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Manuscripts in the field of medicine must meet some essential criteria to be deemed worthy of publication. This article provides crucial insights into what medical journals expect from an excellent manuscript.
Why do medical manuscripts have to be written in a specific way?
Medical journals seek to inform researchers, medical practitioners, and the general public about new developments in the medical field. Articles in these journals may impact current practices in healthcare. Therefore, manuscripts submitted to medical journals must present all necessary information about a study or clinical trial in unambiguous terms. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Write for your audience
While writing a paper in medicine, remember who you are writing for. Who will read your article? Who will benefit from reading it? While most authors write for peers, this is not the most effective strategy¹. Using language that the larger scientific or medical community will understand can give your paper a wider reach. A professional editing service like Elsevier Language Services (EAS) can help here. EAS editors are subject-matter experts and can make your paper more reader-friendly while retaining all necessary information.
Plan and maintain the structure of your manuscript
Inappropriate packaging of a manuscript may lead to its rejection². A proper structure for your paper ensures logical flow and helps convey information effectively. Most medical journals ask authors to follow the ICJME (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors) guidelines, which prescribe the IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion), while preparing their manuscript.
Explain the relevance and novelty of your work
Unimportant and irrelevant subject matter is yet another leading cause for manuscript rejection². Therefore, when writing the abstract of your paper, ensure that it conveys the relevance of your study to the medical community and demonstrates originality.
Ensure detailed reporting of methodology
Your paper should contain all necessary information like tools or techniques, locations, patient demographics etc. Poor reporting of methodology can be a reason for manuscript rejection³. As a general rule, when deciding whether to include information, ask yourself, “Is this information necessary to replicate my research?”.
Do not overstate conclusions
Ensure that your conclusions follow naturally from your key findings. Refrain from overstating the implications of your results, as they can be red flags during review³. Consult an EAS editor to get a clear idea of which claims are valid versus unsubstantiated in your manuscript.
Include a conflict-of-interest statement
Take care to include a conflict-of-interest statement in your manuscript⁴. Most medical journals also require you to have include this in the cover letter accompanying your manuscript⁵. Besides information on the funding source, your paper may also need to include information on informed consent and ethical approval by a committee.
Keeping these simple tips in mind while preparing your manuscript can significantly improve your chances of publication in a medical journal. Subject experts at Elsevier Language Services clearly understand the requirements of leading journals in the medical field. Therefore, they can provide invaluable guidance in perfecting your manuscript for the journal of your choice.
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- Lewiston, ME. (2014). How to Write a Paper in Scientific Journal Style and Format. Bates College. https://www.bates.edu/biology/files/2010/06/How-to-Write-Guide-v10-2014.pdf.
- Ali, J. (2010). Manuscript rejection: Causes and remedies. Journal of Young Pharmacists, 2(1), 3–6. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-1483.62205.
- Hesterman, C. M., Szperka, C. L., & Turner, D. P. (2018). Reasons for Manuscript Rejection After Peer Review From the Journal Headache. Headache, 58(10), 1511–1518. https://doi.org/10.1111/head.13343.
- Shokeir, A. A. (2014). How to write a medical original article: Advice from an Editor. Arab Journal of Urology, 12(1), 71–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aju.2013.10.006.
- Writing for scientific medical manuscript: a guide for preparing manuscript submitted to biomedical journals. Acta Medica Indonesiana, 39(1), 50–55. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17297211/.