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Experimenting Critically, Presenting Logically
− A brief guide to writing medical manuscaripts
by Jack Chalasinski, Language Editor, Central European Journal of Urology


  • peer-reviewed journals
  • guidelines
  • medical research
  • data
  • understandability


Peer reviewed journals are among the most valuable sources of reliable and up-to-date information for practicing physicians, researchers, and the medical community. As these journals become oversaturated with more submissions than they can publish, rejection rates increase and the criteria for acceptance become more and more stringent. However, lower acceptance rates have been found to be associated with higher quality publications. Authors should compose their valuable subject matter concisely and convey this information logically. They should also remember that a manuscript of little importance to one journal might be of great importance to another.


It is no mystery why quality peer reviewed journals have strict acceptance criteria. Their reviewers are specialists in their fields and read numerous submissions before selecting the most superior works for publication. With the advent of the internet and constantly improving lines of communication, more and more exquisite researchers submit their work for publication in each edition, however, less and less are being published. [1] This increasing volume of submissions and rising rate of rejection is sure to present authors with difficulties when submitting for publication to highly esteemed journals. Authors will benefit from the clear and concise presentation of their medical research and the logical construction of their manuscript will increase understandability.

It goes without saying that a study should always be conducted in a controlled environment in order to minimize variability and allow reproducibility. [2] Authors should follow general medical manuscript guidelines when composing the presentation of their research. [3] As an essential foundation for the research, a supportive bibliography should be collected before, during, and after the research to support the objective of the work with special attention to give credibility to the statements in the Introduction, Materials and Methods, and Discussion sections. [4] The patients involved in the study should be described by their sex and age as well as medical condition, which may include: reason for admission, comorbidities, and relevant medical history. When mentioning medication names, the generic name should be used unless the brand-name medication was exclusively used in the study. [5] If products or equipment were used, the composition or manufacturer should be disclosed.

Authors should also make sure that the manuscript follows the journal′s guidelines for authors, which may include manuscript writing style and section formatting, among others. [6] By using a consistent writing style, the authors will effectively convey the study to the journal′s audience. [7] The references in the bibliography should be presented by using the standard formatting guidelines of the journal. [6] Commonly abbreviated terms should be written out with the abbreviation in parenthesis when first used - all usage thereafter should be in the abbreviated form. [7]

The use of common terminology is essential for the universal understanding of the author′s work. [7] Latin is commonly used to describe many procedures and conditions involved to the study unless other names are in widespread use. [7]

Upon completion, but before submission to the selected journal, the manuscript should be submitted to a non-affiliated colleague, or even a few, for review. Their feedback should be appreciated whether it was positive or negative and relevant changes should be made to the manuscript as per the suggestions of the reviewer(s). However, some feedback should be taken with a grain of salt.

Properly conducted research should report valid data and the methods used should have been appropriately chosen for the study reported.

As a new and original work that deals with timely issues of lasting value, the manuscript body should be logical and concise to effectively convey the objectives, results, and conclusions of the study. The subject of the study should be discussed completely; while organization of the manuscript with the inclusion of supportive figures and tables is commonly considered to be crucial for understandability.

It should be noted that lower acceptance rates have been found to be associated with higher quality publications. [8] The information conveyed in a manuscript should be of value for practitioners, researchers, and the medical community alike. Conflicts of interest create a biased convection of information and should be avoided at all costs. The content of a manuscript should not be in consideration or had been published elsewhere.

By following the guidelines and requirements established by renowned medical and editorial authorities, authors can be sure that their publication will be easily adapted for submission to the publication of their choosing. However, authors should keep in mind that a manuscript of little importance to one journal might be of great importance to another.


This paper was written based on my experience and observations as the Language Editor at the Central European Journal of Urology.


1. Monthly Aggregate Submission Statistics (n.d.) in The National Institutes of Health Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system. Retrieved July 3rd, 2012 from

2. Hammer PA and Hopper DA. Experimental Design. Growth Chamber Handbook. 13:183.

3. Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (April 2010) in International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Retrieved July 3rd, 2012. From

4. Writing a Bibliography (examples of APA & MLA styles) (n.d.). Science Fair Project Ideas, Answers, & Tools. Retrieved July 3rd, 2012. From

5. Drugs A-Z List (n.d.). R xList. Retrieved July 3rd, 2012. From

6. Instructions for Authors (n.d.). Central European Journal of Urology. Retrieved July 3rd, 2012. From

7. Iverson C, Christiansen S, Flanagin A, et al.: AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 10th ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2007.

8. Lee KP, Schotland M, Bacchetti P, Bero LA: Association of Journal Quality Indicators With Methodological Quality of Clinical Research Articles. JAMA 2002; 287(21):2805−2808