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Manuscript Writing and the Peer-Review Process

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Presentation on theme: "Manuscript Writing and the Peer-Review Process"— Presentation transcript:

1 Manuscript Writing and the Peer-Review Process
Josephine Mauskopf, PhD C. Daniel Mullins, PhD

2 Outline Study Design Authorship Guidelines Journal Selection
Adhering to standard formats Following good writing practice Following journal instructions Peer-Review Process

3 The Value of Peer-Review
Peer-review makes you look better My worst paper was accepted without any revisions requested My best paper Required three rounds of extensive revisions Was rejected by the first journal with the first round of comments Was significantly (positively) influenced by the peer-review process

4 Study Design A good paper starts with good research methods and credible data Research methods must be current and complete and well-supported (e.g. probabilistic sensitivity analysis, linear versus non-linear relationship between variables) Need to anticipate and incorporate changes in accepted research methods Analysis should be evidence-based (i.e. based on reliable data)

5 Authorship Follow biomedical journal guidelines Contribution to
Conceptualization of research Interpretation of results Responsibility for the paper Generally requires writing or heavy editing sections First author Second author Senior author Acknowledgement versus authorship No courtesy authorship

6 Choosing the Target Journal
Who do you want to read the paper – practitioners or researchers Who do you want to review the paper – practitioners or researchers Journal impact factor Is the paper of interest to the journal Read old issues Check journal mission statement Perform a PubMed search for similar publications Consider the journals listed in your references

7 Follow Good Writing Practice: I
Editors and reviewers find it easier to assess your paper if the paper is Well organized Well written Follow standard format Abstract Background Methods Results Discussion Conclusions Make sure Discussion is not mixed in with Results Start the peer-review process by having a colleague give you informal peer-review

8 Follow Good Writing Practice: II
The introduction is critical In 3 or 4 paragraphs you need to provide enough background to show that you are familiar with the literature why your paper is an important addition to this literature To answer the “so what” question, provide A general description of the importance of the topic A quick review of the literature to show what is missing and why this matters A brief summary of how your paper is going to fill this gap

9 Follow Journal Instructions
Editors get irritated if you do not do this! On-line submissions are increasingly the rule Follow author guidelines Abstract word limits and format Paper word limits Reference format Tables and Figures instructions Blinded and un-blinded copies Disclosure of financial support Copyright release forms

10 Know the Peer-Review Process
Value in Health Editor in Chief does initial review for scope and major methods flaws Editor in Chief assigns co-editor Co-editor does second review for “so what” and major methods flaws Co-editor chooses reviewers Reviewers send reviews Co-editor makes first decision Editor in Chief reviews and confirms first decision If revise and resubmit – the revised paper goes back to the co-editor who probably sends it back to the reviewers Final decision by co-editor if reviewers and co-editor are satisfied with the revisions Editor in Chief approves decision by co-editor

11 Delays in the Peer Review Process
Avoidable: Paper is incomplete (e.g. missing Abstract or Conclusion) Paper does not conform to journal style Unavoidable: Hard to find reviewers – you can suggest reviewers with your submissions Reviewers may be late with reviews A reviewer may suggest a further expert review is needed

12 Getting sent out for review
To get through the editors initial review the paper needs to: Be in line with scope of the journal Use appropriate methods Be well written Give sufficient detail so that reviewers can understand/evaluate Methods Data sources Values Answer the “So What” question

13 Getting to Revise and Resubmit
The literature cited in the introduction and discussion must be comprehensive and include likely reviewer’s papers The need for the paper must be clearly stated The methods must be current and appropriate for the study question and must be clearly described The data must have credible sources and be appropriate for the methods and conclusions The analysis should not be biased either for or against a product or procedure Accept that there is an element of luck in the assignment of editors and reviewers that may make a difference

14 Responding to the Reviewer Comments
This is one of the most important steps in the process Responding to the reviewer comments will make your paper much better than the one you submitted so treat the comments as “value-added” Do not be upset by the comments – sometimes they seem insulting but they are always helpful Never, never ignore any comment from a reviewer If the reviewer does not understand what you have done it is your error – clarify the text If the reviewer does not like what you have done – change it if possible – if not possible to change it acknowledge his/her suggestion in the discussion and say why this is not done

15 Responding to the Reviewer Comments (cont’d)
Reply letter Write the “response to reviewer” letter before making the changes to the manuscript Helps you plan out exactly what you need to do to answer each and every comment Should include a shortened version of each comment along with your response to the comment Remember: reviewers need to find something to say in their review so there always will be some changes requested

16 Some Do’s and Don’ts Do’s Have a current literature review
Be within the recommended word limit Make sure methods and data source are transparent, e.g. a table is included with all model inputs for an economic model Make sure tables and figures can be interpreted without looking at the text in the main body of the paper

17 Some Do’s and Don’ts Don’ts Write the abstract at the last moment
Misinterpret published papers to suit the paper conclusions Have inconsistent data in the text, tables and abstract Over (or under) exaggerate results

18 Questions? Good-luck! We look forward to receiving your manuscripts at Value in Health

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