I recently spoke at a residents’ noon conference about the basics of manuscript writing. Although residents are encouraged to write and submit papers, it may be a daunting task for those without a lot of writing experience. My goal was to provide tips for writing and organizing a paper, and to help with deciphering some of the meticulous formatting required by journals. A PDF of the slides from this presentation is available on the Chief Resident Blog, and the session was recorded via Panopto for later viewing (Hawk ID login required) as well.
The session covered a wide range of information and advice about manuscript writing and submission, but an hour just wasn’t enough time to review the myriad details that may — or may not — need to be taken into account when preparing a paper for submission:
Where to Start
We briefly reviewed tips for selecting a journal and getting started on writing.
Authors often find it a bit challenging to note author affiliations when a paper is coauthored by staff in different divisions, departments and other institutions. Noting affiliations correctly is important because publishers send that information to PubMed. To ensure that each author’s division or department gets the recognition it deserves in PubMed and other databases, corresponding authors should note affiliations carefully.
Our discussion covered a lot of ground, from abstracts to properly presenting figures, and reviewing the all-important reference formatting rules. If author instructions are confusing, or if authors are unsure how best to present their findings, it often helps to look at recent articles in the target journal.
How to Handle Rejection
Every author will have a paper rejected at some point. I highlighted a few key points to consider when revising a rejected paper and finding a new journal for submission.
The main takeaway, as always, was to carefully review author instructions. As I’ve mentioned to every author with whom I have worked, aside from the content and message of your work, simply following those pesky instructions for the target journal will ensure a smoother review process.
Kris Greiner is the medical and scientific editor for the Department of Internal Medicine and a member of the Design Center.