Dear NANN Colleagues,
We begin by thanking you for your readership of Advances in Neonatal Care (ANC). As Co-Editors-in-Chief we have been able to do so much with your support. As we begin to consider 2020, we see many new opportunities and challenges for the future of our journal. Below we describe a few issues we want you to be aware of as we move forward.
OPEN ACCESS IN PUBLISHING
The publication world in general seems a bit turbulent right now. There are several changes being considered both in Europe and around the world that could impact how scholarly work is published. There is a big push for all scholarly work to be “Free Access” and thus, freely available to all (not just to scholars through subscriptions but to the general public). This may sound like a great idea, but behind this push is the wicked question: Who will pay for this availability? There is a cost for production of manuscripts into articles that clinicians and researchers will want to read and use to guide their work. In addition, if publication of scholarly work were freely available to all in an electronic format, library subscriptions and journal subscriptions would become unneeded and revenue from those channels would significantly decrease while at the same time the cost of production is somewhat stable creating a funding mismatch. Currently, for “Open Access” to occur there is a fee to the author for requesting this publication type. Open access fee covers the cost of the publication process and allows the work to then be made freely available to others who do not have an institutional or personal subscription to the journal. The National Institute of Health (NIH) already requires this access for works that are published out of research supported by NIH at no cost to the authors. In Europe, the process is a little different and it seems their national funding agencies may be pushing for publication through their own process (possibly their own journals) if the work has been funded through a European funder. Currently, this topic is just a discussion and there is no way to know how this will turn out, so we are just keeping an eye on the process along with our own publisher, Lippincott. We don't expect a change in the publication process in the very near future but change as you know is always looming and sometimes change moves fast and sometimes slow, so we are trying to be abreast of the proposed changes and how they could impact ANC. Stay tuned for this one.
ANC RESPONSE TIME AND REVIEW PROCESSES
We have noticed that turnaround times for ANC manuscripts have been increasing. We wanted you to know that we are as concerned about this issue as you are. There are several contributing factors. As has always been the case, we have many first-time and junior authors with increasing needs for editorial support that slows down the process. We want to support and mentor junior authors while still keeping manuscripts moving through the publication process. We have noticed that even though we have decreased the number of peer reviewers from 3 to 3 in the last year the review time has not decreased. We also notice that it takes longer to get 2 reviewers to agree to review than it has in the past and this increases review times.
We will briefly outline the submission process to demonstrate where hang-ups occur in the process. Once the manuscript is fully submitted (all required aspects) the clock begins. The first item that can cause a slowdown in the process is getting all authors to sign the authorship documents; this alone can take 1 to 2 weeks. You can help us with this issue by making sure all the manuscript authors know you have completed submission of the manuscript and that they will receive an e-mail from the journal that they must reply to for the manuscript to move forward in the process. Once approved by all authors, the manuscript moves on to one of the co-editors for peer review assignments. This step involves a few different processes. First the Co-Editor briefly reviews the manuscript and all other attachments for clarity and “fit” for ANC. We also exam the manuscript through a software for plagiarism and if there are problems, we might send the manuscript back to the authors without further review. If we decide to move forward, then we will choose 2 peer-reviewers based on the “personal classifications” each peer-reviewer provides with registration in editorial manager. We also might choose peer-reviewers from our editorial board or known experts whom have an ANC editorial manager account. Peer-reviewers have 72 hours to accept/decline these assignments before the system will help us to choose another peer-reviewer. We have noticed that peer-reviewers often don't accept until they get a second notice and then could take the full 14 days to review the manuscript. There are also times where peer-reviewers have accepted the assignment but then take more than 14 days to submit their reviews, adding to delays. Once 2 peer-reviews are completed, the co-editors again review the manuscript and peer reviews and assigns the manuscripts to the appropriate section editor for review. Although this step could delay the process by increasing the number of handoffs of the manuscript, we believe this step provides the authors the best-targeted feedback for the specific journal section. This feedback can decrease the numbers of revisions necessary for an acceptable manuscript. Together, we all play a part in the review process. Hopefully, understanding the process will help you to be more aware of meeting the deadlines.
If you are an author and you have questions about your manuscript, please do not hesitate to contact us. The first contact should be Emily Babcock our Managing Editor; she can be best contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will often answer your questions faster than if you try to contact one of the Co-Editors. She also understands how best to get around in ANC Editorial Manager than either of the Co-Editors. If you would like mentorship for your manuscript, please let us know and we will facilitate a writing mentor for you. Oftentimes we can solicit someone on the editorial board to help you with getting your work to be publishable quality.
MANUSCRIPT PAGE LENGTHS
We have always included a manuscript page length in our author guidelines; however, it is only recently that we are enforcing these page length guidelines. For most manuscripts submitted to ANC, the manuscript should be less than 15 pages of text (not including the title page, abstract, and references). The only exception is systematic reviews or meta-analyses manuscripts. For these submissions we will allow up to 18 pages. We are now checking the page lengths and asking authors to revise manuscripts that are longer. We are enforcing these requirements for 2 reasons: (1) we are receiving more excellent submission and we want to be able to share as many as possible with you in a timely way; and, (2) we are beginning to have a backlog of more than 3 issues (approximately 6-8 months' delay in printing of manuscripts accepted for publication). Most manuscripts go to “publication ahead of print” and thus, these are available online before printing in a journal issue. These page length requirements do not include tables or graphs; however, we would prefer you keep your total tables and figures to 6 to 8 or less. If you would like to share more tables, figures, and graphs with readers, supplemental digital content is an option.
SUPPLEMENTAL DIGITAL CONTENT
Sometimes you might choose to publish some aspects of your manuscript as supplemental digital content. These additional materials can be shared with readers in a digital format online that is hyperlinked to the article once it is in print. Long tables such as those in a systematic review, or a large table that could be a questionnaire or protocol, might be something you would choose to share with readers in this way, as a means, to keep your print content within the required page counts. One very important thing to remember is that supplemental digital content is not formatted by the publisher. And thus, it would be important to submit this content in a print quality format. What we mean by this is to make sure there are no grammar or punctuation issues, and that you use spacing, color, and graphics to accentuate the work. Exactly what you submit is what the readers will see when they download this content. Please see our author guidelines for more details.
Once again, thank you for your loyal readership and submissions to Advances in Neonatal Care—we look forward to entering the next decade of excellence with you!
Jacqueline M. McGrath, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN
Co-Editor; Advances in Neonatal Care
Debra Brandon, PhD, RN, CCNS, FAAN
Co-Editor; Advances in Neonatal Care