Three must-remember tips before writing a scientific manuscript

“In an author’s viewpoint, publication marks the endpoint of a scientific project while, for editors, a good publication enhances standing and reputation of journal,” said Dr. Jose Florencio Lapeña, Jr., Editor-in-Chief of the Philippine Journal of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and President of the Philippine Association of Medical Journal Editors (PAMJE) during the 2nd National Writing and Peer Review Workshop in Davao City.

Publishing the results of a good scientific activity may be delayed or prevented by a poorly written manuscript. No matter how innovative research is, a carelessly written paper can diminish its value.  It is, thus, critical to make sure the paper is written in a clear and logical way. Dr. Lapeña said, “A good manuscript is potentially publishable. It communicates a clear and useful message to the readers of a particular journal. It should be exciting and has an impact on clinical practice.”

In preparing a manuscript for submission to a scientific journal, three things are considered. Dr. Lapeña said, “Researchers should organize the material into appropriate scientific format, write clearly, concisely and simply and know where and how to submit the manuscript.”

Surveying and selecting an appropriate journal should be the first consideration of researchers when preparing the manuscript. By knowing which journal to publish, authors are guided in the format to follow. “In choosing journals, make sure to match the message to the medium. Authors must consider if the journal matches their intended audience because every journal has a target readership,” reminded Dr. Lapeña. 

To effectively relay its content, keeping sentences short and simple is a key. Dr. Lapeña advised, “Authors should use short words instead of long words. Avoid redundancy and use of figures of speech, idiom or jargons and passive voice. Be careful with the use of abbreviations and modifying words and phrases.”

It is also a standard rule to submit the manuscript to only one journal at a time. According to Dr. Lapeña, it is unethical to withdraw a submitted manuscript from a journal if accepted by another journal.

As additional guidelines, Dr. Lapeña said, “Review the manuscript checklist to make sure you have covered all the details. Have a colleague review your manuscript before submission.”