Research: Publishing in a journal

Last updated: Monday, October 09, 2017

Writing a paper for a journal is in many ways similar to writing a conference poster. Although there is more space to express yourself, do not be tempted to try and include every conceivable fact or to ramble. Pharmacists often like to be ‘comprehensive’, and can struggle with writing concisely. You need to be focused when writing for any publication: what are your key points? You must also follow the journal submission guidelines found on the publication’s website. If you don’t follow them then you won’t get published.

There’s no reason why a pharmacist shouldn’t write for any of a wide range of health-related journals, but here are a few pharmacy-related publications that might be near the top of your list:

If you are collaborating with other researchers, it can be challenging to write a paper together as inevitably you will have different writing styles. It may be best to agree on the structure of the paper as a team, and then nominate one person to write the first draft. This and subsequent drafts can be circulated amongst the research team for comment before submission of the final manuscript.

After submission, the editorial team will decide whether you article is suitable for the journal. It’s common to fail but don’t give up, try another journal remembering to modify your style to meet their requirements and incorporating any comments that have been given after earlier attempts. If you are successful, your paper will normally be subject to peer review by referees in your field and this is likely to require you to re-write some parts of it. In extreme cases it may even be rejected at this stage.

In addition to incorporating peer review comments, your article will be subject to 'copy editing' that corrects any typographical errors and grammatical mistakes, and improves the overall readability of the paper to conform with the ‘house style’.