Issue 28 opens the twelfth publishing year of our journal and it is an excellent opportunity for a balance of our editorial work with the community of readers, authors and evaluators. Among the different issues which compose the process of scientific communication, we must emphasize the main reasons why manuscripts are rejected in the peer review process.
As most of national and international journals, Interface has adopted an initial pre-evaluation stage, in which its Editorial Board (editors, assistant editors and associated editors) tries to shortly answer the authors, if the manuscript attends the requirements of the journal and of a scientific document. After its approval, it goes through the second and longest stage of the peer review process, held by members of the Scientific Editorial Board by ad hoc evaluators.
In 2008, 46% out of the 429 received submissions were rejected at the pre-evaluation stage. The disagreement with the submission rules and the disconnection of the manuscript to the periodical scope are the most frequent reasons for this high index of rejection. It is important to emphasize that part of the refusals is due to the interdisciplinary character of Interface and to the inadequacy of papers whose themes or approaches are too specific of a scientific area. In this case, we suggest the authors to submit their manuscripts to journals which reach readers from those specific areas. Other aspects evolving the quality of the manuscript as originality and subject relevance also motivate its rejection. Experience has indicated that pre-evaluation stage is extremely significant for reducing in time the peer review process, in case of papers that do not attend the journal requirements. It also allows the interaction between author and editor in the beginning of the process, providing agility to the procedures for the submitted manuscripts and, in the case of a positive pre-evaluation, in the peer review process.
At the second stage of peer review process, with the effective contribution of associated editors, members of Scientific Editorial Board and ad hoc evaluators, the most frequent reasons for rejection can be attributed to the fact that the object of study is poorly structured or is not clear; the presented referential do not reach the required theoretical and methodological density and/or do not bring enough elements to expose the manuscript issues to the appropriated discussion of the subject, contributing to advance of knowledge or bringing new approaches or proposals for debating; the design for studying is not suitable to reach the proposed objectives and/or it is not articulated with the description and analysis of the results and conclusions of the study; in many cases, the description of the objectives and/or the investigation issue is not clear; the results are not followed by a careful date analysis and interpretation supported by consistent theoretic referential; the presented conclusions are not sustained by the results and do not present an answer to the enounced issue and to the proposed objectives; the awaited formal characteristics of a scientific paper as objectivity, clearness of ideas, syntaxes and grammar are not taken into account when the manuscript is submitted. Besides these characteristics, theoretical studies are often rejected for not presenting an internal coherence, as well as argumentative consistence.
It is important to point out that, in case of manuscript rejection, the editors are concerned about presenting their opinions by contacting the author, intending to contribute for the necessary corrections and manuscript improvement.
Finally, as occurs in any process which evaluates production, this is not a simple or easy task and it is always under improvement. This process involves the exchanges among peers, among those who are being evaluated and those who evaluate. Being criticized is so difficult as criticizing and we try to succeed by stimulating constructive critical and honest dialogue between Interface and the authors, as well as with those who collaborate as reviewers of the submitted papers. We have insisted for those who are interested in publishing at Interface to use this proposed way of communication.
Antonio Pithon Cyrino
Lilia Blima Schraiber