Last February I submitted a research paper, the sum result of 18 months of experimental work during a technology transformation process at a startup enterprise. The reviews comments were distilled so much, to a point only mentioning the following on the revision/acceptance email:
While interesting and important, it covers a broad area without going sufficiently deep to meet the theory expectations of [journal]"
Three months passed. And I decided to submit it again to another journal. Another two months passed and the reviewers were, once again, short on feedback:
In light of the appropriateness of your manuscript for our journal, your manuscript has been denied publication
Is the time I cannot afford to wait, in 2009 and certainly not in 2021. It's simply not feasible.
Plus all the mistrusts it raises, when dealing with innovative experimental works, with the proven application, as is stated and can be read, on the submitted paper were is mentioned "MVP". Downloadable to be tested by the reviewers themselves.
Plus, nowadays I don't need to wait. There are Scientific Journals online, that can deliver the review process in 2 Weeks.
I found, in general, reviewers' comments to be too short (a bullet list of comments or not even that), and for that, I can simply manage someplace else. as someone on the comments rightfully put it, now what?
As in everything in life, the first step is to let know, and in this particular case, any Journal of interest, what are the difficulties, obstacles, delays, ... an author finds when starting a submission and also when going through all the tedious and too many times the slow process of publishing. If the editorial staff is unaware of such bad experiences, is more difficult to improve the submission platforms.
Until recently the only option available has been a private contact form or a private feedback form. In 2021 that is now clear to be too slow too, and with its own shortcomings. It can be found elsewhere, on Youtube, Reddit, Twitter, social networks in general research students and even researchers, speaking by themselves about their (or someone close) personal experience. And the main evident conclusion is: the submission processes (in this particular case) need to move (fast) to a transparent and clear environment, factual. all characteristics of any scientific method to begin with.
My view of what is needed in 2021 to improve the review process is as follows:
Reviews need to have a full report attached, with precise indication where, in the document, the reviewer(s) found something to be reviewed with an adequate justification of his/her findings (In all similar to what is being to when reviewing an IP document), that is to say, usage of automated tools for analyzing submitted documents (detection of plagiarism for instance and many others) all provide some kind of report analysis and that is helpful information for the authors too, not just to reviewers. Therefore, is important to facilitate and include all that info in the review report back to the authors. Plus it assists in improving immensely quality of scientific literature production when providing quality feedback like that. Immense value. A win-win for all.
Also, the obvious one, stated at the beginning, the review time needs to be shorter, much shorter. And that is not enough: the Sci. Journal webpage, needs to have listed, from the start, and publicly accessible
my submission title the abstract Authors and submission date. on click, the possibility to open a new page, where is shown the status and progress in a timeline with all details and comments throughout all the review process: Where currently is, what is waiting for, remarks being made on, for instance, a delay, ... When authenticated, the author gains access, on the same page, to more info about the review stages and progress including the final review report.
All, and more, in line with the latest guidelines for Open Data and Transparency in Science, found for instance on The European Commission website for open data and explainability of artificial intelligence.
this is how I view this problem. part of my job too.
However, the question remains: How can I improve my scientific article so I get a better chance of passing a peer review process short on feedback?