The criteria used by editors of scientific dental journals in the assessment of manuscripts submitted for publication

D. R. Radford*, L. Smillie, R. F. Wilson, A. M. Grace

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine the factors that influence editors of scientific dental journals in deciding whether or not to publish submitted manuscripts and to determine if there is a consistent pattern for their decisions. Design: The study was by a postal questionnaire. Setting: The questionnaires were sent to editors of 50 major English language scientific dental journals in September 1996. Materials and Methods: Respondents were asked to rank a number of frequently stated criteria for success in the production of papers. The editors were asked to suggest other factors which 'influenced their decision to accept or reject a manuscript'. Additionally they were asked to suggest factors that 'gave them most heartache', 'would make their life easier' and 'would expedite publication'. Information was sought on editorial policy regarding the use of referees. Results: Forty two editors responded (84%). 6 replies were from journals regarded as 'generalist', and excluded from the final analysis. Factors which most frequently led to rejection included 'poor construction of the paper' (cited by 49% of respondents) and 'poor research design' (37%). Factors which editors valued highly were 'scientific novelty and timeliness of the topic' (29%). Factors that caused most problems were 'poor use of English and careless preparation of the manuscript' (46%). 'Attention to guide lines to authors' was cited by 68% of editors as a means of expediting publication. Conclusions: The application of these results can help authors to prepare manuscripts that are more attractive to editors of dental journals. Editors valued papers that were appropriate to the stated aims of their journal and regarded the significance and validity of the research work as the most important aspects of manuscripts submitted for publication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-379
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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