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Chapter 7:
What an Editor Looks For

Everyone who submits a manuscript for peer review dreads one thing above all else: getting rejected (though the gentlefolk among us journal editors prefer the phrase “decline to publish”). There are many reasons why a manuscript might be rejected, and a good understanding of the reasons can help you make sure your manuscript has the best chance possible of acceptance.

To be publishable in a scientific journal, a paper must meet four important criteria:

  • The content of the paper must match the scope of the journal,
  • The quality of the paper (method and execution of the research, as well as the writing) must be sufficiently high,
  • It must present novel results (with the exception of review papers and the like), and
  • The results must be significant enough to be worth reading about (and thus worth publishing).
  • Most of this book is dedicated to the quality of the writing, with the goal of improving the writing sufficiently so that a manuscript would not be rejected on that basis. This chapter will focus on the other things a journal editor will look for.

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