For publication-hungry researchers, the worryingly statistic is that up to 50% of the papers sent to Elsevier journals don’t even make it past the initial screening process. And you can be certain that the fierce standard of competition to reach peer review, let alone achieve publication, will be leading to similarly high rates of rejection at other journal houses.
According to Dr Peter Thrower, formerly Editor-in-Chief of Carbon, the international journal of the American Carbon Society, some of the most common shortcomings of scholarly articles include (i) the manuscript is incomplete, (ii) the written English is insufficient to send to peer review (or even incomprehensible), (iii) the article does not adhere to the target journal’s guidelines, (iv) the references are very old or incomplete and (v) the arguments are illogical and unstructured and data do not support the study’s conclusions.
Such elementary mistakes by authors are likely to leave a number of readers scratching their heads, wondering who would spend years researching and months writing only to submit a partially finished manuscript, letting themselves and their collaborators down in the process.
Don’t compromise your research at the last moment
There is little excuse for failing to conform to the presentation guidelines of your preferred journal.
But even if you’re not being driven by the requirement to adhere to a set of external rules, you would think that few scholars would allow years of research to be compromised by poorly presented manuscripts.
Consider the analogy of turning up for a job interview in an unironed short. Presenting yourself in such a slapdash manner wouldn’t just be compromising your appearance in front of the very people that might become your new colleagues. You’d potentially be undermining all the efforts that went into getting that job interview in the first place: the endless applications, the carefully crafted resume and cover letter (they’ve been edited, right?), your choice of educational institution and so on.
Importance of language editing
The rate of pre-review rejection coupled with the rap sheet of grammatical and editorial mistakes made by authors provides a fascinating insight into the importance of pre-submission language editing.
While academic editing services cannot guarantee getting published, authors, particularly but not exclusively non-native English speakers, would at least be content that they’re not failing at the easily surmountable first hurdle.