tommy.jensen@sbs.su.se johan.sandstrom@ltu.se

A note on scientific publishing


We are eager to share our paper on the Canadian case with you, but the paper is dividing reviewers, and editors have so far gone with the more critical one.  It is a bit frustrating. Below you’ll find an extract from the last reject of the paper, with a focus on what the two reviewers think about our case study:

Reviewer 1 (inviting ‘revise and resubmit’ where we must re-work how we theorize the case):

This is a well written paper and presents a fascinating and engaging case analysis of a Uranium mine in the far North of Canada. The empirical material is brilliantly captured to present a nuanced analysis of the intersections of class, ethnicity, geography and the overlapping of workplace culture and wider social divisions. It is certainly worth publishing this empirical material and this would be a great case for teaching, as well as for future research, on the extractive industries, cultural identity at work, shift-working, and social divisions within the workplace.

Reviewer 2 (advocating a reject of the paper):

The Methodology section was very hard to read and it did not give a strong sense of the paper’s purpose. Despite the author(s) tried to explain the rational for the selection of the study samples, the information presented was less focused, and all the information was mixed together. The author(s) may wish to consider employing appropriate headings in order to better outline the structure of this section. 

    More specifically, the reader needs a great deal more information regarding the format and details of your analysis, as well as justification for the selection of informants. In addition, a more detailed description of the analysis of the interviews is needed. For example, interview protocol: Was there an interview protocol? Who conducted these interviews, several researchers, only one, different in the interviews? When were the interviews conducted?
    Were the respondents provided the questions before hand?
    Please provide a step by step protocol covering all aspects of the interviewing process.

    Transcriptions: How were the digital recordings transcribed?
    How were the transcriptions verified and checked for errors?
    Who did this?

    For example, who coded and analyzed the data?
    Was there just one coder, or were there multiple coders?
    If there were multiple coders, how was inter-coder reliability addressed? 
    Did the author(s) leave an audit trail?

    Data analysis: How was data analyzed, software or manually?
    In either case provide how the results were evaluated based on prior codes and categories?
    Were any other codes identified for the assessment? If not, how was the data categorized to evaluate across respondents?

    I strongly recommend the authors read books or papers on qualitative research, particularly the chapter on trustworthiness in qualitative research. I think it might be helpful in providing fodder for your methodology section. Addressing these issues may also then provide a framework by which you can justify/clarify your informant selection.

The editor concludes:

The manuscript is far from being ready to be published in its current form, as you can see from the reviewers comments below. It is not possible for me to ask you to do major revisions, as I have had great difficulties finding reviewers. Three reviewers agreed to review the manuscript, but only two has delivered so far, and I could not wait for the last one to deliver as I have been unable to get in contact with the person again. Of the two remaining reviewers, only one is willing to continue to review the manuscript. To put it simply, it is not possible to let you revise the paper under this submission.