Tips for Submitting Manuscripts to Journals: Get Used to Criticism

By Brunk, Doug | Clinical Psychiatry News, September 2003 | Go to article overview

Tips for Submitting Manuscripts to Journals: Get Used to Criticism


Brunk, Doug, Clinical Psychiatry News


A few years ago, Dr. Barry Weiss sat down with a young family physician and critiqued his research manuscript.

I told him, This is a pretty good paper. What are your plans for it?'" recalls Dr. Weiss, professor of clinical family and community medicine at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and editor of Family Medicine.

The physician had sent it to the Journal of the American Medical Association, but he presumed they did not like it because it was returned with six pages of detailed reviewers comments. So he stuck in it a drawer for 8 months, devastated by the criticism. He was so blown over by the detailed comments that he didn't realize that JAMA was really saying, 'Please revise the paper and send it back. We're interested in publishing it,'" Dr. Weiss says.

"If I invite an author to resubmit a paper, the chances are very high that it's going to be published. If you're lucky enough to be asked for a revision, do it."

Dr. Weiss and another widely published physician-researcher, Dr. Kurt Stange, professor of family medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, shared the following advice on how to submit a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal:

* Write the abstract first. That helps you focus on what the paper is about and what the implications are. "If you write the abstract first, the paper kind of writes itself," says Dr. Stange, who is also editor of the Annals of Family Medicine. A good abstract defines the purpose of the research, explains what is unique about it, and contains three to four sentences of results. The conclusion should consist of two sentences, he adds. The first states the study's main findings while the second discusses the implications of the findings.

* Gain experience as a peer reviewer. Most peer-reviewed journals have an application process for physicians interested in becoming a reviewer. After evaluating a few manuscripts, Dr. …

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