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How students can (and should) publish their research

Understanding the review process

SAGE Publications provides insight on what happens to your manuscript that you've just submitted.

Depending on the journal, your article will be considered by the Editor/s and/or Associate Editors and between two and four reviewers, often from the Editorial Board. If it is submitted to an online system, you will receive an acknowledgement and a reference number, which you should use if you need to follow up on the manuscript.

Four possible outcomes exist after the review process:

  • Desk reject: Your paper will not be sent out for review. This may be because of poor focused or a lack of fit with journal objectives. Poor grammar is another problem, along with weak methodology or poor analysis.
  • Conditional accept with major revisions: Depending on the level of revisions, it may need to be resubmitted as a new manuscript. This may be due to several factors.
  • Conditional accept with minor revisions: These papers generally get accepted, provided the minor revisions are adhered.
  • Accept without change: This is extremely rare.

Helen Ball who is on the editorial board of Journal of Human Lactation, told the Guardian that writers should respond directly (and calmly) to reviewer comments.

When resubmitting a paper following revisions, include a detailed document summarising all the changes suggested by the reviewers, and how you have changed your manuscript in light of them. Stick to the facts, and don’t rant. Don’t respond to reviewer feedback as soon as you get it. Read it, think about it for several days, discuss it with others, and then draft a response.