“School of Authors” is a website from Comunicar, Scientific Journal in Education and Communication, indexed in main international data bases, that complements other websites in Spanish, English and Portuguese. “School of Authors” is written and edited, basically, by the Editorial Board of “Comunicar” and it aims to offer different sources, for manuscript submissions in scientific journals in a planned and strategic manner. It is intended to make authors think about scientific information management for publishing scientific manuscripts in high impact journals.
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The structure and process of a good review

Posted on February 23rd, 2020 by Mª Amor Pérez-Rodríguez – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

One of the main keys to success in a scientific journal is the review procehttps://comunicarautores.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/search-1355847_960_720.png?w=734&h=566ss. Therefore, the Board of Reviewers plays a fundamental role in the quality of the publication. Hence, a level of qualification in the subject and an experience in the process of validation of the work sent in the manuscript is required. Although it has detractors, the peer review system is a good way to authenticate and evaluate the research.

Not only do editors help make decisions about the articles that come to the journal for publication, they also contribute to the improvement of the manuscript with the suggestions, comments and arguments raised by the reviewers. In this sense, each reviewer undertakes to perform a critical, honest, rigorous, constructive validation / evaluation without biases or subjective perceptions. This review implies an in-depth reading and an estimate of the quality and scientific solvency, as well as the style of the written function.

The review process can be considered from various options, highlighting:

  1. Review by single blind pair, so that the names of the reviewers are hidden, but they do know the name of the author. This anonymity allows an impartial assessment and can also facilitate being more critical or demanding.
  2. Double-blind peer review, in which both the reviewers and the author are anonymous. This model assumes greater objectivity. Not getting to know the author is more difficult bias. It is possible to anonymize the manuscripts in the first phase, also for the Editor, in the triple-blind model
  3. Open review, which involves different models, in order to achieve greater transparency during and after the valuation process. The reviewer and the author are known by the other during the peer review process, either because the names of the reviewers are published on the article page, or the peer review reports next to the article.

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In any case, it is essential that the process be as ethical and transparent. The structure of this task varies according to the journal, but generally the Editor or team makes a first estimate based on aspects of focus of the journal and formal issues. If the requirements are met, it is sent to the reviewers, who must issue their report within two weeks and one month. It is important, in this sense, punctuality in the review. If a reviewer is not competent in the subject or considers that he/she cannot finish the evaluation at the scheduled time, he/she must refuse the invitation of the editors. The respect of the deadlines is an indication of the consideration towards the author and his/her work.

The review is confidential and must be objective. It is not considered appropriate to make personal judgments about the authors. The review should be done rigorously and with academic and scientific arguments. So what is appropriate is to make an assessment in terms of: title and abstract (clarity and structure), the relevance of the subject, the originality of the work, the review of the literature, the structure and organization of the article, the plot capacity, the writing, methodological rigor., research instruments, research results, advances, discussion, conclusions, citations (variety and richness) and references.

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Reviewers are required to provide sufficient reasons and arguments for their assessments through a full critical report, especially if rejection is advised or changes are required. They should know the guidelines of the journal and the commitment they subscribe as reviewers. They must also warn publishers if they consider that the work is not original or has been published or is under review for another publication, or similarities or overlaps are detected with other published works.

A very positive aspect in the recommendations is to suggest bibliographic references of fundamental works possibly forgotten by the author. However, these academic indications should not be confused with the unethical recommendation of the citation of the publications themselves regardless of the approach of the revised manuscript, in what is a bad reviewer practice.

Finally, confidential information or information obtained during the peer review process cannot be used for personal purposes and it must be guaranteed that there are no conflicts of interest.

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The processes of academic selection of the manuscript by a scientific journal

Posted on February 17th 2020 by Ignacio-Aguaded- Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

The scientific journals, with international standards and editorial prestige, are very rigorous and transparent with their manuscript selection processes, acknowledging receipt of the works sent by the authors and informing by mail and / or on their management platform of the entire process of estimation / dismissal, and acceptance / rejection, and in case of acceptance, of the editing process.selection-06

On the official websites they offer the complete rules of the publication, as well as complementary instruments such as the pre-check of the manuscript to be sent, the documents of sending (if applicable, cover letter and refillable cover), the flow management guide in the OJS (platform), and even publicize the evaluation protocols for external reviewers, so that the authors know exactly what is going to be evaluated.

Once the work has been submitted, the quality journals have the publicized times of the entire process, explicitly committing themselves to compliance. For example, in ‘Communicar’, within a maximum period of 30 days, notification of the estimate or dismissal of the work is received. In case that the manuscript presents formal deficiencies, or is not included in the thematic focus of the publication, the Editorial Board formally or thematically dismisses the work, in many cases, with no return option. On the other hand, if it presents formal deficiencies, it will be returned to the author for correction before the beginning of the evaluation process. In this previous phase, it is very important that the manuscript is autochecked before being sent.

selection-03In journals of high reputation, manuscripts are always evaluated very rigorously, because scientific review is the core of quality (research is valued, not the researcher). In ‘Communicate’ this process can be submitted to 10-15 experts on average, anonymously. Its external reports are key to the acceptance / rejection of the work, as well as if it is necessary to submit it to modifications, in terms of extension, structure or style, respecting the content of the original.

The protocol used by the journal reviewers should always be public for everyone, especially for authors. The term of scientific evaluation of the works must also be published, and should never be a maximum time greater than the periodicity of the journal. For example, in ‘Comunicar’ the average time for scientific review is 50 days and 50 days final acceptance (that is, a total of 100 days).

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How to publish a good article and not die trying?

Posted on February 10th, 2020 by rosagarciaruiz- Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

The writing of a scientific article implies an important effort for a researcher and academic, so it is essential to assume a holistic vision of the process to have guarantees of success and be able to publish it in the leading journal in the author’s research area.

Design of the articleThis publication process begins before beginning to write since it is necessary to carry out a process of analysis and reflection on the topic being worked on. At this time it is crucial to read to have a deep and detailed knowledge of the state of the matter, that is, the author needs to have an accurate map of the background to his contribution, what are the relevant issues, what have been the advances in recent years, what have the latest works published in the area of ​​knowledge supposed, who are working on the same subject, how they carry out their contributions and what conclusions they have reached, etc. From the references collected, it is possible to design and state what the value of our article will be, accurately measuring what it will bring back to the status of the issue.

If during this process the pertinent bibliographic consultations have been made, this map will have been enriched with a series of referring scientific journals, among which the journal to which the article will be directed will be selected, paying special attention to the regulations for authors.

The next step is the writing of the manuscript. In previous posts of the School of Authors, reference has already been made to the guidelines to be followed in the writing of a scientific article, in its structure, regardless of its typology: literature review, research article, report, study or proposal, article which describes a new methodology or innovative method. In this sense, all articles require a striking, clear and concise title; an abstract and keywords that highlight the most relevant content and help the reader know what will be found in the text; an introduction or theoretical framework according to the objective or intention of the article and that demonstrates a deep knowledge of the subject and the status of the art; materials and methods that demonstrate an unquestionable scientific rigor; results obtained that delimit and put the value of the contributions of this new work; discussion and conclusions.

Before sending the article to the journal, we remember the need to carefully read the regulations, instructions on the submission process and pay attention to the checklist process. At the same time, and trying not to die in this laborious process, we insist on the convenience of getting the reading of a colleague, the so-called “peer friends“, to facilitate a critical and comprehensive reading of the article.

Finally, and no less important, if the author intends his/her article to be considered “a good article”, it is mandatory to contribute to the dissemination of the article, from the very publication of the preprint. Sharing the article published with other authors is the essence of the transfer of knowledge to society, for which the author has at his/her disposal social, scientific and common networks, portals specialized in scientific content, contact networks of experts in the field, institutional portals of universities, libraries or research centers. This dissemination process to achieve the greatest scientific impact of the article is precisely the one that brings substantial value to the hard work of publishing a good article without die trying. It is the commitment of each researcher, of each author, with his/her professional career and with his/her lines of research, sharing his/her articles with the community.

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How to identify a meaningful research question?

Posted on January 27th 2020 by Ana Perez-Escoda- Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

When starting a new research project, it is important to develop a solid research question. This is a crucial step in the process, as it will guide all research activity, which means taking the necessary time and ensuring the right approach.

A correctly written research question has several characteristics that we must take into account to know that we have succeeded:

  • It must be clearly defined, avoiding the use of technical language.
  • It must be adequately focused to direct the research towards a logical conclusion. It should summarize a pending issue or problem that you wish to investigate through research, through a review of the literature or an experimental study or a theoretical exercise.
  • It should be approached plausibly and realistically within a schedule taking into account the available resources (for example, money, equipment, assistants, etc.).

Main steps to write a research question

Frequently, each researcher has a broad topic that interests him/her, an area of ​​disciplinary interest for which he/she feels motivated. However, this is not enough, it is essential to focus more rigorously. The following steps can help to organize the necessary priorities to find the meaningful research question we are looking for:

  • Step 1: Limit the general idea to a topic that can be investigated, bounded within the area. It is easier to do this by following your own curiosity about a particular research problem.
  • Step 2: To get the context of this general topic. It is essential to make preliminary readings, which enrich the previous knowledge of the subject. In this process, it is vital to ask questions such as: What has been done before, and more recently? How were these studies conducted? What hypotheses were tested? After these reflections, without doubt, new questions will arise. There may also be conflicting evidence or inconsistencies in the literature, which in one way or another will lead the researcher to find his/her questions.
  • Step 3: Refine the subject, as if using an even more powerful lens. In this step of the process other actors, team colleagues or from renowned prestige come into action to consult and with whom to comment impressions. This exchange of ideas is always enriching and helps to acquire a different perspective.
  • Step 4: To recap, in the final step, you should analyze the list of research questions, be critical of the process performed. It is essential to ask: Can I really find and/or collect the necessary data to address this question or problem? Will the method be feasible? Is my question too broad or narrow, or too subjective or objective?

In short, a useful practical rule to know if a research question is well formulated is to follow the “FINER” method: Feasible, Interesting, Novel, Ethical and Relevant (O’Brien & Broughton, 2017).

 

 

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The cover letter. Present and publish a manuscript

Posted on January 20th, 2020 by Mª Amor Pérez-Rodríguez – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

hombrecartaThe protocol rules dictate a series of guidelines for introducing a person. But what does it mean to present/introduce? The Royal Spanish Academy defines presenting as “Making manifestation of something, to put it in the presence of someone” and “Making the public known to someone or something.” Hence, in the case at hand, the cover letter for a publication in a journal, the protocol is to introduce and publicize the work that is submitted for the consideration of the editor or publishers.

Each journal has its own regulations and characteristics. Therefore, among the routines necessary for the acceptance of a work, the formal issues of the publication that we have selected must be thoroughly known. This will allow our cover letter to be in accordance with your requirements.

For its writing, we have to present evidence of the interest of the article that is sent. That is, to convince in terms of originality, quality, the contribution it implies and its possible impact on the field defined by the journal.

The composition of the cover letter will ultimately depend on the publication or sending standards established by the magazine. Some stipulate indications or requirements for its elaboration.

The main aspect, like any letter, is that it is addressed to the editor or publishers by name, to have the date in which it is sent and the name of the journal to which it is addressed.

The body of the letter must contain the most detailed and convincing information that can be elaborated, to anticipate the editor or publishers who receive the work, the benefits of it. This requirement usually serves the editorial team to make a first estimate of the interest and adequacy of the article to the thematic field of the journal. It also gives an idea of ​​the rigor of the author or authors who subscribe to it as soon as they know the regulations and standards of a scientific publication. Finally, it implies a commitment on the part of these when presenting the relevance and opportunity of the manuscript as a significant contribution to knowledge.

In the cover letter is must be clear:

  • The title of the manuscript and the type, depending on the typology that the selected journal accepts.
  • The justification and purpose of the research that is presented.
  • The contribution implied by the study and/or the main findings.
  • The interest of the study for its dissemination among the scientific community and potential readers.

In relation to the impact of the paper, many journals value this aspect quite a lot when deciding on the acceptance of a manuscript. Therefore, it is important to check the quality, impact and visibility policies of the publication and establish in the text of the letter to what extent the article would contribute to it.

The letter must include the names of the authors of the manuscript and their roles.

And, finally, in the case of the presentation of a scientific text, our letter must accomplish with the parameters of idiomatic and stylistic correction that anticipate the good writing of the manuscript by itself.

Cover letter

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Benefits of publishing open data from research

Posted on January 13th, 2020 by Radiell Avello Martínez- Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

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In the field of scientific research a historical transformation is happening. The impulse of open science, linked to the advancement of ICT, and the large increase in the volume of data are invariant elements to plan, execute and communicate the results of research. Research data management emerges as a new element of scientific communication that affects researchers, instances of publication, indexation and evaluation of science. In this environment, the analysis of large volumes of data (bigdata) and its value is larger than ever before and continues to increase.

In particular, in scientific research, there are different types of data, classified according to the methodology applied to obtain them. Among the main types are observational ones, which correspond to historical records (they can only be obtained at a unique time and place); the experimental data, that is, those generated with the application of different types of experiments; there are also computational data, which may include input data or application activity logs; in the same way, as well as simulation data, generated from test models. These datasets, more and more frequently, are published in data repositories designed for this purpose in order to be accessed and in turn cited.

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Structure of a research paper: Tips to improve your manuscript

Posted on January 7th, 2020 by Ignacio-Aguaded– Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

Sending a paper to a magazine requires not only an original, novel and relevant research, but also taking care of the format and structure of the paper because the formal issues, together with the thematic, methodological and bibliographic, constitute a whole that explain in a great way the reasons for estimating / rejecting, in the first place, and after acceptance / rejection in a quality publication. Failure to attend carefully to the format of a paper is a clear distinction of a little rigorous researcher, who does not know how to assess the formal processes that, for a high-index publication, are key in the normalization of their evaluation flows.

In general, in any magazine of international recognition, two files must be submitted simultaneously: Presentation and cover, and Manuscript.estructura-02

1) In the PRESENTATION AND COVER (“Title Page” and “Cover Leter”, in English) the original nature of the contribution is collected and the publication rights are partially or totally assigned, apart from specifying authors, sources of funding… This Document is key in the identification and is never visible to reviewers.

2) In the MANUSCRIPT, the first section, the METADATA, is extremely important. A paper, sometimes, generates sufficient causes for its rejection simply by its own title:

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