Journal Editors Share Tips on How to Get Published

Originally published in Anatomy Now, April 2015, taken from the Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2015 session entitled, “How to Get Published” 

Publishing Your Research: Strategies to Maximize Your Chances of Getting Your Papers Published and Navigating the Revision Process – Parker B. Antin, Developmental Dynamics

Key points:
  • Publishing allows you to tell your story and advance your career.
  • Submit to a journal that is a good fit with your research area. Doing your homework on the journal’s topic areas saves everyone time.
  • Pay attention to the customer service of the journal, reputation of the journal, and its editorial board. Prestigious journal submission can be challenging; journals have high rejection rates and reviews can take months or even a year to complete. Educate yourself on the submission-to-acceptance-to-published timeline of your preferred journals. Some are much better than others.
Other quick tips:
  • Manuscript figures need to be high resolution.
  • If English is a second language for authors, think of using a writing service such as Wiley editing services.
  • Use an active voice in your titles. What did you do, learn, solve?
  • Itemize and respond to all reviewer comments. Take their free advice and resubmit, explaining where and how you addressed their concerns.
  • You may suggest potential reviewers of your manuscript to the journal.

How to Write Clearly – Kurt H. Albertine, The Anatomical Record

Key point:
  • One of the most overlooked issues in submitted manuscripts is the lack of hypothesis. You literally need to write the word “hypothesis” in your manuscript, and then state what it is.
Other quick tips:
  • Ask yourself, “Have I made the reviewer work to understand my manuscript?”
  • Don’t use vague language. Say “rats” rather than“animals.” Don’t say “change” when you mean “increased.”
  • Avoid vague adjectives and adverbs like “sick,” “very,” or “some.”
  • Stick to one topic per paragraph.
  • Use consistent order when introducing new topics. If there are three things that happened (a, b, c), then talk about a, b, and c in that order throughout the paper.
  • Pay attention to punctuation!

Education Research – Richard L. Drake and Wojciech Pawlina, Anatomical Sciences Education

Key points:
  • Anything you are doing in your classroom could have potential for an education research article. Are you introducing a new technique, testing a new educational tool, or using technology in the classroom in a new way? Think of how your work could help others and you may find that it lends itself well to education research.
  • Finding ways to include quantitative data can be a challenge in some education research papers. Look beyond what you may consider standard quantitative data. GPAs, time to perform tasks, assessment scores, and evaluation data can all be used to create quantitative data for submission.