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Oncology research: four ways a medical writer can improve your chances of publication

By | Uncategorized

With manuscript acceptance rates in leading oncology journals as low as 15% and rates in mid-impact journals at ~50%, the nature of research publication in the field of oncology is becoming increasingly competitive.

It is now harder than ever to get your research published and your voice heard; however, working with a professional medical writer can make all the difference.

Whether you are looking to produce an abstract or poster for submission and presentation at an oncology conference or a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed oncology journal, a medical writer can ensure the eloquent presentation of your research findings and adherence to conference and journal formatting requirements, all of which can improve the chances of your research being accepted for publication.

The most common reasons for a manuscript to be rejected by a scientific journal include:

  • Unimportant or irrelevant subject matter and lack of originality or novelty of results
  • Poor rationale or a manuscript that lacks focus and deviates from the rationale of the study
  • The subject matter does not fit the aims and scope of the journal
  • The manuscript fails the technical screening: poor English, the manuscript is incomplete, incomplete or incorrectly formatted figures and tables, outdated or poorly formatted references, or the structure of the manuscript does not adhere to the Journal’s Instructions for Authors
  • A flawed methodology or inappropriate or incomplete statistics
  • Lack of interpretations or the interpretations and conclusions are not supported by the data presented in the manuscript

If your study has been well conducted and has a robust methodology then tapping into the expertise of a professional medical writer can help to reduce the risk of your paper being rejected by a peer-reviewed scientific journal in several ways.

Firstly, a medical writer can help you select the most appropriate oncology journal for your research. This means ensuring that the journal’s aims and scope are a good fit for your research and finding the right balance between the impact factor/acceptance rate of a journal and the novelty of the data to be published.

Secondly, professional medical writers have an intimate knowledge of the diverse and often complex formatting requirements of individual journals. The Instructions for Authors vary considerably between journals and there is an art to ensuring a manuscript meets all of a journal’s stipulations with regard to structure, word count, formatting of tables and figures, font size, and use of acronyms, etc.

Thirdly, a professional medical writer is your extra set of eyes. They have an eye for detail and can spot anomalies in the data or important details that are missing from the clinical trial report. They can often find better ways of formatting a table to make the data easier to interpret or advise on data that may be out of scope for the paper.

Finally, a medical writer has a love for words and for finding precisely the right words to best present your research. A medical writer can help an author express their thoughts fluently and concisely, with arguments that are well supported by the study data and the existing published literature.

A medical writer can support you at every stage of the publication process. At Boxjelly Medical Communications we pride ourselves in offering an exceptional medical writing service with a particular emphasis on quality, accuracy, and attention to detail. Oncology, especially breast cancer and lung cancer, is one of our areas of expertise.

Boxjelly Medical Communications is an owner-operated, freelance medical communications business offering outsourced medical writing support for researchers, medical communications agencies, healthcare advertising agencies, and medical device or pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

Do you need medical writing or medical copywriting support on the run up to Christmas?

By | Medical Writing
Busy on the run up to Christmas? We have a few days available between now and Christmas if you require freelance medical writing or medical copywriting support during this busy time of year. Find out more about the services we offer at Our base in New Zealand allows us to ‘work while you sleep’ enabling your UK/European/US agency to be productive 24 hours a day. Get in touch to find out how we can support your business

How to critically appraise clinical papers

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As a medical writer I spend much of my time wading through swathes of clinical papers to identify the landmark studies while filtering out the chuff. It’s a tricky business, which requires a sound understanding of the study process. Over time, I’ve come across a few resources that I’ve found really useful and wish to share with other aspiring medical writers. I’ll add to this list as and when I find new resources:

Critically Appraising Medical Evidence: Checklists from The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme

The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) is a non-profit UK organisation based in Oxford, which provides resources and education aiming to improve the critical appraisal of medical evidence. CASP freely provides critical appraisal checklists to apply to medical research under a Creative Commons license on their website as downloadable PDFs. This blog post provides web-versions of the critical appraisal checklists for four primary research types (randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews, cohort studies and case control studies), reformatted to make them more useful on laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Statistical Help from Statsdirect

This website discusses basic statistical principles and provides top-level explanations of a variety of statistical analysis methods.

Medical statistics made easy

This is a great little pocket book which runs through the basics of key statistics principles for anyone studying or working in medicine and healthcare who needs a basic overview of the subject. It’s a handy reference tool to keep within arm’s reach.