Submitting scientific papers: online portals
Sciendo’s journals use ScholarOne and Editorial Manager for online submissions of academic papers. Each journal has its own guidelines; these need to be read carefully before visiting the online submission portal. For instance, there might be length requirements for papers and abstracts, instructions on how to cite and format references, how to prepare documents for blind peer reviews, how to declare conflict of interest, funding and adherence to ethical policies, and many more.
Ensuring that your paper meets editorial requirements will prevent a rejection purely on the basis of formatting or missing information. Online submission portals do have checklists that can help you organise the documents to upload, which might include the authors’ page for blind review, the anonymous manuscript, a cover letter and/or biographical notes, a separate document with the abstract and the keywords, separate documents for tables and other files indicated by the journal as required or optional.
Other submission tips include:
- Checking the journal’s aims and scope – for instance, there is no point submitting a review or qualitative paper when the journal only publishes original quantitative research;
- Having the complete details of your co-authors – email, titles, institutions, addresses and ORCiDs if required;
- Reading about the blinding process of the journal so you can submit the right files;
- Considering uploading optional documents to strengthen your submission. A cover letter might be optional, but a well-thought and concise presentation of your research can be persuasive.
Why are online portals widely used by journals for submissions?
Older academics will remember the days when journals operated using email and spreadsheets. Journals are now global enterprises with editorial boards scattered all over the world. An online portal ensures everyone can log in, see which manuscripts are assigned to them, check their stages and find out if any action is required at a glance.
Managing submissions is simplified and there are less risks of errors, omissions and loss of data. Both reviewers and the editorial team receive reminders of what needs doing and at which stage a submission is. Online systems also provide user data for a journal, such as how many submissions have been received, what the acceptance/rejection rate is, where the submissions have come from, etc.
Submission portals also help to speed up the process; as most journals discourage multiple submissions, it’s in the researcher’s interest to receive a prompt reply from the journal approached.
Submitting academic papers with ScholarOne
Before you start your submission, it is helpful to have all the information at hand. Of course, once you logged into your account, you can save what you have done and come back to it to add missing files or review it before submitting it.
You will need a full list of keywords, funding information if applicable, details of all co-authors and order they should appear on the system, matching the paper, files required by the journal - anonymous manuscript, title file, cover letter, etc. Missing information is highlighted with a red cross. Files will be combined into a single PDF and you will have to review this before submitting. This PDF proof will show you how reviewers will view your paper and other attachments.
If the journal uses double-blind peer review, you need to make sure your manuscript does not contain names or any identifying information. The journal will return submission that are not anonymised and this will delay the process.
Once submitted, you cannot change your manuscript. You will have to contact the journal’s editorial team. If your manuscript is accepted and a revision is required, this will be handled through the portal. The corresponding author will receive email alerts from the editor or other members of the editorial team.
ScholarOne is a platform owned by Clarivate, which offers video tutorials, user guides and FAQs. You can access them here.
Submitting academic papers with Editorial Manager
Prepare your files, making sure you are following the guidelines in terms of blinding and including separate files for tables or any other documents that need to accompany your manuscript.
You might be asked to link your ORCiD account. Typically, you will need your manuscript and a separate title page with the names of all authors if the journal uses double-blind peer review. Your main documents will have to include an abstract, keywords and references. Some journals might ask to upload images, figures and tables in separate files, removed from the text. If the journal uses double-blind peer review, you must anonymise your figures and tables, too.
You will need to add all co-authors when you submit your manuscript to ensure they are fully acknowledged in the published article. Your abstract can be copied and pasted from your main file into the abstract box. Keywords can be single words or phrases and they need to be separated with a semicolon.
You don’t need to complete the submission in one go, you can move forward and come back to complete sections. There might be a request of adding general information such as whether the article has been submitted elsewhere, funding sources, conflicts of interest and other administrative questions. There is an area for comments, these won’t be part of the review or publication of your manuscript.
Once you have uploaded all the files, you need to click the “Build PDF for Approval” button and check your submission. When you are happy with this proof, you can submit your paper and you will receive a confirmation.
Once submitted you cannot change your manuscript. You will have to contact the journal’s editorial team. If your manuscript is accepted and a revision is required, this will be handled through the online portal. The corresponding author will receive email alerts after submission and be directed to log back into Editorial Manager to provide extra information or files. You can also contact the Editor through the system.
Editorial Manager is owned by Aries Systems, which was recently purchased by Elsevier. You can find video tutorials on how to use it here.