Three prominent journal
editors – Nadeem Y. Karimbux, D.D.S., M.M.Sc. (Journal of Dental Education), Vincent G. Kokich, D.D.S., M.S.D. (American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics), and Mary E. Northridge, Ph.D., M.P.H. (American Journal of Public Health) – instructed the participants of this very popular session at the 2013 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition as to the nature of their respective journals and the qualities that are found in a publishable manuscript. In such a competitive field as academia, where publishing has become a necessity for gaining and retaining employment, the advice delivered at this session should prove invaluable for dental educators.
After briefly providing the details of their specific journals, each presenter covered a variety of topics relevant to prospective authors. Drs. Karimbux and Kokich focused more on specific qualities that are held in common by good manuscripts, such as addressing a general and global concern that will pique the interest of a wide variety of readers, and others that might lead to an immediate rejection, such
as the use of poor grammar or a flawed study design. Coming from a different perspective, Dr. Northridge’s presentation focused on the habits and instincts that lead to good writing, including the importance of pursuing one’s passions and taking steps to make the writing process less solitary and more social.
In addition to the panel discussion, the 2013 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition also featured a presentation by Rebecca Wilder (Journal of Dental Hygiene) and David A. Felton, D.D.S., M.S. (Journal of Prosthodontics), titled “What Journal Editors Want You to Know!” The session included an overview of the typical journal article structure, followed by an in-depth look into each particular section. Although the presentation focused mostly on manuscript features that are required by all medical journals, the presenters made special emphasis on the necessity of reading each particular journal’s author guidelines. Every journal has different specifications for how the manuscript should be formatted, so it is important to read these guidelines before and after writing an article. Otherwise, it is likely to be sent back to the authors until these guidelines are met. (Please review the author guidelines for the Journal of Dental Education before submitting a manuscript.)
Even though parts of each session consisted of detailing the qualities that lead to an immediate rejection, the presenters also offered uplifting advice to those whose manuscripts have been or will be rejected, namely the importance of responding to the peer reviewers’ critiques and persisting in the attempt to achieve publication. In the words of Marita R. Inglehart, Ph.D., Associate Editor, Journal of Dental Education, “It really drove home that persisting in getting our research out – even if rejected in the first submission cycle – is crucial if we want to make sure our research gets read.”