Factors Positively Affecting Acceptance of an Original Research Paper
Edward Abraham, MD
Editor in Chief, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama
at Birmingham, Birmingham, USA
General factors that enhance the likelihood that a manuscript will be accepted include the novelty of the data presented, the clarity of presentation, mechanistic insights, and general interest of the subject studied. The importance of each of these factors will depend on the focus of the journal selected for publication. In terms of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM), information that is linked to pulmonary pathophysiology and that relates directly to human disease or results from a relevant animal model of disease will receive a higher priority and be more likely to be viewed positively by the reviewers and the Editors. In addition to these fundamental concerns about the importance of the results, the presentation of the data plays a central role in the likelihood of a paper being accepted. A well written abstract that clearly summarizes the findings of the study, an introduction that provides a rationale for the studies, useful figures and tables in the Results section, and a Discussion that puts the findings into perspective, particularly with reference to previously published information, all will enhance the chances of the paper being accepted. The writing style should be clear and declarative. The group sizes should be adequate to achieve statistical significance, where relevant. At the present time the AJRCCM only accepts about 20% of submitted manuscripts, meaning that even papers that receive positive reviews are frequently not selected for publication, based on priority reasons. Enhanced priority for publication is dependent on the novelty and importance of the results and the appeal of the subject matter to the broad, multidisciplinary readership of the Journal. Decisions made on similar priority concerns are made at other high impact journals.