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How to improve article acceptance rate and publish quicker – A publisher and author’s perspective

Each year, the platform for publishing papers in reputed journals has been getting smaller as more researchers join the research community and the competition to get published grows consistently. To address the problems many Researchers face on how to improve their research communication and improve their acceptance rates, the Research and Publication Unit of the Faculty of Management Studies, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka (SUSL), in collaboration with the Emerald Publishing and College of Healthcare Management and Economics, Gulf Medical University, Ajman, UAE, had launched a four-month research course on “Writing Impactful Research” on April 22, 2021.
In more recent times, research evaluation and publication processes have evolved. For decades, Researchers have struggled with understanding the processes that influence the acceptance of their articles and about the inner workings of the publishing houses and understanding the decision-making process of Editors of journals where they submit their papers. To address these issues, the 15th session of the webinar series was, “How to improve article acceptance rate and publish quicker: A publisher and author’s perspective”. This session addressed article publications in journals and was designed to be applicable for researchers in various career stages. Moreover, the session was aimed to benefit anyone looking to understand the processes behind top global publishing houses and not a specific publisher. The welcome address was given by Achintha Ekanayake, Head, Department of Business Management, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka. The first guest speaker for the session was Ms. Sangeeta Menon, Publishing Relationship Manager, Emerald Publishing, who shared the publisher’s perspective of the process. The second guest speaker of the day was Prof. Nakul Parameswar, who shared his experiences and tips from the author’s perspective to shed light on how he published in reputed journals in his early years.
Ms. Sangeeta Menon has over 16 years of experience in the publishing industry. Before joining Emerald, she worked with leading publishers like Taylor & Francis, Elsevier and Wiley. Within Emerald Publishing, she currently leads the publishing program for India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, and Bhutan. For the session, the topics were designed keeping in mind the common problems faced by publishers when receiving articles from South Asia and to help explain where errors authors make that causes rejection or delay in publication.
She went on to explain how the first challenge that authors face is to get past the Editor’s desk and to the peer-review stage. Unfortunately, approximately 45% of the articles are returned to authors for resubmission within days because of incomplete or unclear information and 55% of the articles that make it to the Editor’s desk do not even reach the peer review stage.
She explained the publishing cycles and approximate timelines that all publishers try to adhere to and why, despite all efforts, delays happen. She emphasized the importance of choosing the right journal and tips on identifying the right fit for the article. She then discussed the top reasons for rejections.
Prof. Parameswar was invited at this point to explain how to address the elements of an article. Starting with the anatomy of an article, he explained how choosing the right topic precedes everything else because no matter how well an article is written, the wrong topic will lead to rejection. He then explained the few criteria for topic selection in detail followed by different components of an article.
Going over the structure of an article, Prof. Parameswar explained the importance of keeping in mind the communication message of an article and the importance of understanding how to express the significance of the article and its contribution to research.
He gave various live examples of journals and articles published in Emerald journals as he discussed how to prepare a clear and precise title, abstract, identify the right keywords, an effective introduction, methods and results, discussions and implications, do’s and don’ts of a conclusions section.
Taking over from Prof. Parameswar after his presentation, Ms. Menon addressed the additional help publishing houses provide through their author services for an error-free manuscript and customised services at special rates and with guaranteed security of all submissions to this service.
She added clarity to the often-misunderstood process of peer-review by explaining the common mistakes authors make when their papers are in the review stage and best practices for how editors and reviewers queries must be addressed. She briefly spoke about publishing ethics and copyrights and plagiarism issues and shared links so participants could visit those sites to learn more.
Finally, Ms. Menon addressed the need for authors to promote themselves and their work for better visibility that would eventually lead to better downloads and citations. She shared tips on how to improve discoverability before, after acceptance and post-publication. She introduced the audience to a free multi-publisher platform, Kudos (info.growkudos.com), and explained how to use it to improve downloads and also to track the impact of their work.
For the Q&A session towards the end of the presentation, the guest speakers were joined by Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka Prof. Athula Gnanapala, Senior Lecturer, Sabaragamuwa University and Editor-in-Chief, South Asian Journal of Marketing (Emerald Publishing) Dr. Jayantha N. Dewasiri and College of Healthcare Management and Economics, Gulf Medical University and Editor, South Asian Journal of Marketing (Emerald Publishing) Prof. Sudhir Rana,. The 30-minute session was filled with queries from enthusiastic participants who had multiple questions for the guest speakers. The session was completed with the vote of thanks by Temporary Lecturer, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka Miss Madusha Amarasena.

By
Miss. Sangeeta Menon
Publishing Relationship Manager
Emerald Publishing

Dr. Nakul Parameswar

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