Friday FAQs on O&G

Answers to frequently asked questions provided by the Obstetrics & Gynecology editorial staff.

Friday, November 1, 2013

What Actually Happens to My Manuscript Once It’s Submitted?
Annelee Boyle, MD
Annelee Boyle, MD
Intern, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Fellow, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Much like a bill becoming a law, there is a specific process your manuscript follows to become an article in the Green Journal (Obstetrics & Gynecology). I’ll walk you through this process, step by step, as there isn’t an awesome song to explain it, such as “I’m Just a Bill” by Schoolhouse Rock (for copyright reasons I can’t link to that, but I encourage you to google it).
Step 1. You press submit on Editorial Manager while letting out a long sigh of relief.
Step 2. An editorial staff member looks over your submission to make sure it’s complete. If so, it’s assigned to one of their three editors; if not, it’s sent back to you, but you can still fix it)
Step 3. The assigned editor looks over the manuscript. The editor may exercise the option to editorially reject the manuscript, but this is rare (and if he/she does, the proposed decision is always run past an Editorial Board member and the other two editors). Most of the time, the editor will assign the manuscript to reviewers: one member of the Editorial Board and two peer reviewers for original research.
Step 4. The manuscript undergoes peer review. Particularly promising manuscripts may also be reviewed by the statistical editor.
Step 5. Once the reviews are in, the assigned editor looks them over and makes a tentative decision to reject the manuscript or send it out for revision; all proposed decisions are discussed with the other editors at a weekly conference call. After the decisions are finalized, the corresponding author will receive notice of the decision via e-mail.
These first steps take about 6 weeks. If your manuscript is rejected, you will still have the reviewers’ comments, which you can use to revise and strengthen the manuscript as you submit elsewhere. If you’re asked for revisions, you have 3 weeks to complete your revisions and resubmit your revised manuscript through Editorial Manager:
Step 6. You press submit on Editorial Manager while letting out an even longer sigh of relief.
Step 7. The assigned editor at Obstetrics & Gynecology reviews your revisions and decides to accept or reject; all proposed decisions are discussed with the other editors at a weekly conference call.
Step 8. Editorial staff members edit the accepted manuscript and figures (if any).
Step 9. You receive author queries from the editorial staff (eg, asking you to make sure the edits are correct). Be sure to respond promptly!
Step 10. The manuscript is sent from Obstetrics & Gynecology to the publisher, where it is copyedited and then typeset.
Step 11. The formatted (typeset) manuscript is sent back to the editorial staff and to you for approval.
Step 12. Your article is published online 2 weeks before the hard copy is mailed.
The entire process, from submission to publishing (aka, a manuscript becoming an article), is usually 6 months or less. My final piece of advice is to forward your acceptance e-mails to your boss and/or the chair of your department. In addition, be sure to forward the online version or the article PDF to them once it is available.
I have had a wonderful month at the Green Journal and have learned a tremendous amount. I hope that you have also learned from this and my other blog posts (here and here). Most importantly, I hope you know how committed the editors and editorial staff are at Obstetrics & Gynecology. They give great advice and are always open to questions.
I wish you the best!