Presentation on theme: "Writing and Publishing “Best MCH Practices” Milton Kotelchuck, PhD, MPH September 30, 2002 CityMatCH Los Angeles, California."— Presentation transcript:
Writing and Publishing “Best MCH Practices” Milton Kotelchuck, PhD, MPH September 30, 2002 CityMatCH Los Angeles, California
Objectives 1. To understand a professional journal’s functions and missions and how it relates to the MCH field’s broader dissemination activities 2. To understand the broad steps of the editorial process by which a submitted article is reviewed, improved and published 3. To understand the special challenges and opportunities of publishing practice-based articles in the MCH Journal 4. To appreciate the characteristics of successful and non- successful submission 5. To have an opportunity ask questions about the MCH Journal editorial process and procedures 6. To have an opportunity to discuss potential manuscript submissions from CityMatCH members
Why might you want to publish a Journal article about the “Best MCH Practices”?
Reasons to Publish Share your experiences Inform colleagues of a new program Gain positive publicity Validate a program’s success Advance practice or scientific knowledge Personal reward/advancement Enjoy writing Job requirement And lots of other motivations
Barriers to Publish Not rewarded for publishing Don’t have experience Don’t have an advanced academic degree Don’t know the “Rules” Don’t have the time Hard to get practice articles published Afraid to try And lots of others
Why are MCH-focused Journals critical to our field? Why is CityMatCH a co-sponsor of the Maternal and Child Health Journal?
Why was there no MCH Journal until 1997? MCH is politically and professionally a “weak” field No consensus about the unifying basis of the MCH field MCH has no traditional of publications The MCH (Title V) developed before current focus on accountability and MCH epidemiology
Need for MCH Journal To advance the MCH field professionally To better help define the MCH field Be a common forum for discourse across the entire MCH field Capture our advancing MCH practice, research and policy knowledge To be an advocate for MCH community
Maternal and Child Health Journal was initiated in 1997 after several years of planning and negotiations
Founding Sponsors of the MCH Journal CityMatCH AMCHP ATMCH MCH Section APHA (unofficial)
Maternal and Child Health Journal Five Key Areas of Focus 1. MCH epidemiology, demography and health status assessment 2. Innovative MCH service initiatives 3. Implementation of MCH programs 4. MCH policy analysis and advocacy 5. MCH professional development
Types of Articles Full Articles Brief Reports Methodological Notes Notes from the Field News from the Field Letters to the Editor Editorials Special Issues
Professional Journals Are/Should Be Only One Part of a Project’s Dissemination Strategy A good dissemination strategy should define specific audiences and target them with specific messages Multiple venues exist for dissemination –Brochures, Websites, NCEMCH, Newsletters, Conference Presentations,… Professional Journal’s are only one site for presenting information about a project
Positive Features of Professional Journals Peer reviewed Prestigious/part of scientific coin of the realm On MEDLINE and other computer-based bibliographic data retrieval systems Archived/not part of gray literature Disseminates our experiences, minimizes reinventing wheel Reaches larger audiences Creates professional community linkages Empowers our field
Negative Features of Professional Journals Often less interested in practice; more narrowly research-focused; more quantitatively rigorous Small audiences/wrong readership Formats are too constrained/less interesting style of writings Often linked to professional groups, who may be more institutionally conservative
CityMatCH experiences/projects should be published!
Editorial Process in MCH (and Most Other) Journals Overview of Steps Preparation of the article Submission Review and initial decision Improvement and final decision Publication
Preparation and Planning Decide to write an article –Before, During, After Project Completion Develop a dissemination plan –But don’t plan too many articles – or none get done Decide on each article’s message or goals Decide who should write the article –Authorship, Single or Multiple Writers, … Decide on a target Journal –Read the Journal’s Guidelines!! –If unsure of appropriateness, contact the editor Create time/space for writing
Writing The Hardest Step is the First Step The first draft is the hardest The second draft is the hardest The final draft is the hardest If possible have a non-project member read the article for its editorial style and content
A Good Manuscript Tells a Good Story An introduction that tells why this article is needed (what’s new, what is its contribution) Clearly stated objectives and aims A design or approach that can address the objectives A fully presented methodology (with critical variables defined clearly, and a (statistical) analysis section showing how the objectives will be met)
A Good Manuscript Tells a Good Story (cont’d) A result section (that was logically guided by the prior methods/statistics section; with no- irrelevant analyses included) And a discussion section which answers/discusses the original aims, plus includes sections on limitations and linkages to MCH practice There should be a coherence structure and flow to the manuscript Tell only one story per article
Submission Submit clean carefully proofed manuscripts –Form implies substance Cover letter to editor –Short, note any special concerns, suggest reviewer’s/non-reviewers, … Submission logged into computer tracking system/expect acknowledgement
Initial Review and Decision Process 1. Editor (or associate editor/editorial committee) will initially decide if manuscript is appropriate (in content and quality) for further journal review 2. Appropriate external reviewers will be selected (using reviewer database, prior authors, suggested reviewers, COS, new people, …) 3. The article will then be sent (blinded) to three or more external reviewers
Initial Review and Decision Process (cont’d) 4. After nudging (using internal tracking system) receive reviewer forms will be reviewed, and an editorial review package for editor will be prepared 5. Initial editor review Manuscript decision (accept, accept with minor changes, revise and resubmit (minor/major), reject) Disagreement among reviewers Decision on article type Initial communication with author (timing, variation among journals, content, …) Appeals to editor for reconsideration
Article Improvement (Revision Process) The revision process varies by journal In the MCH Journal, it is a critical stage; MK is an activist editor In general, articles under revision not yet been officially accepted Initial comments of Editor may reflect publication type, content analysis, and editorial/stylistic suggestions Comments of external peer-reviewers provided Revision of Articles –Decide if willing/capable of making revision –Make acceptable changes (literally and in spirit) –Right to disagree with proposed suggestions Cover letter to Editor, with resubmission The goal is to improve the article to better enhance its scientific and practice value to MCH field
Second Review and Decision Process Editor re-reviews revised manuscript –internal and/or external review Second decision process Further rounds/cycles of revision –This can be a lengthy process –Deadlines maybe imposed –Major initial revision usually results in another round of revision –Many practice articles also require several revisions The further into process the more likely to be published (but not yet assured)
Acceptance Rate YearAcceptedOpen (R&R) Rejected/ Inactive To Be Decided Total 199612017029 1997280 056 199837340080 1999431624083 2000361624077 2001261428068 Percent461341
Publication (Author Acceptance) Acceptance letter Finalization of article in journal style Preparation of final package (3 copies, computer disk, transfer of copyright) CELEBRATE!!!
Publication (Editorial Office) Preparation of issue (four issues per volume/year) Editorials requested Communication with publisher Submission of issue
Publication (Publisher Issues) Receipt and acknowledgement of issue Copy editing Type setting Pre-publication galleys sent to author and editor for their review –Usually 6 weeks after issue submitted –Minor changes permitted –Check accuracy, especially of tables! –Purchase pre-prints Publication –6 weeks later Automatically added to MEDLINE Prepare PR/news stories, if desired REJOYCE!!!
Challenges and Opportunities in Writing “Best MCH Practices”
The MCH field needs them MCH Journal wants them CityMatCH (and others) are the source of the best and most current MCH practices There are numerous excellent examples of MCH practice articles But practice articles are hard to write And most have been rejected
Reasons Why Practice-Based Articles Are Rejected Description only No effort to show how they contribute to the advancement of MCH field and MCH literature It is repetitive of other articles, nothing new is presented No evidence to support claim of their effectiveness Written as brochure/PR piece – only positives mentioned It is replication of government report – with no further analyses Absence of thoughtful analysis of pro’s and con’s of its implementation (write manuscript for other MCH practitioners) Lessons learned in its implementation are not discussed
CityMatCH Support for Community-based “Best MCH Practice” Articles
CityMatCH Special Issue(s) 1. Urban MCH Data Use Institute 2. Perinatal Periods of Risk National Practice Collaborative 3. Perinatal HIV Prevention Urban Learning Clusters
NACCHO and CityMatCH 2001 Local Health Department Survey 1. Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities 2. Women’s health 3. Data capacity and epidemiology
The MCH Journal would welcome more articles from CityMatCH to strengthen our Journal and our field
Journal Publishing in 21 st Century Dramatic changes in works –Instantaneous electronic publication –Automatic linkages to references (CrossRef) –Inclusion of instruments, appendices –Inclusion of sound, films, etc. –Electronic access –Customized journals, text books, course packets Improved interactive website –For subscription –For submission –For review and editorial functions –For enhanced communication
MCH Journal is available Online By typing “Maternal and Child Health Journal” in your browser you will be directed to Journal’s website or You can go directly to –http://www.kluweronline.com/issn/1092-7875
Special Challenge of Writing Articles in Public Agencies