Ah, times have changed. An article in JAMA Internal Medicine reveals the practices that led to the 1967 publication of a 2-part literature review on “Dietary Fats, Carbohydrates and Atherosclerotic Disease.”
In short, the review articles were written with heavy involvement from the Sugar Research Foundation, which has since become the Sugar Association with a mission to “promote the consumption of sugar through sound scientific principles while maintaining an understanding of the benefits that sugar contributes to the quality of wholesome foods and beverages.”
From a the perspective of a medical writer acquainted with publication guidelines, the current article lays out a troubling path to publication for the 2-part review. Continue reading Why publication guidelines were made
Recently, an investigator came to me frustrated with the quality of scientific writing that was being produced by his laboratory members. At least a few times a year, I hear the same comment: “My team members are wonderful scientists but terrible writers.”
Most investigators think that they have to put up with the terrible writing, but I don’t think so. After a brief conversation, the investigator and I identified a few easy ways that he could help his team (and himself) improve the scientific writing produced by their laboratory.
Continue reading Quick (and easy) ideas to improve your writing
In the last few months, a variety of new and updated resources on scientific publication were released. Some of the resources are geared more toward authors and researchers, while others will be most useful for medical writers and publication planners. Here they are, in no particular order:
Continue reading New scientific publication resources
Medical writers assist authors with writing, editing, and searching the literature when preparing scientific manuscripts. For authors who are under a time crunch to publish their data, medical writing support can be a benefit. Recent research also points to added value that medical writers bring to authors above and beyond these initial benefits.
A recent study published in BMJ Open examined the relationship between medical writing support and the quality of reporting in randomized controlled trials published in BioMed Central journals between 2000 and 2014. Continue reading Medical writers bring value to authors
With all the money invested in obtaining research funding, universities should invest more in the end product of that research, namely the publications. That is the argument made by the authors of a recent paper on improving the medical research literature.
The authors identified 3 targets that could help universities improve the publications from their researchers: introducing publications officers into the academic environment, training researchers how to be authors, and training researchers how to be peer reviewers.
Continue reading How academia can increase the value of research articles
Psychology and psychiatry often study phenomena that are “open concepts,” which necessitates precision in the language used to describe the phenomena. This is the argument posed by the authors of a recent paper that describes 50 terms that are commonly used in psychological and psychiatric scientific literature and that the authors believe are incorrectly used.
The 50 terms are broken down into 5 broad categories. Some of these terms apply to scientific literature in general and are not specific to psychology and psychiatry.
Continue reading Do you use these 50 terms in psychology writing?
Companies that sponsor medical research should pay attention to an updated guideline that was recently released. The document, Good Publication Practice for Communicating Company-Sponsored Medical Research“, more commonly known as GPP3, is the third iteration of the guideline, which goes back to 2003.
The guideline covers all types of documents published in peer-reviewed journals (original research articles, short reports, reviews, letters to the editor) and presentations at scientific congresses and meetings (oral presentations, posters, abstracts).
Continue reading GPP3: New guidelines for publishing company-sponsored medical research
Thinking about applying for a grant with a fall deadline? Well, the time to start working on the grant is now. Believe it or not, you probably need at least 3 to 4 months to put together a strong application. Besides starting early enough for an on-time submission, how else can you increase the chances of success? Continue reading 6 Tips for Grant Writing Success
The most widely referenced and followed guideline for authorship of scientific publications is that issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). In it, the ICMJE recommends that authorship be determined by:
- Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
- Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
- Final approval of the version to be published; AND
- Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
The ICMJE states that
All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria should be acknowledged.
A recent study looked at challenging authorship scenarios and asked clinical investigators, medical journal editors, publication professionals, and medical writers to decide who should be granted authorship status in these situations and how confident they were in their decision.
Results of the survey study showed several cases where there were higher levels of disagreement between the groups surveyed than other cases. Continue reading Are ICMJE authorship guidelines leaving people out?
Recently, I gave a webinar on publishing a scientific manuscript for the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). [An archived version of the webinar is located AMWA On Demand Webinars.] In the webinar, I reviewed topics including selecting a compatible journal, online resources for literature searches, and writing strategy.
Following the webinar, there was a Q&A session in which I was asked some great questions by the audience. Here is a condensed version of the questions and my answers from the webinar on publishing a scientific manuscript:
Continue reading Tips to prepare a scientific manuscript that gets published