Pursuing Publications: Overview and Considerations

It can be difficult to decide which type of publication to write to further your research career and increase your scientific  impact. This KBA provides an overview of publications for you to consider – each type is presented with background and other relevant information to facilitate your decision-making process. For more detailed information, including methodology and examples for each type of publication,  please see the attached document, “Publication Type Reference Page”.


Editorial

  • Can be published in a scientific journal or news media
  • Short essay to express your view, often about an article or review that was recently published
  • Career Advancement
    • Student/Early career– not a good fit. 
    • Mid-career– well suited if you are considered an expert in the field
    • Established– well suited if you are considered an expert in the field

Letter to the Editor

  • Can be published in a scientific journal or news media
  • Express comments, questions or criticisms about article(s) or topic(s) covered in that source
  • Career Advancement
    • Student/Early career– could be a good fit for a non-peer reviewed publication to build your CV 
    • Mid-career– well suited if you want to engage scientific community or specific author
    • Established– well suited if you want to engage scientific community or specific author

Case Report (Case Series)

  • Summary of a single patient case or multiple patient cases
  • Educate health professionals about a particular illness and how to treat patients with that condition
  • Career Advancement
    • Student/Early career– could be a good fit for a clinically relevant, peer-reviewed publication to build your CV 
    • Mid-career– well suited if you are a clinical health professional that wants to highlight an important patient case(s) to inform clinical practice
    • Established– well suited if you are a clinical health professional that wants to highlight an important patient case(s) to inform clinical practice

Conference abstract

  • Abstract written about unpublished original research
  • Should be relevant to the theme of the conference
  • May be connected to a poster presentation
  • Opportunity to present ongoing work to researchers in your field
  • Career Advancement
    • Student/Early career–good fit if you are working on an ongoing original research project and need practice writing an abstract and potentially presenting a poster at a conference (This would be a non-peer-reviewed citation to build your CV)
    • Mid-career– well suited if you want to present important ongoing original research at a relevant conference
    • Established– well suited if you want to present important ongoing original research at a relevant conference

Original Research

  • There are various types of original research papers
    • Animal research (investigative, observational, experimental)
    • Cross-sectional
    • Observational (cohort, case-control)
    • Experimental (crossover, RCT)
  • Report the results of research on topics ranging from mechanisms to clinical trials
  • Career Advancement
    • Student/Early career–good fit if you want experience/a career in conducting laboratory or clinical research
      • Students: Seek out mentors or opportunities to work in a research team to contribute to original research publications
      • Early career: may be working with senior members of research team on their projects and related publications
    • Mid-career– well suited to develop your research profile and CV
      • Contribute new knowledge to the scientific literature
      • Become more competitive for grant opportunities
      • Become more competitive for promotion and tenure
      • Maintain funding to support a research team or lab
    • Established– well suited to develop your research profile and CV
      • Contribute new knowledge to the scientific literature
      • Stay competitive for grant opportunities
      • Maintain funding to support a research team or lab

Critically Appraised Topic (CAT)

  • Tool for health professionals to make sure their clinical practices are underpinned by evidence-based practice
  • Answer specific, patient-oriented questions
  • Have a structured methodology
  • Short summary of the most up-to-date, high quality available evidence
  • Career Advancement
    • Student/Early career– good fit if you want experience/a career in clinical care
      • Students: Seek out clinical mentors for opportunities to contribute to a CAT
      • Some doctoral students may be required to write a CAT as part of their program
      • Early career: may be contributing to CATs of senior clinical mentors or may be writing your own CAT
    • Mid-career – good fit if you want to contribute an evidence-based publication to guide clinical care
    • Established – good fit if you want to contribute an evidence-based publication to guide clinical care

Review

  • Types of reviews
    • Narrative literature review
      • Expert summary of relevant literature for a particular research topic
    • Integrative Review (Evidence Synthesis)
      • Integration of empirical research studies and concept analysis for a particular research topic
    • Scoping Review
      • Comprehensive review looking to characterize the research conducted on a specific research question and identify: gaps in the literature, what/how variables have been studied, characteristics of population, intervention/exposure or outcome, etc.
    • Systematic Review
      • Comprehensive review looking to find all relevant research studies looking at a particular research question to better understand the summary effect of an intervention on an outcome
    • Meta-Analysis
      • A systematic review where the relevant data published in the included studies is analyzed to determine the true summary effect of the intervention on the specified outcome
    • Umbrella Review
      • An analysis of systematic reviews that focuses on a broad condition or problem for which there are two or more potential interventions and highlights reviews that address these interventions and their results
  • Career Advancement
    • Student/Early career–good fit if you want experience in conducting comprehensive reviews and to develop your CV
      • Students: Seek out mentors or opportunities to work in a research team to contribute to these types of reviews
      • Early career: may be working with senior members of research team on their review
    • Mid-career– well suited to develop your research profile, increase your H-Index and bolster your CV
      • Well conducted reviews can inform clinical practice and policy decisions
      • Certain types of reviews are highly cited, especially if they are published in a reputable journal and are methodologically sound
    • Established– well suited to develop your research profile, increase your H-Index and bolster your CV
      • Well conducted reviews can inform clinical practice and policy decisions
      • Certain types of reviews are highly cited, especially if they are published in a reputable journal and are methodologically sound

Practice Guideline

  • Establish standards of care backed by strong scientific evidence
  • Include recommendations to optimize patient care
  • Often created by professional associations (such as the American Heart Association) with their own standards and expected methodology
  • Informed by systematic review of evidence and assessment of the benefits and risks of alternative care options
  • Career Advancement
    • Student/Early career– not a good fit. 
    • Mid-career– well suited if you are considered an expert in the field
    • Established– well suited if you are considered an expert in the field

Health Policy Brief

  • A focused discussion of an action to achieve intentional and purposeful movement
  • Include best available evidence to support a devised policy or range of policy options, and a narrative analysis that considers the impact of a proposed policy
  • See the SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking
  • Analytic in nature and author should remain objective even if evidence is persuasive
  • Career Advancement
    • Student/Early career– could be a good fit for public health student, and may be required as part of coursework to gain experience with this type of publication
      • Recommended to have a mentor that is an expert in topic area 
    • Mid-career– well suited if you are considered an expert in the field
    • Established– well suited if you are considered an expert in the field

References

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