Why publish peer-reviewed literature?

Why publish peer-reviewed literature?

What makes a physician decide to publish in peer-reviewed literature? The stock answer to that question is the pursuit of scientific truth. But even a superficial glance at peer-reviewed medical literature today shows that only a small proportion of it involves “pure science”, that is, research with the scientific method at its core.

So if not for pure science, why do physicians publish? One reason is that those within the professoriate are expected to publish for academic advancement – alongside patient care and teaching, written scholarship is one of the three pillars of academia. Articles written by academic physicians may generally be pedantic and unimaginative, but the pressures within academia to produce them are unlikely to change, and we can expect such papers to continue to appear in great numbers.

But most physicians reside outside of academia and do not face pressure to publish. So why should they? Many reasons! To start with, writing an article for peer review requires a physician to review the existing literature, which helps keep him up to date with current medical practices. Secondly, the writing process forces a physician to analyze patient outcomes critically and report results in a disciplined way. This type of self-analysis opens up opportunities for improving patient outcomes.

Additionally, publishing papers is a crucial way for a physician to communicate his clinical abilities to the wider world, to both referring physicians and potential patients. The writing of articles is one of the best way of marketing a clinical practice, and this is a factor that motivates some of the articles in medical journals today. Academics tend to view this practice with cynicism, but provided a paper’s content is worthy, this type of “marketing” is preferable to promoting one’s practice through glossy brochures or highway billboards – especially in terms of reaching other physicians.

It is my belief that Cureus.com will make the process of publishing easier than ever – and not just easy but fun. Isn’t it time you got to work on your next paper?

Writing a Cureus-ly Good Paper

Writing a Cureus-ly Good Paper

Writing a scientific paper is hard work and takes considerable time. We at Cureus are here to make your publication process as quick and painless as possible. After publication your contribution will be rated by the community (SIQ). You should keep in mind these important steps when you prepare your manuscript.

Do you have something worth publishing? If so, here are the main criteria to consider:

  • Significance: Why was this work done? Did you solve an important problem of current interest or is it an obscure or obsolete problem?
  • Originality/Novelty: Is your approach novel or is it tried-and-true? Did you need to develop new tools, either analytical or physical?
  • Completeness: Have you tested a wide range of scenarios, or is this just a simple proof-of-concept?
  • Correct: Is your solution technically sound or are there errors?

It is important to consider your audience. It should be written to an audience that knows generally about your field but does know what you have done. In addition, before you begin your process you should research and read similar scientific papers that have been written in the format you plan to use.

Write clear and concise content

The main assumptions and results should be explained clearly. If there are multiple assumptions, present them together. Do not bury them in long paragraphs.

Define every symbol when it is first introduced. Otherwise, your peer reviewers will be frustrated. That can negatively affect your SIQ score. Clearly state the contributions of the paper in the concluding remarks.

Focus on the Material and Methods section first

When writing a report, it is often a good idea to begin by writing the Materials and Methods section. This section is usually straightforward. Writing it first helps to establish the proper thought process and understanding of the work. This will allow the rest of the report to flow more smoothly.

Next, it is generally recommended to write the Results section, followed by the Discussion, and finally the Introduction. Although this recommendation may seem illogical at first, many have found this approach to be very effective.

Limit your references

An inexperienced writer rarely resists the temptation to cite all papers that have been written on the subject. This may be appropriate for a doctoral dissertation, but not for a journal paper. An ideal number of references is a dozen. A practical upper limit is twenty.

Design your tables and figures clearly and intuitively

A (good) figure is worth a thousand words. Do not use too many curves, lines, or labels. Ten years after publication, readers may not remember equations or derivations, or anything else about a paper. But they may remember a figure.

As a general rule, a paper should not contain more than two figures – rarely more than three. Too many figures suggest that the paper represents a low-tech research effort. Tables and figures should be put into a contextual framework in the corresponding text. They should typically summarize results, not present large amounts of raw data. When possible, the results should provide some way of evaluating the reproducibility or statistical significance of any numbers presented.

Following these tips will make your paper highly valuable and guarantee high SIQ scores. This ensures wide distribution of your work and will serve in  adding significant value to your professional reputation.