|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 15-20
Notable resources for assistance in the research and scholarly publication journey: A brief overview
Ganesh Singh Dharmshaktu1, Tanuja Pangtey2
1 Department of Orthopaedics, Government Medical College, Haldwani, Uttarakhand, India
2 Department of Pathology, Government Medical College, Haldwani, Uttarakhand, India
|Date of Submission||13-May-2022|
|Date of Decision||11-Nov-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||14-Dec-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||23-Jan-2023|
Ganesh Singh Dharmshaktu
Department of Orthopaedics, Government Medical College, Haldwani - 263 139, Uttarakhand
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Research journey is an arduous process for beginners, but consistent learning and efforts make one better every time. Regular study of core principles of research and publication process coupled with persistent writing and submission is key to gaining experience and planning robust studies later. While the guidance of seniors or seasoned researchers is important asset, but the absence of it should not dampen enthusiasm. Various educational resources exist to serve the purpose of continuous professional development and improve knowledge regarding scholarly publication. A self-directed learning is also of paramount importance, and various educational contents are available on the Internet worth a visit. Recent trends in the world of scholarly publication are a perennial process and adherence to stringent research practices is a key element of a study well done. A general review of a few common resources which may help increase our knowledge regarding research process, are described here for the educational purpose of postgraduate students and for revision purposes for experienced researchers.
Keywords: Author guidelines, author resources, publication, research publication, research
|How to cite this article:|
Dharmshaktu GS, Pangtey T. Notable resources for assistance in the research and scholarly publication journey: A brief overview. J Uttaranchal Orthop Assoc 2022;1:15-20
|How to cite this URL:|
Dharmshaktu GS, Pangtey T. Notable resources for assistance in the research and scholarly publication journey: A brief overview. J Uttaranchal Orthop Assoc [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 5];1:15-20. Available from: http://www.juoa.org/text.asp?2022/1/1/15/368390
| Introduction|| |
Research has been the backbone of the evolution of medical science that we see today and every discipline that is growing into sub-specialties owes it to the enormous body of research-based evidence. Research has now gained widespread acceptance and is considered an important part of the professional journey. It has grown beyond the preconceived notion of a vocation limited to teaching institutes or thesis scholars. Each journal has its set of instructions and author guidelines that need to be abided by the authors, and the academic rigors of a well-done research work is checked for its authenticity and presentation. Novice authors or students require guidance from seasoned seniors or guides to sail them through the conundrum of manuscript preparation and submission process. Books or good online information may be sought for tips and tricks to make the manuscript better and publication ready. A few websites or portals are described here in brief that may be required at some stage of the research process as guiding beacons and may be visited by young enthusiasts for more information and updates. The resources described here are only a handful of widely other available ones, and the authors do not claim this to be an exhaustive and thorough list. Important aspects of some key resources are described here in brief and self-directed learning by the readers is encouraged for detailed knowledge about them.
| Author Identification|| |
The authors are key people responsible for the manuscript preparation, and due criteria for authorship are suggested by all leading journals. Various authorship problems, however, related to ethical misconduct like “ghost authorship” still lurks in a few quarters. The corresponding author, on behalf of all co-authors, is responsible for the communication, correspondence, revision, re-submission or proof correction of the submitted manuscript. Author identification has been a recent trend that is adopted by many, if not all, journals now. Notable author identification portals are briefly described below.
Open researcher and contributor ID
In recent times, author identification has been a welcome step. Unique numbers work by providing a unique identifier that identifies and distinguishes one researcher from the other. It is especially important for authors who share similar names during citations. Many, if not all, journals now ask for open researcher and contributor ID (ORCID), a unique and persistent identifier of a researcher, at the time of submission for all or at least corresponding authors. This is especially important when the common names pose problems of the identification of the author (e.g., authors named Naveen Agarwal, Naresh Agarwal, Nitin Agarwal, etc., shall appear Agarwal N. in the referencing and citations, and thus pose problems for proper author identification). Getting an ORCID is a simple process and opening an account on the website and filling in due information can get a 16-digit unique number. Every student or researcher is advised to have the ORCID as leading journals, including the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, advocate ORCID mentioned during journal submissions. There are no charges for registration and getting an ORCID. Besides it, the researcher can also upload research work on the ORCID site/dashboard for better visibility and cross-platform connectivity or import to other sites like Publons.
This is another identification account endorsed by Web of Science (WOS), and it is now linked with Publons, as another initiative to add the publications, track the citations and manage WOS records. Submission to journals indexed in WOS may require creating the researcher ID during the publication process.
| Research Guidelines|| |
The research requires stringent adoption of ethical research practices that are recommended for that particular type of research work. Research guidelines are to be followed as per the instructions prescribed by a particular journal. Various guidelines exist and are described for a variety of publication types, and a few are briefly described here.
Equator network, dedicated to enhancing the quality and transparency of health research, is a must-go online portal for young researchers to get relevant information on various aspects of research practices. Reporting guidelines for various studies are followed by leading researchers and all journals abide by them and expect authors to follow them. This brings uniformity to the publication process. Appropriate guidelines for the type of study can be studied [Table 1] and downloaded from this site to make the research worthy of acceptance in good journals. The website is frequently updated with newer resources and is a treasure trove for tips and tricks on good literature search or writing the manuscript. Through its equator highlights and newsletters, researchers can keep themselves abreast of recent updates in the publishing arena.
International Committee of Medical Journal Editor
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) is an authoritative body that holds the membership of many leading journals which abide by the recommendations of ICMJE for research practices in the scientific publications. The recommendation for conducting, reporting, editing, and publication of scholarly work in medical journals can be browsed or downloaded for better insight into good research practices. Apart from it, “disclosures of interest” form asked for by many journals can be downloaded and saved here for use as per the requirement. Authorship criteria to determine, who should be called authors, is also described here in succinct detail.
Community of Publication Ethics
Community of Publication Ethics targets education and support for the publication process through best practices and guidance aiming highest standards in publication ethics. There are many informative resources for publishers, like educative eLearning courses and flowcharts describing what to do if manipulation is found in peer review, images, authorship issues, etc.
WAME (pronounced “whammy”), OR World Association of Medical Editors, is an international, nonprofit and voluntary association of medical editors of reputed peer-reviewed journals. WAME aims for the lifelong learning of editors to check the knowledge deficits in the field and fosters global coordination. Resources available from the site can be read by enthusiasts in the medical literature process, which shall improve their understanding of the publication process and ethical process behind article publication.
| Trial Registration|| |
Various trial registries exist with a scope limited to national or international registration. The following two are widely popular and thus are briefly described here. Researchers can search about more of these and their processing information by dedicated online searches.
Clinical Trial Registry of India
The Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI), hosted by the National Institute of Medical Statistics of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as free online record system for the registration of clinical trials in India. The aim for the Indian trial registry is to register all clinical trials in the county prospectively (before the single case is enrolled) with full disclosure of the trial data set. Many journals advocate the publication of trials registered in CTRI for publication consideration. Registered trials are searchable from various platforms, including that of CTRI (www.ctri.nic.in) itself.
The International Registry and result database of studies on human participants is a resource provided by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the United States. The website also has some resources for learners to register for their trials and also information for study participants and families who wish to be participants in any studies. Apart from it, registered trials and studies can be searched in the portal for relevant information and current status.
| Referencing|| |
There are many referencing styles described to be used in the medical literature. American Psychology Association, Harvard, Modern Language Association, and Chicago, among others. Vancouver system is the most widely used system in medical literature and was formally known as Recommendations for the conduct, reporting, editing, and publication of scholarly work in Medical Journals (ICMJE recommendations). In-text citations are placed at the end of sentences and consecutively numbered in order of their appearance in the manuscript with guidelines for the method of referencing from various sources such as journal articles, books, websites, and newspapers. This system is endorsed by MEDINE and PubMed, one of the largest and key players in article and citation hosting.
| Reference Management|| |
Handling a huge body of references, that need to be sorted out, categorized and integrated within the manuscript, is a formidable task. Reference management tools assist in organizing the research articles for a convenient and seamless integration with the manuscript. The scope of interchanging one referencing style into different one according to journal guidelines is also an important aspect. Many well-known reference management tools such as Mendeley, Zotero, EndNote, and RefWorks are among many known tools. Each has its merits over others, and information can be studied on respective websites or platforms for the kind of tool that suits the researcher.
| Plagiarism Detection Tools|| |
Plagiarism is a serious research misconduct and an avoidable element to increase chances of acceptance in good journals. The Journal team ensures every manuscript undergoes anti-plagiarism software screening. Plagiarism beyond a certain percentage, as per journal guidelines, makes the manuscript prone to desk rejection. One or more software can be used by journals as per their policy, but these may not be fool-proof methods of diagnosing plagiarism. Authors should check beforehand that their manuscript is plagiarism-free by their own presubmission assessment by either free or paid anti-plagiarism software. Better software have a price, but the quality of plagiarism detection may be better than simple or free software in most, if not all, cases. Few notable software are iThenticate, Turnitin, urkund, Grammarly, Copyscape, PlagScan, duplichecker, among hordes of other tools. Few goods and free plagiarism detection tools also exist and can also be browsed through the Internet.
| Literature Search/Article Repositories|| |
The beginning of every research usually requires a literature search on a selected topic to know what has been done in a particular field so far and careful reading of relevant articles makes us aware of lacunae in the existing knowledge and pertinent questions that require answers. The literature search is greatly made convenient by the Internet, which is replete with loads of information on a given topic. Dedicated repositories consisting of medical articles shall be instrumental in literature searches and article readings. A few commonly visited sites to gather the desired information or articles are briefly described below.
PubMed is a free resource and repository to search and retrieve millions of article citations sourced from MEDLINE and other databases. Its sister platform, PubMed Central, provides full-text content links of the relevant articles. The site is maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U. S. NLM.
EMBASE is another leading biomedical literature database curated by Elsevier. This provides access to relevant information from trusted sources and includes more journals beyond MEDLINE and has PICO (P-patient, problem or population, I-Intervention, C-Comparison, O-Outcome) search method to find richer content. PICO is the unbiased and reproducible method to research a question.
CINAHL database stands for the cumulative index to nursing and allied health literature, and covers a database of nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutrition, dietetics, and other health-related professions. There are CINAHL Plus, CINAHL Complete, and CINAHL Ultimate variants of the database also with diverse features.
Cochrane Library is a collection of databases comprising different high-quality evidence and is owned by Cochrane and published by Wiley. It also includes the Cochrane database of systematic reviews (SRs), a leading source of SRs.
Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, journals, books and conference proceedings and covers wide areas of science, medicine, technology, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Basic free features to nonsubscribed users are available through Scopus Preview to get assistance in author searches, Scopus contents, and source metrics. Both are endorsed by Elsevier.
Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.com) is a freely accessible search engine with full text or metadata of scholarly literature and covers wide raging resources, including academic journals, books, conference proceedings, theses, dissertations, abstracts, preprints, patents among other things. Related works and citations are displayed along with selected articles, and many articles not covered by above-mentioned sites can also be found here for a comprehensive search.
| Good Writing|| |
Good command over the English language is a desirable quality for a well-written manuscript, as most of the leading journals publish articles in this language. There, however, are journals publishing in languages other than English. Errors in spelling, punctuation, and syntax are common mistakes that not only break the flow of scientific communication but can invite rejection. Use of programs or apps like Grammarly (https://wwww.grammarly.com) can be used to brush up and enhance the readability of the manuscript. These programs are artificial intelligence powered and available for both mobile or desktop usage. Authors living in regions where English is not their native language, can take the help of various language editing, translation, or proofreading services available.
| Statistical Work|| |
Statistics is an important element of any original research or meta-analysis and basic knowledge of statistics, and its application is a desirable skill. In the absence of the knowledge, the assistance of a good statistician is required to churn raw data into desired statistical methods to draw meaningful conclusions. It is important that the statistician should be taken into the loop well before the study begins to include key inputs to make the study better. Sample size calculation is the beginner step in this direction. There are various software available, both free and paid, that can be mastered to improve the manuscript, like SPSS (IBM®, New York, USA), Stata (StataCorp LLC, Texas USA), SAS (Statistical Analysis System, USA), R (R cire team), Minitab (Minitab HK Ltd, Hong Kong) and MS Excel, to name a few. SPSS (by IBM company) stands for the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences and its latest version is a widely used tool by scientists the world over.,
| Tools Helpful in Systematic Reviews|| |
SR is another research method that offers distinct methodology and advantages. It involves churning relevant studies to for generating evidence and the popularity of SRs has been indicated in the contemporary medical literature. The writing of a SR, however, is a tedious and labor-intensive process that includes the collection of data within strict inclusion and exclusion criteria and narrow down the literature to answer one specific research question. Various tools are required during the writing of SRs.
Various data extraction and sorting applications include Covidence, DistillerSR, Rayyan QCRI, SysRev, Abstrackr, EPPI-Reviewer, RevMan and SR data repository. SR Toolbox is another important platform for various assistance (http://systematicreviewtools.com/). Various plots (like forest plot) can be generated or meta-analysis can be planned and conducted well with various available tools like metafor package. Like a prospective study, it is advisable to register the proposed SR in a recognized registry, like PROSPERO and Cochrane, before initiation of the process. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses checklist (https://www.prisma-statement.org//PRISMAStatement/checklist) is also recommended for a better review.
Various software like NCSS (https://www.ncss.com/software/ncss/meta-analysis-in-ncss/) or MedCalc (https://www.medcalc.org/manual/forestplot.phpcan be used to generate important plots in meta-analysis like forest plot, radial plot, and L'Abbe plot.
| Postpublication Promotion|| |
The hard-earned publication of the article in a reputed journal requires its fair share of readership and citations. In order to increase visibility, many journals advocate the deposition of the article in various article repositories that help increase article views, article downloads and, subsequently, article citations.
Article hubs and social bookmarking tools
Research gate (https://www.researchgate.net) and Academia (https://www.academia.edu) are well-known online sites with thousands of researchers that use them to discover knowledge and stay connected. These can be used by creating a registration and papers, conference presentation, book chapters, etc., can be added to your profile which is then circulated across the platform to bring new views or downloads. Similarly, one gets to know other researchers and ask questions, start discussions or collaborate with a larger scientific cause.
Other sites include the following well-known platforms like Zotero (http://www.zotero.org/), Getcitedhttp://getcited.org/add/), Connotea (http://connotea.org/register) and Stumbleupon (http://www.stumbleupon.com/sign_up.php?pre2 = hp_join) to name a few.
Institution open archive repository
If there is an institutional repository, authors can submit the articles in the archive, and the link to the article are shared by open access journal's website.
The article can be linked to Wikipedia on appropriate and relevant topics by learning how to contribute to the site.
Social media platforms
Various popular social media platforms can be used to disseminate the research work through clever use of their functionality for better visibility and readership. Meta (previously Facebook), Instagram, and Twitter are popular options with huge scope for gaining popularity and visibility due to their strong user pool. The open-access articles can be put directly, or links can be shared while abstracts of other articles can be forwarded. Conference presentations and infographics of the articles are other options to be shared.
Print and online media
The key findings of important research can, at times, be published covering key and general takeaways of the work for the general public. Lay-person-summary of the articles is encouraged now so that the idea of the research can be communicated to the population at large.
| Reviewer Recognition|| |
Reviewers are key components of health-care research and reviewing the manuscript has been largely a voluntary and unconditional process. Reviewers often are not given due recognition in most journals, while the scientific community is vocal for some tangible benefits given to reviewers. Nowadays many journals dedicate pages to acknowledge and thank reviewers, and get them some benefits like a reduction in article charges in the journal for their articles. Some journals offer printed names within the manuscript as part of an open peer-review system. Publons (http://publons.com), a free resource initiated in 2012 and endorsed by Clavariate, helps not only track publication and citation metrics but also showcase reviews and editorial contributions done by a researcher following the validation, which is then displayed on the author page.
| Author Education|| |
The basic tenet of scholarly pursuit is tenacity and perseverance in the research journey by the researcher. “Practice makes perfect” dictum shall always hold true, and there are no shortcuts to excellence. Researchers should not only keep a clear understanding of core knowledge of the publication process but also be aware of recent updates in the field.
Journal/publication house resources
Websites of many journal houses have dedicated author education sections that help authors to write the manuscript well, know the process, and finally excel in this journey. Research Academy (by Elsevier) and author resources by Lippincott Journals are one of the examples by journal publishers which host various tutorials and resources for learning various aspects of research., Similarly leading publishers and journal websites can be individually searched for author resources that may be valuable in continuous professional development.
Massive open online courses
Various massive open online course (MOOC) platforms exist and host thousands of online educational content on various disciplines and healthcare-related articles are also in great number. Popular MOOC platforms such as NPTEL, SWAYAM, edX, and Coursera are among numerous educational content platforms providing convenient, virtual learning, and topics in health researches can be searched for self-directed learning.
| Conclusion|| |
The research process requires consistency and persistence to tide over the learning curve and become better every time. Initial inertia and lack of knowledge or guidance are major roadblocks that can be tackled by small incremental learning and practice. Guidance of seniors, educational books, and resources are important for continuous improvement. There is no dearth of resources for a learner to improve and update the existing knowledge and make the scientific mindset a part of professional life.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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