Reviews

Getting research published: an A-Z of publication strategy

Any book that begins to unravel the mysteries of getting research published is to be welcomed with open arms by the nurse who is hoping to get his or her work into print. This book is an A-Z guide to publication strategy, written by an extremely experienced author of research publications. Elizabeth Wager has been an editor for Blackwell Scientific as well as an author for various drug companies, and is now a freelance writer.

Having had a number of research papers published myself, I sat down and thought about the process of publication. Knowing this was an A-Z book, I decided upon several subjects to look up before I opened the book; my choice of subjects were: choosing a journal, copyright, intellectual property rights, ownership, peer-review, rejection, revising and resubmitting. Of these eight words or phrases, only two appeared in the A-Z guide, which immediately made me question the point of it being A-Z. Getting research published is very much a journey with a beginning a middle and an end, with its inevitable highs and lows, twists and turns. Why not present a guide that charts this journey with all its many pitfalls? Possibly because others have already done this and the A-Z format is a new variation on a theme. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work as a format. Nevertheless, this guide is immensely

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Having had a number of research papers published myself, I sat down and thought about the process of publication. Knowing this was an A-Z book, I decided upon several subjects to look up before I opened the book; my choice of subjects were: choosing a journal, copyright, intellectual property rights, ownership, peer-review, rejection, revising and resubmitting. Of these eight words or phrases, only two appeared in the A-Z guide, which immediately made me question the point of it being A-Z. Getting research published is very much a journey with a beginning a middle and an end, with its inevitable highs and lows, twists and turns. Why not present a guide that charts this journey with all its many pitfalls? Possibly because others have already done this and the A-Z format is a new variation on a theme. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work as a format. Nevertheless, this guide is immensely readable, written in informal and, at times, conversational language.

The notion of ‘ghost writers’ and ‘guest authors’ is introduced and explained. The existence of such characters may be news to nurses who might naively think that authors are the people who have conducted the research. This book however is not just for nurses. It ventures into what sounds like the murky world of medical and ‘big pharma’ research publication with all its cutthroat shenanigans — perhaps there is more to this publishing world than the noble pursuit of creating and sharing knowledge? Business interests are everywhere, including the potential for signing up the author of this book for a writing commission, contact details are provided presumably for this purpose.

I learnt a lot from the book even if it is a jamboree of information. It’s worth dipping in to; I particularly recommend looking up the final entry ‘Zealots and assassins’ where, it is revealed, that 2 per cent of peer-reviewers come into these categories. There is hope for novice researcher/writers after all with the remaining moral and judicious 98 per cent.

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