How to write an article for publication Leana Uys FUNDISA
Stages • Choose a journal and study its guidelines • Study the journal format and plan your own format • Write the article • Get a colleague to read and give feedback • Submit • Work with editors to get to publication • Celebrate!
1. Choose a journal • Your topic falls within its scope • Go for the highest impact journal you think you can make: • International only if you add to international knowledge • Circulation, audience, impact factor • What is the quality of your work? • Essential: what is the word count, table count and figure count they allow? • International Nursing Review: only three tables and/or figures
3. Write the article • From a doctoral study: • Identify two or three possible articles. • Start with the smaller pieces, and end with the largest • Do not think about literature surveys, unless they were systematic reviews • From a Masters study: Usually only one article, dealing with the study, not the literature • From another study: • Each phase could be an article.
HOW SHOULD YOU WRITE? • A few general rules: • You are writing for publication, so that your peers can understand what you did and possibly replication the study: - do not give too much research theory. • Give enough detail - not too much, not too little • Balance the sections, e.g. setting and methods.
What are the methods? • Design of the study: what did you do? • Sample: How did you select your respondents/sites/ etc? • Intervention: If there is one, describe carefully • Data collection instruments: How did you measure results? Provide reliability and validity data of each, as well as a format description. • Data collection process: How did you collect the data, who did it? How were they prepared? How were respondents approached? • Data management and analysis: Little here, since you will indicate statistics used in the results. • Ethical issues: Where did you get ethical clearance, who gave permission and how did you deal with ethical challenges.?
How do I describe my results? • Describe your sample as it actually transpired • Answer the questions you posed systematically • Present only data in tables that are too complex to write in a sentence • Display only figures that make complex data much clearer • In writing, present only the noteworthy data from tables and figures – • DO NOT: Repeat what is in the table/figure Discuss the results, or quote the results from other studies.
THEN THE DISCUSSION • What are the main or significant findings? • How do they compare with that of other studies? • How do you explain them? • In terms of theory? • In terms of context? • In terms of methodology? • What were the limitations of the study?
CONCLUSIONS • Use this section for recommendations for practice, education and research.
Now the title • Accurate, concise, specific • Use key words specific for abstracting • Resist abbreviations, brand names and jargon • Examples of titles: • A study on the effect of Pitocin on the uterus • What effect does maternal analgesia in labour have on the newborn? • Successful interventions in socioeconomically high-risk adolescent pregnancies using CNM, MC and a multidisciplinary team in an HMO.
The additional bits and pieces • References • Only significant, published references • Carefully follow the journal’s prescriptions – use Endnote if you can! • Check your references against an edition of the journal • Abstract • Format of the journal • MORE WIDELY READ THAN THE ARTICLE!! • Acknowledgements • Sponsors • Statistician • Field workers
aUTHORSHIP • Each authors should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content. • Authorship credits should be based only on substantial constitutions to: • Concept and study design, or analysis and interpretation of data; • Drafting and revising the articles critically for important intellectual content; • Final approval of the version to be published
Publishing with OTHERS • A supervisor should be co-author in most cases, with the student as first author; • These issues should be clarified in your supervision policy and should be available in writing; • No HOD or laboratory director’s name get on all articles published from that Department or laboratory; • Field workers, language editors and statisticians are not co-authors.
4. CRITIQUE BY A COLLEAGUE • If you have to explain and defend, change the article. • If the first colleague asks for many changes, make the changes. And then ask another one to read and provide feedback
5. SUBMIT THE ARTICLE • The editor does a quick review, and may decline the article after this, based on relevance, originality and conformity to requirements. • An author acknowledgement it sent. • The article is sent to two or more peer reviewers.
6. Responding to critique by reviewers or editor • Revising the paper is usually more productive than submitting to another journal; • Submit revision with a cover letter, responding to each point raised – using a table format is useful; • Keep the tone positive and courteous; • Meet specified deadlines.
CONCLUSION • Good quality can usually get published. • You might have to do more than one revision. • You might have to try more than one journal,