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Resources for Publishing

Publishing Basics

Identifying Potential Journals:

There are a number of ways to identify appropriate journals to publish your work. Here are just a few:

1)  Check your manuscript’s reference list – what journals do you cite?

2)  Conduct a search in PubMed on your topic – what journals have published similar studies already?

3)  JANE (Journal/Author Name Estimator) - A cool tool developed at Erasmus University Medical Center with funding from the Netherlands Bioinformatics Centre. Simply copy & paste your manuscript’s abstract and JANE pulls a set of journals for you to possibly publish in.

4)  Review journal metrics and rankings using various tools:

  • Cabells - Search journals in the Whitelist/Journalytics for Altmetrics data. Almetrics report the impact of the journal through non-traditional channels, such as social media. Also, consult the Blacklist/Predatory Reports to ensure your journal is legitimate.
  • Journal Citation Reports / Web of Science - Organizes journals into discipline categories and ranks them by various metrics (ie: total citations, impact factors, etc). Here's a quick help guide  for which identifies journals to publish your Capstone Project.
  • Scopus - Similar to Journal Citation Reports, Scopus provides information at the journal level including impact factor and journal ranking quartiles. There is some overlap with JCR, but Scopus indexes different journals than JCR.
  • SciMago Journal Rankings - Free version of JCR/Scopus that provides journal metrics such as impact factor, journal rank by discipline, and journal ranking quartiles. 
  • SPI - Hub - Decision support tool for journal identification and assessment created and maintained by Center for Knowledge Management at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Selecting Your First Target Journal:

Once you identify a set of potential journals, check each journal's website for the following:

  1.  Does your manuscript fit the scope/focus of the journal?
  2.  Do they publish your type of article (ie: original research, case study, case report, systematic review, etc)?
  3.  Select one journal that seems to have the best fit
  4.  Follow the author guidelines to the letter
  5.  Submit!
  6.  Wait for a response (& be sure not to submit elsewhere)
  7.  Revise or submit to your second target journal

4 A's of Publishing

Predatory Publishers & Conferences

Predatory Publishers:

The Open Access (OA) publishing model has paved the way for global scholarly communication in allowing free, unlimited access to research without the barriers of publisher paywalls. However, when selecting journals to publish in, be mindful of sham OA journals that only "exist for the sole purpose of profit, not the dissemination of high-quality research findings and furtherance of knowledge" (Berger & Cirasella, 2015). These are known as predatory publishers and could impact your scholarly reputation, promotion and tenure, and institution.

To protect yourself and your work, just remember to thoroughly check your journal before submitting an article for publication. You can use Cabell's as a starting place to check and see if your journal is on the whitelist (legitimate) or blacklist (predatory).

Here are a few criteria that indicate it is a good OA journal:

Indexed in bibliometric databases, such as PubMed, Web of Science, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and others. You can cross check where a journal is indexed using Ulrich's Periodical Directory.

Journal website is comprehensive and includes the following information:

  • Editorial board information including member affiliations and emails (geographic location should be very distributed)
  • Contact information including a mailing address that goes to a legit location; contact is not just a blank web form
  • Description of article review process including peer-review
  • No promises of instant or rapid publication
  • Article processing fee is transparent and only required after acceptance of an article

For a complete list of criteria to use in assessing the quality of journals, check out the Medical Library's Checklist for Assessing Journal Authenticity  and Think. Check. Submit, an online resource developed to raise awareness of predatory publishers and provide a means of assessing journal quality.

If you are a biomedical sciences faculty member, also check eligibility requirements for applying for an OA Grant from the Medical Library to cover OA journal publishing fees.

Predatory Conferences:

In addition to predatory journals, predatory conferences have also emerged.  "These are not conferences organized by scholarly societies. Instead, they are conferences organized by revenue-seeking companies that want to exploit researchers' need to build their vitas with conference presentations and papers in the published proceedings or affiliated journals" (Pai & Franco, 2016).

Warning signs of a predatory conference mirror many of the same signs of predatory publishers and include:

  • receiving unsolicited emails to present or be a keynote at a conference you have never heard of
  • conference location is usually international, often in India, China, or Japan
  • conference focus includes many, unrelated disciplines
  • rapid promise of abstract acceptance
  • no stated peer review
  • bundled registration packages that include conference registration, lodging, meals, transportation, and sightseeing

If you ever have any questions regarding a journal or conference, please contact us and we can review and provide a recommendation to you!


Writing the Manuscript

Best Bets:

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Preparing a Manuscript - The ICMJE is a small working group of general medical journal editors who have developed standards in medical publishing including guidelines on how to structure and write a medical paper as well as authorship guidelines.

Medical Writing: A Guide for Clinicians, Educators, and Researchers (2018) [eBook]. Individual chapters focus on writing various types of articles including:

  •      Review articles
  •      Case reports
  •      Editorials and letters to the editor
  •      Book reviews
  •      Book chapters
  •      Reference books
  •      Research protocols
  •      Grant proposals
  •      Research reports
  •      Writing a Cover Letter


Elsevier Researcher Academy - A series of online learning modules on various aspects of the publishing process including research preparation, peer-review, writing for research, and more. 

University of Maryland Writing Center - Writing Tips Video Series - series of short, helpful videos on writing tips including how craft an argument, structure a paper, proofreading, and editing. Also features time management videos such as how to carve out time for writing and limiting distractions.

Additional Resources:

Preparing Manuscripts for Submission to Medical Journals: The Paper Trail (2004). Spine [Journal Article]

Anatomy of Writing for Publication for Nurses [eBook] - Targeting nurses, but very structured and practical advice. Check out Chapters 5 - 7 on Organizing the Article, Writing Effectively, and Graphics & Tables

How to Write, Publish & Present in the Health Sciences [eBook] - published by the American College of Physicians, this book features practical advice on how to successfully publish and avoid pitfalls leading to rejection.

Writing a Research Article: Advice for Beginners (2004). Int J Qual Health Care [Journal Article]

Authorship Guidelines

Determining authorship and author order is a significant step of the publishing process. According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), every author should meet ALL of the following four criteria:

1) Substantial contributions to the conception, design, data collection, or data analysis
2) Drafting or revising the manuscript
3) Approving the final version to submit to a journal
4) Being accountable for the work should any questions or concerns arise

If all criteria are not met, then it is appropriate to acknowledge those individuals in the Acknowledgements section of your manuscript.

Also check the OUWB Authorship Guidelines when planning to publish!

Medical Student Journals

Medical student journals are online, peer-reviewed journals run by medical students for medical student publishing. They are a great option for pilot projects or if you are having difficulty in finding a suitable journal elsewhere.

American Medical Student Research Journal -
Online, peer-reviewed, open access journal launched by medical students at Louisiana State University Health–Shreveport, International in scope and accepts articles in the categories of basic science, clinical research, case reports, humanities, and artwork.

International Journal of Medical Students -
Online, peer-reviewed, open access journal accepting original articles, short communications, case reports, reviews, and a special section for letters, experiences, and interviews.

Medical Student Press (MSPress) Journal -
Online, peer-reviewed, open access journal accepts honors theses excerpts, scientific research papers, research essays, interviews, medical ethics essays, creative writing pieces, sound pieces, and visual art pieces.

Medical Student Research Journal -
Hosted at Michigan State University and accepts original articles, case studies, brief reports, reflections, or reviews.

Student BMJ: The International Medical Journal for Students -
Does not accept original research. Accepted article types fall into three categories: News & Views, Clinical, and Careers. See the journal website for more information.

How to Write a Case Report

Writing a case report is very different from a traditional manuscript and does not follow the IMRAD format. There are several resources that can help you get started in structuring and writing a case report for publication.

Best Bet:

  • CARE (CAse REport) Guidelines - Great website with practical and concise tips for writing case reports developed by an international group of experts. The checklist is particularly useful for ensuring you include all the necessary information.

Additional Resources for Writing a Case Report:

Publishing a Case Report

There are two primary journal types when it comes to publishing case reports:

1)  Those journals that solely publish case reports, and

2)  Journals that publish case reports as one of many article types. You can follow the same principles when identifying journals to publish a case report as described in the 'Publishing Basics' tab of this guide, but here are a few we recommend:

General Case Report Journals:

BMJ Case Reports - This is a great journal to start with when submitting a case report for publication. Both the OUWB Medical Library and Beaumont Medical Library have an institutional membership ("fellowship") so publication fees are waived.

  • If you are an OUWB affiliate (medical student, biomedical sciences faculty): contact the OUWB Medical Library at to get the access code to waive the fee.
  • If you are a Beaumont affiliate (clinician, resident): contact the Beaumont Medical Library at to get the access code to waive the fee.

JAMA Clinical Challenge - Submit a patient case with a specific disease or condition with an accompanying clinical image.

Clinical Case Reports

International Medical Case Reports Journal

Journal of Medical Case Reports

Specialty Case Report Journals:

Akers' article "New Journals for Publishing Medical Case Reports," published in 2016, provides a concise and informative summary table of case report journals. In addition to being a wonderful resource for identifying case report journals in various specialties, it also notes whether the journal is open access, indexed in PubMed, and has questionable publishing practices.