feedback
from their sales reps to develop segments. Surveys give companies a chance to hear directly from the audience about recent needs and trends. There are also potential pitfalls in the execution of the survey. Best practices are to survey the entire community and not just the customer base, have a survey that is easy for the respondent to engage and include open-ended questions to gather statements from actual voices.


Q. If an organization doesn’t have the resources to do full segmentation analysis, what scalable options might they explore?
The most basic way to start to segment is to listen to your audience. Social media and product review sites are excellent ways to identify why someone is engaging with your product.
One-on-one interviews can be quite revealing. An excellent resource for this is the book Buyer Personas by Adele Revella. Organizations can also look at how competitors talk to customers. Are they trying to reach a certain segment? Do they have custom products/marketing for different buyers? Once people are aware of needs-based segmentation, they begin to see instances
of its use in product marketing and advertising.


Thanks, Joe. Segmentation analysis is time-consuming but worth it! Whether used for buyers or other stakeholders like authors or society
members, it is a useful way to ensure that we are supporting our partners as best we can.


For additional resources on survey creation and analysis, see previous posts in our series here and here.


Photo: Joe Stephan of Broadview Analysis. Image credit: Joe Stephan

    Penny Smith
Penny Smith
Senior Publicist, Wiley

A well-publicized piece of research can inform and shape public debate and can often be the bridge that connects you, the researcher in the laboratory, to the general public. An online piece in the Guardian or Sydney Morning Herald will be read by millions of people around the world and will have a trickle-down effect to smaller publications and outlets.


Have you ever considered how news of a new scientific discovery or medical breakthrough gets into a media outlet such as the New York Times? The process all starts with you, the researcher, considering how ‘newsworthy’ your research is and how strong the evidence is that supports your research.


Five key questions for discovering the newsworthiness of your paper


  1. Is it new research? Does the paper present original findings or a new angle to an ongoing debate? Are the conclusions strong? Journalists require news to be new
    and usually won’t be interested in a study that has already published online or has been covered by the media previously.
  2. How global is it? Are the implications of the research global, or are they limited to a specific region or country? The more global it
    is and the more people it will affect, the better.
  3. What type of study is it? Evidence-based studies such as systematic reviews, meta-analyses, or randomized controlled double-blind studies with strong
    results have more credibility with journalists than opinion pieces or editorials.
  4. So, what does that mean to the man on the street? Are the findings of interest to a wide audience – could you describe ‘the news’ to your next door neighbour?
  5. Is it timely? Is the research about a topic that’s been covered in the media recently or is ‘trending’ in the media?


The Hierarchy of Evidence Pyramid is a useful tool when deciding which studies may be of most interest to journalists. The weight of evidence of a particular piece of research increases the closer the study is to the top of the pyramid.

Hierarchy of evidence.jpg

If you think your research is newsworthy, it’s important to flag it to your publisher or institution’s press office early on, ideally during the peer review process and
as it moves towards acceptance. If accepted for publicity, it is essential that publication of the study online must be held (even in Accepted Articles or Early View) and timed to publish on the same day the press release is issued.


A press release will be drafted,including a quote from the lead researcher, and will sometimes be issued under embargo. This means that journalists will receive the release 48 hours
(sometimes more) before the study publishes, allowing them time to request the paper and write up their stories. However, they’re not allowed to post their stories online before the embargo date.


While a Press officer’s job is to take your scientific paper and highlight its news value to a journalist by means of a press release or a direct pitch, they are also duty bound by a code of ethics to ensure that the data, conclusions and overall message that they take from a piece of research is not biased or exaggerated in any way. As part of a press officer’s job is to help inform public debate, the information that they provide must be accurate.


Five top tips for publicizing your research and working with your press office


1. Be ready to react. Once your study has been accepted for publicity, be prepared to provide a quote for the press release and, once it’s been sent out, be available for interviews (these can often be done by email rather than over the phone). For broadcast interviews your press office can help prepare you and, if necessary, provide media training.

2. Respond quickly. Always reply promptly to requests for interviews or further information from your press office.  Journalists are on tight deadlines and will drop the story if they don’t hear back within a few hours.

3. Be visual. If it’s a visual story be sure to provide high quality jpg images to illustrate your research.

4.. Be realistic in your expectations. Don’t be disappointed if any press coverage does not include the name of the journal, title of the study, your name and quote – publicity teams can’t control editorial content or headlines – most journalists will write their own. Most media outlets do report research responsibly and will often include the name of the journal together with links to the study online.
5. Get active on social media! Help to promote your research by tweeting links to any press coverage and retweet tweets put out by your press office.


Listen to this free webinar to learn more about publicizing your research, working with the media and boosting your own profile from Penny Smith, Senior Publicist Wiley and Julia Wilson, Director of Operations, Sense About Science.


    Gareth Watkins
Gareth Watkins
Managing Editor, Peer Review, Wiley

magnifying glass.jpgMuch of the debate around peer review focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, resulting in humanities and social science (HSS) fields often being overlooked.
What are the similarities and differences between the disciplines’ approaches to peer review, and what can they learn from one another?


Regardless of discipline, peer reviewers are generally asked the same questions of the research they are evaluating:

  • How original is it?
  • How persuasive is the argument?
  • What does it add to existing
    work in the field?


In other words, the aim of peer review is the same whatever the subject.


One notable difference is that, in most HSS fields, authors publish their most significant work as (or in) books, so the emphasis on journal articles is considerably less pronounced than in the sciences. Another key distinction is that HSS journal articles tend to be much longer than scientific articles, meaning peer reviewers are generally investing more time per manuscript, though perhaps less often than the average STEM reviewer.


The vast majority of HSS journals use double-blind peer review. The pros and cons of this model have been much debated, but in theory the benefits are clear: reviews should be honest and
impartial; authors should not be influenced by any prior knowledge of the reviewers’ work or opinions. However, this falls down in certain fields, where everybody knows what everybody else is working on. This issue is magnified in certain humanities fields thanks to the practice of presenting draft work at conferences, so reviewers could find themselves presented with a paper they’ve
already heard part of and know precisely who wrote it. It has been argued that this lengthy round of presentations and discussion constitutes a form of open peer review, with the formal ‘double-blind’ review happening at the end.


Different models

While there are a number of innovations around the peer review model within STEM publishing, the pace of change is slower in HSS, partly due to the fact that there is perceived to be little demand for change within the communities. There are some pioneers, however:

  • Kairos, an online journal on rhetoric and technology, uses an interesting three-stage review process. First, editors make an initial assessment of a submission, then submissions that make it through this stage are discussed by the editorial board for one to two weeks. Finally, if necessary, the editors assign someone to ‘mentor’ the author, working with them to get the manuscript to a publishable standard.
  • The Open Library of the Humanities is a project which provides open access publication in humanities subjects with no author-facing publication charge,
    and whose peer review process is modelled on that of PLOS.
  • Palgrave Macmillan recently conducted a pilot trialling open peer review for monographs. The authors and reviewers involved were very positive about the experience, citing the appeal of an ongoing conversation about the work, something which blind peer review prohibits.
  • Many law reviews (law journals) now use a platform called ExpressO, which enables authors to submit to multiple journals at the same time. Once a journal accepts a manuscript, the author can notify the other titles considering the piece, giving them the chance to accept it too. The author then takes their pick from the offers they have received. This method would not be suitable for
    science, however, where confidentiality is often key.


While the fundamentals of peer review remain constant in any discipline, the processes and practicalities do vary between them. Anyone reassessing their own peer review requirements could gain
some valuable insights by looking outside their immediate field for inspiration.


What do you see as distinctive about the peer review process in the Humanities and Social Sciences? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image Credit: Getty Images/Takashi Kitajima


    National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia)
National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia)
National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia)

Code.pngThe Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2007 (the Code) is Australia’s premier research standard. It was developed by the government agencies that fund the majority of research in Australia, namely the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council, in collaboration with the peak body representing Australian universities (Universities Australia). The Code is under review.


NHMRC, ARC and UA are keen to ensure that the Code continues to be an internationally significant document and that international trends and priorities are considered during the revision process.


As such, NHMRC on behalf of ARC and UA, invites all interested persons, both nationally and internationally, to provide comments on the review.


A new approach for the Code has been proposed, informed by extensive consultation with the research sector and advice from expert committees. The Code has been streamlined into a principles-based document and will be supported by guides that provide advice about implementation, such as the first Guide to investigating and managing potential breaches of the Code.


A webinar was held on November 29th, 2016 to explain the new approach to the Code. You are invited to view this webinar and participate in the public consultation process by visiting the NHMRC Public Consultation website. Submissions close on 28 February 2017.


To learn more visit the website here.



Image credit: NHMRC

    Natasha White
Natasha White
Marketing Director  Author Engagement, Wiley

The Wellcome Trust has recently introduced new publisher requirements for open access. We recently spoke to Robert Kiley from Wellcome about what exactly these new requirements are, and how they will benefit researchers.


Wellcome trust.pngQ. Can you tell us a bit about the new Wellcome Trust publisher requirements for open access, and why you have introduced them?

A. To answer this question we first need to give you some background information. Each year, we ask all institutions who receive Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) funding to provide a report detailing how the funds have been spent.  We analyze this data and check that articles for which an APC has been paid are:


  • Final published version freely available through the Europe PMC repository
  • Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY).


A review of this APC data from institutions for the period October 2014 – Sept 2015 revealed that 30% of the articles didn’t comply with our open access policies. We recognize that relationships in the publication process are not straightforward – Wellcome has a grant-funding relationship with a researcher, who then establishes a relationship with a publisher. We also know there has been confusion with the process – for instance with which type of licence a researcher should choose for an article to be fully open access. To address these issues we developed - in consultation with major publishers - the publisher requirements which clearly set out the service we require when Wellcome and COAF funds are used to pay an APC. It’s worth stressing that the core publisher requirements (that the article must be deposited in Europe PMC, made freely available at the time of publication and licensed under a CC-BY licence) have been in place for many years.


We have also used these to introduce a small number of new requirements; asking publishers to:

  • Include article titles on APC invoice information
  • Develop a publicly available refund policy for APC charges.


We have also used the requirements to make explicit a requirement previously implied; ensuring PMC are made aware of post-publication material changes to published articles, such as corrections, retractions and licence changes.


We appreciate that some publishers have been effectively providing these services for many years and may already comply fully with these requirements. However, we want to remove the variation between publishers so that our researchers, institutions and we as the funders get a consistent level of service from the industry.


We hope that some elements of these requirements will be considered good practice by the industry regardless of whether or not they publish research funded by Wellcome and our COAF partners.


Q. There are 3 areas of focus: deposit, license and invoice. What should publishers be doing to make sure they are compliant for each focus area?

A. The full requirements are available here.


For the focus on deposit; publishers need to ensure that they have in place effective mechanisms to deposit the final version of articles (XML and PDF) in PubMedCentral, and that this deposit process should be formalized by the signing of a PMC Participation Agreement. This deposit process must also include any post publication updates, as mentioned above.

For articles published in journals which have not yet been accepted for inclusion in PMC, an exception will be made, provided that the publisher has formally applied for that journal to be included in PMC, and that the article is freely available on the publisher's website with a CC-BY license.


The focus on license centers around our requirement for a CC-BY license when an APC is being paid and ensuring consistency of access and licensing between the various versions of an article (ahead of print, early view etc) and sites it is hosted on. We have numerous examples of the license on an article differing between Europe PMC and the publisher's website. In other instances an article on a publisher’s website has been found behind a paywall despite being published under a CC-BY licence. We want to see an end to these variable practices. We are also requiring that license information is appropriately tagged in the article metadata and is machine readable, so publishers should check their XML.


We realize that choosing the correct license is the responsibility of the authors, and we’ll be renewing our communication with our researchers about our requirement for a CC-BY license. However, we also think publishers have a role to play in reducing the choice that authors have when they know that they are Wellcome funded. We’re pleased to see that this is something that Wiley has implemented.


For the final focus - invoices - publishers need to do two things; first ensure that their APC invoices contain, at a minimum, the title of the article that the invoice is for, to support transparency and traceability in APC transactions. Secondly, to have a publicly available refund policy for APC charges.


Q. What are the benefits to researchers in introducing these open access publication requirements?

A. Although the publisher requirements were not developed specifically for researchers, feedback from authors and their institutions suggests that a significant amount of time and resource is spent resolving the issues relating to non-compliant publications.  By asking publishers to publicly agree to the requirements, one of our aims is to reduce the number of issues relating to non-compliance and the time spent resolving these. So we hope that our researchers will see an indirect benefit.


The requirement that PMC must be made aware of any post publication changes to an article is to ensure that this repository (and its mirror sites in Europe and Canada) provides researchers with accurate and up-to-date information. These services support researchers around the globe and thus it would seriously undermine their value (and scientific progress more broadly) if a researcher acted on information provided here which had already been subject to a correction or a retraction elsewhere.


More generally, we want the research we have funded to be openly licensed to ensure that this content can be text and data mined and re-used - to hopefully discover new knowledge.  Making research papers available under a CC-BY licence facilitates this.

Q. An analysis of the 2014-15 Charity Open Access Fund (COAF), which includes Wellcome funding, revealed that 30% of Wellcome and COAF member articles for which an APC was paid didn't comply with Wellcome Trust open access policies. Is this an improving situation?
A. We hope so.  However, because we only analyse this data on an annual basis it is too early to tell if the situation is improving.  We are currently collecting the APC data from institutions reporting on the 2015/16 APC spend and will make this data and our analysis available in the New Year.


We know that some publishers, Wiley included, have put a lot of effort into improving their production pipelines that handle Wellcome and COAF funded articles with the goal of reducing non-compliance. Fingers crossed, we’ll see the impact of this soon.


Wiley’s position

At Wiley we’ve been working hard to make sure that we are compliant with the Wellcome Trust publisher requirements for open access, as outlined by Robert above. We are delighted to say that because of this work we’ve been reporting compliance levels of more than 90% - usually 95% plus – since June. As of this writing,there have been 1070 articles published since January 2015 with COAF/Wellcome funding that are eligible for deposition in PMC. Of these, 94% are fully compliant with the requirements (in PMC with the correct license). We will continue to focus on further improvement rates and on putting the correct measures in place to maintain this positive progress.  The 4 main areas Wiley has been working on are as follows:1) obtaining accurate funder identification from the author during his/her publication journey 2) ensuring accurate licensing information based on any funder requirements 3) understanding and following PMC requirements  and 4) payment must have been received for open access and the article must have made its way into an issue. We’re confident we can keep improving our workflows until all of this is fully automated.


    Anna Ehler
Anna Ehler
Society Marketing

When information is misrepresented or hidden, our ability to make decisions – for ourselves and for society as whole – is diminished. In this episode you’ll hear from Julia Wilson at Sense About Science with ideas on how we can all respond to misinformation in the media and improve public understanding of science.




And, in case you missed it, check out the previous episode: How Nonprofits and Technology Are Helping to Make Research More Open.


You can also listen to this episode and others – including how governments are driving open science and coming transformations in publishing technology – by going to iTunes and subscribing to the Wiley Society Updates podcast.



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