|Inception of web based Open Access tool has opened ways for
many new journals in the scientific arena, worldwide. Besides web
based Journals, digitalized books, audio version of the research articles
and social networking sites are also delivering scientific information to
the readers. Open Access directly relates with property of individual’s
work. The advantages of an Open Access publication is that the
authors and copyright holders grant to all users a free research copy
worldwide for scientific, as well as the right to make small number of
printed copies for their personal use. The Open Access provides rapid
review procedure along with rapid publication of research papers,
hence, available to everyone in web at any point of time. Now-adays,
the electronic access of Journals has widely been promoted. As
a consequence, many renowned publishers like ScienceDirect and
Taylor & Francis are now offering Open Access facility to the authors.
|On the onset of the release of the first issue of Medicinal and
Aromatic Plants Journal, I wish to point out an alarming situation
of unalterable increase in the length of research articles in various
Science Journals. Analytical Chemistry had sniffed this alarming
situation way back in 1995 and established a guideline of seven Journal
pages. Till 2006, the journal stuck with the guidelines but deviated
from it in later years. The year 2008 was marked by an increase in
average length of papers (8.0 v/s 7.0). The editorial board felt that an
average seven page length already long while average eight pages are
alarming . Therefore, the journal has clearly mentioned that absent a
convincing justification by the authors, the editor will normally require
condensation of longer paper .
|Since, every Journal has a guideline for publication. But only
limited Journals are concern over the length of the research papers.
Analytical Chemistry has clearly stated that manuscript length varies
with the type of presentation but should not exceed 5000 words
including text, figure captions and references . Research papers
should not exceed 7,500 words (including allowance for no more than
six tables and illustrations) as per the guidelines of Food Chemistry .
Similarly, Phytochemistry invites full papers having 6-8 printed pages
in length . The research paper occupies not more than 10 printed
pages including tables and illustrations for publication in Journal of
Ethnopharmacology . Planta Medica has limited the main text in
3,000 words, excluding references, tables, figures and figure legends.
Longer manuscripts are only acceptable in cases stating compelling
reasons for the length .
|In contrast, Helvetica Chimica Acta, Industrial Crops and Products
and Chemistry and Biodiversity Journals have no length guidelines till
date [8,9]. For e.g., in 2011, Chemistry and Biodiversity has published
with an average length of 13.23 in first issue , 11.07 in sixth issue
 followed by 10.8 in twelfth issue . In contrast, Industrial Crops
and Products, despite of not having length guidelines had published
regular articles with an average length of 6.8 in 2011 and the Journal
maintained 6.83 till first issue of 2012 . Planta Medica published
last issue in 2011 with an average of 6.54 and continued till first issue
2012 with 6.58. One of the reasons behind maintaining the average
length could be the exclusive use of online supporting information tool.
Interestingly, as per Thomson Reuters Journal Citations Reports 2011,
the impact factor for Industrial Crops and Products has increased from 2.103 (IF 2009) to 2.507 (IF 2010) while a decrease in impact factor from
1.926 (IF 2009) to 1.586 (IF 2010) for Chemistry and Biodiversity was
observed. In general, both the Journals are covering different aspects
of Medicinal and Aromatic plants. Thus, strict editorial decisions and
revised author’s guidelines seems to be mandatory for publication of
concise and focused research papers.
|On some specific issues, however, Journals should encourage the
authors to publish length articles on the points such as complexity and
sophistication of analytical methods and combination of methods,
relevant literature on the subject, authors more dependency on
windows based programmes (MS Office), which made easy to write
longer paper and need of colored photographs, figures and tables,
which requires more space in an article etc.
|The foremost problem with long research articles is that the
valuable scientific information remains lying on the pool of words
and fail to impress the audience or to make the reading interesting
and perhaps very few readers enjoy reading long papers. Apart from
this, long papers require more time to read especially precious time
of reviewer, which sometime delays the review process. In order to set
uniformity and to avoid unnecessary delays, authors are encouraged
to use Templates  or Word Templates  for presentation of
manuscript by some journals.
|Therefore, for the benefit of the readers, editorial board should
come out with strict guidelines on paper length. However, long
research paper is only encouraged on scientific merit and well justified
cases. I feel that the use of other alternatives such as Templates enforce
the authors to present their work within the limit, which is otherwise
difficult to adopt. With the pace, the electronic supporting information
tool is being promoted by Journals, it seem beneficial to overcome the
paper length issue. Keeping the importance of research work and rapid
publication in view, the significance of setting up guidelines in the aegis
of Open Access publications for length paper is looking sound.
|Best wishes for 2012
- Murray RW (2009) Long Research Papers: Conciseness is now required (Editorial). Anal Chem 81: 5107.