One of the first rules of drafting a scientific paper is that one cites the key literature in the respective field. So as someone who teaches people how to write and publish in this week’s experience of getting a paper rejected was not great, if not disheartening! Earlier this week we submitted a research paper to the Journal of Travel Medicine on a study of the health and well-being of female migrant workers in Nepal. This is high quality journal in which we have published before, including one paper on migrants’ health [1-3].
Two days later the journal editor emailed us to say: “”We feel that the scope of your paper would not justify a full original article in the Journal of Travel Medicine”, which is, in our opinion, a fair judgement. My co-authors and I between us have over 300 papers published and most have been rejected or at least we have been asked for a resubmission, so nothing new here. What was more upsetting than the rejection itself was the additional comment. The editor added:
“The authors should ideally include the two following references:
……(first reference omitted) …. +
Identifying the gaps in Nepalese migrant workers’ health and well-being: a review of the literature.
Simkhada PP, Regmi PR, van Teijlingen E, Aryal N. J Travel Med. 2017 Jul 1;24(4). doi: 10.1093/jtm/tax021. Review.
We agree with the editor that we should have included the two listed key papers. Crucially, it is more than a little mistake to have missed the second paper since we wrote it ourselves. There are many lessons to be learnt from this: (a) check you have covered the key literature in your paper, either in the Background section and/or the Discussion; (b) don’t underestimate the importance of your own work; (c) you’re never too old to make mistakes (and to learn from them); (d) be thankful for good editors and reviewers; (e) do what you advise others to do; (f) etc. ………………
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
- Hind, C., Bond, C.M., Lee, A., van Teijlingen E. (2008) Needs assessment study for community pharmacy travel medicine services, Journal of Travel Medicine 15(5): 328-334.
- Bhatta, P., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen E., Maybin, S. (2009) A questionnaire study of VSO volunteers: Health risk & problems encountered. Journal of Travel Medicine 16(5): 332-337.
- Simkhada, P.P., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Aryal, N. (2017) Identifying the gaps in Nepalese migrant workers’ health and well-being: A review of the literature, Journal of Travel Medicine 24 (4): 1-9.