5 Simple Steps for Increasing the Chances of Having Your Manuscript Accepted into a Web of Science Indexed Journal

By Justine Eby on Apr 26, 2022
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Web of Science (WOS) is one of the largest and most reputable citation databases worldwide. It contains more than a billion searchable citations spanning over 250 disciplines. As a premier index that increases the visibility of research and further validates its credibility, authors worldwide desire to have their article manuscripts accepted into journals that are indexed within the Web of Science Core Collection, which includes Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), and Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), among others.
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However, journals indexed in WOS are inundated with manuscript submissions from authors looking to have their research accepted into the journal. This competitive environment means that only professionally prepared article manuscripts displaying the highest quality and groundbreaking studies are accepted. With a limited number of journals included in WOS indices and so many manuscripts all competing for spots, this can leave authors wondering if there are certain insider tips that they should be aware of to increase their manuscript’s odds of acceptance. And what successful strategies and insights do academic authors employ to compete on this level? (Scholastica, n.d.).

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Step 1. Select the Right Journal for Your Manuscript and Ensure Content Relevancy to the Scope of the Journal

The most important step in having your manuscript accepted into a WOS indexed journal is finding a journal whose scope matches that of your research paper. Choosing a journal that is known for publishing research articles and papers relevant to their particular stream of research and discipline is equally as important if not more important than blindly getting published in a Web of Science journal.
(IFERP, 2020)

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Submitting an article manuscript to a journal that is not relevant to your research will only result in an automatic desk rejection from the Editor(s)-in-Chief. As these journals are receiving hundreds of submissions, even a desk rejection can take time to process, leaving the author waiting weeks for their manuscript to be rejected right from the start. Submitting manuscripts to irrelevant journals only ends up wasting your time and effort, as well as the time and effort of the journal’s editorial board.

It is best to heavily research your options or, for the sake of timing, invest in a journal-finding service, such as eContent Pro’s Journal Recommendation Service which provides authors in-depth profiles of 3-5 journals selected by expert journal selectors. These journals are researched and carefully selected based on several crucial factors and what would be the absolute best fit for your specific piece of work. Each journal profile includes journal description, mission, and topics covered; submission criteria and links; indexing information; Editor-in-Chief information; and much more. This service is constructed to cut out any options that may not be suitable for your work and ultimately save you from choosing the wrong journal.

Step 2. Ensure Clarity of Language by Pursuing Professional Copy Editing

Clarity of language refers to the composition and structure of each piece of published work as well as its ability to provide clear, comprehensive, and engaging information about the work to the global audience. When submitting to a WOS indexed journal, it is crucial to communicate your research in a clear and effective way. This should be applied to your choice of title, your abstract, and the overall organization and structure of your manuscript (Scholastica, n.d.).

data on screen Following a comprehensive guide or process when authoring your manuscript will provide clarity to you as you research and write, and thus greater readability for the intended audience. In an article published by the National Library of Medicine, the authors agree that having this type of structural backbone has also been proven to help “overcome writer’s block and assist writers who are not native English speakers” (Liumbruno et al., n.d.).

It is here that we find professional copy editing to be of the utmost importance and yet another way to elevate your manuscript above the rest. Utilizing a professional editing company to have professional editors copy edit and proofread your manuscript, including the main text, list of references, tables, and figures, is key to getting your work reviewed quickly. A poorly written manuscript is one of the main reasons for rejection from an academic journal. And when you are submitting to a WOS journal, your manuscript must not only be copy edited and proofread but professionally copy edited and proofread. Understanding the importance of copy editing and proofreading as an academic writer is key to having a real chance against your competition. Prestigious journals are expecting this type of quality and professionalism from their submissions, and these expectations not being met will likely result in a swift rejection. Any successfully published author can attest that pulling out all the stops the first time around is worth it. Investing in your work will save you time, money, and quite honestly, sanity (Shaikh, 2016).

Consider utilizing eContent Pro’s English Language Copy Editing & Proofreading Service which can substantially increase your work’s chances of acceptance and shorten the peer review and revision process. By making your manuscript clear and concise, without grammatical mistakes riddled throughout, reviewers will be much less distracted and more easily able to conduct their review faster and free of frustration. Regrettably, many researchers believe that even if they have a level of grammar proficiency and have written the work in their native language, then there is no need for professional copy editing. This is a false assumption as professional copy editing can enhance any manuscript, regardless of what the language competence is of an author.

Step 3. Have a Pre-Peer Review Conducted on Your Manuscript Before Submission Preparation

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One way to avoid extended criticism, detrimental feedback, and possible rejection is to have your work reviewed by experts in the topic of your manuscript. This includes having them provide you with constructive suggestions on how you can improve your manuscript. Consider using eContent Pro’s Scientific & Scholarly Editing Service where at least two expert reviewers will blindly review your manuscript and provide you with valuable and constructive suggestions that you can apply to your work and increase the chances of getting your work accepted in the shortest amount of time.

Whenever you do receive feedback from the official peer review process (performed by the editorial board of the journal), be prepared to address it carefully by:

  1. Work to address the revisions diligently
  2. Provide a response to each comment received by the reviewers, and consider each and every detail provided when doing so
  3. You absolutely must meet the resubmission deadline provided

Receiving feedback for revision can be one of the most gratifying and yet daunting parts of the submission process (Shaikh, 2016). It is important to keep an understanding and professional mindset when addressing these comments. And if you have considered all angles and are not willing to make a certain suggested change, you must be willing to explain your reasoning respectfully and with a very well-argued justification for your decision (Shaikh, 2016).

Timeliness is another critical factor that must be taken into consideration when conceptualizing and constructing work, as well as while making revisions. You must not only produce timely research, but also ensure that the content is publishable while the subject matter is still relevant. Regrettably, the timeliness of a manuscript can be negatively impacted due to multiple rounds of lengthy review and revision processes. Having your work published within a reasonable timeframe is crucial to your work’s success and acceptance into any prestigious academic journal. However, it is important to remember that although you want your work to be submitted and accepted in the optimal window of time for its relevance, not taking the appropriate steps to ensure that it is properly edited and carefully prepared, could lead to an extension of the peer review and revision process, or worse, a quick rejection.

Too often, authors at times believe that they will always be able to revise any discrepancies or shortcomings after they receive feedback from the journal editors. This practice should not be relied upon. Instead, you should submit as though you are expecting no feedback while also preparing for feedback to come your way.

Step 4. Enhancing the Overall Presentation of Your Manuscript Before Submitting

data on screen Most research-based manuscripts include research data in support of the study conducted and are explained within the contents of the paper. Often, the results of data analysis are organized into different visual elements such as figures, tables, graphs, and charts. The overall structures of these elements in support of the data and different hypothesis of the research can be poorly organized and demonstrated which indirectly can undermine the kind of support that these data analysis are supposed to provide and can create both confusion in the mind of reviewers and in some unfortunate cases, they can be misinterpreted and misunderstood.

Having your tables, figures, graphs, and other visual tools used in constructing your manuscript professionally created or enhanced can add so much increased value to your submission and can be greatly beneficial to reviewers in understanding your research argument. Regrettably, many researchers underestimate the true impact of the visual elements and overall presentation of their work. Consider using professional services such as eContent Pro’s Figure, Table, Chart, & Equation Conversion Service where your existing presentation of the visual elements within your manuscript can be professionally reconstructed to make them much more professional and appealing.

Step 5. Adhere to Journal Policies and Guidelines

Another criterion listed in the WOS journal evaluation process is adherence to a journal’s editorial and ethical policies. It is imperative that you and your work follow not only the submission guidelines set forth by the journal, but also the policies that surround the manner in which the research is conducted. This could include the ethical policies surrounding research involving humans, animals, plants, heritage sites, etc., such as informed consent, ethics approval, and consent to publish. Moreover, many journals have guides for how an author should reveal grant and other funding information for their research. Declaration of competing interests and conflicts of interest should also be followed.

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Furthermore, it is crucial that you follow the journal’s submission guidelines for formatting the paper. You should never assume that missing a small guideline or rule in your submission of materials can simply be fixed by the editors if need be. This type of mindset is generally not received well. It is best practice to download the author guidelines of the chosen journal and review it several times to absorb all the information.

Many manuscripts are not published simply because the authors have not followed the few simple rules needed to write a good research paper (Liumbruno et al., n.d.).

And so, it is ultimately the author’s responsibility to adhere to these guidelines and hire professional editors who have time and time again seen these circumstances and know exactly how to address such guidelines and appeal to journal editors.


A journal indexed in WOS is touted as publishing unique, innovative, and expert-level content capable of making a clear impact on the academic community. It is essential that your article manuscript brings value to this mission and is of significant worth and use to readers globally.

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If there is anything we know for sure, it is that to compete in such an environment, that is a WOS journal publication, you must not only have all the right boxes checked but you must be strategic about your execution of the submission process as well. Part of this approach is the use of your Cover Letter. Never underestimate the power of your cover letter when submitting your manuscript. Often authors drop their abstract into their cover letters and call it a day. You have to remember that you are up against hundreds of other submissions all vying for the journal Editor(s)-in-Chief’s attention. Thus, when applying to a WOS journal, you should be taking every opportunity to convey the value of your research and how it will further benefit the journal if published. The cover letter is a chance to argue the novelty of the paper and paint a picture of what publishing this paper could provide for the journal’s reputation (IFERP, 2020).

The recommended steps in this blog should not be interpreted as ways to guarantee acceptance of your submission to a WOS journal. However, it absolutely serves as a comprehensive to-do list to enhance your work significantly and increase your chance of acceptance and reduce review turnaround times. When you utilize the professional editorial services of groups such as eContent Pro to support you in preparing your submission to a WOS journal, it is very much like having a reputable law firm prepare your defense before it is presented to a court instead of trying to present your case on your own. Making small investments in professionally preparing your submission is the best decision you can make when you consider submitting your work to a reputable journal.

For more information on Web of Science indexing and why the provided focal points are crucial for manuscript acceptance, please click here. Please also visit the eContent Pro website for more information on how editorial services can assist you in preparing your work from conceptualization to publication.


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