Who Benefits from Presubmission Review? (and how they benefit)

AJE's Presubmission Review service offers constructive feedback on manuscript structure, content, logic, and presentation, helping authors enhance their communication and increase the speed of manuscript acceptance.

Updated on May 30, 2023

two researchers benefitting from aje's presubmission review

Publication in an academic journal can be challenging, especially for early-career researchers. Journal acceptance rates are generally low. For example, an investigation by Elsevier found that across 2,300 journals, the average acceptance rate is 32%, whereas the acceptance rate for the journal Nature is only 8%. In either case, the majority of manuscript submissions are being rejected

Many authors are left wondering “How can I improve my chances of acceptance?” Authors can do this by ensuring all the elements of their manuscript are present before submission. In addition to copy editing elements (such as manuscript structure, table placement, reference formatting, etc.), ensuring that your manuscript clearly and concisely explains the importance and novelty of your research is critical.

Academic journals typically look for several key elements in a scientific manuscript. While specific requirements may vary between journals, the following are some common elements that many journals require before considering a manuscript for publication:

Some of the most important elements are as follows:

  • Originality and significance: Journals seek manuscripts that present novel and significant findings. The research should contribute to the existing body of knowledge and demonstrate its importance to the field.
  • Clear research question and objectives: The manuscript should clearly state the research question or hypothesis being addressed, along with well-defined objectives. It is important to provide context and a rationale for the study.
  • Validity and reliability: Journals look for manuscripts that demonstrate robust and reliable results. This includes appropriate controls, replication, and statistical analyses to support the findings. The data should be presented clearly and accurately.
  • Clear structure and organization: Manuscripts should have a logical structure and be well-organized. Typically, scientific papers follow a standard format, including sections such as introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Each section should be clearly labeled and contain relevant information.
  • Proper citations and references: It is important to acknowledge and properly cite relevant previous research that informed your work. This demonstrates a thorough understanding of the field and allows readers to explore related literature. Follow the journal's citation style guidelines for accuracy and consistency.
  • Ethical considerations: Manuscripts should adhere to ethical standards in research. This includes obtaining appropriate permissions, ensuring informed consent, and providing details on ethical considerations and potential conflicts of interest.

Springer has outlined common reasons for rejection by journals. Not surprisingly, these reasons include an unclear hypothesis and inaccurate conclusions or assumptions. 

Academic writing is difficult, even for experienced scholars. Therefore, AJE has developed a Presubmission Review service to help authors evaluate the above elements in their manuscripts.

What is Presubmission Review?

AJE’s Presubmission Review service provides support beyond language editing.The purpose of the Presubmission Review service is to provide an affordable service that advises authors on how to improve the overall structure, content, logic, and presentation of their study through in-line commentary on critical aspects of journal submission requirements.

This service can be added to our Premium Editing service or can be purchased on its own. 

The overall focus of Presubmission Review can be summed up as follows: 

  • Are all the major elements of each section present?
  • Is the general structure of each section appropriate?
  • Does the information have a logical narrative flow within sections/between paragraphs?
  • Is the overall focus of the study clear?
  • Is there consistency among sections?
  • Are there any clear logical errors, inconsistencies or gaps in what is presented?

Author benefits

Authors benefit from Presubmission Review by receiving constructive feedback on the overall structure, content, logic, and presentation of their study and targeted suggestions for improvement. 

This feedback helps authors improve communication about the novelty and impact of their research before submission. Importantly, it can help avoid desk rejection due to missing critical elements, increasing the speed of manuscript acceptance and thus publication. 

While Presubmission Review can benefit authors at any stage in their career, it is especially useful for early career researchers without much experience in academic writing. Explaining why your study is novel and relevant can be challenging, especially if there is already a lot of published research in your field. 

It is also beneficial for authors whose native language is not English. Expressing complex ideas is hard in any language. Trying to express these ideas in a non-native language is even harder. The impact and importance of the idea is often lost in translation. 

Having another person critically review your manuscript before submission is important for several reasons:

  • Fresh perspective: When you've been working on a study/manuscript for a long time, it's easy to become too familiar with the content. Another person can provide a fresh set of eyes and approach the paper with a different perspective. AJE’s presubmission reviewers will point out errors, inconsistencies, or unclear passages you may have missed due to your familiarity with the study.
  • Objectivity: As the author of a paper, you may have personal biases or assumptions that can influence your perception of the content. A presubmission reviewer can provide an objective viewpoint and help identify any instances where personal biases might affect the clarity or objectivity of the manuscript. They will offer suggestions to ensure the paper remains unbiased and focused on the intended message.
  • Clarity and coherence: A presubmission reviewer can help identify areas of the paper where the ideas or arguments are not clearly expressed or where the flow of information is disjointed. They will offer suggestions to improve the logical progression of ideas, mark areas that would benefit from additional explanations or examples, and ensure your paper is coherent and easy to understand.
  • Error correction: Proofreaders can catch errors that may be overlooked during the writing and editing process. They may identify factual inaccuracies or assumptions, inconsistencies in data reporting, or any other errors that could cause a manuscript to be rejected by the reviewers.
  • Professionalism and polishing: Presubmission reviewers can help you polish the paper to a professional standard. They will ensure that the writing is concise, clear, and engaging. They can also suggest improvements to the overall structure, organization, and flow of the paper to enhance its overall clarity and professionalism.

Journal editor and reviewer benefits

A clear and concise manuscript helps a journal editor and peer reviewers more easily assess the suitability, rigor, and significance of the study. It also helps editors make informed decisions about the acceptance, need for revision, or rejection of manuscripts. 

Peer reviewers are usually volunteers. Therefore, their time is precious to them. They do not want to spend their time reviewing manuscripts with major flaws that are essentially unpublishable. Submitting a clear and concise manuscript allows reviewers to spend their time and energy evaluating the scientific merit and methodology of the manuscript and not the technical details. 

Reviewers typically evaluate a study based on its merits and quality, rather than on an author's publication history. However, an author's previous history with specific reviewers may indirectly influence the review process. Researchers with a strong publication record are often looked upon more favorably by reviewers when submitting additional studies. 

Societal benefits

Peer-reviewed research has broad scientific and societal implications. It forms foundations for evidence-based decision-making, policy development, and advancements in various fields, including healthcare, technology, and environmental science. However, a brilliant but poorly presented scientific study may never get published. 

The general public benefits from the successful publication of research by having access to reliable and validated scientific information. Additionally, other scholars benefit from access to data and information and cross-collaborations. 

Scientific publications are vital for expanding knowledge, driving innovation, informing decision making, advancing academia, and facilitating international collaboration. Science has far-reaching impacts on various aspects of society, making it a cornerstone of progress and development.

Closing thoughts 

In summary, having another person review your manuscript brings fresh perspectives, objectivity, language expertise, and attention to detail. It helps improve the quality, clarity, and professionalism of the writing, increasing the chances of effectively communicating your research. However, it is important to note that specific journal guidelines and submission instructions should always be followed to ensure your manuscript meets the journal’s specific requirements.

For more information about AJE’s Presubmission Review service, visit www.aje.com or reach out to one of our Research Communication Partners.

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