So this may seem like a silly question, but I have written a paper on improving outcomes for citrobacter meningitis in the neonate and wonder the best way to go about getting it published.
Do I NEED to have it read/edited/approved by a doctor that specializes in this area? I wrote it independently.
Are there any type of journals that would accept this style of article? What comes to my mind are pediatrics, microbiology/ID, and possibly neuro journals. Any advice on how to get this done would be great.
I’ve never heard of a student writing a paper on their own and getting it published, but I don’t know of any rule against it, either. I suggest that you visit the websites of the journals you are considering, and read their instructions for manuscript submission. Every journal has different rules, so make sure that your manuscript format follows the rules for the journal you decide upon. If you are unsuccessful at getting the paper accepted, you may need to take on an established researcher as a PI and you would be the first author. Good luck with getting your paper published; I just found out today that my first first-author paper has been accepted.
As Q points out, sadly, no matter how “valid” your paper my be, I strongly suspect that you will have to have the ‘backing’ of a Ph.D./MD/DO to get your paper seriously considered.
There are two reasons for having an association with a doctoral-level person. First, it likely does give the paper credibility in and of itself–perhaps makes it more likely that it’ll be passed on to peer review rather than stopped at the editors’ doors. But that might not even be the most important part. There are certainly doctoral-level students who publish on their own pre-degree all the time. (A few PIs make it a practice to take their names off of papers that they feel were entirely the work of their students.)
But I think more important is having the guidance from someone who understands what’s important and not important as seen from the inside of the field. People who are self-taught in academia often have great insights but want to assert them in some version of their own voice; this rarely wins friends or publications. Academic writing–especially in medicine–has very specific demands and requires tailoring your voice to those demands; each field requires certain cited bows to predecessors, caveats, acknowledgments of certain controversies even if you’re not interested in the controversies, etc. It is rare that someone who has not been immersed in many years of publishing (and journal clubs and seminars and conferences and so on) in a field will be able to do that on their own.
Finally, it sounds as if you’re writing a review/theory paper. This kind of paper is actually much more often solicited by journals than it is invited for blind submission; in the absence of such a solicitation, you will definitely want the backing of someone who knows editors, knows the right place to send your article, and so on. And, it is this kind of paper where people without insider academic knowledge–the knowledge of a field as a political and philosophical arena in addition to the field as a set of facts–can most easily run into the hidden obstacles of a field, the ground that has been covered in a controversy of 5 years ago, political minefields, ideas that have fallen out of favor and thus need extra support or new evidence, etc.
So, I would frame this as a positive–you’ve got a paper that will make a really interesting start to a conversation with some PIs. When you find a PI who is interested in continuing the conversation–and when your conversation with that PI seems to enliven your own ideas–stick with that person. They should be able to help you move this into the realm where you want it–where people will read and think about it.
I didn’t think that I could get it published alone. I guess I will just start emailing writers of articles that I read to research it. Or perhaps a neonatologist, since it is a neonate problem.
I also want someone of higher education to proof read it just in case (due to my lack of formal education) I forgot/overlooked/don’t know about some aspect of medicine pertaining to this paper.
I am so anxious to start school, i am educating myself! but I admit I am not the world’s best teacher.
Quote:Yes that might be true. However a good student can learn from anyone.
i am educating myself! but I admit I am not the world’s best teacher.
I’d also suggest maybe contacting a researcher in OB/GYN/Neonatal medicine or someone in microbiology at a local med school or university. Some places have mentors that would be glad to help!