Endocrine Abstracts (2006) 11 S104

Papers for peer reviewed journals

S Pearce

University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle, United Kingdom.

The most important part of any research project is getting it published in the best way; this usually will include a peer reviewed journal paper. Choice of journal is an important decision, with international broad readership journals having much greater prestige than regional or subject-restricted publications. You will need to decide whether to put all your relevant research findings into a single large manuscript, or to split your work up into a series of smaller papers. If your work follows a logical sequence of experiments, then the magnum opus approach is almost certainly preferable. Before you start to write, get together the data (essentially the tables and figures) for the paper and think about the most important points that you want to make. Also get a copy of your target journal and think how your work will fit in. Many people like to get going by writing the methods section. When writing methods, you are aiming to give enough detail so that someone can repeat your exact experiment and (hopefully) get the same result. The introduction should give someone who is not an expert in your field a broad idea about why the subject is important, what has been done before (is known or otherwise), and why your question is interesting. Aim to quote as many relevant papers as possible; think who will review your paper and keep them happy. The results section should state your findings in a clear way, so that the sequence of experiments can be followed. Take time to explain or present complicated data. Don’t comment on your data in this section. Aim to make the figure legends and tables self-explanatory. Most papers have only 2 or 3 things worth saying about the results. These should be included in the discussion section, along with more detailed comparisons about how your results are similar and different to those previously published, or about how your results affect the interpretation of previous data. Many discussions are too long. While writing, actively revise your text. Think after each point or paragraph: Does it say what I need it to? Could I have expressed the same more clearly or in less words? Always proof-read a hard copy of your paper and look at it again the next day before passing it on for comment.

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