EPrints for Open Access

EPrints has been leading innovation in the Open Access movement over the past 15 years. EPrints provides a set of mature ingest, preservation, dissemination and reporting services for your institution’s OA needs.

Created in 2000 as a direct outcome of the 1999 Santa Fe meeting that decided on the OAI-PMH protocol, EPrints software provides stable, pragmatic infrastructure on which institutions the world over have been utilising to enable their Open Access agendas.

As Open Source Software, EPrints’ greatest asset is the community of developers, librarians and users that feed into its progress and keep EPrints the innovative platform that we are so proud of.


More Information


What is Open Access?

Open Access is giving free, immediate, permanent online access to the full text of research articles for anyone, worldwide.  Society as a whole can benefit from an expanded and accelerated research cycle in which research can advance more effectively because researchers have immediate access to all the findings they need.

Who benefits from Open Access?

The visibility, usage and impact of researchers’ own findings increases with open access, as does their power to find, access and use the findings of others. Universities co-benefit from their researchers’ increased impact, which also increases the return on the investment of the funders of the research, such as governments, charitable foundations, and the tax-paying public.

For teachers, Open Access means no restrictions on providing articles for teaching purposes. Only the URL need be provided; Open Access takes care of the rest. Publishers likewise also benefit from the wider dissemination, greater visibility and higher journal citation impact factor of their articles.>/p>

The two roads of Open Access


The “green road” of OA self-archiving, where authors provide OA to their own published articles, by making their own eprints free for all.
the “golden road” of Open Access (OA) journal- publishing, where journals provide OA to their articles (either by charging the author-institution for refereeing/publishing outgoing articles instead of charging the user-institution for accessing incoming articles, or by simply making their online edition free for all).

The two roads to Open Access should not be confused or conflated; they are complementary. (EPrints is focussed largely on the green road, because it is the fastest and surest way to reach immediate 100% OA; but the green road might eventually lead to gold too.) OA self-archiving is not self-publishing; nor is it about online publishing without quality control (peer review); nor is it intended for writings for which the author wishes to be paid, such as books or magazine/newspaper articles. OA self-archiving is for peer-reviewed research, written solely for research impact rather than royalty revenue.

How to provide Open Access

An Institutional Repository (IR) is the best way to provide open access to research output.
Software such as EPrints provides a web-based OAI- compliant IR for free.

This open source software can be downloaded for free at http://files.eprints.org

How can you implement Open Access?

Putting Open Access into Practice

Researchers, their institutions and their funders need to be informed of the benefits of providing Open Access and instructed on how quickly and simply it is done.

An Institutional Open Access Repository such as EPrints needs to be created (and registered in ROARMAP, so as to be seen and emulated by other institutions).

Seriously and carefully consider adopting and implementing an open access self-archiving mandate for systematically filling your repository with the target content (and registered, so as to be seen and emulated by other institutions).

Establish champions in your institution to advocate open access and become an active member of open access networks and communities to share and hear about good practices.

EPrints Software and Services

An Institutional Repository is the best way to provide open access to research output. Software such as EPrints provides a web-based OAI-compliant IR for free.

This open source software can be downloaded for free at http://files.eprints.org

If you would prefer us to take care of your repository, including building, customisations, hosting and support, contact EPrints Services to discuss your needs.

Source: www.eprints.org

What is BASE?

BASE is one of the world’s most voluminous search engines especially for academic web resources. BASE provides more than 100 million documents from more than 5,000 sources. You can access the full texts of about 60% of the indexed documents for free (Open Access). BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library.

We are indexing the metadata of all kinds of academically relevant resources – journals, institutional repositories, digital collections etc. – which provide an OAI interface and use OAI-PMH for providing their contents (see our Golden Rules for Repository Managers and learn more about OAI at the Open Archives Initiative or Wikipedia).

The index is continuously enhanced by integrating further sources (you can suggest a source which is not indexed yet). We are working on several new features like a claiming service for authors within the ORCID DE project.

BASE is a registered OAI service provider. Database managers can integrate the BASE index into their local infrastructure (e.g. meta search engines, library catalogues). Further on there are several tools and services for users, database and repository managers.

In comparison to commercial search engines, BASE is charcterised by the following features:

  • Intellectually selected resources
  • Only document servers that comply with the specific requirements of academic quality and relevance are included
  • A data resources inventory provides transparency in the searches
  • Discloses web resources of the “Deep Web”, which are ignored by commercial search engines or get lost in the vast quantity of hits
  • Correction, normalization and enrichment of metadata by means of automated methods
  • The display of search results includes precise bibliographic data
  • Display of access and terms of re-use for a document
  • Several options for sorting the result list
  • “Refine your search result” options (by author, subject, DDC, year of publication, content provider, language, document type, access and terms of re-use)
  • Browsing by DDC (Dewey Decimal Classification), document type, access and terms of re-use / licence.

Source: Bilefeld Academic Search Engine


(All) Research. Shared.

— your one stop research shop!

all research outputs from across all fields of research are welcome! Zenodo accepts any file format as well as both positive and negative results. We choose to promote peer-reviewed openly accessible research, and we curate the uploads posted on the front-page.

Citeable. Discoverable.

— be found!

Zenodo assigns all publicly available uploads a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to make the upload easily and uniquely citeable. Zenodo further supports harvesting of all content via the OAI-PMH protocol.


— create your own repository

Zenodo allows you to create your own collection and accept or reject uploads submitted to it. Creating a space for your next workshop or project has never been easier. Plus, everything is citeable and discoverable!


— more than just a drop box!

Your research output is stored safely for the future in same cloud infrastructure as research data from CERN’sLarge Hadron Collider and using CERN’s battle-tested repository software Invenio, which is used by some of the world’s largest repositories such as INSPIRE HEP andCERN Document Server.


— tell your funding agency!

Zenodo is integrated into reporting lines for research funded by the European Commission via OpenAIRE. Just upload your research to Zenodo, and we will take care of the reporting for you. We plan to expand this feature with further funding agencies in the future, so stay tuned!

Flexible Licensing

— not everything is under Creative Commons

Zenodo encourages you to share your research as openly as possible to maximize use and re-use of your research results. However, we also acknowledge that one size does not fit all. Therefore, we allow for uploading under a variety of different licenses and access levels*.

Source: ZENODO

Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting

The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) is a low-barrier mechanism for repository interoperability. Data Providers are repositories that expose structured metadata via OAI-PMH. Service Providers then make OAI-PMH service requests to harvest that metadata. OAI-PMH is a set of six verbs or services that are invoked within HTTP.

OAI-PMH Community Resources


OAI-PMH Core Resources


Source: Open Archives Initiative

Autism: is there a place for ReAttach therapy? A promotion of natural self-healing through emotions rewiring

Dear readers,

I want to share with you good news. The new ebook by our team is already published. The title is Autism: is there a place for ReAttach therapy? A promotion of natural self-healing through emotions rewiring. You can downloaded for free here.

Edited by Paula Weerkamp-Bartholomeus
Contributors Soren Petter, Ashutosh Srivastava, Michael Fitzgerald, Donatella Marazziti,
Alexander B. Poletaev, Vladimir Trajkovski
ISBN 978-88-98991-71-6

Publication Ethics

JRTDD is committed to maintaining the highest standards of publication ethics and to supporting ethical research practices. JRTDD is still not a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) (http://publicationethics.org/) but we adheres to the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers. We encourage journal editors to follow the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors and to refer reviewers to the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers as appropriate. Allegations of misconduct will be investigated in accordance with the COPE Best Practice Guidelines as far as is practicable. If notified of a potential breach of publication ethics, we encourage journal editors and staff to inform their JRTDD contact as soon as possible. JRTDD staff are trained on how to proceed with investigations into allegations of ethical misconduct and will seek legal counsel when necessary.

We take publication ethics very seriously. Many of the journals we publish have individual ethical policies, and we encourage authors to check the relevant journal website for details prior to submission.  JRTDD supports its journal editorial teams and authors providing best practice guidelines in the following key areas:


Article submission

Conflict of interest

Fair editing and peer review

Promoting ethical research



JRTDD expects all published articles to contain clear and accurate attribution of authorship. It is the responsibility of the author to ensure that all authors that contributed to the work are fairly acknowledged and that the published author list accurately reflects individual contributions. Where authorship disputes arise, JRTDD encourages journal editorial teams to follow the COPE guidelines detailed here. Where authors employ the services of third party agencies prior to submission, for instance in language editing or manuscript formatting/preparation, they must ensure that all services comply with the following guidelines.

  1. Attribution and acknowledgement

JRTDD supports the ICMJE definitions of authorship as published here. Some journals publish their own definitions of authorship – check the journal submission guidelines or editorial policy for details. Definitions of what constitutes authorship vary by journal, research area, or article type but typically authorship is confined to those who have made a significant contribution to the design and execution of the work described. Many journals now take the extra step of emailing named authors at the point of submission (usually via the journal submission system) to confirm participation. Some journals may require a short description of each authors’ contribution to be included with the submitted files or as part of the acknowledgements section of an article.

  1. Changes in authorship

Requests for changes to authorship must be directed to the journal editor or administrator – check individual journal websites for contact details. Requests should be dealt with fairly and in accordance with the relevant COPE guidelines (detailed below) and/or the published policy of the individual journal. Changes in authorship will only be permitted where valid reasons are provided and all authors are in agreement with the change. Post-publication changes to authorship will typically be made via a published correction.

  • Request for addition of extra author before publication:


  • Request removal of author before publication:


  • Request for addition of extra author post publication:


  • Request for removal of author post-publication:


  1. ‘Ghost,’ ‘guest,’ or ‘gift’ authorship

JRTDD considers all forms of ghost, guest, and gift authorship to be unethical and works closely with editors and publishing partners to take a firm stance against such practices. Any allegation of ghost, guest, or gift authorship will be investigated in accordance with the COPE guidelines listed here. Where such practices are identified the authors in question will be removed from an article through a post-publication correction or erratum. In addition the journal may choose to notify the institutional or local ethics committee for the authors in question.

‘Ghost’ authorship refers to the practice of using a non-named author to write or prepare an article for publication. Ghost authors are typically (but not exclusively) paid sponsors, employees, junior researchers, or external academic affiliates.

‘Guest’ or ‘gift’ authorship refers to the practice of naming an individual that made little or no contribution to a study as an author on an article. Gift authors are typically (but not exclusively) senior researchers, affiliated researchers, friends, or colleagues of the principle author. There are also organisations that offer gift authorship for a fee.


Article submission

JRTDD takes every effort to ensure that editors, peer reviewers, and journal administrators treat all submissions respectfully, in confidence, and in accordance with COPE ethical guidelines. JRTDD expects that all individuals submitting manuscripts to JRTDD-published journal abide by established publishing standards and ethics. In proven cases of misconduct, the action taken will vary by journal and by context, but could result in one or more of the following:

  • Retraction of published work.
  • Publication of a correction or statement of concern.
  • Refusal of future submission.
  • Notification of misconduct sent to an author’s local institution, superior, and/or ethics committee.
  1. Redundant publication (dual submission or publication)

JRTDD-published journal evaluate submissions on the understanding that they have not been previously published in or simultaneously submitted to another journal. We encourage all JRTDD-reviewers to investigate allegations of redundant publication thoroughly and in accordance with COPE guidelines detailed here. We also encourage editors and journal administrators to keep a clear record of all communications between authors, editors, and peer reviewers regarding the submissions they handle. These records are carefully stored and may be used to facilitate investigations into possible cases of misconduct. Where necessary we will contact and/or co-operate with other publishers and journals to identify cases of redundant publication.

  1. Plagiarism

JRTDD journals evaluate submissions on the understanding that they are the original work of the author(s). We expect that references made in a manuscript or article to another person’s work or idea will be credited appropriately. Equally we expect authors to gain all appropriate permissions prior to publication. Guidelines on when permissions are required and how to seek permissions are available here.

Re-use of text, data, figures, or images without appropriate acknowledgment or permission is considered plagiarism, as is the paraphrasing of text, concepts, and ideas. All allegations of plagiarism are investigated thoroughly and in accordance with COPE guidelines detailed here. Many journals now systematically run submitted papers through plagiarism-detection software to identify possible cases. Journals will typically stipulate how they employ such software – whether systematically or selectively – in their submission guidelines.

  1. Defamation

Whilst striving to promote freedom of expression wherever possible, JRTDD aims to avoid publishing anything that harms the reputation of an individual, business, or organization unless it can be proven to be true. We take all possible measures to ensure that published work is free of any text that is, or may be considered to be libelous, slanderous, or defamatory.


Conflict of interest

JRTDD is committed to transparency in areas of potential conflict of interest. We encourage our editors and partner societies to publish and regularly review policies on Conflict of Interest as they relate to authors, editors and peer reviewers.

  1. Authors

Conflict of interest exists when an author’s private interests might be seen as influencing the objectivity of research or experiment, to the point that a reasonable observer might wonder if the individual’s behaviour or judgement was motivated by considerations of his or her competing interests. It is the responsibility of a manuscript’s corresponding author to confirm if co-authors hold any conflict of interest.  The corresponding author may be required to co-ordinate completion of written forms from each co-author and submit these to the editor or journal administrator prior to acceptance.  The following should also be declared, either through the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript or at the point of submission:

  • All sources of research funding, including direct and indirect financial support, supply of equipment, or materials (including specialist statistical or writing assistance).
  • The role of the research funder(s) or sponsor(s), if any, in the research design execution, analysis, interpretation, and reporting.
  • Any relevant financial and non-financial interests and relationships that might be considered likely to affect the interpretation of their findings or that editors, reviewers, or readers might reasonably wish to know. These might include, but are not limited to, patent or stock ownership, membership on a company’s board of directors, membership of an editorial board or committee for a company, consultancy for a company, or receipt of speaker’s fees from a company.

When considering whether to declare a conflicting interest or connection we encourage authors to consider how they would answer the following question: Is there any arrangement that would embarrass you or any of your co-authors if it was to emerge after publication and you had not declared? it?

b. Editors

JRTDD expects its journal editors to declare competing interests at the point of agreeing their position and update them annually. JRTDD’s standard editor agreement obliges the editor to declare any potential conflict of interest that might arise during the term of editorship prior to entry into any agreement or position.

Editors are required to recuse themselves from individual manuscripts if they themselves have a potential conflict of interest and to avoid creating potential conflicts of interest through assignment of handling editors or peer reviewers.

  1. Referees

We encourage editors and journal administrators to consider potential conflicts of interest when assigning reviewers. Some journals include wording in their invitation to review stating that acceptance of the invitation implies no financial or competing interest.  Where a reviewer declares potential conflict of interest the editor should select alternative reviewers. Failure to declare conflict of interest may result in removal of the reviewer from the journal database.

Fair editing and peer review

JRTDD encourages all participants in the publishing process to adhere to established principles of ethical publishing. This extends from authors to journal editors, reviewers, journal administrators, and publishing staff.

  1. Editorial independence

Editors have full editorial independence. Although JRTDD and any publishing partners may discuss strategy, process, and policy with editors, we will never knowingly exert pressure on editors to accept manuscripts for commercial or political reasons. We do, however, expect and encourage editors to have clearly defined processes and policies for the handling of contributions by the editor or members of the editorial board to ensure that, where appropriate, these submissions receive an equivalent level of peer review to any other submission.

  1. Peer review and reviewer conduct

JRTDD supports and refers its editors to the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. JRTDD support double-blind system of peer review but encourages editors to publish their review procedure as part of their submission guidelines, for instance:

Manuscripts are reviewed by two independent experts in the relevant area. The reviewers make a scientific assessment and a recommendation to the editors. Reviewers remain unknown to authors. The Handling editor considers the manuscript and the reviewers’ comments before making a final decision either to accept, accept with revision or to reject a manuscript.

  1. Confidentiality

Unless otherwise specified, JRTDD expects editors and reviewers to handle all submissions in confidence. If a reviewer wishes to delegate the review or seek the opinion of a colleague on a specific aspect of the paper, they are expected to clear this with the editor in the first instance.

Any suggestion that an editor or reviewer is appropriating ideas from a manuscript they handled for a journal will be thoroughly investigated in accordance with the following COPE guidelines: http://publicationethics.org/files/u7140/Appropriated.pdf


  1. Peer review fraud

Some journals provide the option for submitting authors to suggest preferred reviewers. It is the responsibility of the lead author to ensure that only genuine reviewers and reviewer contact details are put forward. Any suspected or alleged instances of authors submitting fabricated reviewer details will be thoroughly investigated. If such allegations are proven, the article in question will be immediately rejected or, if already published, retracted. The journal would typically notify the authors’ institutional or local ethics council and may also impose a ban on further submissions from the author grJRTDD.


Promoting ethical research

JRTDD’s mission is to promote the highest standards of research through its publishing activities. Ensuring that the research we publish is conducted in a fair and ethical manner is integral to this. We publish across multiple research areas, many of which have their own standards and methods of governing research practice.

Wherever appropriate, we expect published research based on human subjects to provide the name of the local ethics committee that approved the study (or confirmation that such approval is not needed) and/or to state how the study conforms to recognized standards (e.g. declaration of Helsinki or US Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects). JRTDD encourages handling editors to return any manuscripts describing studies not meeting acceptable criteria.

The following list details JRTDD’s approach to the most common areas of research integrity.

  1. Patient confidentiality

Journals publishing studies using human subjects should ensure that a patient’s right to privacy has not been infringed without prior consent. We encourage authors to follow the ICMJE guidelines for reporting on human subjects. For publication of material that contains detailed patient information about a living individual, it is compulsory for a signed patient consent to be obtained. Any identifier that might reveal a patient’s identity must be removed (i.e., x-rays, MRIs, charts, photographs, etc.). Written informed consent is required from any potentially identifiable patient or legal representative, and should be presented in either the Methods section or the Acknowledgements.

  1. Animal experimentation

Where animals are used in research we expect them to have been treated in a humane manner and in line with the ARRIVE guidelines. The International Council for Laboratory Animal Science has published guidelines specifically for editors and Reviewers on how to handle submissions involving animal research. JRTDD supports these guidelines and, wherever possible, encourages editors and society partners to adopt them. Authors may be required to provide evidence that they obtained ethical and /or legal approval prior to conducting the research.

  1. Registering clinical trials

All clinical trials should be registered prospectively in publically accessible databases (e.g. www.clinicaltrials.gov and www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu) and manuscripts should include registration numbers and the name of the register. Some journals may require clinical trials to be reported according to CONSORT guidelines.

  1. Falsification and fabrication

Submitted papers found to include false or fabricated data prior to publication will be returned to the author immediately with a request for an explanation. If no explanation is received or if the explanation provided is considered unsatisfactory, the journal will notify the authors’ institution, local ethical committee, or superior. The journal may also refuse to accept further submissions from the author for a defined period.

Examples of data falsification or fabrication include: image manipulation; cropping of gels/images to change context; omission of selected data; or making-up data sets. Some journals employ image manipulation software to detect evidence of falsification in submitted manuscripts. JRTDD recognizes that falsification is not always deliberate and will encourage its editors to consider each case on its terms.

Article-level metrics

Researchers, funders and institutions are increasingly concerned about the impact and return-on-investment of their work. Article-level metrics are designed to help authors assess this by providing a better understanding of the reach of an article or published research, and the attention it is receiving online. Oxford University Press now provides access to the number of online views of each article, the number of citations to each article, and the Altmetric score of each article. These metrics can be accessed by clicking on the ‘View Metrics’ link on each article web page.

Article usage data

Citation count

Altmetric data

The Altmetric score

Altmetric for authors

Missing Altmetric mentions

Article usage data

The ‘Total Views’ metric indicates the number of times an article has been viewed on the Oxford Academic Platform in the time period shown. This metric is the sum of ‘Pageviews’ which are views of the full-text web page version, and ‘PDF Downloads’ which are views of the full-text PDF version.

Note that ‘Total Views’ can be inflated by non-human agents. ‘Total Views’ can likewise be increased by multiple views from the same user.

Citation count

The ‘Citations’ metric is the number of citations attributed to the article in the ‘Web of Science Core Collection’ database. Clicking the link will take you to a list of citing articles on the external Web of Science website.

Altmetric data

The traditional methods of counting citations and downloads to measure impact misses much, not least the reception to published research amongst wider society. As a result, there has been a desire in the scholarly community to gain a better understanding of the reach and attention a paper receives beyond the academic sphere.

‘Altmetrics’, or alternative metrics, have evolved to help answer those questions by tracking and collating mentions and shares of academic research papers and other outputs (such as datasets) across traditional and social media outlets, blogs, public policy documents, post-publication peer-review forums and online reference managers.

Altmetric data is available across all articles published on the Oxford Journals platform. Visitors to the site can click on the Altmetric donut to see a detailed breakdown of the online engagement an individual article has received to date, outside of traditional biblometrics.

Altmetric LLP, who provide the data, collect article level metrics and the online conversations around research papers by tracking a selection of online indicators (both scholarly and non-scholarly) to give a measurement of digital impact and reach. ‘Mentions’ that contain links to any version of the same paper are picked up, and collated. The result is the Altmetric score.

The Altmetric score

The score is a quantitative measure of the attention that a scholarly article has received, and is displayed in the centre of the donut icon. The score is derived from three main factors:

  • Volume: the score for an article rises as more people mention it.
  • Sources: each category of mention contributes a different base amount to the final score.
  • Authors: how often the author of each mention talks about scholarly articles influences the contribution of the mention.

The resulting score is displayed as a ‘donut’. The different coloured bands in the ring-shaped donut icon represent the various sources the article has mentions from – blue for twitter, yellow for blogs, red for mainstream media sources, and so on. For a more detailed breakdown of results, showing all mentions and analytics from across Twitter, the blogosphere, mainstream media outlets, Facebook, and Google+, simply click the ‘See more details’ link below the donut. By doing so users will be able to:

See the attention that each article is receiving from non-traditional sources, including;

  • mainstream and social media
  • published policy documents
  • online reference managers
  • post-publication peer-review forums
  • Explore the conversations surrounding the content
  • Identify recent papers your peers think are interesting

Online demographics are also available via this link, so users can see which parts of the world mentions are coming from.

Altmetric for authors

Altmetrics can be useful to researchers who are keen to build their online presence, demonstrate the broader impacts of their work, and increase their chances of receiving grant funding. To make the most of the data around your articles you might like to:

  • Use the Altmetric details page to identify coverage and wider dissemination of your research that you can evidence in CVs or funding applications.
  • See who is talking about your research – identify potential new collaborators and build relationships with key influencers.
  • Monitor other research in your field, and know how it has been received amongst a broader audience.
  • Manage your online reputation – respond to commentary about your work and actively engage with the conversation.

Additionally, you might wish to:

  • Sign up for Altmetric email alerts: You can sign up to be notified when an article receives a new mention online (don’t worry – you’ll only get one email a day, no matter how many mentions it gets in that day). Simply visit the Altmetric page linked from ‘Show more details’ to do so.
  • Improve your Altmetric score: Read this Altmetric blog article for some ideas and tips.
  • Add your Altmetric score to your own website: You can display your article’s Altmetric score on your personal website or blog, or on your departmental or society webpages, by following these instructions.

Missing Altmetric mentions

If you spot any mentions missing for a paper, please use this form to report this to Altmetric, who will review your suggestions and add them where applicable. You can find more information about why some mentions may not have been picked up here.

Source: Oxford Academic Journals

How to Write a Humane Rejection Letter: Advice from a Journal Editor

Dear readers,

Writing rejection letters is never easy. As hard as it is for authors to receive adverse manuscript decisions, it can be equally difficult for editors to continually craft manuscript rejections throughout their day. Whether responding to desk-reject submissions or to submissions that have gone through one or multiple rounds of peer review, all editors have to find a constructive approach to writing rejection letters that works for them.

“It’s always hard to write rejections,” said Anita Harris, managing editor of SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism. “I’ve been on the receiving end of those letters and it can be painful.”

Harris, who sends all of the rejection letters for her journal, said that while turning down submissions remains one of the hardest parts of her job it doesn’t have to be entirely bad. She brings her perspective as a researcher and author to all of the submissions decisions she writes and aims to give authors helpful insights that they can use to improve their future submissions. Below we outline some of Harris’ top tips for writing a more humane rejection letter.

Provide an editor explanation

As a best practice, Harris said it is paramount that journals include explanations for manuscript rejections in all of their decision letters to authors. These comments should come from the perspective of the editor who made the final manuscript decision. “You would never send a flat out rejection letter,” said Harris.

In their decison letter comments, Harris said editors should make a point to show all of the authors they respond to that their submissions were read closely and that the editor or editors who reviewed them took the time to understand and fully consider the submission. With regard to outlining the reasons for their decision to reject a submission, Harris said editors should focus on using clear language and referencing concrete facts. Editors should avoid writing blanket statements above all else, as they can seem more emotional than analytical and cause authors to feel like their submissions weren’t given fair consideration.

Harris said incorporating comprehensive editor explanations into rejection letters can be especially important for journals that charge submissions fees. “If authors have to pay money upfront and then get a rejection before their manuscript has been externally reviewed, at the very least they are going to want to have a reason for that rejection,” she said.

Send useful referee comments

At SubStance Harris said the desk and peer-reviewed rejection letters she sends authors are basically one in the same expect for one component, reviewer comments. “All of the peer-reviewed rejection letters have a field below the editor’s signature that allows for comments,” she said.

When it comes to sharing reviewer insights, Harris said she leans towards giving authors more information than less. “I send all reader comments as long as they’re constructive and they’re not too redundant,” she said. While some journals only send excerpts of reviewer notes, Harris said she believes it can be more beneficial to authors to give them the full picture of what reviewers had to say.

“I think most writers or academics would like to get that kind of feedback,” she explained. “If you choose to submit somewhere else it helps to have that range of reviewer feedback so you can improve your manuscript.”

Of course, if you choose to give authors full reviewer comments, Harris said it’s important to take precautions before sending out your final decision letters.

“As the person who writes the rejection letters, you do sometimes have to soften the language reviewers use or make it more formal in tone,” she said. “Occasionally reviewers will include things in their write-up that are clearly not meant for the reader.”

Harris said in her experience she’s always been able to find a way to structure reviewer comments in a positive light, but that if she were to come across an unconstructive review she would look to the reviewer for help.

“If I just couldn’t work with the reviewer comments I would look to them and ask ‘what can I say to the author that will be constructive?’”

Harris said in her opinion, providing detailed feedback in all rejection letters is an essential responsibility of academic journals. Incorporating editor and reviewer comments into decision letters can help authors of underdeveloped manuscripts learn, grow, and make future contributions to the academic community.

“I think that’s one of the functions of journals; it’s not just about what serves the journal but what serves the academic community at large,” she said.

Be definitive but appreciative

All editors face the challenge of crafting rejection letters that give authors constructive feedback on their submissions but also make it clear to them that rejection decisions are final. Harris said editors should look to find a balance between both of these aims, keeping in mind that the tone and structure of their comments can have a big impact on how authors interpret them.

“You really try to make it as painless as possible, while at the same time making it firm enough where it’s closing the door,” she said.

In her decision letters Harris said she is always explicit and upfront about rejections, but also always makes a point to thank authors for taking the time to submit to the journal. When she provides editor and reviewer comments Harris said she is sure to present them as something she hopes the author will find beneficial. “I make sure to introduce the comments by telling authors I am including them in hopes they might be helpful. I think putting the letters together that way hopefully softens the blow,” she said.

In her experience, Harris said framing rejection letters in a useful way can turn a negative author experience into something positive. “I’ve actually had authors write me back to say thank you,” she said. “It’s always nice for myself and the other editors when that happens, it’s nice to know we’re helping people.”

Source: Scholastica