Picture this scenario: you’ve submitted a manuscript to your favorite LIS publication and are eagerly awaiting their response. But weeks after submitting it, you receive the following reply:
Thank you very much for your submission. Our editorial team has reviewed your manuscript and decided that it does not meet our publication’s needs. We wish you luck in finding a home for it with another journal.
Sound familiar? If you’ve spent some time in the publishing world, you’ll know that virtually every writer has experienced the sting of rejection at some point in their careers. Indeed, Inside Higher Ed says, “Almost all scholars have had their work rejected at one point or another—between 85–90 percent of prominent authors admit to having their work rejected.”1 Seeing this statistic doesn’t necessarily make rejection any easier, however. We all like to think our manuscript will be the one that bucks the norm.
The first pitfall is the problem of shaky conclusions. These conclusions may be based on fallacious reasoning, have insufficient data to support them, and/or deliberately disregard parts of the argument, such as opposing viewpoints. For more information on fallacious reasoning and how to avoid it, I encourage you to read my posts on “Avoiding Logical Fallacies in your Writing.”
Alternatively, maybe your manuscript doesn’t align with the journal’s aims and scope. Let’s say you submitted an article to a technology-focused journal like Library Hi Tech. Your article briefly addresses human-computer interaction but focuses primarily on circulation statistics. Even though you addressed a topic within the journal’s aims and scope3, the bulk of your article’s content falls outside the aims and scope, a factor which—more likely than not—contributed to your manuscript’s rejection.4
Avoiding these pitfalls, as well as the six others described in Peter Thrower’s article, will go a long way towards that coveted publication credit you so desire. Getting an article published requires a lot of hard work, determination, and a willingness to follow instructions. But the feeling of seeing your name in print makes the challenge well worth it.