Publishing in Medicine

Publishing in Medicine
Charles N Bernstein, MD
Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Director, University of Manitoba IBD Clinical
and Research Centre
Head, Section of Gastroenterology
Bingham Chair in Gastroenterology
Start of Study
• When you start your study consider whether
it will be publishable
• What will reviewers take issue with
• Even if you can derive a set of analyzable
data will reviewers/readers be interested in
the results
• Discuss authorship especially if collaborating
with new people
Start of Writing
• Begins when you write your proposalbetter job here makes manuscript writing easier
• Less is more
The Introduction
• Should be short
• Shorter than the Discussion
• Make the case for why the study should be
done and what the study’s objectives are
• Save the review of all that has been done
before your study, for the Discussion
The Methods
• More is better
• Make sure the reviewers have all the
information they need to understand what
you have done and make sure they have
enough detail to be convinced that you know
what you are doing
The Results
• Set out all your results in tables and figures
• Decide what is really important-base this on
what you think are most novel messages or the
messages you want to get out
• Pick 6 or 7 tables and figures in combo.
• Extra results that you think are interesting may
be summarized in text (or supplement)
• Make sure your tables or figures can stand
alone- enough info in titles and legends
The Results
• You likely have to cut some results from the
• Get over it
The Discussion
• Start with the key results
• Review the literature and where your results
fit as concisely as possible
• Point out limitations of your study
• Point out strengths of your study
• Summarize results and messages in final
The Wording
• You like the way another author has
summarized a topic…..cite them
• Change some of their words anyway so the
paragraph is not identical
• When you review, always be thinking; “is
there some way I can shorten this sentence”
The Abstract
• Often limited to 250 words
• Difficult, but forces you to decide what is
most important in this study
• This is what editor is reading before he/she
decides if they are going to read on/and send
out for review
The Title
• Catchy is good for an editorial but you can
make a case for your punchline in the title
even in original research
• For original research can be best to include a
method and the subject matter and possibly
the population under study
The title
• “Are we telling patients the truth about
dysplasia surveillance in ulcerative colitis”
• “How well does the Web answer patients’
questions about IBD. ”
• “5-aminosalicylate is not chemoprophylactic
for colorectal cancer in IBD: A population
based study. ”
• Be inclusive
• Including research associates (nurses, techs)
can gain allegiance and interest
• Either a collaborator or a consultant (getting
authorship or getting paid). May need to pay
a collaborator for some services
• Remember how you were annoyed when
senior staff wanted authorship on your work
when you become senior staff
Coauthors input
• Some are passengers
• Some are passionate-they are a help; listen to
their comments and revise BUT
• Someone needs to be the final say..this is the
first author and/or the senior author
• If you know your coauthors and they are
notoriously late give them a deadline for
response and move on when it passes
Picking a journal
• Be honest-where does it belong..typically you
strike out with first journal
• Ask senior people where it belongs-they may
have a sense of which journals are interested
in what kind of work