You may wonder why publishing your article in Belitung Nursing Journal (BNJ) is difficult. It may seem like a mysterious process in which some papers are accepted while others are rejected. Some articles are even declined before the peer review process. From January 2020 to October 2022, BNJ only accepted 24% of articles (187 of 808 submissions).
In this article, a brief discussion of the editors’ perspectives on papers that are considered worthy of peer review and publication in the journal is provided. Secondly, the editorial review steps are briefly described, and this includes an emphasis on the critical elements.
Editors have standards and a vision for their work in the journal, just like researchers have their own standards. A significant component of the vision is the ability to be cutting-edge and add to the collective body of knowledge of nursing and healthcare. This concept is known as novelty. Novelty is the first characteristic for a paper to receive excellent ratings.
Articles that provide a significant and essential resource for the communities they serve are necessary. Further, articles that provide rich and new content that improves outcomes, is relevant, contributes to quality, have a significant research impact, and add to nursing knowledge are needed for research dissemination. Additionally, journal metrics and readership are important, and editors know that favorable journal metrics and readership makes journals relevant. Therefore, novel journal content attracts readers, improves journal metrics, and is extremely important for editors. Basically, novelty can be seen from the aspects of ontology, epistemology, and axiology, described as follows.
Ontology, or the “study of being,” is concerned with what genuinely exists in the world and is knowable to people (Al-Ababneh, 2020). Ontology help researchers ascertain how confident they are about the nature of reality and the existence of the study objects. Essentially, researchers recognize the study phenomena and its gap, which should be presented in the background of the paper. When ontology is applied to the review process, editors will consider, “What is the nature of the phenomenon?” “What is the gap of phenomena of the research?” “What is the current context?” “What is the research problem?” “Is it a nursing problem?” “How big is the problem?” Authors provide the gap based on realism, or one reality, versus relativism, or multiple realities. These two points of view are acceptable as long as the philosophical underpinning is implicitly or explicitly presented and logically explained.
Epistemology, or the “study of knowledge,” is concerned with what it is, its scope, validity, acquiring methods, and its limitations (Al-Ababneh, 2020). Epistemology helps researchers frame their studies in their attempts to discover knowledge in terms of different research methodologies, including qualitative, quantitative, or mixed method techniques. Plainly described, authors need to present the gap of literature to provide the current knowledge. This is related to either concept and topic of interest or the design and method of the existing studies. Authors should primarily present literature review results and describe the state of the current level of knowledge and science in the paper. This serves as a foundation for the manuscript and supports the research question and hypothesis, and it also helps avoid duplication. Editors mainly ask, “What is the new knowledge from this study?” “What are the benefits of this paper to science, particularly nursing science?” “How strong is the internal and external validity of this study?” “How sound is the methodology?” Editors are open to objectivist, constructionist, and subjectivist perspectives as long as logical reasoning is clearly described. Clarity from a philosophical and critical point of view is essential, because not only does it reveal the assumptions the researchers make about their research, it leads to decisions that affect research objectives, design, and methods. This further undergirds data analysis and interpretation. In addition, positive and negative results are also welcomed, but only if the design is robust and the methodology is sound, combined with an appropriate sample and effect size.
Axiology, or the “study of value,” includes questions about the nature of value, its judgment, and how its impacts society (Farrow et al., 2020). Editors will ask, “Why did the authors do this study?” “What are the implications of this study, particularly to nursing practice, policy, management, discipline, and society?” “How big an impact is this manuscript for national and global issues?” “Do the implications reflect the study methods?” The authors should be able to answer these questions to present the axiological aspect of the study in the paper.
There are three publishing stages utilized by the Belitung Nursing Journal, from submission to acceptance. First, assistant editors review each manuscript to check the aim and scope, originality (plagiarism), academic writing (spelling and grammar), and article formats including this like the correct file type (doc. or docx.) and layout format (citation and reference formats, word counts, font size, headings, tables, and figures). Authors are encouraged to provide reporting guidelines from EQUATOR networks (UK EQUATOR Centre, n.d.) or NLM’s Research Reporting Guidelines and Initiatives (National Library of Medicine, 2020) prior to submission for the completeness of the study and clarity. This stage only takes one to seven days for a rejection or return if those criteria are not met. Editors do not want to waste the author’s time waiting for a decision regarding a manuscript that does not meet the formatting and technical aspects of the journal.
Second, the editors will evaluate the manuscript by placing a high emphasis on novelty, the significance of a paper against the expectations of the readership, and ethical standards. This process takes one to two weeks for the first editorial decision. After the first editorial decision, the manuscript is transferred to the peer review process, or the article is rejected. Papers that utilize a poor instrument or have limited questionnaire validation are frequently rejected, particularly for quantitative studies. The instrument development, adaptation, adoption, and translation are carefully reviewed in this journal to ensure validity and reliability (Gunawan et al., 2021). BNJ also no longer accepts pilot, preliminary, and pre-experimental studies unless samples are rarely found.
Importantly, narrative review manuscripts are also no longer considered. Instead, reviews that employ a systematic and reproducible method with clear identification, selection, and evaluation of the studies and appropriate data analysis may be accepted for publication.
Articles that are suitable and appropriate for publication in the journal are then sent to at least two peer reviewers to check the paper’s quality and internal and external validity. Every single reviewer’s comment is considered for the final decision. If two reviewers have substantially different comments, another reviewer will review the article. However, if one reviewer identifies a fatal error in a conceptual design, methods, and ethical standard, another invitation is unnecessary, and the article will be rejected. The majority of the feedback from reviewers is within four to six weeks. BNJ editors always try to find the most competent and expedient reviewers for your papers.
The critical components related to novelty and submission preparation described in this article are expected to guide authors in publishing their pieces of work in an international journal. One goal of BNJ Editors is to critically select and publish original, high-quality articles that address nursing issues relevant to the journal’s readership and have a substantial impact on society. There are two audiences to please when submitting a manuscript to a scholarly journal: (i) the editor and external reviewers and (ii) the journal’s readers. Prioritizing the first group provides a better chance of reaching the second group. If your article is accepted for publication, congratulations on your hard work! Otherwise, if your manuscript is rejected, don’t get disappointed. Take your time to read and answer all the comments from the editors and reviewers. After the revision process is complete, it is necessary to try to submit your hard work again, either to the same journal or another appropriate journal. The acceptance process is difficult, but remembering the importance of novelty and the steps of the review process may prepare the researcher to obtain status as an internationally published author that improves health and healthcare outcomes through research and dissemination.