Are you a dairy scientist interested in publishing in the American Dairy Science Association's Journal of Dairy Science® (JDS®)? This free three-part author workshop series, presented by Paul Kononoff, Editor in Chief of JDS, will help you prepare for the publishing process. The series will focus on actionable steps you can take as an author to have a positive publishing experience, including best practices and tips to begin developing your manuscript for JDS. Whether you are a graduate student, a postdoctoral researcher, an assistant professor, or a relatively new author to JDS, this series will have something for you to take away and implement.

Recordings

June 16, 2021 – WORKSHOP 5 - (IN PORTUGUESE)

May 27, 2021 – Author Workshop
March 18, 2021 – Reviewers and Revisions

Approach to Responding to Reviewers        Responding to reviews

Unanswered Questions from March 18 Webinar

Due to the volume of questions in the chat box and Q&A function, we were not able to respond to all questions during the webinar. However, we have gathered those unanswered questions and responses below for attendees to review. Thank you for participating in our webinar series.

  • Question 1: How do you train authors to follow JDS guidelines so that their submissions meet the JDS criteria and expectations of reviewers?
    Answer:
    • MW: Although this webinar focused on responding to reviewers’ comments, I agree with you that, unfortunately, as a reviewer I have found myself frustrated in part because of the concern you are raising. As a reviewer, I have little sympathy for authors who expect me (the reviewer) to do some of what should have been done prior to submission.
    • SC: It is frustrating that, now and again, it seems like reviewers are expected to be more like co-authors than reviewers. It is our duty, as educators, to train our students to think critically and communicate clearly.
    • PJK: This series of workshops, especially the second workshop, was designed to help authors understand what important information should be included in a manuscript.
  • Question 2: Sometimes reviewers change throughout the review process and ask to change something that was previously corrected/changed. This happens even with contradictory point-of-view reviews. How do you handle this correctly?
    Answer:
    • MW: When this happens, I question myself (as an author) about which of the two points of view is the one that I agree the most with (i.e., the point that is more in alignment with what will make for a stronger manuscript). In my response to the reviewer, I will point to the comment made by the other.
    • PJK: Occasionally reviewers forget what changes were requested by themselves, other reviewers, and editors and what changes authors made in previous revisions. If an author feels that they are receiving contradictory suggestions, they may want to consult with the handling editor before choosing a final position. Ultimately, authors may want to remind reviewers what changes have been made previously and how the current version of the manuscript reflects that.
  • Question 3: Because I am not quite familiar with the JDS peer-reviewing process, I am wondering if JDS requires the reviewers to give meaningful feedback in a polite way to the authors?
    Answer:
    • MW: Being polite is a cardinal rule. It should never be “personal,” but comments and suggestions should always be focused on the manuscript. For example, over time, I have changed my comments from “authors failed…“ or “you have missed…” to “the manuscript might benefit from….” I use the same strategy in answering a reviewer’s comment. That is, I will not respond directly to the reviewer but rather respond to the comment/suggestion made by the reviewer.
    • PJK: The journal always expects reviewers to be fair and respectful and works to ensure the process is fair. If concerns about a specific review exist, authors may want to consider contacting the editor with the concern.
  • Question 4: What should I do if two reviewers have opposite opinions on a result?
    Answer:
    • PJK: If conflicting recommendations are made by reviewers, it is generally recommended that authors follow the path they feel is most appropriate; however, sometimes the situation may indicate that, indeed, differences of interpretation should also be discussed. If authors are unsure how to proceed or desire clarification, it is generally suggested to contact the handling editor to discuss the matter.
  • Question 5: Throughout the review process, what is the rate-limiting step? Where can our community help quicken the process? As an impatient young person, I find the review process maddeningly slow.
    Answer:
    • MW: Indeed, I remember my very first paper as an assistant professor (many years ago) stayed with a reviewer for about 9 months. It took multiple inquiries to move the process along. My sense is that a lot of progress has been made in terms of speeding the process. However, there is still room for improvement. Again, this is a consideration for the editorial board to evaluate.
    • SC: You can track progress on your manuscripts by logging into Scholar One. The rate-limiting step is almost always reviewers taking a long time to complete reviews. Much is built into the system to be automated (regular reminders to respond to the invitation, and regular reminders to complete the review); however, many reviewers do not complete either of these things in a timely fashion. As an editor, I personally contacted reviewers if they missed a deadline (in addition to the automated reminders). The best thing you can do to help in the process is (1) give a list of five potential reviewers and (2) be a good reviewer yourself.
    • PJK: We understand that the time to decision may be longer than desired. It is difficult to identify a single rate-limiting step. The journal strives to make timely decisions when reviews are received. Authors can help by returning revisions in a timely manner. Additionally, agreeing to review manuscripts also reduces the “load” on the system. If authors have any questions related to the timeline of their specific submissions they may consider contacting the handling editor.
  • Question 6: What are the requirements to become a JDS reviewer? Are reviewers invited or chosen by application?
    Answer:
  • Question 7: In case of plagiarism in the experimental design (material and methods) from the same research team (previous publication in the same experimental design), should the reviewer follow the same guidelines and limits as those generally described in journal policies?
    Answer:
    • PJK: Reviewers are not asked to evaluate suspected plagiarism, but, rather, should confidentially report their concerns to the section editor so that they may investigate, following the COPE guidelines (https://publicationethics.org/).
    • MW: Please realize that there are legitimate reasons to submit multiple manuscripts from one “originally” large study that may have been designed accordingly a priori. Thus, in the case of a companion paper, one may cite one’s own previously published work. Plagiarism is the unauthorized use of copyrighted material.
  • Question 8: Can the panelists please provide their interpretation as to what are the roles of the section editors in the review process. Where does their role begin and end in rendering decisions, and how do they remedy disagreements between the reviewers as well as the author? I have asked this question to different sections editors in JDS before and received different answers. It may be that simply each section editor addresses this burden differently.
    Answer:
  • Question 9: Would JDS consider organizing workshops for reviewers? For example, inform reviewers on the JDS reviewing process and provide guidelines on how to give concrete feedback to the authors?
    Answer:
  • Question 10: As a learning process, can mentors share a review process with their students with permission of the editor?
    Answer:
    • PJK: Manuscripts should not be shared. Communication outside that which is between the editor and reviewer may be considered a breach of confidentiality.
  • Question 11: Can I suggest reviewers who have been recent co-author of some of my previous papers? Is it considered a conflict of interest?
    Answer:
    • PJK: It is generally recommended that you suggest a reviewer who you have no professional ties to; this includes previous co-authors.
February 11, 2021 – Developing your best manuscript
January 7, 2021 – What is the Journal of Dairy Science and what does a manuscript look like?

Q&A from webinar

Due to the volume of questions in the chat box and Q&A function, we were not able to respond to all questions during the webinar. However, we have gathered those unanswered questions and responses here for attendees to review. Thank you for participating, and we look forward to seeing you on the next webinar on February 11.

  • Question: What training is offered to the reviewers?
    Answer: The Journal of Dairy Science does not offer any formal training; however, our publisher Elsevier freely offers the Certified Peer Reviewer Course. More information on this course can be found here: https://researcheracademy.elsevier.com/navigating-peer-review/certified-peer-reviewer-course
  • Question: How we can share our paper without violating copyright?
    Answer: The corresponding author receives a “ShareLink” email from Elsevier when their article is published in an issue of the journal. A link contained in that email allows free access to the article for a few weeks after publication. The link can be posted to social media and shared with others to ensure broad distribution of your published article.

    JDS also has a summary document about sharing articles here: https://els-jbs-prod-cdn.jbs.elsevierhealth.com/pb/assets/raw/Health%20Advance/journals/jods/I%20want%20to%20share%20my%20JDS%20article.pdf
  • Question: Do reviewers follow a checklist for reviewing?
    Answer: Reviewers rate manuscript quality (excellent to poor) for originality, clarity of presentation, completeness of data, soundness of interpretation, and importance to the field. They also provide confidential comments to the overseeing editor as well as comments to the author to help improve the manuscript and strengthen the message.
  • Question: In general, don’t you believe that the rejection of insignificant manuscripts (a study with no significant difference between means) may make a bias in the science and the output of the meta-analysis paper? I think this is a big concern in all high-impact journals
    Answer: Good point. A number of authors have written about the potential for publication bias, and it is believed that a major reason for this is a stronger tendency to submit and publish statistical differences. This may have an array of implications, and I agree that one is that it may affect observations and conclusions of a meta-analysis.
  • Question: Is it possible to submit an interview study about heifer dairy farming?
    Answer: JDS does review on a broad range of topics. A qualitative study can be published in the journal if there is good experimental design and replication such that the results are not of limited geographical interest. Perhaps unrelated to the question, but also it should be noted that JDS does not publish case studies.
  • Question: Do you consider when the trail was done and when the paper was written for publication? Is it an aspect to consider for rejection? Is it necessary to include the year the trail was done?
    Answer: Authors must be transparent with their data, including when the experiment was done and data were collected. The journal does not have a specific policy on age of data, but that could be a concern raised by reviewers in some instances.
  • Question: Why is the review not double-blinded? Why do split decisions vary so much?
    Answer: The long history of the journal has been to use single-blinded peer review. If an author has a concern about conflicts of interest with certain reviewers, at the time of submission they can request to exclude those reviewers from evaluating their paper. This is not a guarantee, but the editors do their best to avoid conflicts of interest.

    Split decisions are quite common in peer review, as reviewers may differ in what they perceive to be acceptable for publication.
  • Question: Can I publish studies on/in human milk here?
    Answer: Although JDS might occasionally have a paper on this topic, many of these papers are more suited to a human physiology or nutrition journal.
  • Question: “No more than 3 ref per concept”—what about when you have to cite previous (recent) literature that supports one’s findings? If I do not cite the most recent one related to it (that might be over 3), do you or the reviewers consider or think, “Why has this author chosen these articles over some other articles?” for example?
    Answer: The suggestion of citing no more than three references is a general one, and there are often exceptions to this. The author is often the one who is in the best position to identify and cite the most appropriate reference; I would only suggest they need not be excessively duplicative.
  • Question: What are the primary reasons for manuscript rejection?
    Answer: This is a really good question; unfortunately, we have no data to answer it comprehensively. Speaking from experience with rejections, some reasons that come to mind include the topic being out of scope for the journal, use of incorrect methods, flawed design of an experiment (or underpowered statistically), or an incorrect or flawed analysis. Papers may also be rejected for technical reasons.
  • Question: Is there is a reduced page charges or Open Access fee for scientists in developing countries?
    Answer: The journal offers reduced rates for ADSA professional members for Open Access and for page charges. We consider this to be a primary benefit to our members.
  • Question: Can I repeat the trail in another country? For example, can I repeat a cross-sectional study trail and do a similar study in another country?
    Answer: To drive interest and scientific impact, it may be worth considering designing a study that has some unique feature or new idea included. Companion studies may be better published in the same manuscript. Please feel free to reach out to the senior editor of the section you would like to submit your manuscript to and discuss the topic’s fit for the journal.
  • Question: Can JDS/ADSA provide a blank manuscript or sample manuscript as a template to meet the requirements like line spacing, font size? Thank you.
    Answer: The journal uses a modified Harvard reference style and double-spaced text with continuous line numbers. The article should follow our style and form (see https://www.journalofdairyscience.org/content/inst-auth). If you have specific questions about manuscript prep, send an email to journals@assochq.org. One of our technical editors would be happy to visit with you.