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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 65-66

Dear editor, please reject my letter


1 Freelance Medical Writer, ORCID: 0000-0001-5039-9919, Ganjam, Odisha, India
2 Department of Physiology, MKCG Medical College, Ganjam, Odisha, India

Date of Web Publication19-Jun-2018

Correspondence Address:
Sarika Mondal
House No: 60, Ashok Nagar 4th Lane, Ganjam - 760 004, Odisha
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_3_18

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How to cite this article:
Mondal S, Mondal H. Dear editor, please reject my letter. BLDE Univ J Health Sci 2018;3:65-6

How to cite this URL:
Mondal S, Mondal H. Dear editor, please reject my letter. BLDE Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 14];3:65-6. Available from: http://www.bldeujournalhs.in/text.asp?2018/3/1/65/234643



Sir,

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors suggests that biomedical journals should allow the readers of the journal to comment, question, or criticize published articles.[1] In addition, letters are also accepted by journals which comments on common medical issues, medical case report, and even comments on the quality of the journal.[2]

Commonly, a submitted manuscript (e.g., original article, review article, and case report) passes through the process of peer review before its acceptance for publication. Peer review exposes the manuscript to 2 or 3 expert reviewers, selected by the editor of the journal. In contrast, after publication, the article is exposed to innumerous peers in an age of open access online publication. Any reader can comment on the article through a “Letter to Editor.” Hence, correspondence through “Letter to Editor” is considered as a form of post-publication peer review,[3] and it enables a scientific communication between the author of the letter and the readers of the journals via the editor.

In [Figure 1], we presented the fate of a “Letter to Editor” in a journal. After submission, the editor initially reviews the letter for its suitability in the journal and decides its future (i.e. accept or reject) or sends it to peer reviewers for rigorous review. After that, the journal editor may accept it for publication after necessary revision, if required. Moreover, if the letter fails to get positive reviews, the editor may reject the letter. There may be several grounds of rejection (e.g. irrelevant comments, nonspecific presentation, sloppy language, and technical flaws in the manuscript). However, when the letter is rejected, the authors may use its contents (e.g. unique sentences, and figures) for any of their future manuscripts. This provides a kind of recycling of the intellectual contents.
Figure 1: Fate of a “Letter to Editor” sent by an author to a journal

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In some instances, the editor neither accepts nor rejects the letter. [Figure 2] shows some of the examples of the status of “Letter to Editor” manuscript from four different journals. The 1st and 2nd letter was based on criticism about previously published articles in the journals, 3rd one was a comment on a published article with the different and more acceptable approach of methodology, and the 4th one was comment on a general issue on medical education. In all these journals, a status of “Editorial review” is assigned by default after uploading the manuscript on the online journal management website. The status was not changed since it was uploaded by the authors [Figure 2]. All the four editors were sent messages requesting an update on the manuscript after 6 months of stagnant manuscript status. Neither reply was received from the editors nor the status changed.
Figure 2: Screenshots of manuscript status of “Letter to Editor” in 4 biomedical journals

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In this situation, the authors being ethical in the academic publication cannot use the resources of those letters in any other manuscript. Practically, the intellectual contents of those letters are suspended by the editors. Hence, the authors deliberately want the editors to reject their article so that they can reuse the resources. It is interesting that not the acceptance, but the rejection is cherished for a manuscript in some instances (i.e., undecided letters).

We request the editors of the journals to be kind enough to provide an update on “Letter to Editor” as they do it for other articles in the journals or provide an option of “Request withdrawal of article” in the manuscript management system.

Acknowledgment

We would like to thank the authors for sharing the screenshots and their experience about the manuscripts with the journals and providing written consent for using those in this manuscript.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Updated October 2005 (www.icmje.org). Indian J Pharmacol 2006;38:149-62.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Süer E, Yaman Ö. How to write an editorial letter? Turk J Urol 2013;39:41-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Falavarjani KG, Kashkouli MB, Chams H. Letter to editor, a scientific forum for discussion. J Curr Ophthalmol 2016;28:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 3
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