How to publish an article in a specialized magazine

How to publish an article in a specialized magazine
How to publish an article in a specialized magazine

The path from obtaining the results of a research, through the manuscript, to the official publication in a biomedical journal is arduous. In an interview, Dr. Vinay Guduguntla, a researcher linked to the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Evanston, in the United States, and editor of the journal JAMA Cardiologytalked with Medscape in German on the work of the editorial teams responsible for these publications and gave advice that physicians should consider when planning to publish research results.[1]

Step 1: Select manuscripts

Every month, biomedical journals receive hundreds of manuscripts. For example, in 2023, JAMA Cardiology received more than 2,200 articles and only accepted 6%.

First, new manuscripts are reviewed by senior editors. Initial evaluation focuses on four basic questions:

  1. Is the topic new?

  2. What is the quality of the data?

  3. How robust is biostatistical methodology?

  4. Is the topic relevant to the magazine’s target audience?

Dr. Vinay recommends that potential authors ask the journal if the topic is of interest before investing time in writing a manuscript. Once a draft is ready, formatting errors in the article, problems with data preparation, and conflicts of interest can lead to rejection during initial review.

Step 2: Evaluation by external reviewers, although the editors have the final say

When reviewing potentially interesting manuscripts, senior editors often opt for a peer review process that involves soliciting opinions from outside experts.

In JAMA CardiologyThe editorial team strives to ensure that each manuscript has two to three reviews, which translates into eight to ten requests to potential external reviewers. Authors can also suggest reviewers to the editorial team, always taking into account potential conflicts of interest. “It usually takes two to three weeks to find the necessary number of reviewers,” said Dr. Vinay.

These reviews consist of detailed analyses of study methods, evaluation of figures/tables and verification of the relevance of research results. They then provide feedback to authors and make confidential comments intended for editors.

Ultimately, reviewers act as consultants to the journal, no more and no less. Their comments significantly influence the selection of manuscripts, although this is not the only criterion. In specialized journals such as JAMA CardiologyThe editorial team has extensive experience in the field and is the one who makes the final decision to accept or reject a manuscript. Occasionally, the editorial team invites reviewers to comment and contextualize important manuscripts in the form of editorials.

Step 3: Editorial meetings

With the reviews in hand, the editors meet weekly to discuss the studies. JAMA CardiologyThese meetings last one to two hours and between 10 and 15 manuscripts are discussed.

One of the points evaluated by the editorial team is whether the authors of the study formulated the conclusions correctly. For example, randomized controlled trials allow statements about the causality of the research hypothesis, unlike cohort studies.

Step 4: Acceptance and publication

In JAMA Cardiology There is an average interval of more than 100 days between submission and acceptance of a manuscript, as multiple revisions are often required. However, the journal has an accelerated publication process if the work is to be presented at a conference.

After acceptance, manuscripts undergo a text editing process. In addition, the graphic design team recreates most of the figures to ensure consistency of style. In the process, the authors of the research receive preliminary versions for minor final adjustments.

Prepress articles and social media

Electronic publications and the use of social media have significantly changed the workflow of scientific journals. JAMA Internal Medicinethe editorial team gets to prepare issues to be published directly on social network X (formerly known as Twitter) as well as make major social media posts. Articles are also featured in podcasts.

Finally, researchers can post manuscripts on preprint servers, such as bioRxiv o medRxivprior to peer review and official publication. Many research groups adopted this practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This content was originally published in the German edition of Medscape; it has also been translated for the Portuguese edition of Medscape.

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