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Submitting a manuscript that is longer than the allowed maximum lenght

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Marissa4usa, Apr 16, 2012.

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  1. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    Hi all,
    I am currently in the process of submitting my manuscript for publication and have found a journal that would be an excellent fit for research topic. Problem is that they have a required maximum length of 30 pages (pretty much including everything)

    Does anybody here have experience how to handle this? The topic of my paper is combining three distinct research areas and it was already a pain to get it down to the length of where I am right now

    I don't know if it helps but here is a break down:
    Title page and abstract (not part of 30 pg limit)
    Body 24 pages
    References 7.5 pages ( I know very long but again, I am combining several distinct research areas)
    Tables (3 pages)
    Graphs (4 pages)

    I could probably cut down the body of my paper by another page or so (if at all). I can't really do anything about the reference section or the tables. Not sure how essential the graphs are as I am describing the data in the paper, but graphs are really helpful in this case.

    Of course, they want the paper to be in APA format. I feel a little dumb asking this question, but not even my adviser had a good answer for me.
  2. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    I hate cutting papers, but you have to do it unfortunately. Can you discuss past research more succinctly? Maybe streamline some areas together?
  3. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    That is the problem. Like I said, I've already cut SOO MUCH. I probably can cut another 2 pages from the manuscript (which would be background and discussion) but that still leaves me with 4 pages too much.

    :eek:
  4. paramour

    paramour

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    +1. I've usually observed the lit review/past research cut drastically to make more room for the important stuff.
  5. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    I understand! Is there someone who could look at it and cut it down for you? I often find that it's hard for us because our manuscripts are like our babies, but a third party would be more objective and could probably find some fat to trim off.
  6. PsychResearch

    PsychResearch

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    How about using some review papers as references and not introducing new references in the body unless necessary. That is, if you cite Green, Red, & Blue for one subject, keep citing them again as Green et al. rather than introducing another citation. Green et al. likely did a thourough review and you cite the review rather than the individual studies. Not ideal for the empirical studies, but you can cut this way. Then you can actually take stuff out from the references. This is what I did when I needed to cut mine.

    If you have subheading under each area, try to drop the subheading and just keep the minimum as concise as possible. I start my stuff with subheadings initially, but most eventually go away in the shortening process.
  7. Pragma

    Pragma

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    Don't write so much! Intro = 5 pages give or take!

    Brevity peeps! It might be harder to write concisely, but the audience appreciates it!
  8. Pragma

    Pragma

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    Oh, but you also might consider putting some of the data from methods (demographics) into a table if you have't done that already. Much easier and usually tables don't count against the page/word limit.
  9. Ollie123

    Ollie123

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    Agree with the above suggestions, though I thought she had stated that tables/figures do count at this journal. Nonetheless, if there is any sort of "vagueness" to it, I would email the managing staff to clarify if that is with/without tables.

    Another possibility is getting special permission from the editor if there is REALLY no way you can chop it down. Many journals have "soft" page limits that you can go over with editor permission, though they will generally only do so if you have a REALLY good reason (i.e. if said journal was taking a meta-analysis that had a 6 pages listing just the studies themselves).

    I wouldn't push for that unless you think you have a good justification for that though. Otherwise...cut intro and discussion. Its painful, but necessary. Psychology journals often have generous page limits anyways...as much as I like the types of articles published in Abnormal, I find it painful to read given the intro alone is sometimes as long as an entire article I might see in a neuroscience or public health journal. Part of me thinks research would be better if journals started JUST publishing methods/results..would make things shorter and help curtail some of the "spin" that people give things (though at the expense of making them virtually inaccessible to people who don't have a strong background in the area). Remember...we're trained to do thorough literature reviews, but the goal of an intro is to set up YOUR study. Let go of the notion that you need to cite everything. I had it beaten into my head by a professor early on, but its simply not true. You should READ everything thoroughly (though even that is more fantasy than reality), but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to wedge it all into the manuscript itself.
  10. Pragma

    Pragma

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    You can try to get rid of unessential citations as well. You may find that you can cut a few out without really changing the piece. When you cut the intro down, you may find that you cut citations out anyways. Just do a cites/ref check after editing and you may surprise yourself.
  11. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    Yes, those count against the page limit. I actually took one table out because it wasn't essential.

    That's what I've been doing and will continue to do, but I'm just pessimistic about actually getting down to the required page length. I'd like to know why they're so frigging strict about that...but oh well...

    Thanks for everybody's advice...I'll just continue cutting the thing.
  12. wigflip

    wigflip

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    Two other suggestions:

    1. Go back through the last few issues of the journal and see whether they're strictly enforcing their page limit. You might be able to highlight text online and determine exact wordcount, or just approximate based on pages. Either way, you'll get a better sense of the real range of what they're actually publishing.

    2. Take another look at the study and see if there is some portion of it you can spin off into a "research note" or other, second pub for another journal. Then you keep your essentials without sacrificing.

    Good luck!
  13. Pragma

    Pragma

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    Because it costs money to print stuff and because people like to read concise articles!

    I totally get the frustration, but the responsibility is on us to narrow things down to the most relevant and concise information for a public audience.
  14. wigflip

    wigflip

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    Think about what the authors who publish in Nature must go through in terms of editing!
  15. Pragma

    Pragma

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    Now I'd say it is probably not them, but their students that are actually doing the lengthy edits :laugh:
  16. Marissa4usa

    Marissa4usa

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    Update: It's down to 32 pages after drastically cutting the intro and removing 2.5 pages of references, as well as cutting 1 page out of my discussion.

    Just need to figure out how to get rid of the last two pages...it's going to be a long night :sleep:
  17. deadmau5

    deadmau5

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    ^^ Hey I actually think it's okay now. Since you have a lot of figures/tables, my only other suggestion is to combine one or two of them somehow. I would totally submit it.

    But I think the journal will be okay, with it, as the references, tables/figures are necessary parts to the paper. They might suggest to leave a certain table out or figure if necessary.
  18. PsychResearch

    PsychResearch

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    If it's the first submission and most things are in order except for the number of pages, I think it's okay to submit it. If the quality of the work is great, I doubt that going over by 2 pages will make a difference. You can always cut more after you receive the first round of revisions.
  19. ilikepsych

    ilikepsych

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    I've been in this position several times myself and have got away with sneaking to tables on one page when I was desperate and literally could not cut one more word. Of course, once I got the reviews back and had to add in a bunch of stuff to accomodate things that the reviewers felt needed clarification, I was back to trying to figure out what to cut.

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