Strength and Conditioning Journal (SCJ) publishes articles and columns of interest to strength and conditioning professionals, personal trainers, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and other professionals working in the field of strength and conditioning. The purpose of this editorial is to review the process of successfully submitting an article to be published in SCJ and to provide some key recommendations to facilitate the process.
SCJ will review appropriate article submissions related to the field of strength and conditioning from the following categories: (a) review articles; (b) methodological and procedural articles; (c) clinical articles; (d) philosophical, ethical, and social articles; and (e) practical articles designed to expand the knowledge base in the field of strength and conditioning. Additionally, SCJ publishes columns on specific topics related to the field of strength and conditioning.
Manuscripts are submitted electronically to SCJ through the Editorial Manager web site (http://www.editorialmanager.com/scj/) and initially reviewed by the editorial office to ensure that it fits within the genre and scope of the journal. Appropriate manuscripts are then delegated to an Editor/Associate Editor to assign at least 2 reviewers. Once the article is moved forward to the Associate Editor, you will receive an e-mail with a manuscript number. This number should be used for all correspondence with SCJ. The Associate Editor monitors the double-blind review process and communications between the corresponding author and the reviewers. Bear in mind that the review process may take longer for submissions that are niche areas. We make an effort to match your submission with reviewers who have particular expertise in your topic area.
Articles should be written on a topic that is well-researched and relevant to the field of strength and conditioning. Articles for SCJ should include practical applications relevant to strength and conditioning practitioners as well as clinicians. An article should present a balanced review of the relevant body of literature on the topic prioritizing evidence-based original research publications. Authors may interpret a body of literature and draw their own conclusions when justified by the scientific literature. A majority of the references in a manuscript should be original research publications from scientific, peer-reviewed journals. Articles published in SCJ are generally 2,000–3,500 words, with review articles generally ranging from 3,000–5,000 words. Exceptions to the length recommendations may be made by the Editorial Office. An abstract of 100 words or less is required with each submission and should provide the reader with a clear understanding of the article or columns purpose and content.
Columns should contain current and practical information that can be put to immediate use by practitioners in the field. The columns that are currently open to outside submission are One-On-One, Rehab Tips, Special Populations, Nutrition, and Exercise Techniques. Columns should be approximately 2,000-3,000 words and may include tables and/or figures as justified. When submitting a column, the author(s) must include a cover letter with the submission stating the column for which the submission is to be reviewed. Below is a summary of the main characteristics of columns for SCJ. Special features generally not open to outside submission include Point-Counterpoint and the Research Digest.
- Columns provide current information on specific topics that could be put to immediate use by the practitioner.
- Similar to article submissions, columns should be well-referenced using primarily evidence-based research publications.
- Columns generally focus on a current “take home” practical message.
- Columns may be the same length as an article if the length is justified and the writing style is clear and concise.
Manuscripts should be the original work of the author(s). Any tables or figures that were previously published or adapted from a previous publication require permission from the copyright holder, which must be obtained by the author(s). To obtain copyright permission, begin by determining the copyright holder (a book publisher for example); then contact that entity for the correct procedure to obtain copyright permission. Prospective authors should remember that buying or owning a copy of the original does not give permission to use it.
Manuscripts may not be published elsewhere in whole or in part. Editorial decisions will be based on the quality, clarity, style, and importance of the topic relative to the field of strength and conditioning and the goals and objectives of SCJ and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Manuscripts should cover a topic in the appropriate depth and may include both a theoretical and practical discussion of the topic. References should be appropriate evidence-based original research articles from peer-reviewed journals. Primary evidence generally makes a stronger statement than secondary evidence.
Figures (i.e., color drawings and color photographs) and video files are encouraged when they are used to illustrate a point made in the text. To balance the amount of text and figures, authors are generally limited to a total of 20 tables and figures in an article. Exceptions to the recommendations for the suggested number of tables and figures may be made by the Editorial Office. A list of figure legends must be present in the manuscript file for figures, tables, and video files.
For review articles, columns, and other articles, the suggested length is not as important as the relevancy of the material. If the material is relevant and the writing style clear and concise, the suggested length guidelines may be exceeded.
- The submission should be the author(s) original work.
- Manuscripts should not be published elsewhere in whole or in part, including on the Internet.
- Legends should be provided in the manuscript file for figures, tables, and video files.
- References should be checked for accuracy.
TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT PUBLISHED
Standards for publication in SCJ are high and getting published is not simple; however, certain tips may increase your success. First and foremost, your submission should fall within the scope of SCJ. The best submissions are practical, relevant, well-researched, address current topics, and fall within the genre and scope of the journal. The format of your submission should follow the “Instructions for Authors (IFA),” which can be located on the Editorial Manager submission link. The quality and accuracy of references are a good reflection of the manuscript quality. References should follow the appropriate style guidelines found in the IFA. Appropriate abbreviations for journal titles should be used according to the IFA. Errors found in references suggest a lack of attention to detail and can lead to unnecessary delays in the review process.
A clear concise writing style is preferred. Avoid unnecessary phrases and words that do not add meaning to the submission. Organize the manuscript in a logical manner. Most successful manuscripts include a discussion of the topic at the beginning followed by a complete concise review of the relevant literature and end with practical applications to the field of strength and conditioning.
Always make sure your submission is complete including all materials requested in the IFA. This may include a list of figure, table, and supplemental digital content legends, Model Release forms, and the Authorship Responsibility, Disclosure, and Copyright Transfer Form from all authors.
- Pick the right topic!
- Read and follow the IFA.
- Use relevant accurate references following the style guidelines in the IFA.
- Use a clear concise writing style.
- Make sure your submission is complete including all requested sections and signed permission forms.
Please note that SCJ does not review original research publications. Manuscripts that contain methods, results, statistical analysis of data, or the publication of previously unpublished data are not appropriate for SCJ. Original research manuscripts should be submitted to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. For additional information regarding submissions to SCJ, please refer to the “Instructions for Authors” available on the Editorial manager web site (http://www.editorialmanager.com/scj/). Submissions that do not meet these criteria or are not submitted according to the instructions may be returned to the corresponding author.
There are 5 possible outcomes for reviewed submissions.
- Reject: Your submission was found unsuitable for SCJ. This decision may be based on a topic that is not within the scope of SCJ or a submission that the editorial staff or reviewers find is not amenable to reasonable review efforts.
- Major revision—no guarantee of acceptance: This is an opportunity to make significant changes to your manuscript. Without such changes, the submission may still face a “reject” decision. Examples for instances that warrant this decision include a poorly focused topic, writing style, improper formatting that does not follow IFA, content focused on speculation that supersedes evidence, and an inadequate application to the strength and conditioning professions.
- Minor revisions: These submissions are generally found to be favorable by the reviewers and often get accepted, provided changes are made and such changes do not change the focus of the manuscript unnecessarily.
- Accept pending style revision: This decision indicates the paper will be accepted pending attention to minor edits or changes.
- Accept: this outcome is not common as the manuscript is reviewed on multiple levels.
TIPS FOR HANDLING REVISION REQUESTS
- Do not overreact as the reviews are meant to help improve the paper and increase chances for publication. Reviewers are providing service to the NSCA and journal readership, thus their time is just as valuable as authors.
- Be sure to address the issues raised and note the changes you make in a rebuttal letter that itemizes each point.
- There are times when authors choose not to make recommended changes. In these cases, there should be clearly stated reasons in the rebuttal document. Keep in mind that addressing reviewer issues is always preferred and there should be a strong justification for not making a change.
- If a request for format changes was made based on inadequate attention to the IFA, be sure to carefully prepare your revised submission. Issues such as improper reference format can lead to unnecessary delays in the review process.
- Many manuscripts require multiple iterations, so be patient with the review process. Publication is the ultimate goal of everyone involved in the process.
In conclusion, SCJ welcomes submissions that fall within the scope of the journal. Each submission will be given consideration for publication based on its suitability for SCJ. Take the time to carefully prepare your submission to increase chances for publication. New authors should consider partnering with an experienced author or having their paper read by an experienced writer before submission. Finally, be patient as the editorial staff and reviewers share your goal of disseminating information that adds to the current knowledge base.
© 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association