Research During Residency

How to get your research published


Don’t make these mistakes when submitting your research for publication in a medical journal: follow these tips from Howard Bauchner, MD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

  • Write a good abstract. “Only your significant other, your mother and father, and a select number of people will read your whole paper,” Dr. Bauchner said. “I can’t emphasize enough how important the abstract is.” Keep your abstract structured and concise, and include some data. Make sure the data in your abstract matches the data in your paper.
  • Have a clear theme. Can you state two to three important points for your paper? If not, you probably have too much, and you might get lost. Emphasize your important points in the results section of your abstract, reflect on these points in the abstract’s conclusions and highlight them in the first paragraph of the conclusions section of your paper.
  • Make revisions. Have somebody else—outside of your research—read your paper before you submit. Later, if it gets rejected, don’t send it out to another journal without making changes. “It’s very likely the same peer reviewers will see it,” Dr. Bauchner said. “I tell the editor that I won’t edit it, and they shouldn’t publish it.”
  • Don’t exaggerate your findings. Be modest. “Minimize the influence of the paper, rather than saying ‘This is going to transform medicine as we know it,’” Dr. Bauchner said. 
  • Don’t get discouraged. Read similar articles in the journal to which you want to submit. Get help from your mentor. And keep in mind that JAMA has a 4 percent acceptance rate for articles. “There are incredible experiences in academic medicine,” Dr. Bauchner said. “Make sure the paper is focused and your mentor is really helping you. Trying to do it alone is really hard.”