How to write and publish papers in Dentistry – A personal perspective Peter Svensson Professor, DDS, PhD, Dr Odont
Essentials in dental research• Understand the scientific process – Think – Plan – Do – Report• Communicate the scientific result – Talk – Write
Important obligation !“All research, to be generally useful, mustultimately be presented as a writtendocument”
What is science ?• From Latin “Scientia” – To know, to discern, to distinguish – Systematised knowledge from observation, study, and experimentation carried out in order to determine the nature or principles of what is being studied (social, natural, biomedical, etc.)
What is scientific ?• Scientific – Designating the method of research in which a hypothesis, formulated after systematic, objective collection of data, is tested empirically
What science should be !• Universal – Unrelated to individual researcher (personal, social, ethnical, religious, political factors) – Same principles within different disciplines (engineering, medical, social etc. – also dentistry)
What science should be !• Sceptical – Raises questions to be answered through stringent research methods (logical, critical, consistent)
What science should not be• Simple gathering of information – Distinguish from learning• Transportation of facts – Needs interpretation of the facts and data – “Listing facts, statements and knowledge is not enough”
What science should not be• Rummaging for information – More than checking information for self- enlightenment – “Finding out prizes on crowns in Aarhus”• Catchword to get attention – Often misused in advertisements – “Years of research have produced a new dentifrice”
Characteristics of good science1. Starts with a question or problem2. Requires a clear articulation of a goal3. Follows a specific plan or procedure4. Divides the problem into more manageable sub- problems5. Guided by specific problems, questions or hypothesis6. Accepts critical assumptions7. Requires collection and interpretation of data8. Is cyclical or helical
1. Identify the question or problem• Many unanswered questions and unresolved problems – Look around - observe - wonder – Be curious – Ask questions • Why? • What is the cause of that? • What does it mean?
1. Identify the question or problem• Nobel prize winner in medicine - Eric Kandel – Observed changed function of memory in psychiatric patients – Asked why is the brain working differently? – How is memory stored in the brain cells? (synaptic transmission - signal transduction)
Review the literature• You need to have background knowledge to approach your own research problem• Maybe it is only a problem to you !
Review the literature• Purpose of the review 1 – Reveal investigations similar to your own – Show how other researchers have handled methodological and design issues – Describe methods to deal with problem situations that you are facing – Reveal sources of data that you may not have known existed – Introduce you to key persons whose work you may not have known
Review the literature• Purpose of the review 2 – Help to see your own study in historical perspective – Give you new ideas and approaches – Help to evaluate your own research efforts by comparison to similar efforts of others – Indicate the time and effort previously put into your research topic
Practical advice to search• Use e.g. Pubmed and search the literature - haste slowly - and read• Identify 2-3 central, high-quality review papers - and read• Read papers most closely related to your research topic and then gradually expand http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov./entrez/query.fcgi
Practical advice to search• Pick others brains ! – Friends – Supervisors – Experts – Senior faculty members• Contact authors to key-papers• Important verbal information can be obtained from meetings, conferences and personal interactions
2. Clear articulation of a goal• Important to state the problem in a clear, unambiguous way• “What do you intend to do?”• “The aim of this project is to ...” The mother test !
3. Specific plan or procedure• Hoping to find something, or that data will be “popping up” is not a good start – “let us see what we will find or just go ahead and do it”• Planning the research effort is important – “define the strategy to get data and what to do to them”
3. Specific plan or procedure• Choosing the design and method with care and logic – “different questions need different methods” – “engineering questions may not be answered by sociological research designs” – “sociological questions may not be answered by engineering methods”
Reminder“Researchers should remember that the taskbefore us is to answer the research question,not to revalidate our methodology.” Besag 1986
Reminder“The question should determine themethodology. The methodology should notdetermine the question.” Besag 1986
4. Manageable sub-problems• The research problem or question may be too big or complex to solve without breaking down into logical subproblems - structuralization• Main problem, e.g. – “How do I come from Aarhus to Xi’an?”• Sub-problems – “Where is Xi’an?” – “What is the most direct/fast route?” – “How do I proceed from airport?” – “What train number?” – Etc…..
5. Hypothesis• Greek “Groundwork, foundation”• An unproved theory, proposition, supposition tentatively accepted to explain certain facts or provide a basis for further investigations• Hypotheses are not new or purely academic constructs, but reasonable guess - logical supposition
6. Accepts critical assumptions• Research has assumptions• Geometry has axioms• Self-evident truths - conditions that need to be taken for granted
6. Accepts critical assumptions• Define and state the assumptions necessary for your hypothesis, e.g. – “Women have lower pain thresholds than men” • Both groups have same interest / motivation to faithfully report their experience • The examiner is capable of performance an accurate test • The test method is sensitive enough to discriminate between the groups
7. Collection and interpretation of data • Collection of data is the first step – Data are objective • Interpretation of the data is the next - and necessary - step – Data need to go through the human brain to get a meaning ! – Interpretation is subjective
Two important aspects of data• Validity – Soundness, effectiveness of the measuring instrument – What does the test measure? – Does it measure what it is supposed to be measured? – How well, how accurately does it measure?• Reliability – Consistency of the measurement – How well can you measure something again and again?
Validity and reliabilityPerfect reliability Perfect reliability Bad reliability + + + Perfect validity Bad validity Bad validity
Statistics• Helps to describe and interpret the data set – Descriptive statistics • Points of central tendency (mode, mean, median etc) • Measures of variation (quartile range, SD, SEM, variance) • Measures of relationship (Pearson product moment, Spearman rank-order etc) – Inferential statistics • Predictions - estimations • Hypothesis testing (t-test, Wilcoxon, Mann-Whitney, Friedman, ANOVA, regression analysis etc)
8. Cyclic or helical nature 6. Interpretation Rejection or acceptance 1. Research begins with a question 5. Collect and organise data 2. Clear statement 4. Hypotheses of the goal to be tested 3. Division into subproblems
Summary• The science needs to be good in order to write a good scientific paper
Scientific writing• Writing as thinking – Writing is a great way to discover what we are thinking – Start writing as soon as possible – The only version that counts is the last one – Paper is patience, but uncritical !
Different means to present science• Scientific writing – Original / full research reports – Short communications – Case stories – Topical reviews – Systematic reviews / meta-analysis – Books or book chapters – Academic thesis – Conference abstracts
Different means to present science• Oral presentations – Short communication – Plenary lecture – Seminars – Courses
Different means to present science• Public relations – Media - press release – Internet
Scientific papers• Consider where to publish – Impact factors - impact – Relevance - scope of journal – Audience - readers – Time – review - publication
Impact factors• Measure of the frequency of which the ”average article” in a journal has been cited in a particular year – Cites to recent articles / number of recent articles All citations in a journal in a particular year during the last 2 yearsIF = All citable articles in the journal during the last 2 years http://isi3.isiknowledge.com
Impact factor• Suggested as a simple, descriptive quantitative measure of a journal’s performance• Founded by Eugene Garfield – Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)• Science Citation Index (SCI) now includes more than 3700 journals and even more are tracked (not yet included)
Impact factor• General belief – ”The higher IF, the better journal” – Researchers keen to submit to high-impact journals – Editors of high-impact journals are ”swamped” with manuscripts – Funding agencies expect researchers to publish in ”the best” journals
Problems with impact factor• Coverage and language preference of the SCI database• Procedures to collect citations at the ISI• Algorithm to calculate the IF• Citation distribution of journals• Online availability of publications
Problems with impact factor• Citations to invalid articles• Negative citations• Preference of journal publishers for articles of a certain type• Publication lag• Citing behavior across subjects• Influence from journal editors
Alternatives to impact factors• Journal to Field Impact Factor• Adjusted Impact Factor• Cited half-life Impact Factor• Median Impact Factor• Disciplinary Impact Factor• Prestige Factor
What does the IF measure?• Measure the average citation rate of all ”citable” articles• Helps authors to decide which journals to submit to• Helps editors and publishers to assess the journals• ”Simply reflects the ability of journals and editors to attract the best papers available”
What does IF not measure?• Does not measure the quality of individual articles• Only measures the ”interests” of other researchers but not the ”importance” and ”usefulness”
In addition to IF also consider• Scope of the journal• Actual circulation numbers / distribution and potential readership• Time from submission to publication
Time• Short communications of most recent research• Normally immediately prior to publication of data in full research paper – Feedback – Faster distribution of news• Fast track publications (“hot topics”)• Online Early – publication ahead of printed version
Scientific papers• Note on style (IMRAD) – Introduction – Materials and Methods – Results – and – Discussion
Author guidelines• Check very carefully the instruction to authors• Print out a recent paper from the journal• Remember copyright forms etc. – www.blackwellmunksgaard.com/jor