The scientific journal editorial and peer review process (simplified):
1. Submission: The manuscript is submitted by the corresponding author, and receives a submission or tracking ID number.
2. Preliminary editorial screening: An editor reviews the cover letter, title and abstract to decide whether the paper is suitable for the journal.
3. Peer review: The reviewers evaluate the paper and submit their reports to the editor. The reviewers will generally make one of three recommendations:
4. Editorial decision: The editor weighs the peer review reports and makes a decision:
For more information:
Common reasons for rejection
1. Problem: Lack of novelty/significance or flawed experimental design.
Solution: Do a thorough literature review to ensure that the research question has not been investigated before and that the experimental methods are appropriate. Librarians can help!
2. Problem: Paper does not match journal's aims and scope.
Solution: Find a journal whose scope better matches your paper; see Submitting the manuscript, or contact a librarian.
3. Problem: Issues with writing, spelling, grammar, and/or organization.
Solution: Have your paper reviewed by a scientific editor, more experienced colleague or mentor, or the Graduate Writing Center. Some publishers offer in-house editing services (for an additional fee). For writing and organizational tips see Writing the paper
4. Problem: Unclear or poorly designed figures and tables.
Solution: Make sure that the captions, legends and labels for all figures and tables are clear, and that data visualization best practices are used. See the Data Visualization guide
5. Problem: Lack of adherence to manuscript submission guidelines
Solution: Carefully read and follow the submission guidelines; see Submitting the manuscript
6. Problem: Oversimilarity to or duplication of other published work.
Solution: Cite all sources, clearly indicate direct quotes, and avoid paraphrases that make only slight changes to the original. Check the similarity of your abstract against the published literature using HelioBLAST (HelioText).