Getting Your Work Published Some Basics of Writing

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Getting Your Work Published Some Basics of Writing Research Papers David J Pierson MD

Getting Your Work Published Some Basics of Writing Research Papers David J Pierson MD Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Harborview Medical Center Editor Emeritus, Respiratory Care

Outline of Presentation • The different sections of a research paper and how to

Outline of Presentation • The different sections of a research paper and how to approach them • 10 reasons manuscripts are not accepted for publication—and what to do about it • Overcoming writer’s block • Helpful resources on writing scientific manuscripts

Before You Write Anything • Discuss authorship with all relevant parties • Select the

Before You Write Anything • Discuss authorship with all relevant parties • Select the target journal • Study that journal’s manuscript preparation guide • Plan to submit a paper that is shorter than the journal’s average

What a Scientific Paper Needs to Communicate • Why did you start? • What

What a Scientific Paper Needs to Communicate • Why did you start? • What did you do? • What did you find? • What does it mean?

What a Scientific Paper Needs to Communicate • Why did you start? (Introduction) •

What a Scientific Paper Needs to Communicate • Why did you start? (Introduction) • What did you do? (Methods) • What did you find? (Results) • What does it mean? (Discussion)

The Title • Accurate promise of the paper’s content • Specific about scope of

The Title • Accurate promise of the paper’s content • Specific about scope of study • Indicates study design • States subject—not conclusion

The Title • Avoids abbreviations and acronyms • Simple, short, concise (10 -12 words)

The Title • Avoids abbreviations and acronyms • Simple, short, concise (10 -12 words) • Interesting, eye-catching, “reader-grabber” • Easy to understand

The Abstract • Not the same as presented abstract • Strict adherence to journal’s

The Abstract • Not the same as presented abstract • Strict adherence to journal’s instructions • Complete agreement with rest of text • Includes nothing not in body of paper • Conclusions specific and conservative • Last part of paper to be written

The Introduction • Provides adequate background information • Defines any new/unusual/vague terms • Points

The Introduction • Provides adequate background information • Defines any new/unusual/vague terms • Points out gap in current knowledge • Clearly states purposes of study • Should be short

Byrne DW: Publishing Your Medical Research Paper. Williams & Wilkins, 1998

Byrne DW: Publishing Your Medical Research Paper. Williams & Wilkins, 1998

The Methods • Simplest section to write (could be written before the data collection)

The Methods • Simplest section to write (could be written before the data collection) • Must be complete and accurate • Reader should be able to replicate study • Statistics clearly identified and described • No results in this section

Byrne DW: Publishing Your Medical Research Paper. Williams & Wilkins, 1998

Byrne DW: Publishing Your Medical Research Paper. Williams & Wilkins, 1998

The Results • Start with the major positive findings • [Address the stated hypothesis]

The Results • Start with the major positive findings • [Address the stated hypothesis] • Include a table describing the study population • Present the results in a logical order • Do not repeat in detail information that is given in the tables and figures

The Results • Report the results in the target journal’s format • Use subheadings

The Results • Report the results in the target journal’s format • Use subheadings • Include only results—no methods, no discussion • Do not use more than the journal’s average number of tables and figures

Presenting Statistical Information • Report relative risk and 95% confidence intervals • Use statistical

Presenting Statistical Information • Report relative risk and 95% confidence intervals • Use statistical terms correctly (eg, “significant”) • Provide exact p values, not “NS”

Tables • Simple, self-explanatory • Units for every variable • In journal’s format •

Tables • Simple, self-explanatory • Units for every variable • In journal’s format • Exact p values • Not a repetition of text • Appropriate rounding • Double-spaced • Format consistent with other tables

Figures • Use to illustrate the major points • Label axes and other elements

Figures • Use to illustrate the major points • Label axes and other elements clearly • Don’t just use figures from poster • Use style parallel with others in field

Figures • Thick lines; large text • Information not included in text • Units

Figures • Thick lines; large text • Information not included in text • Units and symbols in journal’s style • Be careful about using colors & shading • Clear, detailed legend • Should be self-explanatory

The Discussion Start with your most important point Present no new data in this

The Discussion Start with your most important point Present no new data in this section Focus on the implications of your results Stick to the subject; keep it focused

The Discussion Compare your study with previous studies Discuss its weaknesses and deficiencies Discuss

The Discussion Compare your study with previous studies Discuss its weaknesses and deficiencies Discuss alternative explanations for the results Write clearly and in plain English Keep this section as short as possible

Byrne DW: Publishing Your Medical Research Paper. Williams & Wilkins, 1998

Byrne DW: Publishing Your Medical Research Paper. Williams & Wilkins, 1998

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication* 10) Picking the wrong

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication* 10) Picking the wrong journal *Pierson DJ, Respir Care 2004; 49(10): 1246 -52

Choosing the Appropriate Journal and Article Category Read the target journal Become familiar with

Choosing the Appropriate Journal and Article Category Read the target journal Become familiar with what it publishes – Subject matter – Format – Article length – Number of tables and figures – Comprehensiveness and detail

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 10) Picking the wrong

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 10) Picking the wrong journal 9) Submitting something that isn’t like what the journal publishes

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 10) Picking the wrong

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 10) Picking the wrong journal 9) Submitting something that isn’t like what the journal publishes 8) Not following instructions

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 7) Bad writing

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 7) Bad writing

Advice for Authors In promulgating your esoteric cogitations or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and

Advice for Authors In promulgating your esoteric cogitations or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable philosophical and psychological observations beware of platitudinous ponderosities. Let your communications possess a clarified conciseness, a coefficient consistency and a concatenated cogency. Eschew conglomerations of flatulated garrulity, jejune babblement and asinine affectations. Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility and veracious vivacity without rodomontade or thrasonical bombast. Sedulously avoid polysyllabic profundity, setatious vacuity, ventriloqual verbosity, and vain vapidity either obscurant or apparent. Shun double entendre, purient jococity, and pestiferous profanity.

Advice for Authors In other words, say what you mean, mean what you say,

Advice for Authors In other words, say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t use big words

The Secret to Good Medical Writing • Have something to say. • Say it.

The Secret to Good Medical Writing • Have something to say. • Say it. • Stop. Lang TA. How to Write, Publish, and Present in the Health Sciences. A Guide for Clinicians and Laboratory Researchers. Philadelphia, ACP Press, 2010

Things to Avoid in Your Writing Jargon Clinical slang and cliches The passive voice

Things to Avoid in Your Writing Jargon Clinical slang and cliches The passive voice Unconventional abbreviations Pejoratives and unnecessary information about patients

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 7) Bad writing 6)

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 7) Bad writing 6) Getting carried away in the discussion

Avoiding Problems with the Discussion Don’t attempt to make more of your results than

Avoiding Problems with the Discussion Don’t attempt to make more of your results than they deserve. Frankly acknowledge the study’s limitations. Avoid excess zeal (especially important when there are industry connections). Let your results speak for themselves.

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 7) Bad writing 6)

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 7) Bad writing 6) Getting carried away in the discussion 5) Suboptimal reporting of the results 4) Inadequate description of the methods

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 3) Poor study design

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 3) Poor study design

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 3) Poor study design

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 3) Poor study design 2) Not revising and resubmitting the paper

Proportion of Manuscripts Submited The Fate of Submitted Manuscripts hout t i w cted

Proportion of Manuscripts Submited The Fate of Submitted Manuscripts hout t i w cted view e j e R view al re e n r r r e t ex Pee nd u o r r 1 of view e r r pee fte a d e t c eje R ision v e r r for o h t ted to au t i d m e b rn esu r r Retu e Nev iew v e r Peer cted e j e R hed s i l b Pu Time

Peer Reviewers: Assassins and Zealots Siegelman SS. Assassins and Zealots: Variations in Peer Review.

Peer Reviewers: Assassins and Zealots Siegelman SS. Assassins and Zealots: Variations in Peer Review. Radiology 1991; 178: 637 -642

How to Respond to Peer Reviewers Write a detailed cover letter to the editor

How to Respond to Peer Reviewers Write a detailed cover letter to the editor with your revision. Thank the reviewers, praise their insight, and don’t be nasty. Deal point-by-point with every issue raised by the reviewers. Don’t just respond with a point-by-point rebuttal.

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 3) Poor study design

The Top 10 Reasons Why Manuscripts Aren’t Accepted for Publication 3) Poor study design 2) Not revising and resubmitting the paper 1) Not writing the paper in the first place!

Overcoming Writer’s Block • Break the project down into steps. • Don’t write anything

Overcoming Writer’s Block • Break the project down into steps. • Don’t write anything yet. • Make a 1 -page outline. • Do the tables and figures. • Note down points to be made and put them in order. • Write one section at a time.

Outline of Presentation • The different sections of a research paper and how to

Outline of Presentation • The different sections of a research paper and how to approach them • 10 reasons manuscripts are not accepted for publication—and what to do about it • Overcoming writer’s block • Helpful resources on writing scientific manuscripts

A Great Recent Resource For Both Beginning and Advanced Researchers and Writers Philadelphia, ACP

A Great Recent Resource For Both Beginning and Advanced Researchers and Writers Philadelphia, ACP Press, 2010, $59. 95

Another Practical Resource For the Beginning Researcher/Writer • 18 different topics • Most not

Another Practical Resource For the Beginning Researcher/Writer • 18 different topics • Most not specific to respiratory care field • Full text (PDF) of all available free at www. rcjournal. com

Additional Resource: UW Course on Scientific Writing and Presenting • EPI 534 / PHARM

Additional Resource: UW Course on Scientific Writing and Presenting • EPI 534 / PHARM 536 • “Principles of Publishing Clinical Evidence” • Co-Directors: Carin M Olson MD ([email protected] washington. edu) and Eric S Johnson Ph. D ([email protected] washington. edu) • 2 hours credit/no credit • Offered spring 2011