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J Family Community Med. 2000 Sep-Dec; 7(3): 17.
PMCID: PMC3437075

Tips from the Editor

Common reasons why papers are rejected for publication

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The study did not examine an important scientific issue

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The study was not original (someone else has already done the same or a similar study)

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The study did not actually test the author's hypothesis

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A different type of study should have been done

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Practical difficulties (e.g. in recruiting subjects) led the authors to compromise on the original study protocol

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The sample size was too small

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The study was uncontrolled or inadequately controlled

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The statistical analysis was incorrect or inappropriate

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The authors have drawn unjustified conclusions from their data

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There is considerable conflict of interest (e.g. one of the authors or a sponsor might benefit financially from the publication of the paper and insufficient safeguards were seen to be in place to guard against bias)

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The paper is so badly written that it is incomprehensible

(Source: Greenhalgh T. How to read a paper. The basics of evidence-based medicine. London: British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 1997)

Problems encountered by technical and copy editors, authors, journal editors and reviewers

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Inconsistency in: spellings, use of units, presentation of units, use of symbols

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Too many tables/figures makes layout difficult

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Lack of care in determining levels of headings (keep to a minimum)

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Literary not scientific language/lack of clarity

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Errors in quoting from source material

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Errors in cross-referencing data (e.g. data in text does not match data in tables/figures; statements in abstract do not match statements/conclusions in text)

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Incomplete referencing: author, title, journal, volume, issue, date, page numbers, or author/editor, book title, place of publication, publisher, year, page numbers

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Too many references: are they all valid?

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Poor quality figures/photos

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Poorly designed tables

(Source: WHO and other sources)


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