Originally posted on 23 June 2016. Written by Andrea Silvaggi, RN, MN-PHCNP program student, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
During the past two months I have had the opportunity to work with the Journal of Interprofessional Care (JIC) by helping to select reviewers and by having a chance to review an article with the assistance of the Journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Scott Reeves. Based on what I’ve learned from this experience, and with the help of Professor Reeves, I have provided some tips for researchers and authors to assist with the ease and timeliness of publication in the JIC and other academic journals.
Tip #1: Choose your keywords wisely
When the editorial administrator selects reviewers for a submitted paper, there is a list of potential reviewers who are suggested based on similar keywords. Each potential reviewer is either someone who has published a related paper or submitted a paper to the JIC. The manuscript submission guidelines state to have 4-6 keywords based on methodology and content. It is better to have more keywords that are relevant to your paper but also words that might be used by other authors who have submitted or published papers in this journal.
Make sure that your keywords fit the scope of the journal. Helpful keywords to use: collaboration, interprofessional, teamwork, or any of the terms defined in the manuscript guidelines. If these words do not apply to your paper, you are probably submitting to the wrong journal!
Tip #2: Read the manuscript guidelines thoroughly
Although this may appear to be an obvious tip for authors submitting to journals, papers are often submitted where authors have failed to follow the submission guidelines, leading to a rejection of their paper. So the best advice here is to simply pay close attention to the guidelines and follow them!
By following the guidelines, you can avoid many common mistakes including:
-Not following the appropriate format (JIC uses APA 6thedition);
-Not using relevant terms appropriately
-Not submitting the title page, figures, and tables in a separate file, including authors’ names on the main document (this is the file that will be reviewed and should not contain any identifying author information – this information should go on the title page.)
Tip #3: Use defined terms appropriately and consistently
One of the mistakes authors make by not following the guidelines are that they misuse terms which are clearly defined in the instructions for authors, for example, interprofessional collaboration versus interprofessional teamwork. Ensure that you are using the terms appropriately and that you are using them consistently throughout your paper.
Tip #4: Is your manuscript describing a micro-level study? – Submit a short report
Authors are able to submit articles, which are no more than 8000 words, or short reports to the JIC. If your article is describing a small pilot study or a local and/or narrowly-focused study, it is best to submit this as a short report for publication. Short reports no more than 1500 words and “describe research plans, studies in progress or recently completed, or innovative initiatives in the interprofessional field” (Journal of Interprofessional Care, 2016).
Tip #5: Have patience – It can be a lengthy process
A lengthy process ensues once an author submits a paper to the JIC. This process involves an initial screening, the selecting and assigning of reviewers, and possible revisions following reviewers’ feedback to improve the paper. If then accepted for publication, a final assessment is undertaken by the journal’s editors.
The initial screening by the JIC editorial team can take two to three weeks before it is deemed either 1) suitable for peer review or 2) unsuitable for publication, upon which an e-mail will be sent with this information. Sometimes, it is a difficult process finding reviewers who are willing/able to complete an assessment. This is because many potential reviewers are often unavailable, or they may agree to review a paper and then do not do so due to a change in circumstances. Therefore, do not worry if you have not heard from the journal for a while, your paper may still be in the process for review.
You can check the status of your paper in the submissions systems or email the journal administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org). On rare occasions, however, may be returned simply because the Journal cannot find reviewers to assess the submitted work.
Tip #6: Qualitative research does not include p values – Use the appropriate methods
It is important that your methodology is clearly described and that your methods fit with your methodology. If you claim that you are using a qualitative study, make sure that your methods don’t include SPSS analyses, for example, or say that you are using a mixed methods study.
Reviewers in this journal are invited based on similar methods and methodologies, and it becomes difficult to find reviewers when it is unsure which methodology and methods you are using. Additionally, if reviewers do agree to review the paper in this case, it will probably get rejected or major revisions will be suggested.
Tip #7: Avoid rejection or major revisions using these helpful hints
Once reviewers are invited and have agreed to review a paper, they will suggest that your work be rejected, accepted, or sent back for major or minor revisions. To avoid rejection and revisions, the following points should be considered:
-Is it clear how your work fits in with the journal?
-Are you using methods and analyses appropriately?
-Are your sentences clear to the reader?
-Have you addressed limitations of your study?
-Have you addressed how you met appropriate criteria for rigor/validity/reliability as appropriate to your methodology?
Tip #8: Assert the value of your research
Familiarize yourself with the literature related to the journal and make sure you are contributing something new. Incorporate some of this literature your paper to show your awareness of current topics and discussions in the journal. Key questions to ask are: how does my work relate to existing interprofessional activities/knowledge (for short reports), or how does my work contribute to the advancement of interprofessional knowledge of (for articles)?
Tip #9: Contribute towards good publishing karma
If you are sent an email inviting you to review a paper but are unavailable, please do think of other potential reviewers for the paper and provide these contacts to the journal’s administrators. This will assist in the process of selecting reviewers for those attempting to get their papers published. Two reviewers are needed for articles, and one reviewer for short reports.
Tip #10 Don’t worry – Everybody gets rejected sometimes…
These tips are not meant to discourage you from submitting your paper. They are only meant to increase your chances of getting your article or short report published in a timely manner.
Remember, at times, everyone gets their articles rejected, even experienced academics. Don’t get discouraged and be sure to revise and resubmit your paper as soon as you can!
Journal of Interprofessional Care. (2016). Journal of interprofessional care: Instructions for authors. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?journalCode=ijic20&