For the purpose of this article we are focussing on the process of writing an article for publication in a professional journal.
Are you sure you want to write an article? Committing yourself to writing an article will mean that you may have to sporadically do intensive pieces of work, not just writing your article, but then responding to peer reviews and making alterations, which means you spend up to 2 years (if not more) trying to get your article published. So, once you are clear on the commitment you are about to make without any guarantee of success, ask yourself, are you sure it's an article that you want to write? If your purpose is to share with your colleagues in NHSGGC, there may be alternatives: posters, videos, intranet, web pages etc. If your purpose is to ensure your work adds to the evidence base or perhaps meets a specified requirement, for example, within the funding for your work, then please proceed.
It may help to create a structure for your article; in which case you may want to skip down to the getting published and singling out where you would like to publish, as they may provide guidance on the outline structure for your article.
If you are a visual person, a mind map may be of use to get your ideas down and help you add to the outline structure in more detail.
Next you need to make sure you carve out the time you need to do this. You may be dealing with competing priorities during your work time, so it's a good idea to set out your timescales for getting things done. This makes it harder for your article to slip down your to-do list to the point that it creeps off it altogether.
Everyone has their own way of getting things done. If you get stuck sometimes it's just good to start listing the facts under their correct headings; this may get the ball rolling on the narrative.
Finally - is this all your own work? If you are using a significant portion of another person's work or using graphics or pictures you may need to get copyright permission (note: in a literature review, you may make reference to another person's work without the need for permission). Your chosen publisher may provide further guidance on this.
Tips from librarians - as a profession which spends its life rifling through the authored works of others, usually at high volume and within a restricted timescale, we advise you to do the following:
1. Clearly state the methodology you are using. In the title would be great, but if not, definitely in the abstract.
2. If you know your methodology and there is a quality appraisal tool (CASP) that could be applied to it (or grade) it would be good if you could apply to your article, so you know how it is going to be appraised. If you could refer to that in your paper, even better.
3. Have your abstract accurately reflect your article.
4. Clearly state your role, the organsiation the research took place in, and if you can comment on the value of the research within the wider community that would be great.
5. Know where you work. Clear author affiliation helps those assessing the article understand where you are coming from, more information on this is below.
Clear definition on who can be listed as a co-author - anybody that has made a substantial contribution. (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, 2017).
How to work collaboratively:
First, have a clear agreement on what you are doing, why, for whom (your audience), and where. Preferably write this down so if someone wanders off into the weeds, you can refer back to your remit. As above agree your structure and timescales.
When it comes to the actual writing, there may be many methods, but it can be of use to split up sections then swap or rotate, or identify if someone has a specific skill that lends itself to a specific part of the article (e.g. explaining statistical analysis).
Now that you have written your paper, where do you publish? Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- What publication model will you use?
- Open Access
- Who will own the copyright once you publish?
How will your colleagues & peers find your work?
- Is it indexed in a major biomedical reference database (note that the NHSGGC Published Authored CAB is a good indication of your work being 'findable'.)
- Or is it in a specialist database?
- Is a subscription required, if so does your organisation have one?
- Access to the fulltext - is your article going to be behind a pay wall? Given that your organisation is the owner of the intellectual property in your work, you should not place it beyond the ability of your organisation to access it.
- Use the proper author affiliation for your work - do not use team name or department name (unless there is room for it) - do use the proper organisation name NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde or the full name of your HSCP if appropriate. Why? This enables us to locate our intellectual property with greater ease, and gives the proper attritbution to your work. It also helps your organisation track its published authors.
Albert, T. Eight questions to ask before writing an article (2017). Journal of Hospital Medicine 78(6): 341-343. https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/10.12968/hmed.2017.78.6.341
Orduna-Malea, E., Ayllon, JM., Martin-Martin, A., Lopez-Cozar, ED. (2017) The lost academic home: institutional affiliation links in Google Scholar Citations. Online Information Review 41(6): 762-781. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/OIR-10-2016-0302