Coping with the editorial process: considerations for early–career biologists

Grossman, G. D. 

Abstract

In this essay I describe aspects of the interactions between authors, reviewers and editors with the goal of helping early–career biologists navigate the publication process. Multiple authors and editors have commented on the current difficulties of obtaining quality referees for manuscript reviews, and as a consequence, the frequencies of rejections based on uninformed or erroneous reviews, may be increasing. I suggest a variety of strategies for dealing with: 1) manuscript rejections by editors without review, 2) editors who report but do not comment on reviewer comments, 3) reviews that appear to be uninformed or idiosyncratic, and 4) comments suggesting stylistic revisions rather than substantive ones. The key to any successful strategy for dealing with editors and referees involves ensuring the interaction remains civil and retains a high level of objectivity regarding criticism. In addition, the specific strategies that an author uses to respond to stylistic and substantive editorial comments will depend on their experience and perhaps, reputation in the field. The techniques suggested herein should serve to stimulate discussion of some problems in our field and also increase the probability of acceptance of a worthy manuscript submitted for publication.

Key words

Scientific publication, Publication process, Reviewing, Editorial, Editors, Manuscript rejection, Manuscript revision

Reception date: 12 IV 17 | Acceptation date: 5 VIII 17 | Publication date: 11 VIII 17

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