5 Less-known ways to get published in high-impact biomedical journals

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5 Less-known ways to get published in high-impact biomedical journals

This article was co-authored by Marisha Fonseca and Liana Adam. Liana, MD, PhD, has 20 years of academic experience at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA. She is now an entrepreneur in Stem Cell Research areas, including cancer and regenerative medicine. She has published over 60 papers in Nature Cell Biology, Nature, Cell Reports, Cancer Research, etc., and has peer reviewed for JBC, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, etc.


You’ve already heard from your peers that publishing in top journals is hard, given that their acceptance rate is very low, usually under 10%. What can you do to increase your paper’s chances of success?


1. Follow journal guidelines smartly. Understand what is written between the lines. Does the journal appear to give priority to highly novel findings or to research with direct practical implications? For instance, the American Journal of Sports Medicine requires a specific Clinical Relevance Statement for laboratory studies: it’s important that you clearly explain how your findings can be practically implemented in clinical settings.  


2. Check the editorial board and anticipate your potential reviewers. Cite some of their work, if it fits into the scope of your research (but remember that including irrelevant studies in your paper will make it less impactful). Pay attention to the journal aims and scope while choosing your target journal, and you’re more likely to find citable research done by members of its editorial board.


3. Your manuscript will be competing against several others for publication space in the journal. How will you attract the journal’s attention? By presenting an original solution to the most pressing research and clinical problems in your field. Journals like the European Respiratory Journal are on the lookout for papers with a compelling take-home message, to publicize on social media. 


4. Choose the most concise method that captures the message you want to convey. Do not repeat yourself or become redundant, because the space is limited and readers have a similar understanding about the subject as you. If you feel that you have additional figures that will clarify some aspects and help in your storyline, put them in the supplementary figures section. Have a sharp eye for mistakes in the figures or tables in your paper. Some editors read only the abstract and check the figures to screen out second-tier work. Even if your journal doesn’t impose a strict word limit (e.g., The BMJ), you still have to “make every word count.”


5. Be generous in providing the details of your methodology and making your data available. This not only will increase your citation index by allowing other researchers to use your dataset in metanalyses or asking different scientific questions but will also make your paper a “go-to” staple paper for other generations of scientists. Journals like Nature Medicine require authors to complete a detailed reporting summary to ensure transparent reporting and increase reproducibility.


The above tips will help in increasing the chances of your manuscript's acceptance. You can take professonal help for this, such as Editage’s Scientific Editing service. 


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Published on: Feb 21, 2020

An editor at heart and perfectionist by disposition, providing solutions for journals, publishers, and universities in areas like alt-text writing and publication consultancy.
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