The European Association of Science Editors (EASE) is an internationally oriented community of individuals from diverse backgrounds, linguistic traditions and professional experience who share an interest in science communication and editing.
Can authors’ editors help expedite peer review of the manuscripts they edit?
Shazia Khanam, PhD, ELS; Clarinda Cerejo, MSc, ELS
Cactus Communications Pvt. Ltd., 510 Shalimar Morya Park, Off Link Road, Andheri W, Mumbai 400 053, India
Background: We aimed to identify specific errors peer reviewers most frequently point out in manuscripts of non-native-English-speaking (NNES) authors, which authors’ editors can address before submission.
Methods: We categorized 475 peer reviewer comments related to study reporting in 72 biomedical manuscripts of NNES authors on the basis of the manuscript section and error type pointed out. Spearman rank correlation analysis was performed to determine the most frequently occurring error types for specific manuscript sections.
Results: Reviewers often found incomplete (p < 0.001) and inconsistent (p = 0.02) reporting and redundancy and wordiness (p = 0.016) in figures and tables. Errors in grammar and writing (p = 0.035) and style (p < 0.001) were found throughout the manuscripts. Unclear reporting was commonly noted in Methods (p = 0.075) and Results (p = 0.014), whereas structural changes were recommended most often in Results (p = 0.03) and Discussion (p = 0 .001).
Conclusion: Authors’ editors should focus on accuracy and conciseness in figures and tables and on correcting the overall language, grammar, and structure of manuscripts by NNES authors before submission. This could allow peer reviewers to focus on the validity and novelty of the study, possibly expediting the peer review process.