How To Write A Manuscript (2008)


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  • How To Write A Manuscript (2008)

    1. 1. Guillermo Umpierrez, M.D. Professor of Medicine Division of Endocrinology Emory University School of Medicine How do you write a scientific manuscript?
    2. 2. Consultants Number of consultants 8 Years in practice 26 (11 - 50) Clinical/basic research Clinical: 7, basic: 1, both: 2 Number of publications 316 (41 – 1300) Number of peer-review papers 104 (41 – 250)
    3. 3. What do medical scientist write? <ul><li>Scientific abstracts </li></ul><ul><li>Research papers (original investigation) </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Textbook chapters </li></ul>
    4. 4. Before You Write <ul><li>Effective writing has more to do with logical thinking than with “style” </li></ul><ul><li>“ . . . the preparation of a scientific paper has less to do with literary skill than with organization. A scientific paper is not literature.” </li></ul><ul><li>A paper with good data almost writes itself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The most important part of the manuscript begins with planning the project. </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. “ Instructions to authors” <ul><li>Read instructions before you start writing! </li></ul><ul><li>All journals have a house style </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Length of abstract and document </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Figures and Tables </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reference format </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The BMJ insists all papers are written in (active) first person </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I demonstrated that…. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Choosing a Target Journal <ul><li> Consider: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Citation databases: Medline (Pubmed), Web of Science </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Favor journals with rapid publication </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact factor: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NEJM (51.29), Nature (30.98), Science (29.78), Annals of Inter Med ( 14.8), Circulation (12.563) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diabetes Care (7.851) ranked 4 th out of 92 journals in the field of endocrinology/metabolism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IF = average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the journal citation report year. IF = 1.0 means that, on average , the articles published one or two year ago have been cited one time </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Authorship <ul><ul><li>Who should be an author? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Uniform requirements for publication in biomedical journals ( </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authorship qualifications (1 – 2 – 3) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>final approval of the version to be published </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Manuscript Structure <ul><ul><li>Title </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abstract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research Design and Methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acknowledgments </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Title <ul><li>Does your title summarize the main point of your paper? </li></ul><ul><li>Be concise (100 characters) </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too scholarly or too “cute” title subtitles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acronyms* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abbreviations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>* Word form from the initials letters of other words (NATO) </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Abstract <ul><li>Summary of Manuscript (200-300 Words) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Background and purpose of research </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Methods </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Abstract <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Background statement: </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1-2 sentences define the fundamental question being addressed in the study </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Material and Methods: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>short and to the point! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Results: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>describe major points </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>results in the abstract has to be consistent with the information in the rest of the paper </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusions: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the conclusion must relate to the fundamental question </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Introduction <ul><li>Keep it brief (1 –2 pages) </li></ul><ul><li>Brief background information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for study </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Summary of problem (selling point) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the gap obvious </li></ul></ul><ul><li>State the fundamental question </li></ul><ul><li>Use the present tense </li></ul><ul><li>Use the past tense for previous findings </li></ul>
    13. 13. The “Fundamental” Question “ Few clinical trials have focused on the optimal management of inpatient hyperglycemia in the non-critical setting. Accordingly, we conducted this prospective, randomized study to compare the efficacy and safety of a basal/bolus insulin regimen to SSI in patients with T2DM admitted to general medicine wards.” Umpierrez et al, Diabetes Care 30:2181–2186, 2007
    14. 14. Material and Methods <ul><li>How was the problem studied? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subjects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sample preparation techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sample origins </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Field site description </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data collection protocol </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data analysis techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any computer programs used </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Description of equipment and its use </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><ul><li>Give full details of the protocol/procedures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include a clear statement of study design: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Rabbit study was a randomized, open label study … designed to compare the efficacy and safety of …” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include a statement about IRB approval, informed consent, or compliance with animal welfare regulations: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The protocol was approved by the institutional review board, and all patients gave informed consent …” </li></ul></ul>Material and Methods
    16. 16. <ul><ul><li>State primary and secondary outcomes: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The primary end-point was to determine differences in glycemic control as measured by mean daily blood glucose concentration between treatment groups. Secondary outcomes…” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write in a logical order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>usually chronological </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe analytical methods </li></ul></ul>Material and Methods
    17. 17. 68 subjects with DKA IV Glulisine insulin therapy until resolution of DKA Transition to SC glargine once daily and glulisine before meals Insulin Analogs (n= 34) Human Insulin (n= 34) IV regular insulin therapy until resolution of DKA Transition to SC NPH and regular insulin twice daily Insulin Analogs versus Human Insulin in the Treatment of Patients with DKA
    18. 18. Umpierrez et at, Diabetes Care 30:1699-1703, 2003 Study Protocol
    19. 19. Results <ul><ul><li>Logically answer the research question </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Correlate with the methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use data from this study only (exact P values, confidence intervals) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Present all the representative data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use tables, graphs, photographs for data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Supplement rather than repeat data in visuals and tables </li></ul></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Tables <ul><ul><ul><li>Should stand alone for comprehension </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Should complement the text </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not too much information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not too many abbreviations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Common errors: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>discussing results, missing data </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Disagreement with data given in other sections and visuals </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Umpierrez et al, Diabetes Care 27:1873-1878, 2004 Tables
    22. 22. Figures should stand alone for comprehension Umpierrez et al, Diabetes Care 30:2181–2186, 2007
    23. 23. The importance of the abstract, figures and figure legends <ul><li>The editor/reviewer should be able to evaluate the paper based on the abstract, tables, figures and the figure legends alone </li></ul>
    24. 24. Discussion <ul><ul><li>Beginning: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do these findings mean? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give your main result first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin with a signal: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We found that… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blood pressure increased in patients who … </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Give your conclusions based on your results </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Briefly summarize and discuss— don’t merely repeat —the results </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. <ul><li>Middle: </li></ul><ul><li>Interpret your results </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss key studies—only those relevant to your work </li></ul><ul><li>Compare your work with others’ work </li></ul><ul><li>Present ambiguous results and discrepancies with others studies objectively </li></ul><ul><li>Explain unexpected findings </li></ul><ul><li>Describe limitations briefly </li></ul>Discussion
    26. 26. <ul><li>End: </li></ul><ul><li>Write a strong conclusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin with a signal: “In summary.. In conclusion.. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Suggest future work, if necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Use present tense except </li></ul><ul><li>Common errors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>too much information, too many studies, no transitions </li></ul></ul>Discussion
    27. 27. Other Important Items <ul><ul><li>Acknowledgements: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For reagent gifts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For technical help </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For funding source </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For advice on content or manuscript </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict of interest: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>List any consulting/lecture honoraria or research funding that could have any direct or indirect link with the current study </li></ul></ul></ul>
    28. 28. References <ul><li>Check referencing style of journal </li></ul><ul><li>Include only significant, published work </li></ul><ul><li>Use EndNote whenever possible </li></ul><ul><li>Check original sources </li></ul><ul><li>Common errors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>typos, inaccurate references </li></ul></ul>
    29. 29. Review Process Paper Submitted Initial Decision by Editor Confirmation of Receipt Rejection Decide to Review Assign Reviewers Reviews Completed Reject Accept Notification to Author Revise Accept Revise
    30. 30. Reasons for Rejection <ul><li>The research does not address an important question </li></ul><ul><li>The results do not make a “discernible point” </li></ul><ul><li>The results are not novel </li></ul><ul><li>Problems with experimental design </li></ul><ul><li>Problems with the quality of the data </li></ul>
    31. 31. Replying to Reviewers <ul><li>Remember your goal is to be published not to demonstrate that you are smarter than the reviewers </li></ul><ul><li>You should respond to every comment even if you don’t do everything requested </li></ul>
    32. 32. Additional Tips! <ul><li>The first sentence of your paragraphs signals what the rest of the paragraph is about. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each sentence that follows should reflect back on that lead sentence. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do your percentages add up to 100? </li></ul><ul><li>Do your percentages and raw numbers agree? </li></ul><ul><li>If English is not your first language, find a native English speaker to review the content and language of the paper </li></ul><ul><li>Regardless of primary language, find a colleague or editor to review the content and language of the paper </li></ul>
    33. 33. Additional Tips! <ul><li>Organize the sections of the manuscript so that they tell a story </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule time to write </li></ul><ul><li>Set a timetable </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure that you have done an appropriate review of the literature so that you can compare your findings with those of others </li></ul><ul><li>Try out the manuscript presentation in a conference or seminar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>your colleagues will often have extremely valuable suggestions </li></ul></ul>
    34. 34. Additional Tips! <ul><li>Use only recent references unless earlier references are seminal or key for making a point </li></ul><ul><li>use the background section of your recently funded grant as a starting point </li></ul><ul><li>Set up a team of collaborators to write paper </li></ul><ul><ul><li>have a senior colleague </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>involve a colleague, 2 people have a more than additive effect on quality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>involve fellows, residents, and medical students </li></ul></ul>
    35. 35. Additional Tips! What additional recommendation(s) would you give to a busy clinician on how to write manuscripts? Do not procrastinate – just do it
    36. 36. Acknowledgement Faculty: Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D. Bobby Khan, M.D., Ph.D. Jeff Lennox, M.D. Jeff Sands, M.D. Peter Wilson, M.D. Nanette Wenger, M.D. Thomas Ziegler, M.D.