2022.12.02 Editor: F. J.

Greetings to the New Year

As a NAI Senior Editor, it is again a privilege to wish our authors and their associates a successful and healthy 2023. This has been a year of opportunity for many to resume their pre-Covid 19 lives. Of course, Covid 19 is still with us in many countries, including the United States where I live. But due to vaccinations and some oral medications the death rate is no longer frightening though still concerning. This respite has allowed many of those in medicine and science to return full time and with dedicated staff members to the work which over time will produce results that could change or extend the lives of persons worldwide. The beauty of science is that no one knows exactly when and how exciting new findings will be made. But throughout history this step-by-step effort has defeated many diseases and improved the lives of millions.

New challenges await. I am privileged to help in the preparation for publication of the work of many esteemed Japanese scientists. Welcome to 2023.






2022.11.08 Editor: V. R.

Choose your reviewers.

Are you not sometimes getting the idea that you have to do absolutely everything for getting your work in print? After doing the experiments, writing the manuscript, picking a journal, writing a cover letter to advertise your work you are asked by the journal to suggest the people to review it. This can be a tricky question when you know how dependent you are on good feedback in a very demanding environment. More often than not, you will not know who will be reviewing. Even when you are providing a list with candidate reviewers, will the editor follow your suggestions?

You could treat it as a blessing in disguise. A good strategy is to not even wait for an invite; suggest in the covering letter colleagues you think will give an honest opinion. It might be good to provide a mixed list of names, while describing why. You would like to propose people well-versed on theories, model organism and experimental approaches the work depends on. Have colleagues cited your previous papers in an appreciative manner? Did you meet people in your field at a conference who were interested and positive about your results? Their names you can propose, of course, but also look beyond the boundaries of your research topic. Reviewers do not always need to work in your specific field of interest. When they use the same specialist methodology you have applied they could provide insightful comments on an important part of your work. Ideally, your paper hinges on a combination of specialist techniques. For each of these you could suggest an expert as a reviewer.

When submitting a paper (especially to a high-impact journal) you would like to get feedback that will help you to improve the manuscript, either during revision or in the case that you have to re-submit the work. Therefore, do not hesitate to suggest leading researchers with a good publication record in their field as reviewers. Some non-native English speakers on your list could help; they might be evaluating the paper with less focus on the language.

Feel free, of course, to mention direct competitors, and indicate that the overlap in their and your research might hamper unbiased treatment of your results. But this really only makes sense if your work can easily be reproduced or when you know they are doing the same experiments. Even if they get sent the manuscript to review, the journal editor might ignore any harshness of their feedback (if the editor likes your paper). Further, rivals cannot be too critical when the field needs high-impact publications to attract funding. Around the year 2000, the competitiveness between groups working on pre-mRNA splicing made publicizing so difficult, that a leading researcher, a later winner of the 'American Nobel' prize, the Lasker award, stood up at a conference. She argued that by lack of publications in good journals, despite the high technical quality and exploratory nature of the work, groups were no longer able to sustain themselves. Colleagues were making the research impossible for each other. In the meantime, scientists in the then upcoming RNAi-field were mutually supportive and created a much better career-perspective. Yes, reviewing and getting reviewed can have repercussions in all kind of ways.

So, it remains a gamble, highly dependent on the context of your research. Sometimes a self-protecting clique is dominating your field. Such 'leaders' could easily turn out to be the worst critics, especially if your results or interpretation of the findings does not suit their model. Other reviewers that are still in the process of establishing their name could carry the pressure they are under over to their feedback. On the other hand, it is equally possible that people provide very supportive criticism to help improve the quality of your work.

You cannot be in control of how your work is reviewed; you are, though, in control of the quality of your results and their presentation. Also how you respond to the reports (even when the paper is rejected) is essential for successful re-submission. Your work will improve when you can positively implement the comments. Come up with solutions and, if possible, do the extra experiments (when requested) that will test and support the conclusions. In the long run this attitude shows your commitment to publish sound research and will lead to a higher job-satisfaction.










2022.10.04 Editor: J. B.

Writing an Impressive Cover Letter-Part.2

An abstract is entirely different from a summary and should not be repeated in the cover letter. Rather, authors should further summarise the gaps in research, objective, methods, and findings for the editor's reading convenience. A whole paragraph, comprising about five sentences, should be enough for a summary. Notably, not all findings should be reported in such summaries. One or two summaries that are most relevant to the study should be stated.

Editors always have their journals' readership in mind when reviewing manuscript submissions. Therefore, authors must indicate the reasons why a journal's readership would be interested in the study. For a clinical research-focused journal, authors should briefly describe the impact of the study on the practice of clinicians in that field.

Furthermore, specific necessary details should not be ignored when writing the cover letter. Certain details, such as the name of the journal, the editor's name, and ethical considerations, should be indicated without error. Errors could emanate from a quick revision of previous cover letters submitted to other journals without paying much attention to such details. If indicated, suggestions for potential peer reviewers should be adequately provided.

Finally, it helps to include the cover letter in the package for review by expert editors and copyeditors.



「要旨 (abstract)」 は「概要 (summary)」とは全く異なるものであり、カバーレターの中で繰り返し述べるべきではありません。それよりも、著者は編集者が読みやすいように、研究のギャップ、目的、方法、知見をさらに要約すべきです。概要は、5文章程度で構成された1つの段落で十分です。ただし注意すべきは、このような概要ですべての知見を報告する必要はないということです。研究に最も関連性の高い1~2つの概要を記載します。





2022.09.09 Editor: J. B.

Writing an Impressive Cover Letter-Part.1

Excited about their studies and study findings, most authors pay due diligence to writing, editing, and finalising the submission-ready manuscript without much attention to the cover letter. A well-written manuscript, however, needs an impressive cover letter that would pique the interest of journal editors. Therefore, writing of the cover letter should be paid much attention as that paid to the main manuscript writing process.

Indeed, the cover letter is the first material of the manuscript submission package read by most journal editors. It serves to introduce editors to a summary of the study and its impact on a specific research field.

To ensure that a badly written cover letter does not become the reason why a paper is rejected, the following tips are necessary. First, authors should aim to justify the suitability of the manuscript for publication in a particular journal. Each journal has a scope and limited interests in specific research fields. Therefore, authors should visit journal websites and pay attention to the aims and scope section to identify the specific range of studies accepted for publication in that journal. A perusal of the scope would help authors in justifying suitability. For example, authors should pay attention to specific keywords used in describing the themes accepted, and if such align with their studies, they can also use some of these keywords in the cover letter. Examples of such keywords could be clinical research, systematic review, clinical trial design, and radiotherapy.





カバーレターの質が原因で論文が不採択となることがないように、次のような要点を押さえることが必要です。まず著者は、その原稿が投稿先のジャーナルへの掲載に適していると説明することを目指すべきでしょう。各ジャーナルは、特定の研究分野に範囲を限定しており、関心も限定されています。ですから、著者はジャーナルのウェブサイトを訪れ、目的と範囲のセクションに注意を払い、掲載が認められている研究の具体的な範囲を確認する必要があります。投稿する論文が掲載に適していることを説明する上で、「範囲 (Scope)」のセクションを熟読することが役立つでしょう。例えば、掲載されたテーマを説明する際に使われている特定のキーワードに注目し、それが自分の研究に合致していれば、カバーレターの中でそのキーワードの一部を使うこともできます。キーワードの例として、臨床研究、システマティックレビュー、臨床試験デザイン、放射線治療などのキーワードが考えられます。


2022.08.08 Editor: M. N.

Introduction about the editor’s study field and strength for editing this field's papers.

I graduated with a degree in Biochemistry and attained a PhD in Molecular Biology where I used high resolution structural techniques (NMR and crystallography) to study the mechanism of action of cell surface receptors involved in the immune response. I then spent a few years in a pharmaceutical environment where I analyzed and assayed therapeutic proteins. This experience taught me a large array of techniques and methodologies including mass spectrometry, glycan analysis, 2D gel techniques and a whole range of solid phase assays. I returned to academia after a few years where I studied molecules involved in transcriptional regulation. These methodologies include mutagenesis, gene targeting (using CRISPR), recombinant protein expression, mass spectrometry and a host of cell based assays. I have also used a number of NGS sequencing techniques (ChIP-seq, CUT&RUN, CUT&TAG, RNA-seq) to investigate gene regulation.

I have edited manuscripts for NAI for many years and my approach to editing, where possible, is to try and maintain the authors style and voice. The alterations that I make are to correct grammar and to make the text read more like that written by a native by accounting for the vagaries of English. As part of the process of editing I check that the English in figures and figure legends is correct and that the figure call outs in the text match up to the figure panels. However, sometimes there is a requirement for large amounts of text to be rewritten and this is achieved using the experience I have gained from writing a large number of my own manuscripts over the years. Whatever, the extent of editing, the aim is to produce grammatically correct text that flows easily so that the manuscript becomes easier for referees and readers to digest. Anything that makes life easier for the people judging your manuscript is always a good idea!






2022.07.08 Editor: T. C.

Introduction about the editor’s study field and strength for editing this field's papers.

I graduated with a degree in Zoology and then attained a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics. I worked as a research scientist for a number of years studying various aspects of genetics in a range of organisms: insects, plants, mice, and humans. The largest part of my time as a researcher was as a mouse geneticist performing mutagenesis studies, and identifying and characterizing de novo mutations. I published a number of research papers on the results of these studies and was also involved in writing reviews and presenting talks at national and international conferences.

I have worked as an editor for NAI,Inc. for many years and have edited papers on topics as diverse as fish embryogenesis and human medical genetics. My approach is generally to edit as lightly as possible in order that the text reflects the authors’ writing style and not mine. Overall, the purpose of the editing is to produce a manuscript that is clear and concise and that has no ambiguities in meaning. A clearly written manuscript is more likely to be accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Unclear writing may obscure the conclusions and make it difficult for reviewers to see how the conclusions are derived from the data. The services offered by NAI are especially valuable to scientists whose native language is not English. If reviewers have already commented on your use of the English language, then these editing services can improve the presentation to an acceptable standard. Depending on the level of assistance requested, I perform structural editing to ensure the text flows smoothly, copy-editing to remove grammatical and spelling errors, and proofreading to identify any other problems; I can also ensure that the text conforms to the “Instructions to Authors” of the selected journal .

Although these services provided by NAI cannot guarantee acceptance for publication, there is no doubt that a well-presented piece of work passes more easily through the rigors of the reviewing process.







2022.06.01 Editor: W. J.

Tips for using articles.

Articles can be difficult for authors who are not native English speakers. A term that modifies a noun is called an article. There are two types of article:

the = definite article

a/an = indefinite article

There are two basic guidelines for using the indefinite article (“a” or “an”):

  • ・"A" or "an" should be used when speaking about something for the first time, or when speaking about something general, such as “Researchers conducted a survey of heart disease patients last year”.
  • ・Use “a” or “an” to show that something belongs to a group such as “Lupus is a disease that affects the immune system”. It is clear that lupus is one of many diseases that could affect the immune system.

The definite article ("the") is also subject to two essential rules:

  • ・“The” is used when something has already been mentioned or when something specific is spoken about. For example, “Let’s read the book” refers to a specific book, whereas “Let’s read a book” can refer to any book.
  • ・Use “the” when there is only one of something or someone, for example, “The President of the United States arrived at the conference”.

When authors fail to distinguish between countable and uncountable nouns, articles are frequently misunderstood. Patients, individuals, years, and other nouns are countable as they can be counted. Abstract thoughts (e.g., love, health), liquids (e.g., water, oil), and qualities (e.g., resistance, tension) are examples of uncountable nouns. In addition to the guidelines discussed above authors should also consider if nouns are countable or uncountable.

  • ・For uncountable nouns “a” or “an” cannot be used, therefore “the” or no article must be used. “The" is used when an author is referring to a specific example of an uncountable noun. If an author is referring to any example of an uncountable noun, no article is used.
  • ・For countable nouns it is a little more complex. When an author wants to refer to one member of the countable noun, "a" or "an" is used, e.g., "A virus could have adversely affected this experiment." Whenever an author intends to refer to all members of the noun collectively, the noun is used without an article and the plural form is used instead, as in "Scientists have been researching this issue for decades without success”. Finally, "the" can be used to refer to a countable noun as a full group, as in "The elephant is a large mammal."




「the」 = 定冠詞

「a/an」 = 不定冠詞


  • ・話題の対象が初出の場合や、一般的な何かである場合には、「a」や「an」を使用します。例を挙げると、「Researchers conducted a survey of heart disease patients last year.」といった文で不定冠詞が使用されます。
  • ・話題の対象が何らかのグループに属する場合にも、「a」や「an」を使用します。例を挙げると、「Lupus is a disease that affects the immune system.」といった文で不定冠詞が使用されます。この例文からは、全身性エリテマトーデスが、免疫機構に影響する数ある病気の一つであることが明確に分かります。


  • ・話題の対象が既出である場合や、特定の何かである場合には、「the」を使用します。例えば、「Let’s read the book」では特定の本が話題になっているのに対し、「Let’s read a book」では、一般論としての本(特定の本ではない)が話題になっています。
  • ・話題の対象が唯一無二の存在である場合にも、「the」を使用します。例を挙げると、「The President of the United States arrived at the conference.」といった文で定冠詞が使用されます。


  • ・不可算名詞に「a」や「an」は使用できないので、「the」を使うか、冠詞を一切使用しない、という選択になります。話題の対象が不可算名詞かつ特定の何かである場合には、「the」を使用します。話題の対象が不特定の不可算名詞である場合は、冠詞を一切使用しません。
  • ・可算名詞は、上記よりやや複雑です。可算名詞に属し、限定的でない単一の対象を指す場合には、「a」や「an」を使用します。例を挙げると、「A virus could have adversely affected this experiment.」といった文で「a」が使用されます。ある名詞に属する対象全てを指す場合は、その名詞には冠詞を付けず、複数形にします。例を挙げると、「Scientists have been researching this issue for decades without success.」といった文で、可算名詞が複数形で使用されます。最後のポイントとして、あるグループ全体を指す際に可算名詞を用いる場合には「the」を使用する、ということを付け加えておきます。例えば、「The elephant is a large mammal.」という文では「the」を使用します。

英語を母語としない著者に対するバイアスについて -Part.2(2022.5)

2022.05.02 Editor: M. R.

Bias against authors who are non-native English speakers -Part.2

To understand this cognitive bias, we must recognize it as a natural human tendency. The human brain is hardwired to make flawed decisions. Therefore, it is difficult to eliminate or regulate such bias without using process-related checks and balances.

Traditionally, peer reviewing has been a voluntary process. Peer reviewers, who are invited to assess pre-published research papers, and are not held accountable by any organization.

Moreover, measures for eliminating bias in the peer review process are typically one-sided. The single-blind model of peer review is adopted by most journals, where the peer reviewers' names are not shared with the author (to ensure that the authors cannot influence the reviewers). However, the authors' names are made available to the reviewers.

The double-blind model of peer review overcomes this problem by hiding the names of the authors from the reviewers. Nevertheless, it does not eliminate the probability of rejection due to reviewer bias.

From my experience, one way for authors to avoid such bias is to include a cover letter to the journal, stating that their paper has been checked by a professional editing service.

As long as humans are active participants in the decision-making process with regard to the acceptance of research papers, unconscious bias will persist. Therefore, it is important to educate the publishing community and continue to work toward eliminating this problem. In addition, smart tech has considerable potential for eliminating this problem. Services based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are expected to avoid reliance on humans and thus eliminate cognitive bias. Consequently, research papers can be selected solely on the basis of submission readiness instead of irrelevant factors such as the authors' nationality or academic background.


英語を母語としない著者に対するバイアスについて -Part.2

認知上 の問題であるこのバイアスを理解するには、これを人間に元々備わっている傾向であると認識する必要があります。人間の脳は頑固にできており、間違った判断を下すようになっています。そのため、仕組み化されたチェックやバランス機能を活用せずに、このようなバイアスを防いだりコントロールしたりするのは困難です。






英語を母語としない著者に対するバイアスについて -Part.1

2022.04.14 Editor: M. R.

Bias against authors who are non-native English speakers -Part.1

Authors often receive negative comments at the peer review stage.

Examples of such comments are as follows:

“Consult a native English-speaking colleague to carefully check the grammar of this manuscript.”

“Language needs improvement. Consider getting your paper checked by a native English speaker.”

“This paper is written in poor English and cannot be published in its current form.”

It is perfectly reasonable for authors to be baffled or upset upon receiving such comments even after getting their manuscripts checked by a professional language editing service.

Although some issues may be addressed by the journal’s copyeditors, reasons for rejecting a manuscript are rarely provided. What are the factors underlying negative journal comments?

A certain trend has been observed over time. The authors of most papers that receive negative journal comments have distinctly East Asian or South Asian names. Interestingly, these comments rarely broach the scientific relevance of the study.

Researchers face several obstacles such as insufficient funding, lack of proficiency in English, and a shortage of time. However, the aforementioned bias against non-native English-speaking researchers can be particularly frustrating.


英語を母語としない著者に対するバイアスについて -Part.1










自分が過去に出版した論文との類似性を防ぐためのヒント-Part 2.(2022.3)

2022.03.14 Editor: S. S.

Tips to avoid similarity with own papers published in the past-Part 2.

Changing the topic itself, i.e., the subject of the paper, can help you as a writer avoid similarity with your own previous work. It will also assist you in researching the topic from a different perspective and reframe your ideas to fit a different purpose, avoiding the need to essentially cut and paste from an earlier work.

When reusing previous papers, it should be done on purpose to support new ideas. Keep in mind that the text you are writing must be unique. Successful past papers can be referred to for motivation. You should be able to recall the strategies you used to write the first paper, and you should be able to apply those strategies to the new work. Rather than simply reusing old papers and risking being flagged for similarity, you can effectively avoid this trap by using them as models.

Finally, writing is a skill distinct from paraphrasing. If you are not good at paraphrasing or do not have the time to go through everything and paraphrase it with your own vocabulary, using paraphrasing tools available on the Internet is a good option.


自分が過去に出版した論文との類似性を防ぐためのヒント-Part 2.




自分が過去に出版した論文との類似性を防ぐためのヒント-Part 1.(2022.2)

2022.02.10 Editor: S. S.

Tips to avoid similarity with own papers published in the past-Part 1.

Similarity with one’s own published papers is a problem for authors, especially nowadays when most journals use computer programs like iThenticate to calculate the similarity and reject papers peremptorily with a high similarity factor without even subjecting them to peer review. Similarity is obviously uncomfortably close to self-plagiarism, and thus must be absolutely avoided. Similarity is difficult to avoid not only in situations when using previous papers based on similar types of experiments and theory, but also when authors separate aspects of the same study in several different publications.

Content which has already been published can be used again in another work whose focus is on another result or conclusion. However, to reuse content in the new paper one has to paraphrase it and cite the content. Certainly, paraphrasing, which can be defined as using your own words to write a paper or work that is nearly the same length as the original, is the most effective way to avoid similarity. Plagiarism checkers can easily detect direct copying and pasting of content. To avoid plagiarism and similarity, writers should paraphrase the copied work in their own words. To paraphrase your own work and make it new again you can:

  • ・Modify the structure of your sentences while maintaining their original meaning.
  • ・Change from passive to active voice, and vice versa.
  • ・Substitute synonyms for different words.
  • ・Convert clauses and parts of speech to phrases.


自分が過去に出版した論文との類似性を防ぐためのヒント-Part 1.



  • ・引用元の意味を変えることなく、文の構造を変える。
  • ・受動態を能動態に書き換える(逆の場合もあります)。
  • ・類似語を使って違う言葉で表現する。
  • ・節や表現の一部を、句に置き換える。













代表取締役 伊藤秀司