One of your editorial office's main tasks is checking-in manuscripts as they are submitted to decide if they are ready for peer-review. This includes a review of formatting and of ethical requirements.
As part of the checking in of a manuscript it is important to ensure that all relevant details are correct so that the manuscript can be tracked throughout the process.Whether you use an electronic editorial office system or not, performing these checks correctly at the beginning of the process will save you a lot of time later in the process.
Your author guidelines will form the basis of the checking procedure. These guidelines will help to ensure:
See below for some submission requirements and the various options that need to be considered.
Most journals require authors to make a number of declarations on submission, such as:
Depending on their field, some journals also require declarations regarding patient confidentially, conflicts of interest, and other ethical standards. You may also ask that each author's contribution is specified.
It is best to be explicit about the declarations your journal requires. Doing so will give you a sound basis for dealing with any breaches of these standards that might emerge.
We recommended that text files should be submitted in MS Word-compatible format, e.g. DOC or RTF (not PDF). Each figure or image should be submitted as a separate file in TIFF (for photographs) or EPS (for graphs or line art) format, though other file types are acceptable.
The title page is typically the first page before the main text. If your journal operates double-blind peer review, the title page should be a submitted as a separate file. The title page can include (as applicable):
You may find it easier to view the title page as part of the whole submission. This means less back and forth between the electronic submission and the article itself.
You’ll also be able to compare the electronic submission system with the title page.
Establish your preference for where acknowledgements, funding, and any disclosures should appear in the submission.
These declarations can form part of the title page or placed at the end of the main text. Journals are increasingly using the electronic submission process to capture many of these details including information on new funding requirements.
Download our recommended declarations checklist.
For more information on taking a manuscript through the production process, please see our Production Checklist.
Some journals require a structured abstract and a minimum number of keywords. Check the file for references to tables or figures (you can use Ctrl + F to search for 'figure' and 'table' in the document) to ensure that the author has submitted all the tables and figures he/she intended to include.
Tables and figures should be cited consecutively. Check the word count and reference style against your journal guidelines.
All illustrations (line diagrams and photographs) are classified as figures and are important features of manuscripts. They should add to the clarity of the manuscript as well as being interpretable in the absence of text.
Preferred formats for images and line graphs are:
Some electronic editorial office systems report automatically on the image resolution. Otherwise, a good guide is that you should be able to zoom in to about 300% without the image becoming noticeably blurred or pixelated. Very large files may be sent as compressed files (e.g. .zip or .rar).
A very comprehensive guide to electronic artwork that may be helpful can be found here: Electronic Artwork Guidelines [PDF]. This is also suitable for authors.
Do you need full resolution image at Peer Review?
Some journals only request low resolution figures/images to facilitate the peer review process (for example, lower resolution jpeg files, 150 d.p.i or less). They’ll ask the authors for high resolution figures/images if and when the manuscript is accepted. This is particularly in the case of specific disciplines that by their nature would receive highly detailed images, for example, x-rays/ultrasounds, focused view of insects.
Design software like Photoshop and Illustrator has made inappropriate image manipulation an increasing problem.
How to check an image for manipulation:
If inappropriate manipulation is indicated the authors should be contacted and asked to resupply their images.
Tables should complement but not duplicate the text and be self-contained. Authors should use consistent formatting in the preparation of tables. The layout, line weighting, fonts, symbols and label orientation should be consistent within the manuscript.
Some journals offer the opportunity to submit supporting information. At Wiley, this ancillary information is published online-only and can take the form of large data sets, video/audio clips or presentation slides.
Supporting information is not edited for scientific content, typographical or grammatical errors and is published as submitted.
There are many cases where the authors will upload a number of extra tables for example, as supporting information because they are not able to effectively incorporate them into their paper.
You should view any supporting information during the peer review process for relevancy to the main article, not for any other editing purpose.
Authors must ensure that any patients referred to in the manuscript have given their informed consent for the manuscript to be published.
Images of persons must be retouched to make the person unidentifiable or informed consent must be provided. This is particularly important with photos of children or vulnerable adults.
The anonymity of the person must be respected by leaving out any specific details that are not relevant to text.
If you do not feel that the author has done enough to ensure this, you may want to return the submission.
Despite most authors being aware of the need for anonymity when submitting a manuscript, many will forget that their bibliography/reference list may disclose their identity ? for example, if the bibliography includes many of the author(s)? works, or are referred to in the text as 'see my paper', etc.
Other sections that can reveal the author's identity are acknowledgements and any mentions of the study location, research institution, or major funders.
The paper should be unsubmitted with a note asking the author to fully anonymize their submission by referring to their own works in the third person.