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Manuscripts & Abstracts

How to write a manuscript and have it published

Manuscript Basics

ICJME:

When planning to publish a research article, review the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) guidelines for manuscript preparation. Following these guidelines will improve your chances of acceptance by any journal. (Best Practice)


Top Priority:

  1. The topic of the Manuscript (noun phrase) should be easy to identify by reading the title.
  2. The research study should be guided by and circumscribed by a focused, narrow research question.
  3. Create a short list of "Author-Supplied Keywords" to help focus your writing.

The Title

  • Craft your title according to journal guidelines. (6-12 words is average.)
  • To improve retrieval of your research study, your manuscript title should contain controlled vocabulary terms. Include synonyms in the Abstract.
  • Add the study design to the title and abstract, if possible.
 

When crafting the AUTHOR section of your manuscript, make a plan and be thorough.

How you present your name will follow you throughout your publishing career. Pick an Author-Name Configuration and be consistent.

  • J. Pioneer
  • J.L. Pioneer
  • Jane L. Pioneer
  • Jane Laura Pioneer
  • J. Laura Pioneer

Note your highest academic degree. (If you have multiple degrees, provide this highest degree relevant to the journal / topic.)

Provide full contact information:  name, email, business phone

Provide your personal unique ORCID iD serial number for clarity.

You will also need to have the following Statements ready:

  • Author Conflicts of Interest Statement
  • Sources of Support Statement
  • Disclaimer Statement

Author Guidelines and a Journal's Information for Authors will give you guidance.

BEFORE you settle on the choice of a journal, identify your personal goals for publishing.

What Are Your Publishing Goals?
  • To test the waters; to understand the publishing process.
  • To get your name “out there.”
  • To build your professional reputation as a practitioner.
  • To build your professional reputation as a researcher.
  • To contribute to the scholarly discussion currently evolving on your topic (EBP, TR, IS).
  • To introduce a new tool.
  • To introduce a new process.
  • To correct misinformation.
  • To update out-dated information.

What Are Your Publishing Preferences?
  • Must be peer-reviewed journal?
  • Must be a research journal?
  • Must be a nursing journal?
  • Must be a clinical practice journal?
  • Must allow interactivity (active links)?
  • Must allow images, graphics, charts, etc.?
  • Must provide an Open Access option?

Once you've identified your goals and your preferences, identify a 3-journal “wish list” (aspirational). Once you've made your wish list, check the journals to be sure they match your goals and preferences.


Things to check when selecting the right journal:

  • Check the journal’s scope / aim to determine if your topic is an appropriate subject area of the journal.
  • Check the journal’s website for Information to Authors. READ CAREFULLY. (Note citation style requirements, format requirements, etc.)
  • Check the journal's website to note the article types the journal accepts. (no case studies, no reviews, etc.)
  • Check each journal’s Editor’s Picks if available. This will give you insight into the preferred types of articles. 
  • Check the journal's impact factor.
  • Check the journal's acceptance rate.

If your wish list journals don't work out. Perform the following tasks to identify additional possible journals:

  • Perform multiple database searches on your topic to see where previous articles on your topic HAVE BEEN published. (at least a 2-3 year gap since the last similar article)
  • Check Reference Lists of articles you have selected for use in your manuscript.
  • Identify seminal authors, then perform Author searches to identify where they publish.
  • Seriously consider cross-disciplinary journals.
  • Check database indexing (Ulrich’s Periodicals Database).

Because fraudulent journals are proliferating, perform due diligence to ensure a journal is legitimate.

  • Check presence of ISSN serial number.
  • Check database indexing.
  • Check editorial board for credentialed individuals. If you see a familiar name, email that person to ensure they are an editor.
  • DO NOT respond to unsolicited article submission requests. Consult your librarian or the TWU Libraries Scholarly Communications unit for advice / investigation  /recommendations.

Tools for Choosing a Journal

When submitting a manuscript for publication, include a cover letter with the submission form.

The cover letter should contain the following information: 

  • Full statement of previous works on the topic to prove your study is not redundant too similar to previous published studies. Include links or copies of previous works to assist the editor. This saves time.
  • Statement of financial relationships concerning conflict of interest.
  • Statement of authorship (credentials).
  • Statement from co-authors approving submission of the manuscript.
  • Contact information for an author. This person will be the point-person for communication concerning the manuscript submission (revisions and final approval of proofs).
  • Inform editors of possible concerns raised during the conduct of the study if appropriate.
  • Statement if the article has been submitted to other journals previously and their comments on the manuscript with author’s responses.
  • Include permission statements to reproduce information contributed by others (illustrations, images, photos, etc.)

Abstract Basics

Three types of Abstracts:

  1. Research article abstract
  2. Presentation abstract
  3. Poster presentation abstract

Each Abstract type is unique in structure, content, and purpose.

An Article Abstract gives a snap shot overview of the entire research study. It can "stand alone."
Elements of an Article Abstract:
  • Short statement of context and background of the topic or issue. Justifies the study.
  • Statement of the study purpose / aim / objective / hypothesis / research question.
  • Brief description of the study participants / subjects / population and their selection.
  • Brief description of the research setting.
  • Brief description of the basic procedures followed
  • Identification of research method as well as the statistical method of measurement and method of statistical analysis.
  • Brief overview of main findings (effect size, statistical significance, etc.)
  • Brief statement of the study limitations.
  • Statement of principle conclusions. Emphasizes the “new” or “important.”

Last item of Abstract:
If archiving STUDY DATA to meet Open Data requirements, provide the persistent data set identifier, repository name, and number.

Ensure consistency between Abstract text and Article text.

Purposes of a Poster Abstract:
  • The purpose of a Poster Abstract is to provide enough information to jurors to determine if the research poster will fit the event criteria, and therefore, warrants inclusion in the poster event.
  • It gives a glimpse into “what is to come” on the poster itself, by showcasing specific elements of the study.
  • It allows the jurors to determine the relevance of the research study and assess the quality of the research.
  • It aids poster event staff to organize poster placement into themes.

When preparing a Poster Abstract, review and closely follow stated poster guidelines (format, word limit, headings, etc.)

A Poster Abstract must be able to “stand alone” and be representative of the whole study. Reading the full report would not be necessary to understand the study significance, the study results, and their implications.


Elements of a Poster Abstract:
  • Must contain all main elements of the study.
    • Brief statement of the need for the study.
    • Brief statement of the aim of the study.
    • Description of the study method.
    • Description of the study findings.
    • Statement of conclusions drawn.
  • Avoid details, abbreviations, references, jargon. Some poster event criteria disallow graphics (diagrams, charts, tables, illustrations), 
  • End with clear, precise “take home” message with a mention of the evidence that supports it.

The Purposes of the Presentation Abstract closely align with the purposes of the Poster Abstract.

  • The purpose of a Presentation Abstract is to provide enough information to jurors to determine if the Presentation will fit the event criteria and program, and therefore, warrants inclusion in the event.
  • It gives a glimpse into “what is to come” in the presentation itself, by showcasing specific elements of the presentation and the study.
  • It allows the jurors to determine the relevance of the presentation and assess the quality of the research that will be presented.
  • It aids event staff to organize presentation themes as well as aiding in scheduling.

When preparing a Presentation Abstract, be sure to follow reported guidelines for submission, inclusion, and format.

Customize the presentation abstract to the event audience.

Customize the presentation abstract to the event setting.

Customize the presentation abstract to the event program.


Elements of a Presentation Abstract:
  • Must contain all main elements of the study being presented.
    • Brief statement of the need for the study.
    • Brief statement of the aim of the study.
    • Description of the study method.
    • Description of the study findings.
    • Statement of conclusions drawn.
  • Avoid details, abbreviations, references, jargon.  
  • Tailor all content to show respect for the event, the event program, and the event audience.
  • End with a clear, precise “take home” message:
    • state how the evidence supports the message.
    • state how the presentation coincides with the program theme.
    • state how the presentation is relevant to the audience needs.