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RNJ Corner: From Manuscript Submission to Publication

Each manuscript submitted to RNJ is processed through the Editorial Manager software system. Melissa Bellows, the RNJ Editorial Assistant, checks the manuscript to make sure that all the pieces are there that the journal requires. This "check" does not look at the quality of the manuscript but looks at the details required in submitting the manuscript. If the manuscript is complete, Melissa forwards it to me as editor-in-chief. I look at every manuscript and decide if the topic is in the scope of the journal and would be of interest to RNJ's readers. If the manuscript is poorly written and there are many gaps in the paper, I might send it back to the author(s), explain the issues and ask them to re-submit. These manuscripts receive a disposition of "revise, no guarantee of publication". Other times if I feel that the manuscript cannot be revised enough to be published, I will send it back to the author with reasons why it did not go out for peer review.

If a manuscript passes this first test, I select peer reviewers who have the expertise to review the paper. The reviewers' expertise may be in the topic of the paper or in the research methodology used. Typically, two to three reviewers are asked to review a paper, and one of the reviewers is often an editorial board member. Once reviewers are confirmed, they have two weeks to complete their review. Reviewers answer a checklist of questions about the manuscript. Examples include: is the manuscript sensitive to issues of diversity, inclusion and equity; is the content relevant to rehab nursing and written in a manner that captures the reader's interests; are the results credible and understandable; and is the design and methodology of the research study clear and complete. The peer reviewers also provide narrative comments about the paper. When the reviews are returned to me, I make a judgment whether the paper should continue in the review process. The reviewers may have multiple issues with the paper, and I may deem the issues too great to get to a publishable stage, and thus reject the paper. If there is disagreement among reviewers as to the strengths or weaknesses of the paper, I will ask another reviewer to review it. I may send the paper back to the author(s) with a "revise and resubmit" comment. As the editor, I may include my own comments to the author(s) that may not have been detailed by the reviewers. Papers may go through two to three reviews until it is ready for publication.

Author(s) often think that if their paper isn't accepted on the first review, there isn't any use to keep trying. RNJ's own statistics show that papers are often accepted on the 2nd or 3rd revision. So, keep working on that paper, don't give up! If you have questions about the reviewers' comments, please let me know. I'm here to assist you in getting your paper published!

Pamala D Larsen

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