Questions to ask yourself before submitting a paper

There are some simple pieces of advice to follow if you want to get your research published 

I often get enquiries from prospective authors asking for advice before submitting their paper to Nurse Researcher and am always happy to respond. Thinking about the questions I am often asked raised the following considerations about publishing papers. 

First, the scope of the journal that you submit your paper to should match the paper. Author guidelines and journal websites provide an overview of the types of papers accepted by a journal. If you feel that your paper may be on the edge of the journal’s scope, email the editor with an abstract of the paper for clarification before submission. Papers that fall outside the journal’s scope are usually rejected, regardless of their merit or quality.

At Nurse Researcher, we are always looking for high-quality papers

Also consider the information that the paper has for the reader. A number of papers that I see go through the peer review process and are well written descriptions of a particular methodological approach. However, at the end of the paper the reader is left asking what it has added to existing knowledge. Quality papers add new understanding of the issues. When planning a paper, identifying what the crucial messages are going to be upfront can ensure that they are embedded throughout the manuscript.

Good impression

Finally, it is surprising how many authors do not follow author guidelines when submitting a paper. Presenting your paper as requested makes a good impression to the reviewer and editor. It also demonstrates that you have made a genuine attempt to write for the specific journal and not just submitted a past assignment or paper rejected from elsewhere. Some journals will not review papers that do not adhere to the guidelines, while others will request changes as part of the review process. Author guidelines are developed to ensure consistency and must be adhered to if you want the journal to publish your paper.

At Nurse Researcher, we are always looking for high-quality papers that discuss issues relevant to research methodology, methods or research education and careers. Our author guidelines can be found here
Please don’t hesitate to contact either myself (ehalcomb@uow.edu.au) or managing editor Julie Sylvester (julie.sylvester@rcni.com) with any comments, feedback or suggestions about the journal.

About the author

Liz Halcomb is editor of Nurse Researcher

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