Author Luis M Romero-Rodríguez – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion
One of the most complex issues for authors in the editorial process of a manuscript is to decide when and why to write to the editors of a journal.
Firstly, we must take into account that many editors (and the staff of the publication as assistant editors, monographic coordinators, members of the Scientific Council, technical staff, etc.) often share the activity of the journal with its teaching, administrative, management and researcherer obligations; that is, they are not usually dedicated to this activity full-time and exclusive dedication.
Having understood this, we must take into consideration that correspondence with editors is an EXTRAORDINARY resource. Some key aspects for the correspondence with the editors to be effective and cordial, would be the following:
- Make sure that what you are going to ask is not answered on the website of the publication: Most of the emails that are received from the authors who have not sent yet the manuscripts are usually about the subject and the scope of the publication, even sending as an annex to the e-mail the draft of the manuscript for the editor to tell the author previously if it “enters” in the lines of the journal. Rarely he or she will get an answer in these cases, because journals should guarantee that the review is transparent and objective, principles that could be compromised if a publisher gives a provisional “approval”. The best way to know if a manuscript is consistent with the subject and the scope of the publication is to read the “About” section in the magazine and more importantly, accessing its publications. In Comunicar Journal, the thematic line is clearly identified in this ad hoc section.
- The message must be short, concise and direct: If there is any doubt that the publication’s web page does not answer, or if it is necessary to contact the editor for a specific aspect (excessive reviewing time, incidents with the manuscript, among others); a clear and direct message will always be appreciated. Let’s see the following example:
A cordial greeting. My name is Frank Torres, author of the manuscript “Identities on Instagram: Contemporary Narratives in Journalism Students”, identified with Code 05567 and sent on 10/30/2017. Having spent more than 3 months without an answer about the evaluation process and verifying that on the intranet is still appearing “waiting for assignment”, I would like to ask you, is there any problem with it?
Thank you in advance for your response.
- Wait a reasonable time for the answer: As we have already pointed out, the editors usually share this activity with others that also require a lot of attention. In this sense, a lapse of one labour / working – is a sufficient period to have an answer. However, keep in mind the holidays and the summer periods of the publisher’s country of residence.
- In case of co-authorships, check with the author per correspondence (APC): Another one of the problems that often occur in the case of coauthors is that the journal has kept informed about the evaluation process to the author that has declared as APC (Corresponding Author) and sometimes this author has not shared the information with his colleagues. In this way, it is always advised that the author declared as APC could be the one who handles all correspondence with the editor from the same email account with which was registered in the system.
- Do not put a copy of your message to all members of the publication: Correspondence with the editor should be solely and exclusively to the email address indicated by the journal for these cases. In the case of Comunicar Journal, all inquiries must be made to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Use the media provided to communicate with the editors: Some manuscript management platforms allow consulting the staff of the journal. In these cases use only external mail when the editor has not answered after a reasonable time.
Taking into account the 6 recommendations in reference, we will present an expository title -more non-limitative- normal cases of correspondence with editors:
Excess of the limit time declared by the publication for the revision of manuscripts. In the case of Comunicar Journal, the limit for the editorial estimation / editorial rejection does not exceed 30 days, while for the reviewing process, the maximum limit is 150 days (see Code of Ethics).
Technical failures in the system. Although we must check if it happens to try to access only with our computer, if it is an error of our browser or if it is a temporary error for changes in the web. It is recommended that before reporting these technical problems, wait at least 12 hours.
Differences with the opinions of the reviewers. Although the manuscript evaluation process is usually only in the hands of the reviewers (to guarantee objectivity, impartiality and transparency), there may be SUSTAINED differences with the opinions of the reviewers. This route is not recommended when all reviewers decide not to publish, but when minor or major changes are requested.
Questions for questions that are not declared on the website of the magazine.
Request letters of acceptance of the manuscript or certificates of revision.
* Note 1: In those journals with a large number of works, there are co-editors, coordinators or secretaries in charge of correspondence. Always check before writing to the editor that there is no figure assigned for these tasks.
* Note 2: Special gratitude to Rafael Repiso for some suggestions for this post.