Useful Tips for Getting Published in Academic Journals

Dr Abdul Habeeb Bin Mohsin
Dr Abdul Habeeb Bin Mohsin
Sri Sai College of Dental Surgery
Assistant Professor
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Specialties: Prosthodontics & Implantology

Article publishing can be an infuriating process in an academic journal that demands a real dedication of time and painstaking hard work. However, organizing our research work & case studies in form of publication is important to build a good profile. Moreover, establishing a publication record is essential if you intend to pursue a career as an academic researcher.

Topic Selection
Identify a topic to investigate; whether it is a general issue or a list of problems to study, it is important that the research problem should not be too broad. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to adequately address the problem.

Find A Unique Study
Conducting a research and writing an academic article is highly competitive. It is important that study done must be advanced and not published before or any update to the previous study can be considered. 

Have a Clear Aim 
Aims and Objectives are crucial for planning a study/research. It is to be dealt in initial stages. 

Aim is about what author wants to do, it is the overall intention. It is the expectation of the end result. Aim is generally broad, ambitious but within possible limitations.

Objectives are the specific steps to achieve aim; it can be more than one. This is where the project becomes perceptible by saying how to go about it. Objectives have to be practical and reasonable.

Aims and objectives are foundation of the research/study. So they need to be strong and dependable.

It is important to discuss with your professors and co-authors to understand the insights about the problem of the study and to know any new advancements and update on the subject. Teamwork helps in proper evaluation and interpreting the significance of findings.

Pilot Studies
A pilot study is a short preliminary study carried out before a research to check for feasibility, time and cost. Large scale medical experiments requiring samples around the world is expensive, finding out problems with equipment, method and statistical variability beforehand would save a lot of time and money. A pilot study can be important for attracting research grants.

Check different resource to see if previously same cases have been reported before and how the patients were managed with similar clinical conditions. Case studies should be previously unreported and unique.

Generally, larger sample size is better, but they also require more time and effort to manage. For example, having 1,000 samples will take more time than when it is only to go through 10 samples. But the results of the study will be stronger with 1,000 samples, so all researchers have to make choices and find a balance between what will give good data and what is practical. Once you have whole idea, plan for sampling frame, method, and sample size.

A key part of the research is methods section, it should be clearly justified and be linked to the literature. Methodology must explain purpose and academic basis. Sufficient details of the study must be provided to be able to reproduce the study if required. The study setting, sample distribution, equipment and data collection methods should be described.

Keep the results section short, state only the results. Discussion section should include explanations for results obtained.

Discussion and Critical Justification
Discussion includes brief outline of the work undertaken, comparing results with previous finding, explanation of contradictory results and statistical significances. Strong discussion includes critical analysis and justification of findings in context to published literature. At the end outline the implications, limitations and future aspects of the study. 

Strategic Referencing
Referencing means different scientific sources may be used to support the study performed. Key statements, methods and instruments must be referenced. References need not be exhaustive. References used must be from published work preferably from a standard journal, so that reader will not have difficulty finding or understanding it. Important text without reference would be termed as plagiarism.

Manuscript Preparation 
Manuscript preparation guidelines are suggested by journals, each journal has got their own set of guidelines. To ensure smooth process authors must include essential elements and follow the instructions strictly. Journals reserve the right to return or reject the manuscripts if they are not prepared accordingly. Paper should go in a good shape, it is advisable to have several drafts of paper before submitting.

Impact Factor
Impact Factor is the average frequency measure of number of citations to articles published in that journal in a particular year. Impact Factor can be considered to examine the standards of the journal but it can be controversial based on influence on the way scientific research published. Beware some companies are faking impact factors of their journals. They are termed as predatory journals. Investigate before choosing a journal for publishing for its standard indexing and analytics, for example Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a web analytic tool enables to check for citation information of academic journals. 

Editorial Board - Peer Review Protocol 
Take time to look for Editorial team of Journal which may give an idea of who is involved in the process of reviewing the manuscripts. Definitely eminent scientific editors will act wisely for processing of manuscripts. That in a way forms the high standards of journal followed by high quality scientific data published in database. 

Peer Review is evaluation of manuscripts by one or more experts in the similar field of authors work submitted. It can be termed as quality control, each manuscript must be checked by minimum two to three experts of the same specialty. It is important for maintaining quality of journal, content filter and better impact factor. Double-blind peer review is strict and effective in scientific publishing.

Flawless presentation to Reviewer
Always check several times for possible mistakes in a prepared manuscript. Hard copies with highlighter or bright inks would help to mark corrections. All co-authors must read it carefully and approve before uploading for consideration in any journal. Even if journal is negligent we should double-check for our work should not be portrayed in a poor form to the readers.

Guts to Revise
Authors require dedication and hard work to revise when communicated by journal. Revisions can be major or minor; Major revisions might take few days to weeks to sit and re-correct the sections of manuscript. It can also be redrafting the whole manuscript or just improving the method of experiment. But, valuable revision as per suggestions will create a positive impact on chances of it getting accepted.

About the Author
Dr. Abdul Habeeb Bin Mohsin, MDS
Assistant Professor. Department of Prosthodontics,
Sri Sai College of Dental Surgery, Vikarabad, India.