off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Don’t presume but
always make Sure


All the postgraduates, those doing PhD or enrolled in any other such higher qualification programme and others interested in research are advised to select their supervisors carefully and do look at their track record, their personal contributions to research and their publications in good quality peer reviewed biomedical journals. Some time making a mistake in selection of the supervisor proves very costly and one gets stuck up. Those who themselves are not well trained and experienced, cannot guide others with the result that most often the manuscripts of these authors either gets rejected or suffer from un-necessary trauma. Of course the postgraduates and other candidates themselves have to work hard, do proper homework before embarking on any such project. Above all they must be prepared to learn and they should not blame their Supervisors or anyone else for their own shortcomings and failings.

Comments from the Editors, Peer Reviewers should be looked at carefully and sincere efforts should be made to rectify the mistakes, deficiencies and try to improve the quality of manuscript in the light of the reviewer’s comments and suggestions. Do read the e mails received from the Editors carefully, follow their guidelines and do not forget to highlight the changes to the manuscripts you have made which should also be accompanied with a covering note as to how you have responded to the reviewer’s comments and suggestions. It will also be worthwhile to add in the manuscript as to what new information this study have added to the medical literature and what is its strength, clinical importance. It helps the Editors to take a quick decision. After sending the revised manuscript through e mail or uploading the revised version on the Journal website, you must inform the editor through e mail and do not presume that your communication has reached the editor of the journal until you have received an acknowledgement. Even after uploading the revised version on the journal website, you must confirm it. In some instances the authors who uploaded the revised versions on journal websites but did not inform the editor lost lot of precious time and the revised manuscripts were taken for further processing once it was pointed out by the authors or they asked for further progress of their submission.

The authors can also increase the chances of acceptance of their manuscripts by adding local references. In fact it is considered as an important aspects by the Editors and Reviewers. It also affects the decisions by the Editors if articles from their respective journal have been cited. Authors from Pakistan must ensure that their manuscripts does contain references to local studies published in Pakistani standard peer reviewed journals particularly the three leading medical journals which enjoy Impact Factor i.e. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, Journal of Pakistan Medical Association and Journal of College of Physicians & Surgeons of Pakistan after checking from their respective websites. All the standard good quality journals have a long waiting period and the authors must plan at least from eight to ten months from the date of submission. Those who are in urgency, must enquire from the Journal to which they wish to submit their manuscript about the possibility of the manuscript being processed and the likely time it will take for peer review. Please also remember Acceptance letter can only be issued once the manuscript is approved for publication after going through the initial internal review, formatting, plagiarism check, external review and revision if required and all this takes couple of months and there is no short cut. Hence, do not rush, do not send e mails to the editors asking for the status of your submitted manuscripts too often and too frequently which is at times quite irritating. Careful planning, proper literature search, reading and following the instructions for authors on the journal website to which you wish to submit your manuscript is a must. Make sure that there are no authorship issues, avoid the menace of gift authorship, and do not forget to provide Ethics Committee/Institutional Review Board approval of the study protocol, mention its Reference Number and date of approval in the Methods Section. Arrange the processing fee as per journal instructions. RCTs must be registered. These are some of requirements by all Impact Factor journals. All this will ensure smooth sailing and may help you in getting your manuscript processed and eventually accepted for publication.

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