You have spent time and energy on completing your research and now it is time to get it published. This is an important step to getting your name recognised in the field and, most importantly, advancing the knowledge in your respective field.
Here are nine tips to help you get published:
- Select an appropriate target journal: It is important to choose a journal that is well known in your field. Supervisors and other academics in your field are fantastic resources to ask for suggestions. The high impact journals are very competitive, so it is useful to have a few backup journals if your first choice does not publish your article. Journal finder is a useful website to find journals that could be suited for your article. Watch out for predatory journals! Beall’s list provides a list of potentially predatory journals.
- Follow the author guidelines for your target journal: Once you have a target journal, find the guidelines for authors. These provide important information regarding length, figure requirements, style guidelines, and references.
- Get your colleagues and friends to read your article: One reason for papers being rejected is that they are incomprehensible. Colleagues can raise questions regarding the validity and quality of your research, allowing any issues to be addressed prior to peer review. Your friends, even if they don’t have a scientific background, can help with overall readability and can pick up any spelling mistakes you may have missed. Clear language will mean your hard work is more easily understood!
- Dedicate a few hours per week to your writing: You will only have a limited amount of time available each week to dedicate to your writing. Make sure you set yourself a realistic timeframe to complete your manuscript but not so long that your research will take years to publish!
- Use reference managing software: It is important to make sure you have the correct citations in place when referencing other people’s work and the reference style is in line with journal guidelines. Software exists that can make this process more manageable. Commonly-used reference managing software includes Endnote and Mendeley.
- Write and then edit: This allows you to write without interrupting your creative flow. If you are attempting to edit while writing it can disrupt the creative process. It is much easier to edit what has already been written.
- Read lots of academic journal articles: Aim to read lots of papers, particularly those from the journal you are looking to submit to. This can help you improve your writing by giving you a sense of what the journal likes and how they prefer manuscripts to be written/structured. Learning how to write journal articles is like learning another language. They need to be concise but accurate, and require specific structuring.
- Revise and resubmit: There is a high chance that your article will either be rejected or require further revision following editor and/or peer review. Don’t let that stop you! If it is rejected then you can try submitting to one of your backup journals. If your article requires revision then make the changes and resubmit! It is likely that your article will be published once you have made those revisions. It has been anecdotally reported that 80-90% of papers that have undergone major revisions are eventually accepted.
- Consider employing the services of a medical writer: Medical writers are experts at navigating the writing and peer-review process. They can distil complex science into clear, concise, and engaging copy that meets the standards of your target journal. Medical writers also have expertise in data analysis and interpretation, editing and formatting, and can ensure your manuscript meets ethical and regulatory guidelines.
Elion Medical Communications is a medical communications agency that offers medical writing and medical copywriting services to clinical research teams and pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies.