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AcademyHealth Roundtable: How to Publish Without Perishing MEET THE EDITORS: Ann Flood Health Services Research Par Atwal Health Affairs Brad Gray Milbank.

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Presentation on theme: "AcademyHealth Roundtable: How to Publish Without Perishing MEET THE EDITORS: Ann Flood Health Services Research Par Atwal Health Affairs Brad Gray Milbank."— Presentation transcript:

1 AcademyHealth Roundtable: How to Publish Without Perishing MEET THE EDITORS: Ann Flood Health Services Research Par Atwal Health Affairs Brad Gray Milbank Quarterly Gloria Bazzoli Med Care Research & Review Catarina Kiefe Medical Care Alan Monheit Inquiry Arnie Epstein* New Eng J Medicine

2 Outline for today Brief intro about typical peer review process and likelihood of acceptance [AF: HSR] Roundtable reply to two Qs [5 min. ea/Q] –Hints for success at their journal –Unique feature at their journal Q&A from the audience

3 Making Peer-Reviewed Publication More User-Friendly Peer review is friendly? But what about: * All those rejections? * Exposing your work to anonymous reviewers? * Perishing unless you publish?

4 Some Publish and Perish! Peer review in the 1500s Servetus, Spanish physician –Published theory: blood flowed from right to left of the heart through the lungs [etc.] –Burned at the stake by John Calvin Galileo –Published a book, Dialogue on Two Chief World Systems –Confined to his home; forced to retract support of Copernicus theories

5 A Overview of the Process: Using HSR as an example Often appears to be a black box Occasionally more like a black hole Understanding the steps can reduce anxiety AND provide hints for more success

6 Preparation of the Manuscript (MS) Choosing a journal… –Look where similar ms have been published –Review journals to determine what they publish Look through issues Mission Statement Audience Instructions to Authors

7 Preparing Your Manuscript (MS) After you choose a journal… –Follow their guidelines re styles, length, etc. –Consider options for review-only appendices –Collect any additional material, e.g., related papers that might be considered duplicative so want to show they arent

8 Submitting the MS NO paper! Go to our website Fill out information as an author and potential reviewer Submit electronic version of MS (Word, WordPerfect, PPT, etc.) Use Endnote [checks Web of Science] Review the PDF version created Get an acknowledgement

9 What We Do First Assign the MS to an EIC –Selection is based largely on workload, potential conflicts of interest, and related manuscripts The EIC then determines whether the MS goes out for review 470 new ms./yr* 280 external rev/yr* * 2008 projected regular issue submissions

10 The First Barrier: The Editors No Reviews mostly reflect –Lack of fit with the journal –Very narrow potential audience –Not likely to be a contribution 2007 at HSR: – ~ 42%* of new submissions were assigned to No External Review –Mean time to decision7.8 days The surviving MSs are assigned to a Senior Associate Editor (SAE) * estimated, includes EIC-SAE decisions

11 Examples of fit for HSR Audience Broad-based multidisciplinary researchers, methodologists and policy wonks Mostly US based but with a global context Mission To further our vision and values by publishing thoughtful, timely, rigorously conducted, state-of-the-art research on healthcare that is widely disseminated and meets the highest standards of scientific peer review.

12 Identifying Reviewers Identify >2 reviewers, who as a set have the needed expertise Identifying willing and appropriate reviewers is difficult Authors can help by suggesting many potential reviewers (with addresses) This can shorten the time to get a decision CAN suggest who not to use

13 What is a good review? Cites strengths and weaknesses Detail that supports recommended decision Separates major and minor points Informs editors about issues such as: –potential conflicts or biases [not always bad] –inside information –previous reviews of same manuscript –suspected plagiarism –similar works by same authors –lack of expertise for evaluating some parts

14 What is a bad review? Personal comments Mean comments Irrelevant comments No detailed support for judgments Not disclose conflict of interests Touts own work that wasnt referenced Tells authors what their decision is

15 Waiting for a Decision Perhaps the most difficult part for the author Manuscript Central (MC) lets you know the current status MC automatically reminds reviewers about late reviews The EICs have much more information about where things stand and whom to nudge

16 Reaching a Decision: Both Reviews are In Reviewers comments to authors and editors go to the SAE SAE re-examines the full record [paper and reviews] and recommends a decision & comments for authors The EIC who started the process then makes the final call SAE and EIC need to agree EIC sends letter to the author w decision, special advice from us and reviews & sends thank-you letter w decision and reviews to reviewers

17 The Initial Decisions Were: [for MSs sent out for initial external review and with a decision] OVERALL TIMING: –In 2002: 126 days to 1st decision # –In 2007: 81 days! OUTCOMES, if reviewed* –Accept 1.6% (only if invited) –Reject59.5% –Revise and resubmit 38.8% Major revision 32.9% Minor Revision 5.9% * Based on 438 newly submitted regular ms only, 2006 # Includes decisions to revise, reject or accept

18 Major Revise and Resubmit Reviewers are sometimes quite negative about a paper as written But they, or the editors, see significant potential, e.g., a unique data set that was not well used However, it is not clear that even if authors can redo the analyses, or if the (yet unknown) results will be interesting enough to publish Our letter explains the risks involved

19 Back to the Authors Reviewers comments are sometimes conflicting –The editors try to resolve the more extreme conflicts More information is usually requested by reviewers The paper is almost always too long and needs to be cut Some authors decline to resubmit [this is rare]

20 Revisions and Responses Slavish revisions may not be appropriate (but reviewers will see) Its your paper and we may have gotten it wrong But, if we did, our readers might also be confused Detailed memos explaining how you addressed each point are very helpful Electronic appendices allow space for more detail Dont take too long! [the biggest consumption of time is by authors]

21 Improving Your Ms: Typical Problems Important flaws –Over conclude, over-sell implications –Not original contribution –Analyses have problems –Poor write up of tables, methods, results Minor problems –Not using HSR style –Too long –Lots of grammatical mistakes

22 The Next Cycle Revisions go to SAE Sometimes an immediate decision Usually back to the reviewers –Especially if major revisions Then back to SAE and EIC

23 Decision on First Revisions In 2005, at end of 2nd cycle Accepts/Conditional46% Reject 6% Revise (minor/major)43% –[up to 3 revisions ] Pending 5%

24 After Acceptance, Youre Not Done Yet The MS then goes to Wiley-Blackwell, our publisher, for copyediting Author needs to review, respond to questions, and approve, with a very short turnaround

25 Published Online & in Print For accepted papers… –Paperless process to publisher too Exception: original signatures on copyright & discl! –Online Early Publishing (~2.5 months in 2007) When copyediting done, published online Fully citable, available to subscribers on web Referenced in MedLine –Appears in print next avail issue (~ 8 months in 2007)

26 And now…hear from other editors 1.What criteria should authors use to choose and prepare their ms for your journal? What IS your mission? Who IS your audience? What hints would you give authors regarding meeting or exceeding your quality bar? How important is using the right style for your journal?

27 And now…hear from other editors 2.What feature[s] is most 'unique ' to your journal? How can authors successfully orient their ms to this feature? Any special process for this feature… such as should they ask before submitting? Send an abstract? Else?


29 Help in producing good science Teach good reviewing/aid authors HSR publishes and adds to webpage: –Example of MS and reviews and authors response –Editorials about peer review process –Section on Building the Field such as… Poster presentation vs podium presentation hints Multidisciplinary usages in the field Training future researchers

30 Help in producing good science Monitor prior dissemination HSR requires authors to disclose all & may not publish if –not original [never] –published, accepted, or submitted for publication elsewhere [never] –previously distributed publicly via the Internet or via national meetings [usually okay, subject to the approval of the Editors] –Major website or report with wide distribution to our audience [maybe] –Our bottom line: Prior dissemination of findings does not automatically preclude review and acceptance of an article, but raises the bar with respect to how publication in HSR will benefit the field.

31 Help in producing good science Monitor $ & conflict of interest HSR require authors to disclose all & may publish some: Financial support –all financial and material support (including the provision of, or access to, data) for the research Financial and policy conflicts of interest –all affiliations and financial involvements with organizations with a financial or policy interest in the subject matter in the manuscript Advocacy –public stands they have taken (in print, media, testimony, or other venues) that are identified with a particular advocacy position thats relevant to ms –whether their current (or at the time of writing) organization is identified with such an advocacy position.

32 Help in producing good science Other roles such as…. –Monitoring duplication/splitting hairs –Monitoring human subject protection –Access of public to the science in journals –And continuing to improve our journals Adding features that take advantage of new technology Newest features at HSR – Theme Issue [an extra Regular Issue on important theme] –Call for Papers by August on: Improving Efficiency and Value in Health Care – see for call or give me your card

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