9:00-10:15 am: - Introduction - What should be considered before writing? Dscussion 10:15-11:45 am: - The content and format of paper - Discussion 11:45am-12:45pm: - Writing and revising - You and the journal - Discussion 12:45-13:00 pm: Coffee and end of the workshop.
Writing a paper in medical sciences for international publication: Step by step approach BY Prof. Ehab S. EL Desoky Professor of Pharmacology Faculty of Medicine Assiut University
Introduction • We get to believe that writing is effortless! • We forget that good scientific writing is a hard work even for experienced authors. • We all have a head full of thoughts floating around, but these thoughts are not formulated in a way or a frame to bescrutinized by others.
Introduction, Cont.. • Morton Grossman is an eminent Gastro-enterologist who published 400 scientific papers, 134 editorials and 71 books or chapter in books. He said: “I have not found writing one bit easier today than it was 30 years ago”
Introduction, Cont.. • Scientific papers are not just baskets carrying unconnected facts like the telephone directory. They are instruments for persuation.
Introduction, Cont.. • What the readers need?= Why do we read scientific papers? • keep aware of what is going on in our • fields?! • get a sense of new developments that • may become important to us?! • looking for answers to questions or • solution to problems In the above 3 cases, reading the abstract and/or conclusion may be enough !!!!
But, What about CLOSE READERS? 1- They are kind of readers who are looking for more than just answers to questions and solutions to problems. 2- They need to be convinced that: * the message of the paper, * its answer to the proposed question * its solution to raised problems are all correct and valid
What should be considered ? ask yourself the following questions before start writing :
Q1-What do you have to say in your paper? • Q2- Is the paper worth writing? • Q3- What is the right journal? • Q4- What is the impact factor of the chosen journal? • Q5- Do you have a literature search strategy? • Q6- Did you decide on authorship? • Do you still feel paralyzed to start writing?
Q1-What do you have to say? (message of the paper)?! • If you are able to state the answer in a single short sentence, then, you have a clear and strong message. • Examples: Is antibiotic A more effective than antibiotic B in treating an X disease?.
Q2- Is the paper worth writing? (=Is there a need for your paper to be published?) • You have a green light to go ahead in your paper if: • 1- no paper of the kind you are planning to is available in literature. • 2- the message of your paper is new to the medical literature or at least to the journal audience.
Q2- Is the paper worth writing? (Cont..) • 3- the message is not new, but it expands on or firms up a previously published message. • 4- Therefore, deciding to write a paper may depend in part on what you find in a new search of the literature.
Q2- Is the paper worth writing? (Cont..) • If you want to know whether your paper is worth writing or not, think about the followingTWO TESTS: The "So-what test" "Who-cares test"
The “so-what” test? • A measure of the importance of your message • What may happen if the paper is published?! • May the paper change concepts of a disease or its treatment?! • May the paper stimulate further research in the same field?! • Will you be multiplying publication not for the sake of readers but for selfish • motives
The “Who-cares” test • A test that answer the question: WHO are the audience? Who will see the paper when it is in reprint? practitioners, specialists in a small field OR technicians? Please remember that papers are read mainly by persons who need answer to questions.
The “Who-cares” test • Any author is likely to think that his paper will attract the attention of far more readers than in fact it will get. Take care: mothers love their own babies
Q3- What is the right journal? • 1- Choosing the right journal is an early step in planning the paper. • 2- Few journals may be appropriate choices if you are working in a narrow specialty or subspecialty • 3- For better choice, ask yourself the following questions:
Q3- What is the right journal? (Cont..) • (i) Is the topic of the paper within the scope of the selected journal? • (ii) Is the topic represented in it frequently or only rarely? • To get the answers: • Look closely through recent issues of the journal (at least a year back) OR Look in the journal main page at the section of “the journal information for authors”
Q3- What is the right journal? (Cont..) • (iii) What format does the journal accept? Reply: You may select a right journal for your topic, but it does not publish papers with the format you have chosen!
Example 1: You are planning to write a detailed critical review of diagnosis and treatment of “Gonococcal Urethritis”. • A journal with a style of publishing: long, detailed, heavily referenced reviews but not short summaries of diagnosis and treatment will be suitable for your paper.
Example 2: A PhD candidate in clinical psychiatry have written a long-term review on: ‘ assessment of emotional problems in women with breast cancer. He had to choose between 5 journals in the field: a) 2 journals publish only original research papers b) 2 journals publish some reviews, but mostly research papers and all authors are pre-eminent in their field, NOT ACADEMIC NOBODIES. c) One journal then left publishes short reviews of currently important topics.***** Of course this is the target journal.
Q4: What is the impact factor of the chosen journal? • (i) Impact factor indicates how many times, on average, a journal’s papers are cited in other journals. • (ii) It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field.
Q4: What is the impact factor of the chosen journal? (Cont..) • (iii) Calculation: based on a three-year period, IF 2010 for a journal would be calculated as follows: A = the number of times articles published in 2008-9 were cited in indexed journals during 2010B = the number of articles, reviews, proceedings or notes published in 2008-2009impact factor 2010 = A/B
Q4: What is the impact factor of the chosen journal? (Cont..) • (iv) Be aware of the following as regards IF: Publishing in a journal with high ranking raises your reputation. Submitting a paper to high rank journals in your field, also raises the risk of: rejection of paper and sometimes the months the journal needed to process the paper before rejecting
Q4: What is the impact factor of the chosen journal? (Cont..) high prestige journals have highrejection rate because they receive 1000-4000 manuscripts/year and can publish only a fraction of these papers. So, their rejection rate may reach up to 90%!!.
Q4: What is the impact factor of the chosen journal? (Cont..) some journals with high impact factor have relatively small circulations, they are usually journals that publish: • Highly important papers, & • very sophisticated materials of interest mainly to small group of investigators.
Q4: What is the impact factor of the chosen journal? (Cont..) • (V) Please don’t consider these facts as an invitation not to publish in high prestigious journals. But also you should be aware that high impact factor means that competition for publishing in the related journals is high andsuper-quality of written paper is required!!!!!.
Q4: What is the impact factor of the chosen journal? (Cont..) Therefore, You are not obliged to choose the most prestigious journal in your field to publish. Don’t forget that a normal and leading motive for publishing is to build one’s reputation among peers.
Q4: What is the impact factor of the chosen journal? (Cont..) A journal in the list of your field, known by: your intended audience, wide circulation below the top two or three journals possible faster publication low risk of paper rejection
Q5- Do you have a literature search strategy? • 1- You should review the relevant literature ,Then, from time to time as the research proceeds until you prepare the final version of your paper,
Q5- Do you have a literature search strategy? (Cont…) • 2- Select the proper terms that could represent aspects of the subject of your paper. • Then, you should think about other possible terms that are inter-related including even techniques.
Q5- Do you have a literature search strategy? (Cont…) • Example: you wish to review the clinical problems of : “cytomegalo virus (CMV) infection of gastro- intestinal tract (GIT) in persons with acquired immnune-deficiency syndrome (AIDS)”. • Your first list may look like this: “CMV, GIT, AIDS” • The second step is to use other possible terms that are inter-related e.g. “Treatment, diagnosis, dudenoscopy, gastric aspiration”
Q6- Did you decide on authorship? • 1- If you are not the sole author, come to an agreement with other potential authors on “who will be the authors?”. • 2- Then, come to an agreement on the order of authors’ names on the published paper. 3- Then, the coauthors should also agree on who will be the Author of correspondence.?
Q6- Did you decide on authorship?(Cont…) • 4- Who is the author? develops the hypothesis Actively participating in the practical work Assemble data and Critically interpret the results Participates in writing
Q6- Did you decide on authorship?(Cont…) • Collectively: participation (writing/practical) reviewing (revising) responsibility authorship Collection of data does not by itself justify authorship
SUMMARY • When you decide to write a paper, think about: • 1- The message of your paper and its importance • 2- The target journal & target audience for your paper • 3- Literature search strategy • 4- The coauthors
The content and format of Research paper
1- General principles • A conventional format for research papers is called “IMRAD” format which includes Introduction, Material and Methods, Results and Discussion. • Bradford Hill, an eminent biostatistician advised any writer to ask himself thefollowing questions that might help him to define the content of each section of his paper:
Q1: Why did he start? = Where did the question come from? The hypothesis to be tested & Make up the paper’s Introduction Q2: What did you do? Material & Method Q3: What answer did you get? The Results
Q4: What does it mean any way? The Discussion & Conclusion
1- Introduction • 1- When you go to an interview for a job, your clothes and behavior may determine right a way you get hired.! • Similarly, the “Introduction” to your paper may influence how the paper is: looked at and judged by the editor and by the reader .
1- Introduction • 2- The “Introduction” quickly gives an impression of your skill as an investigator and writer! • 3- If the “Introduction” is too long, it can irritate or bore, if it is too short, it may not make clear why the research was needed.
1- Introduction • 4- The “ RULES” to be considered to decide what to put into the “Introduction” can be summarized as follows:
1- Introduction • Rule 1: Tell the reader why the research was started? • Rule 2: Don’t explain what can be found in any textbook in the field.! • Rule 3: Don’t elaborate on terms in the title of your paper!
1- Introduction Rule 1: Tell the reader why the research was started? = What was the gap in knowledge to be filled by your research? = What question has not been settled by previous research?
1- Introduction • Examples: • (i) A study of pharmacokinetics of a new antibiotic in patient with impaired renal function may have been launched because a serious side effect of the drug had been found to occur only in patients with renal disease. This is an example of new phenomenon to be discussed.
1- Introduction • (ii) A drug for treatment of congestive heart failure has been described: → in one paper: highly effective → in another paper: as effective in onlyabout one half of the patients. To what is the difference ascribed??? * different doses of the drug, * difference in the severity of the disease?. • This is an example of filling a gapin knowledge as regards previous conflicting observation.