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Scientific and Technical Advisory Council (STAC) of the Special Journals Publisher (SJP): Manuscript rejection in Open Research and Reviews. Special Journal of Open Research and Reviews [SJ- ORR], 2020; 1 (1):1-14




Unmet research needs in Open Research and Reviews database are certain to move with the world as it marches into the 22nd century (1). It is clear also that every century and every decade have its peculiar issue and questions, for which answers are needed if humans must continue to live on the surface of the earth.  Modern technologies have revolutionized the dept and intent of Open Research and Reviews questions giving us the capacity to ask deeper questions that gives deeper results and broader answers (2, 3).

These Open Research and Reviews questions represent the true picture of the real situation of things, and asking the right questions will surely usher in the right answers to impact lives. Therefore, there is no doubt that good Open Research and Reviews lead to good answers and good answers impact the social, economic, and environmental aspects of society. Any information or document that reneges on this will be a recipe for Open Research and review rejection.

Open Research and Reviews stakeholders are interested in databases that have stood the test of time in quality, reliability, and availability for use where and when needed (4). Such databases and publishing houses should have taken time to pass through stringent optimization to bring out the best in the dataset.  The interest of the readers and stakeholders has a part to play in what is accepted because if any manuscript is not of interest to the readers the editors will demand that authors should modify and improve their topics so that it will fit into what appeals to our readers (5).

This is because readers options and scope definition to some extent the investment pattern of donors because they want to invest as much as possible what will appeal to a wider audience as well as impact the general public at largeOpen Research and Reviews data generation, collection, and analysis are entirely different from manuscript writing especially to the standard required by publishers (6). Many good and high-quality research results are yet to be written in the form of a manuscript for publication lying fallow in the underdeveloped and developing nations. This may be because data generation and data publication are walls apart and need authors’ attention to help information dissemination to stakeholders in dire need of it (7).


It is one thing to conduct good high-quality research but it is another thing to disseminate it to the right stakeholders for use in an effective intervention (8). Of what use is good research if it cannot be communicated concisely, and clearly to the right audience. Again, what is the benefit of a good manuscript if it does not adequately represent the true picture of the actual thing that happened in the research and cannot be incorporated into the strategic development plan of an organization? Therefore, Open Research and Reviews should not be complete until it is adequately publicized with the right audience in conferences, and peer-reviewed journals (9)

The right questions

The right Open Research and Review questions must be asked and answered to prevent manuscripts from being rejected. There are no universal guidelines or patterns that a manuscript must take to avoid being rejected. Manuscript rejection may be one of the hardest decisions an editorial office has to make because they have to balance inclusion with diversity as well as a volume with quality if their strategic development agenda must be attained (10). Publishers have their purpose which in turn defines their scope as well as what is accepted or rejected. Authors therefore must exercise greater caution to write manuscripts to the satisfaction of the publishers because their satisfaction is defined in part by their reader’s needs.


In this retrospective review of manuscript rejection in Open Research and Reviews data were retrieved from the mainstream database and analyzed for their impact on society, academics, and the research world.

Materials and Methods

In this retrospective cross-sectional study, we downloaded and perused 486 published full-length original papers, published addendum, corrections, editorials, abstracts of meetings, conference proceedings, and review articles, on the general concept of Research manuscript rejection. This searching and corresponding download of relevant papers were made from a globally recognized research-based data repository that included but not limited to the Web of Science (WoS) (10) core collection database on the nineteens of July 2020 at about 10.25 GMT+2).

The database of PubMed, Research Gate, and Google scholars was perused to be sure no new documents relevant and necessary for this study were missed out. However, the web of science formed the major and reference database for this study because our software was more compatible with recovered data encoded in the web of science database while other databases consulted served to provide other relevant articles, we considered imported but probably missing in the web of science.

Boolean topic search approach

The Boolean topic search approach (11) used included “(Research manuscript * AND rejection$) OR (Research rejection of * AND Manuscript$) to encompass all relevant and available documents (12) on the subject of Research manuscript rejection between 1990 and 2019. At the time of this study, we judged that the Web of Science Core Collection database had enough user-friendly and accessible academic research database relatively covering enough journals, books, conferences as well as millions of records from (references).

To ensure the inclusion of abbreviated or shorten words, the wildcard * and $ were added to the end of the search algorithms. Thereafter, all documents that meet the eligibility criteria of Research manuscript rejection were retrieved and exported into BibTex file format, and the authors, titles, abstracts mined in PDF file format.

 Data analysis

All the bibliometric variables were retrieved filtered and normalized for quality control. The results were analyzed in the bibliophagy plug in the package of 3.5.1 version of R-studio software, while the codes and commands were adopted from Https:// to evaluate the bibliometrics indices. Tables and graph were made in Microsoft excel 16 version and network maps were visualized in 1,6 Vox-viewer software


In this study of Innovations in Research design, 177 papers written by 480 authors over three decades were recovered, perused, and analyzed as shown in table 1 above. Forty-nine (49) documents were written by single authors while 432 authors wrote 432, multi-author documents giving 3.38 collaborative index and authors and co-authors per documents indexes of 2.71 and 2.96 respectively. Fifty-two (52) proceedings papers, 9 meetings abstract, 1 editorial material, 47 articles, 6 articles that were originally a book chapter, 4 reviews, 36 editorial material, and 6 book chapters among others.

Figure 1: Word tree-map of manuscript rejection in Public Open Research and Reviews

From Figure 1, The most conspicuous category is adrc and associated subcategories include active disturbance controller, disturbances observer, nonlinear, robustness, and academic writing.  The next category is active disturbance rejection control and associated subcategories are tracking differentiator, main engine, rejection rate, 2 of the controllers, adaptive particle swarm, and arch modeling. The next category is rejection while the associated subcategories are tracking, active disturbance rejection control, anti-interference, ladrc, 100 load rejection, and adaptive optics.

The next category is a simulation, and the subcategories are Active disturbance rejection controller, extended state observer, acceptance or rejection rate, parameter optimization, and agricultural research. The next category is active disturbance rejection control adrc and associated subcategories include auto disturbance rejection control, manuscript rejection, research, 3rd numerical simulation, and adjoint system. The next category is a journal, with subcategories of publishing, acute rejection, accuracy control, torsional oscillators, and ant control

Figure 2: Conceptual structure map of manuscript rejection in Open Research and Reviews

Rejection of manuscripts which is the main category is matched against many subcategories representing conditions under which the term rejection was used found at the edges of the red blue and green domain in the figure above. The father away some keywords subcategories are located from the center the more distantly are they discriminated against the main category of rejection of manuscripts. Key terms that are distantly discriminated against the main key terminology represented by the black dots at the center are located at the edges of the three main domains in the figure above.

Distantly discriminated terms are unlikely to have a relationship while closely discriminated terms are more likely to have a relationship. Some terminologies were distantly discriminated against rejection in the red domain such as numbers, citation index, adults, children, fairness desire, control strategy, therapy, power, and more. In the blue domain, renal allograph rejection and interferon gama were more distantly discriminated than the antibody-mediated rejection and gene expression.

Figure 3. Co-occurrence Network of Author keywords in manuscript rejection of Open Research and Reviews

The terms that are connected with visible lines of similar thickness cooccurred in their research such as acceptance and rejection, simulation and adrc, active disturbances rejection controller and tracking, induction motor, parameter optimization and robustness, and finally disturbance observer, disturbance rejection, and torsional oscillations.

Figure 4. Author collaboration network in manuscript rejection of Open Research and Reviews

The 5 authors of the red domain had more collaboration than the 2 authors of the green domain whereas the authors of the blue domain did not collaborate with anyone

Figure 5. Institution collaboration network in manuscript rejection of Open Research and Reviews

There were no clear collaborations between institutions except Wuhan University and Huazhong University of Science and technology

Figure 6. Countries collaboration network in manuscript rejection of Open Research and Reviews

The United Kingdom, collaborated with Belgium, Netherlands and Serbia collaborated while USA New Zealand, fine land, UK, and chile collaborated while Canada and France collaborated


Figures 1-6 represents observations made after the 3-decade review of the web of science database showing key words map, a collaboration between authors, countries, and institutional affiliations, the co-occurrence of keywords, and word map. In three decades, the word rejection and manuscripts appeared in manuscripts found in the database used. While rejection was mentioned in many scientific articles, this minireview will outline reasons for rejection of research papers sent for publication in any of the journals published by the special journals’ publisher.

The decision to reject a paper is difficult editorial tasks

The decision to reject a paper is probably one of the most difficult tasks the editorial committees and Journal publishers must make in the business of publishing due to but not limited to the following reasons (13). First, no publisher wants stakeholders to attribute the rejection to bias in any form or under any guise (14). Second, the vision, mission, and overall objective of a journal may not be easily achieved by paper rejection (15).

Third, human error and technical challenges should not hinder stakeholders from accessing the content of research that can impact the social, economic, and environmental aspects of society (16). Forth, the exclusion of papers from the public databases should be with caution so as not to undermine diversity principles (17). Fifth, publishing the research results of a project is for the greater good of society should not be hampered by the rejection of research papers

Data selection principle and ultimate goal

On the other hand, Special Journals Publisher want to publish data that will: stand out in adding significant value to knowledge, appeal to readers, impact the society, and positively discriminate the publisher from the masses and help push the publisher to the top of the pack of big old names (18). Publishers want to publish research results that will have policy implications and not the ones with spurious results because it would be a historic colossal mistake that develops patency or policy based on debatable results (19). Therefore, to balance quality and impact with volume and diversity some papers may be rejected in their present format until issues raised by reviewers are addressed (20).

Ten reasons to reject a paper


First, rejections of Open Research and Reviews papers due to plagiarism occurs when authors add someone’s work or research as part of our work without full permission, acknowledgment, reference, or due citation (21). In most cases, it may be unintentional or intentional but such an act is largely frowned at by publishers and stakeholders as it speaks volumes regarding what type of information stakeholders wants from the database. The awareness and campaign against plagiarism including so many free user-friendly software are so magnanimous that intentional plagiarism may have declined. Plagiarism is a dent in the novelty and quality of manuscripts and authors usually have the chance to defend or explain it.

Duplicate research paper

Second, rejections of Open Research and Reviews papers due to suspected duplication of the articles occur when authors send research papers to more than one publisher or publishing the same or similar content in two or more journals (22). Stakeholders and publishers frown at such acts as it makes the novelty of research manuscripts debatable. Any such paper will be rejected without a second thought.

Absence of major components of research paper

Rejection of Open Research and Reviews papers due to lack of the key element of research expected of all papers submitted for publication such as affiliation, abstracts, introduction, methods, conclusion, as directed by the author’s instruction (23). A clear lack of key elements of research articles also undermines the originality of the study. In some cases where these key elements of research are present, they are poorly written with the too basic approach or terminologies and lacking the minimum expected professional input.

To this kind of paper, the editorial officers of journal publishers simply understand that such authors may have carelessly omitted some of these vital sections of a normal manuscript and are therefore expected to provide them. Therefore, editors will simply say papers are not publishable in their present format until such details are updated.

Poor language

Fourth, rejection of Open Research and Reviews papers due to language issues judged based on the quality, concise nature, readability, and clarity of the articles writing (24). Poor writing has to do with the overuse of jargon to express a point, lengthy sentences due to inability to use the right adjective, typographical errors, poor use of the right grama relating to the field of study, poor table design and caption, unclear legend and figure and more. There is much software that can be used by authors to improve language strength and accuracy. A senior professional or expert is advised to see the paper before submission.

Poor tables and figures

Fifth, rejection of rejections of Open Research and Reviews papers based on tables and figures issues may happen when tables in a manuscript are seen as incomplete, unclear, unnecessary, or inconsistent with the central message for which the authors attempted to design the table (25). Authors many times use figures when they are supposed to use tables or tables where there should be figures. The quality and type of figure also matter because graphs and charts and pictures have their specific importance in conveying the points being delivered by the authors.

Publishers specify what is needed in their author’s guide to avoiding confusion. While there may be no universal guidelines for use of pictures, graphs, and charts, efforts should be made to avoid ambiguity and bias while striving to strike a relevance in the mind of assessors and stakeholders to avoid exposing the paper to the question of relevance and novelty. Once this is the question there is the likelihood the paper may be rejected

 Shallow response to reviewers’ questions

Sixth, rejection of Open Research and Reviews papers due to poor responses to reviewers’ questions is critical as it borders on expertise which the publisher must try to reconcile between the reviewers and the authors (26). While the authors bring on board the technicalities of the paper, reviewers remove bias as they confirm the skills of the manuscript and the editorial office coordinates these activities to ensure the balance between skills, quality, and excellence in writing and result dissemination are synchronized in the best interest and greater good of the stakeholders.

However, if the authors disagree with some of the reviewer’s opinions, the authors have the chance to adequately explain with some specific examples and illustrations why they think certain points should be ignored or adopted. At this point, the editorial committee and the editor in chief have the final say.


Seventh, rejection of Open Research and Reviews papers due to Ethics is both critical and delicate because it borders human rights (27). By law, many scientific studies must be cleared by the research ethics board recognized by the government of the land. Therefore, papers that do not adequately prove that the papers were ethically and scientifically okayed by appropriate authorities stand rejected until such issues are addressed. Informed consent is needed to ensure nobody is denied

Research design issues

Eight, rejection of Open Research and Reviews papers due to research design ensures that the research approach used incorporates the right questions, sets the right objectives, using the right methods, and arrives at the right conclusion (28). Rejection comes when editors feel or understand the wrong design was used with wrong questions and wrong protocols and therefore the outcome may not have adequately answered the questions that led to the conduct of the research in the first instance. This puts the message of the study in doubt invalidating conclusions and recommendations of the study. If the editors believe the paper lead to more confusion and aberrations and did not add any clear value to knowledge then the paper will be rejected

Ambitious result presentation

Ninth, rejection of Open Research and Reviews papers can also be attributed to the value of the presented result which editors can conclude is very ambitious and speculative than realistic despite claims by the authors regarding authenticity (29). The onus is now on the authors to present and discuss results adequately comparing them to what is known on the world stage and explaining any clear discrepancies. Results should not be preempted to suit the reader’s expectations. It should be original and representative of the real situation of the research environs.

The result should also be complete as incomplete results can lead to paper rejection. The result must also be properly interpreted because of an impression that even the authors have inadequate knowledge and expertise in the fired of study for which results are poorly interpreted risk paper rejection

Out of scope

Tenth, rejection of Open Research and Reviews papers due to scope happen when papers are seen as out of scope (30). Every Journal has a clearly defined scope and expects authors to send papers within the confines of that specification. Therefore, papers that did not fall within the defined scope are outrightly rejected without being sent to the external reviewers. Journals scope help outline the area of specialization of the journal so all papers must clearly articulate their central theme to fall within the scope of that journals if the papers must be accepted

Caution and the take-home message

To avoid this doubt Open Research and Reviews authors must define the objective or aims or mission or goal of the papers and must also clearly define the hypothesis being tested in the paper. Where these are not defined or are missing or is not clear then the paper may be rejected. The authors can fix this issue and resubmit the papers for reevaluation. In most cases, papers rejected by journals published by the Special Journals publisher are rejected in their present format for authors to show the course why the papers should not be rejected.

Open Research and Reviews authors are informed their papers cannot be published in their present format. However, if they wish to pursue the future of their papers they should attend to reviewers and editorial boards questions and resubmit for reevaluation

Conclusions and recommendations

Quality, concise, clear, verifiable, novelty, appealing and more characteristics are the underpinning principles behind any decision to accept or to reject any Open Research and Reviews paper, and authors are advised to understand and work with editors to achieve this objective while editors and publishers are advised to execute their jobs in fairness, eschewing all forms of bias in this noble duty. When properly executed manuscript acceptance and publication will significantly advance the course of human existence on earth by providing answers to our curiosity as we explore the whole wide world, whereas the reverse will draw us back to the ancient world before the beginning of civilization. The choice is ours to chose between sustainable development or extinction


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