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Posts from the ‘Publishing’ Category

Standing Up for Science

Advances in Nursing Science, along with a host of other scholarly journals world-wide, standing for the crucial activities of science that establish what we can rely on as fact, and based on that assurance, shape wise action. But there is a now a political and cultural wave of mis-information that serves to discredit science, and to sow seeds of doubt that undermines the value of scientific credibility. In my Editorial that appears in the current issue of ANS, I address this challenge and implore all ANS readers to engage in actions to do what is needed to stand for science in all aspects of your professional and personal life.

There are two levels that I address in this editorial – the first is the substantive practices of ANS that assure readers of the credibility and authenticity of the content we publish in the journal.  In particular, we provide clear descriptions of all of our editorial practices in the “Information for Authors,” we hold membership in COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), and we adhere to these standards and practices.

The second issue concerns what each individual, particularly those of us who engage in scholarly activities, must do to stand for the credibility of both the products and the processes of science:

  • Be aware of the best editorial practices of nursing journals that ensure the integrity of their content.
  • Learn and practice “journal due diligence” when you are seeking a journal for publication of your work.
  • Be aware of the dangers of predatory publishers. (See articles published in Nurse and Editor)
  • Ensure that your practices as a scholar are well founded and maintain a record of your practices to ensure that your work is not compromised.
  • Educate others (your patients, students, and colleagues) about your own practices to ensure the integrity of your own work and why these practices are important.
  • Network with other scholars in your area of interest to ensure that you have a community of those who share your intent to maintain the integrity of the scholarship in your field, and who can speak with confidence about the foundation on which your work is based.

This editorial is available on the ANS website at no cost while this issue is the current issue!  Visit the website now to download your copy. Cut and paste or post the list of things to do where you can be reminded every day of how crucial our actions are in this time of challenge!


Unless you are preparing a manuscript all alone with absolutely no other person involved in any way, you are likely faced with the challenges involved in deciding who actually qualifies as an author, and once that decision is made, deciding whose name should be first, second, third and beyond.  The first and vitally important guideline for this process is this: early discussion and open negotiation among all parties involved.  This discussion can be initiated by any individual involved in a project – and hopefully that person is already familiar with the resources presented here as guidelines for the discussion.

This is no simple challenge.  In fact, matters of authorship are the most common cases presented for discussion by COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics).  Their excellent discussion paper on Authorship should be at the top of your reading, and re-reading list every time you embark on a new project!  When you initiate an early discussion with your collaborators who might also become authors, if you start with a review of the widely accepted guidelines for authorship described here, you by-pass, or at least lessen the temptation to get involved in arguments and disagreements based purely on personal preferences and motivations.

For ANS, we subscribe to the guidelines for authorship provided by ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors), which require that anyone who is included as an author on a manuscript must meet four essential criteria:

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  3. Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

During the submission process for ANS, all authors must confirm that they meet these four criteria, and soon, you will also be required to include a statement for each author that describes the specific contributions that they have made to the work (criteria #1).  The fact remains that there are typically people who have made a contribution of some type to the conception or design of the work, but have not participated in all of criteria 2, 3 or 4; thus they do not qualify as an author, but they should be acknowledged as non-author contributors in the “acknowledgements” that are published with the article.

The matter of the order in which authors’ names appear is even more difficult to determine. The earlier you can settle this matter, the better for all concerned.  Further, whatever the decision, you will have a much more comfortable working relationship throughout the entire process if everyone involved is fully “on board” with the order in which authors’ names appear.  You can base this decision on the relative contributions of each person, or, if all contributions are roughly equal, you can use an alphabetical or reverse-alphabetical order.

There is a specific situation that many ANS authors face – that of the role of the dissertation or thesis committee members who have worked with a student who ultimately is expected to produce publishable manuscripts based on the scholarly project required for the degree.  The ANS editorial and publishing team concur with the recommendations that have emerged from ICMJE and COPE – faculty advisors do not qualify for authorship based on their advisory role alone. Even though it is typically the case that faculty advisors make significant contributions to the development of the dissertation project, and in turn the content that emerges in a publishable article, faculty advisors rarely meet all of the criteria 2, 3 and 4 above.  Therefore they should be acknowledged for their contribution as an advisor to the project required for the degree, but not as authors.  Of course, in the event that faculty advisors do actively participate and meet all four criteria, they should be authors. However, in my opinion, the student (or former student), as the sole author of the dissertation or thesis, would typically be named as the first author based on their relative investment in the project.

I welcome your comments and responses related to this important issue!  Leave your ideas below – I will respond!

Open Access: What it is and what it is not

The recent rapid explosion of online publishing and the parallel emergence of “open access” publishing has created a huge challenge – and heaps of confusion – for publishers, editors, and authors in all scientific disciplines, nursing included!  To add to the confusion, there is now an abundance of shady practices that affect anyone who engages in scholarly and academic work coming ebookwormfrom  “predatory” publishers. In this post I will explain basic facts about the concept of “open access” in journal publishing.

First, here is a brief description of terms often confused with “open access” with explanations particularly related to ANS

Open Access refers to a business model that requires an article processing charge (APC) to cover the cost of publication and to retain the copyright, in place of the traditional subscription fees that readers pay for access to the copyright-protected content of the journal. This is known as the “gold” open access model. Open Access journals or articles are financially possible because the author has paid the cost of publishing, making the content available to anyone without a subscription fee. The author holds the copyright and can use and distribute the published article as they wish.  This model emerged because of the worthy intent that scientific findings need to be readily and easily accessible for other scientists to build on, and for the public benefit without the barrier of subscription fees. Occasionally publishers will use what is known as a “green” open access model; they do not require the “gold” APC, but they give a “green light” to an author to self-archive their pre-publication manuscript in an open repository. ANS is now a “hybrid” journal, meaning that it remains a traditional subscription journal with the “gold open access” option for the author, meaning that after their manuscript is accepted for publication, the author can pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) to retain copyright of their article and to make their published article immediately and permanently available to the public.  The APC for an ANS article is currently $2500 USD.

Public Access refers to a requirement of a funding agency stipulating that funded research results be made available to the public regardless of who holds the copyright, usually after an embargo period. If the content is published in an open access journal, the funding agency or other institutional support may cover the APC.  If the journal is a traditional subscription journal, there are guidelines that publishers and funding agencies follow that stipulate certain embargo requirements, meaning the content is only made available to the public several months (usually 6 to 12) after the publication date of the journal. The ANS publisher (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins) complies fully with the requirements of funding agencies to provide public access of all material published in ANS that is based on research the agency funded.

Free Access refers to voluntary release of selected copyright-restricted content to the public as a marketing tool, or as a service to the profession.  ANS provides free access for about a two week period for articles that appear in our current issue, with the current featured articles listed on the ANS home page. Free access content is subject to the restriction of copyright – the fact that it is free does not mean that you can freely share articles you download for free!  If you follow this blog, you already know that we feature each of the articles here on the blog, with messages from the authors, during the time that they are available for free access.

Pay to Publish is a relatively new term that refers to the practice of using Article Processing Charges (APCs) for personal gain – also known as predatory publishing. Predatory “pay to publish” practices side-step the standards of editorial integrity that assure sound content, and that assure permanent discoverability of the content.

Legitimate open access publications maintain strict adherence to editorial standards of integrity that assure the value and worth of the content of the journal.  If a publication is “open access” it does not mean that it is published more rapidly than traditional print journals, and in fact adequate editorial and peer review takes time regardless of the business model used to sustain the publication. There is a relatively minor time efficiency involved in digital publishing, regardless of the business model used to support the publication.  For example, open access journals published online are not restricted by print deadlines and release dates. Journals that are essentially subscription journals will release selected content online ahead of print and will provide free access for the “early view” articles until the publication release date.

The International Academy of Nursing Editors (INANE) has recently launched an initiative to inform all readers of nursing journals about the pitfalls of predatory practices, and to assure our readers of the standards of publishing integrity that we uphold in our journals. We launched this initiative with the publication of a collaborative statement – Predatory Publishing: What Editors Need to Know – available now in the “Nurse Author & Editor” newsletter – you can register on the site for free access to the newsletters!  An ANS editorial related to this project will appear in the next issue, (Volume 38:1, January – March 2015) – so watch for this coming soon!

Do you have questions or comments to share?  Share your thoughts here!

Common roadblocks to publishing, and how to overcome them

Over the years I have had occasions to answer many questions related to success in publishing scholarly manuscripts.  There are occasional unique issues that prospective authors face, but mostly people experience very similar challenges.  Take heart — most of these challenges can be overcome!  Here is a summary of  common roadblocks, and how to overcome them!

  • Failing to follow the journal guidelines.  Success in publishing in any journal depends to a large extent on your preparation related to that journal.  Read the “Information for Authors” that all journals provide, and follow it as closely as possible.  The ANS guidelines are readily accessible on the ANS home page. Pay particular attention to the purpose of the journal, and make sure that your manuscript is in line with that purpose. If you have questions about the guidelines, do not hesitate to contact the journal editor!
  • Lack of familiarity with the journal.  Become familiar with the past 2 to 3 years of the journal content to know the kinds of articles they are publishing, and to identify possible gaps that your manuscript might fill. Notice the style of writing in the published articles, typical article length, and the typical “profile” of article style and format. Identify the audience that the journal reaches, and if that is the audience for which your manuscript is intended. Notice if the journal has published articles on your topic in the past several months, and if so, consider how your work can add to what has already appeared in the journal.  The author’s guidelines probably address some of the style and format issues, but you will get a greater familiarity with the “personality” of the journal if you do this bit of homework!
  • Knowing when to get editorial assistance.  If you have difficulty with composition, challenges with the English language, or specific writing challenges (for example, improving the logical flow of ideas or making a long manuscript shorter), do not hesitate to seek help.  Consider teaming up with a colleague to exchange feedback on your writing, and to get suggestions for improving your writing.  There are a number of excellent  professional resources that you can explore; we list a few in the ANS guidelines in the “Preparation of Manuscript” section.
  • Becoming discouraged. Often the accomplishment of preparing a manuscript and getting it submitted is a major undertaking, and to get back a rejection letter after all that hard work is truly discouraging.  However, you can prepare publishingWoman250yourself for this disappointment by taking steps to be ready for any outcome.  Have a second and third journal option in the wings from the outset, so that if you need to submit your manuscript to a different journal you are ready to do so from the beginning.  Also, be ready to make revisions based on reviewer comments.  I recommend that authors immediately develop a table containing all of the reviewer comments in one column, and a second column with notes about what to do to address the comments.  Be prepared to tackle revisions the day after you receive the editor’s decision letter!  Do not put it aside and wait … be persistent, and get right back into the task of moving the manuscript forward!

There are factors beyond your control that could lead to rejection of your manuscript. But you can take some steps to minimize the possibility that these factors will interfere with your being published. These include:

  • Space constraints that limit the inclusion of all worthy manuscripts. All journals have some space constraints, so the more you keep your manuscript within reasonable length requirements, the greater your chances of success.
  • Editorial priorities that do not include the topic that your manuscript addresses. Sometimes you can determine these priorities in advance.  Seek publication in a journal that you know includes a priority for your topic, or contact the Editor to determine if they have an interest in your topic.
  • Editorial perspectives and practices related to controversial or sensitive issues. If your topic involves a controversial or sensitive issue, you may seek to determine the journal’s stance related to your topic in advance by becoming familiar with recent journal content, or direct contact with the Editor.

If you heed these hints for overcoming obstacles, you will almost certainly get your work published!  If you have questions or other suggestions to add to mine here, post them as a comment and let us discuss them!

Finding a “home” for your manuscript

One of the most important tasks for any author, new or seasoned, is finding a place to have your scholarly work published.  These days one “criteria” that many authors use is to find out which journals have high impact factor scores, and then pursue publication in Finding a Home for your manuscriptone of those journals.  While there are many reasons that authors start here, it is not always the best place to begin!

The Impact Factor scoring system is managed and reported by Thomson-Reuters through their Web of Knowledge service.  While this is a valuable resource, the fact is that some very high quality and important journals will never be represented in this system.  Any journal that publishes work that has a very narrow audience – scientists and scholars working in a very focused field of study – will never attract others to their publication, and therefore their publications will not be widely cited.  This is actually a dynamic that effects scores for nursing journals, since our journals have not yet attracted widespread use by scholars outside of the field of nursing and some related health professions.  A journal such as the New England Journal of Medicine, for example, that many people both in and outside of the health professions use and cite, will carry a much higher impact factor score than any of our nursing journals (yet!).

However, back to the focus of this blog — what is the best way to find a “home” for your manuscript?  The first and most important task is to consider which journals reach the audience that you want your article to reach.  You can browse a comprehensive list of nursing journals, with links to their “Information for Authors,” on the Nurse Author-Editor web site.   Once you find journals that might reach your intended audience, the next challenge is to study the journal’s statement of purpose, recently published issues, and requirements for manuscript preparation and submission.

Like most other journals,  ANS has everything you need right at your fingertips on line!

  • To determine if your manuscript is appropriate for the journal, check out the list of future issue topics in the right column of the home page. Since we are a topical journal you need to first determine if your manuscript has a good fit with our future topics.  You can find a description of each of the topics when you click on any of the listed topics.
  • For detailed information about the purpose of ANS, go to the “For Authors” tab of the home page.  Here is the direct link to the “ANS Information for Authors.”
  • On our home page, you can also browse the Table of Contents for each issue ever published in ANS, as well as abstracts of the articles.  All articles are available for online purchase if you do not have access through a library.

Questions?  Post them here in the comments for this post, and we will post the answers!

Challenges and changes in scholarly publishing

Whatever your interest is in the realm of scholarly publishing, one thing is clear – the landscape is changing dramatically!  The most challenging aspect of what is happening is that nobody knows exactly how things are going to evolve and what direction will be thePublishing of the future? most viable in the future.  What we do know is that the internet is destined to play an increasingly important role, but we can only imagine exactly how the internet will eventually shape the future of scholarly publishing.  Here are two important changes that I am anticipating, and the scope of change that seems possible:

  • The roles and responsibilities of publishers. The internet is making it possible for almost anyone to become a publisher, and is changing the ways that traditional publishers do business.  Publishers play a significant role in assuring certain standards of quality in their publications.  They cover the cost of getting the publication from manuscript to print and they manage the task of distribution of the product.  The internet provides Read more


By now most authors have at least heard this term, but it has only recently begun to be Self-Plariarism White Papermore clearly understood!  So if you are still wondering what the fuss is all about – take heed!  I won’t go into a lot of detail here because the details are described very well by in a recent post on the iThenticate Blog.  And, they have provided a white paper that you can download a copy of the white paper titled “The Ethics of Self-Plagiarism.”

There are two key points that I do want to comment on because I believe these points are important to notice, whether you have considerable familiarity with the idea of self-plagiarism, or are just learning about the concept:

  • When your work is published in a journal or a book, and you have transferred copyright to your publisher, you need to treat your own work in the same manner as you would that of a work published by someone else.  The publisher now owns the copyright, not you!
  • The basics of “fair use” of any work are not governed by strict rules.  Rather, there are guidelines that help to determine how much of a published work, yours or anyone else’s, can be legally (or even ethically) quoted and cited.  Many publishers have their own guidelines concerning how much of a published work can be cited without obtaining the copyright holder’s permission.  So become familiar with not only general “fair use” guidelines, but also the guidelines of your publisher.

The Copyright Clearance Center has an excellent 6-minute video that explains the basics of copyright, including the basics of fair use.  Watch it, and make sure everyone on your team knows that this resource is available.  

Evaluating Web (and other) resources

In just the past few short years, the World Wide Web has become like a physical library.  Academic libraries, to a significant degree, now provide journal articles

WWW imageto their constituents as PDF files, replacing the old, large, and very popular “copy machine” room housed in their physical spaces.  A natural extension of this is the use of material “published” on the web as a resource not unlike that accessed through an academic library.

The developer of the Web (and current director of W3C, the organization that oversees Web standards) Tim Berners-Lee, established a vision of the World Wide Web as a valuable tool that would democratize knowledge, making access to valuable information accessible to all regardless of wealth, social standing, race, or any other factor. However, in many academic circles, Web resources are still regarded with skepticism and Web articles are not considered valid scholarly resources, except where a Web site is itself the subject of the investigation or is used to make a particular point.

Rather than simply dismiss Web resources, it is time to recognize the Web and its wealth of information as an opportunity to sharpen our abilities to discern a valid resource from one that is less than valid, and to refine the criteria by which we make this assessment.  Indeed, as the management team of the popular clearly states in their own guidelines on “Researching with Wikipedia”, the veracity of information published in the Wikipedia should be judged in ways similar to standards used for any other resource.

Here are “ABCSS” guidelines that I recommend in deciding on the credibility of any resource, web or otherwise:

Agency.  Is the author of the work clearly identified? Are the author’s professional affiliations and qualifications clearly identified? Is there a clearly identified way for me to contact the author if I have questions or concerns about the work? 

Bias.  Everything has a bias!  Does the author identify their perception of their own perspective on the subject?  What bias, standpoint, or perspective is implicitly embedded in the work?  How does bias potentially shape or influence what is published?

Corroboration.  How does the information in this source compare to what I find in other resources?  If it is wildly at odds with other resources, and the source can be identified as having value for my work, how can I explain the difference? 

Sponsorship.  Is the work sponsored, funded, or “commissioned” by an organization of any kind?  If so, what is the nature of that organization and do they have an explicit or implicit interest in what is published?

Scholarly value.  Do the methods used and the logic presented meet generally accepted standards of investigation, ethics and logic?  Are the sources that the author used clearly identified, and can I trace those sources accurately?

In fact, in my view the Web actually has greater power to demonstrate each of these guidelines much more explicitly than does print media.  Print media is limited by space and cost constraints that greatly constrain the kind of background information that is important to fully understand the worth of that which is published.  

In evaluating Web resources, I believe we can and should expect each and every one of the ABCSS to be clearly evident.  If they are not, unless there is some strong justification otherwise, the source needs to be eliminated from serious consideration.  What are your thoughts, and what shifts might you recommend for the ABCSS guidelines?  

How to list your credentials and title when you publish

Updated resource (Sept. 12, 2019)
APA “Misuse of the PhD(c)

Here is a topic that is not often discussed, but remains a persistent issue for many!  “What is the proper way to list my credentials?  Which should come first, RN, PhD, MS?”  Most folks have very strong opinions about this and will most certainly object if you list their credentials in an order other than what they prefer.  TheyDiploma and notebook will typically give you very good reasons for why they feel one credential or another should be first.  Therefore, as an Editor, my guideline for this is that each person’s credentials should be listed exactly as they prefer them to be listed!

However, there is one “credential” that is frequently indicated that we will not use — the non-credential “PhD(c).”  I am not sure how this convention started, but it is one of my particular pet peeves.  And in many formal and informal polls of other editors, by far the majority agree — this is not an acceptable credential.  Yes, the little (c) does indicate that a person has passed Read more

ANS online and on paper: is there a difference?

By now ANS readers are familiar with accessing articles online, either through the ANS web site, or the electronic collection provided by their organization’s library.  The data on usage clearly documents the overwhelming preference that readers have for journal content online.  Since all of the journal content is accessible online, you may not be aware thatLaptops and paper books some of the content of the journal appears only online, and not in ANS on paper!  Regardless of the format on paper or online-only, all articles that appear in ANS have undergone the exact same peer-review scrutiny, and meet the scholarly criteria established for publication in ANS. All articles have also been revised to address issues and suggestions offered by the reviewers, adding substantially to the quality of what you read.

We began including online-only content about 3 years ago.  This has been a tremendous value for the journal, as well as for the discipline.  When a journal is limited to paper only, the result can be a huge back-log of excellent material with long periods of time between submission and actual publication, or a severe limitation in what can be published by the journal, dictated not by Read more

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