Tips for planning a paper for publication

Nurse Researcher is keen to encourage prospective authors to write and share their knowledge, and here we offer some tips for planning a paper for publication

Writing research
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Are you keen to get a paper published in Nurse Researcher? I often get enquiries from prospective authors asking for advice and am always happy to respond. What follows are some useful tips to explore when planning a paper for publication.

Novice authors should not hesitate to seek guidance and support from an experienced writer to help them navigate early publication experiences. Writing for publication is a skill that will develop with experience and persistence. Finding a critical colleague with publication experience can be invaluable in navigating the process and building skills.

What are your key messages?

The key messages for the reader are the most important consideration when developing any paper for publication. Papers may be well written, with clear descriptions of a particular methodological approach, but at the end it is not clear what they add. Quality papers clearly showcase what new knowledge or ways of understanding they bring.

Does the paper fit with your target journal? Each journal has a scope of papers that it considers for publication. If your paper does not fit this scope, it is likely to be rejected. Think about your target audience and journal readership when selecting a journal; you want to reach readers who will be most interested in the paper’s key messages and where your paper will make most impact.

Read your paper aloud as language issues can become more apparent

 Readers are busy people and want to read papers that are accessible. Ensuring that the language of the paper is consistent with the tone of the target journal and is easy to follow is vital. Avoiding flowery, emotive or overly simplistic language and long sentences can significantly enhance readability. A good tip is to read your paper aloud as when it is verbalised language issues become more apparent.

The Nurse Researcher team work hard to provide supportive feedback to novice authors throughout the peer review process. We encourage experienced authors and researchers to share their expertise, challenge our readers and continue to develop the scholarship of nursing research. 

If you have a paper idea please don’t hesitate to email me at ehalcomb@uow.edu.au

Find out more

Nurse Researcher: article guidelines

Elizabeth Halcomb, editor of Nurse ResearcherElizabeth Halcomb, @LizHalcomb, is professor of primary healthcare nursing, School of Nursing, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia and editor of Nurse Researcher