I’ve written before on the pitfalls of predatory journals, but I was reminded again this week of just how long it can take to get your research published. For years, researchers have questioned the time it takes to publish their work. The endless cycle of submission, rejection, review, re-review and re-re-review often takes months and months–even if you do get good quality feedback right from the start. But it’s a two-edged sword. The more data-rich our papers become, the longer it takes for editorial boards to thoroughly review the work and ensure validity.

So, here’s my question, how can we support and motivate our investigators through the seemingly endless cycles of publication?

There are a few ways to help with this process:

  1. Promote your writing center than can help edit papers for grammar.
  2. Encourage your investigators to ‘study’ their target journal and mirror the format of their submission to the journal. This includes using the prescribed sub-headings, common verbiage, and total word count in each section.
  3. Allow investigators to track “submitted for review” publications in their CV and give points in the compensation plan (if you have one) or recognize them at department meetings.
  4. Actively pair investigators who are preparing submissions for the same target journal and form ‘manuscript preparation’ groups.
  5. Employ a creative scientific illustrator to add some color to the submissions, where possible.
  6. Fix the reputation of your writing center, and make it cool. Many investigators may view those who use writing centers as somehow “remedial” or in need of remediation.
  7. Along those lines, make help easy to get to. Find a way to be painlessly accessible to everyone looking to publish.
  8. Remember that not all investigators are faculty–define your services and your clientele carefully.

What tips do you have for supporting our faculty through the publication journey?