Following on from the webinar An Introduction to Publishing for Early Career Researchers in Latin America, Dr Serena Tan and Dr Costas Agalou join us again to answer your questions about the publishing and peer review process. Each of the questions below was submitted by a participant in the webinar.
Dr Costas Agalou is Commissioning Editor at Wiley. Prior to publishing, Costas completed his PhD in Chemical Sciences at the University of Bologna in Italy. He has been awarded various grants including a Marie Curie Fellowship from the European Commission, two dissemination grants from the European Science Foundation and a Research Grant from the Italian Government. Finally, he has published numerous research articles in high impact factor peer-reviewed journals in the areas of nanomaterials and nanotechnology.
Dr. Serena Tan is an Editor at Wiley where she manages a portfolio of 10 journals, mostly in the life sciences, working to ensure they remain competitive and offer the best level of service to their research communities. She has also worked as a freelance writer, editor, and consultant for a variety of clients in the scientific and academic research community. Dr. Tan holds a Bsc (Biology) degree from Brown University and MSc and PhD degrees (Physiology and Cellular Biophysics) from Columbia University.
Questions to Dr Serena Tan
Q. What’s the best way to deal with reviewers who reject my article?
A. First, I would take a step back and remind myself to take it slow and wait until I can assess the situation objectively and calmly. Review the comments you have received and if you feel that the rejection is based on a misunderstanding of the research presented or scientifically inaccurate reasoning, you may have a case for making an appeal to the editor for reconsideration. If you do so, be sure to provide evidence to support your claim in a letter with point-by-point responses to the reviewer(s) comments while remaining professional and objective.
Q. What is the trend between promotion and visibility that you see for those who want to publish their research results?
A. Authors who have put in the effort to promote their articles, whether doing so themselves directly through social media, or with the help of services like Kudos, have benefited from increased visibility of their published work. There are an increasing number of ways to measure the attention your research is getting, including Kudos, Altmetric, and journal article citation tracking. You can even set up custom email alerts to inform you of how your article is doing in terms of downloads, social media mentions, etc. For more information, check out Wiley’s Author Resources page on measuring impact.
Q. Do you have any tips for how to motivate my students to write papers or research?
A. When I was still at the bench, doing research and writing papers, I remember that the biggest challenge was getting started and what helped the most was learning how to dissect the task at hand and break it down. So as one would do for an experiment, when it comes to writing, you need a plan. I would always start with the figures first. That’s the heart of the paper, where the data is represented and findings are conveyed visually to the reader. Review your data and organize the figures in a way that makes the story and significance of your research clear, and then move forward with the actual writing of the text. Don’t try to do everything at once or just sit down in front of a blank screen and try to start writing the paper from scratch without an outline and figures around which to frame your manuscript. Take it one step at a time and don’t be afraid to take a step back and step away from it for a while if you get writer’s block and get stuck. Sometimes you just need to take a break and come back with a fresh pair of eyes.
Questions to Dr Costas Agalou
Q. Is there a data bank that allows you to better understand the characteristics of each journal and decide which to send your paper to?
A. Wiley publishes more than 1,500 journals in all scientific disciplines. Therefore, it can be more than one journal that could be relevant to your particular subject area and scope. For this reason, Wiley Author Services created a sophisticated search platform to help you search relevant journals either by keyword, subject area or alphabetically. Click here to use this platform and find the journal you are looking for. For further advice on choosing the right journal take a look at this helpful infographic.
Q. There are several leagues, so to speak, of academic journals. How can you distinguish them? Which are the easiest and which ones are the hardest to publish in?
A. It is true that there are many journals for particular subject areas, and the number keeps increasing since research is growing. In general, authors can find the ranking of the journal they are interested in on its website. For example, if you go to the homepage of the Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology you will see that the journal has a ranking of 18/50 in Environmental Engineering, 28/135 in Chemical Engineering, 54/161 Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology and that it is a multi-disciplinary journal and covers different subject areas. If you can’t find this information on a journal’s website, then you can always ask the editor of the journal. Impact factor (IF) is also a criterion authors use to distinguish different journals, but it is not always the safest one. Your research work should always meet some quality criteria to get published. It is by no means true that journals with low IFs publish low-quality research work. In general, journals with high IFs are asking authors to show that their work is a breakthrough or has a significant novelty. For example, in materials science journals, authors need to have at least one industrial application that your work can be applied to an industrial use/scale or a product.
Q. How can researchers from low-income countries deal with international publication charges?
A. We do have a list of countries that are eligible for discounts or fee waivers for our Open Access titles. Some journals offer a 20% discount if the manuscript is a transferred submission from another Wiley title. Also, researchers can check if their institution has a special agreement with Wiley from this list.
Q. I would like to know if you can suggest strategies for authors working on a local scale to be published in recognized journals.
A. The best strategy for authors working on a local scale to get published in recognized journals is to try to collaborate and network with other scientists. The best way to do that is through networking when attending conferences or to become involved in funded projects that include international collaborators. If you still cannot attend conferences or participate in large-scale funding projects, the internet can play a major role in creating collaborations. There are social media platforms for scientists where you can connect with researchers, ask questions, read their work, and initiate collaborations if there are mutual interests.
To hear more from Dr Tan and Dr Agalou catch up now on demand with the webinar Introduction to Publishing for Early Career Researchers in Latin America. For your chance to ask the editors, and for further practical tips and expert guidance on the process of writing and submitting your research, sign up to our webinar channel where all of our content is available for free and on demand.