Writing and publishing a research article

Thomas H. Adair, Ph.D. Professor of Physiology & BIophysics Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular-Renal Research, University of Mississippi Medical Center

August, 2006

Day, RA. “How to write and publish a scientific paper,” 5th edition, Oryx Press, 1998.
Fischer BA, Zigmond MJ. “Components of a research article.” survival@pitt.edu

Marshal GS. “Writing a peer reviewed article.”

Hall, JE. “Writing research papers (and getting them published)”

Benos, D., Reich, M. “Peer review and publication in APS journals.”

“There is no way to get experience except through experience.”

Practically – to get funding to get promoted to get a job to keep your job! .Why write and publish research papers? Ideally – to share research findings and discoveries with the hope of improving healthcare.

“Scientists are rated by what they finish. not by what they attempt” .

$360/page for APS  Rejection rates vary  AJP = 50%  JBC = 65%  NEJM.Getting a paper published  Competition for space in journals is intense  Cost of publication is high. Nature = 90% . Science.

Major reasons for rejection  Confirmatory (not novel)  Poor experimental design .Poor controls .Hypothesis not adequately tested  Inappropriate for journal  Poorly written .

2. and why you submitted the paper there Pay close attention to spelling. and punctuation Make sure references are comprehensive and accurate Avoid careless mistakes Read and conform to “Instructions for Authors” . Know the journal. its editors. 4. 3.Tips 1. grammar. 5.

Publish or perish .

Humans use concerns . Data manipulation. Duplicate manuscripts 3.Publish and perish “The Seven Deadly Sins” 1. Author conflicts of interest 6. Redundant publication 4. falsification 2. Animal use concerns 7. Plagiarism 5.

What constitutes redundant publication? Data in conference abstract? No Same data. different journal? Yes Data on website? Maybe Data included in review article? OK if later Expansion of published data set? Yes .

What makes a good research paper?  Good science  Good writing  Publication in good journals .

or other natural phenomenon Descriptive – describes how are things are but does not test how things work – hypotheses are not tested.determining the fundamental processes involved in or responsible for an action.What constitutes good science? Novel – new and not resembling something formerly known or used (can be novel but not important) Mechanistic – testing a hypothesis . reaction. .

Immediacy Index – average number of times published papers are cited during year of publication. .What constitutes a good journal? Impact factor – average number of times published papers are cited up to two years after publication.

564 5907 journals .Journal Citation Report.675 03.979 06. 2003 Journal Impact Factor Immediacy Index Nature 30.727 00.831 00.162 05.658 36.505 00.962 00.679 Science AM J MATH 0002-9327 002353 00.122 29.122 00.838 00.589 Hypertens AJ P Heart Physiol Rev Am J Math Ann Math 05.962 01.630 03.

can you describe the study in 1 or 2 minutes? .has a significant advancement been made? .are the controls appropriate and sufficient? .is the hypothesis straightforward? .can the key message be written in 1 or 2 sentences? “Those who have the most to say usually say it with the fewest words” .did the experiments test the hypothesis? . Time to write the paper? .Things to consider before writing 1.

Time to write the paper? .should be self-explanatory 3.did the experiments test the hypothesis? .has a significant advancement been made? . Tables and figures .Things to consider before writing 1.must be clear and concise .can you describe the study in 1 or 2 minutes? .is the hypothesis straightforward? .better insight into possible reviewers . Read references .are the controls appropriate and sufficient? .will help in choosing journal .can the key message be written in 1 or 2 sentences? 2.

quality of journal “impact factor” 5.think about possible reviewers . Choose journal . Tentative title and summary 6.Things to consider before writing 4.study “instructions to authors” . Choose authors .

J Clin Pathol 39: 110. Reprinted by kind permission of the Editor of the British Medical Journal of Sept 14. 1985. 1986 . International committee of Medical Journal Editors.Authorship Guidelines on authorshop.

.Writing the manuscript The hardest part is getting started.

Parts of a manuscript Title Abstract Introduction Methods Results Discussion Acknowledgements References .

Write in what order? Title Abstract Introduction Methods Results Discussion Acknowledgements References .

 Reference published methods where appropriate.  Use descriptive subheadings  Animals  Surgical procedures  Histochemistry .  Include animal/human use approval information.  Should be detailed enough so results can be repeated by others.Methods and materials  Best to begin writing when experiments still in progress.

Results  Briefly repeating protocols can be effective  Tables and figures must be straight forward and concise  Present main findings referring to tables/figures. .  Do not speculate or over discuss results.

Introduction  Build case for why study is important/necessary  Provide brief background  State hypothesis / central question  Give a one sentence summary of findings .

implications . perspectives.Discussion  First answer question posed in introduction  Relate your conclusion to existing knowledge  Discuss weaknesses and discrepancies  Explain what is new without exaggerating  Do not repeat results  Conclusion/summary.

References  Relevant and recent  Be highly selective  Read the references  Do not misquote  Use correct style for journal .

Abstract  Critical part of paper  State main objective  Summarize most important results  State major conclusions and significance  Avoid acronyms  Write and rewrite until flawless .

Title     Will determine whether paper gets read Avoid long title (see journal rules) Avoid abbreviations Title format: “The effects of heat on ice” “Heat melts ice” “The role of heat in melting ice” .

” 5th edition. . RA.Words and expressions to avoid Jargon a considerable amount of on account of a number of Referred to as In a number of cases Has the capacity to It is clear that It is apparent that Employ Fabricate Preferred use much because several called some can clearly apparently use make Day. 1998. Oryx Press. “How to write and publish a scientific paper.

Revise. revise and revise  All authors should participate  Review order of data presentation  Polish the writing style  Double check references  Look for typos  Double check spelling .

Develop a good writing style Read well written articles Try to get good writers to review Learn from editing changes .

2. Read instructions carefully Fill out all necessary forms Copyright transfer Conflict of interest 3. 4.Submission 1. Write cover letter (suggest reviewers) Confirm receipt after 6 weeks .

Process of Research Completion of research Preparation of manuscript Submission of manuscript Assignment and review Decision Rejection Revision Resubmission Re-review Acceptance Publication Rejection .

5. 4. Reviewer may be wrong Be tactful – thank the reviewers Do not respond to reviewers while upset Never call the editor Get help from other authors . 6. Carefully prepare your responses Each comment should be addressed Each change should be stated Be enthusiastic 2. 3.Responding to reviewers 1.


“There is no way to get experience except through experience.” .

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