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Manuscript submission and the peer review process

  • Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine

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This presentation will discuss Manuscript submission and the peer review process. It will help you understand the process of manuscript submission, importance of drafting a good cover letter and how to respond to rejection or peer reviewer’s comments. This is Sixth of the six presentations I deliver as part of the workshop titled ”Medical Writing Made Easy: a step by step guide” I have been conducting these workshops since March 2014 and so have have conducted and facilitated 40 workshops on different aspects of medical writing all across Pakistan. Many of these workshops were supported by grant from AuthorAID (
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Manuscript submission
and the peer review
Farooq Rathore
Before submission!!
Place your self in editors shoes
Revise! Revise ! Revise
External peer review and proof reading
Read the instructions to authors
Formatting of the manuscript
Ensure all items/forms are complete and signed
Timely submission
Title page
What is the first thing that an editor reads
when an article is submitted for review???
Write an impressive cover letter!
(May be ) the only thing that the editor reads
Responding to peer review
Recognize that there is something to learn from every
Act respectful.
Assume that the editors and reviewers worked hard to
reach this decision
Coping with rejection
Coping with rejection
Give yourself time to digest the reason for the
See if the decision make sense. If you feel too
emotional, ask a colleague for help.
Sometimes editors and reviewers do make mistakes,
and, if they do, you may be able to persuade them to
change their minds. Consider an appeal
Rejection letter from a Chinese Economic
Journal to an US author
We have read your manuscript with boundless delight.
If we were to publish your paper, it would be
impossible for us to publish any work of a lower
and, as it is unthinkable that, in the next one thousand
years, we shall see its equal,
We are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine
composition, and to beg you a thousand times to
overlook our short sight and timidity.
Digesting the reviewers comments
Four-step process:
Read the reviews once, and then file them in a safe
Dont think about the reviews for at least a week
(instead go to Murree, golfing, etc.)
Read the reviewers comments again
Discuss the reviews with co-authors and plan your
What to change?
Always change parts which are have been mentioned
by multiple reviewers
Repeated comments stand out to the editor
The effort required to defend this point will be more
than the effort required to change the paper
How to Change?
Divide the comments into two categories:
Easy changes
Difficult changes
Do the easy changes first
Difficult might take some time
Consult with your co-authors on changes
Responding to reviewers comments
In your cover letter, answer each critique/comment
made by reviewers.
Highlight the changes as per reviewers’ comments.
Be courteous but firm
Consider carefully each suggestion or comment.
If you disagree with a request for a change, but it is
easy to implement it and it does not affect the
science…DO IT !
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