A discussion about formatting papers for journal submission. We’re always encouraged to make sure we follow all the author guidelines, but the truth is that the process is extremely time consuming, and most times useless, as papers have a high rate of rejection either way. So the question is, should you format when submitting, or wait to see if your paper has a chance first?
There was a fascinating conversation at the blog of neuroscientist Dorothy Bishop recently. As a side point in a post on getting replication studies published, she says:
…if a journal commonly rejects papers without review, then it shouldn’t be fussy about the format in which a paper is submitted. It’s just silly for busy people to spend time getting the references correctly punctuated, or converting their figures to a specific format, if there’s a strong probability that their paper will be bounced. Let the formatting issues be addressed after the first round of review.
Palaeontologist Mike Taylor agreed in the comments:
…it seems unbelievably stupid that when preparing my research output for the world, such a huge proportion of the effort is dedicated to inserting and removing commas.
He blogged about this issue back in 2010, commenting that the value of this work by researchers is zero but its…
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