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New Year thoughts: One of the busiest times in academic publishing

 

I’ve spent a lot of time working over the Christmas and New Year period; although this drives my family crazy, year-end (at least in our part of the world) is actually one of the busiest periods for researchers and for those involved with journal and manuscript editing.

 

There are several reasons for this. In the first place, academic researchers based in parts of the world where this period is not such a huge holiday are still working on papers and still need their manuscripts edited by companies like The Charlesworth Group. When I worked as a freelance language editor, I always earned the most money in December and January, around the turn of the year. The work is there, you just have to be prepared and able to do it (so: better if you don’t have a family!).

 

At the same time, academic researchers everywhere are keen to ‘clear their desks’ before year end. Finish those annoying journal article reviews that have been sitting around for weeks and, more importantly, try to submit or revise their own papers before the end of 2018. Everybody wants, if possible, to get a publication date for their articles this year rather than next year: Better to publish three papers in 2018 rather than two and always better to have articles out, online as a draft manuscript or PDF on a journal website or on preprint servers, as soon as possible. Typically at the start of January academic institutions will expect annual reports and forward job plans for the coming year; for these reasons, journal editors and editorial offices are bombarded with submissions and revisions in the period between mid-to-late December each year. It’s always a rush to get things done before the end of the year.

 

The number of requests and letters coming in from authors over the end-of-year period also tend to hit a peak by late December. Endless ‘Dear Editor’ letters. ‘Dear Editor, our paper has been in review for 30 days now and we were wondering if we could complete the revisions before the end of 2018’, or ‘Dear Editor, please find our paper enclosed which we hope you will find interesting for publication in your esteemed journal’. The latter is an excellent example of a very common, and useless, cover letter that our editorial office very often receives. As an aside, don’t make the mistake of sending something so boring and generic when you submit your papers; we have lots of material available through our education service, Charlesworth Knowledge, to help you construct excellent and compelling cover letters to go with your submissions and to convince editors that you work is worth reading and worth sending out for review. Remember than more than 90 percent of submissions are rejected, before peer-review, in leading journals like Nature and Science.

 

Back to the point, and from my perspective, holidays are also always the best times to write; To start new projects and think about research that I want to get done in the periods ahead. Ideas for research can come at the weirdest times; often when relaxing and thinking about completely different subjects, talking with friends and family, or just not thinking at all. Bank these ideas; write them down and come back to them another day. Our team at Charlesworth Knowledge can help you turn your ideas into successful scientific articles.

 

Best wishes for a successful publishing 2019 from The Charlesworth Group!