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From why you should publish to picking a journal and all the steps in between, this guide will help you publish a manuscript.

Instructions to Authors

The most important thing to know and do when writing a manuscript is to find the journal's "Instructions to Authors" and/or "Aim and Scope" section on their website. Every journal will have instructions for authors to follow, though they may be called something different and will vary slightly from journal to journal. Adhering to these instructions is paramount as it is one of the easiest ways for editors to reject your article. They aren't merely guidelines - they are hard and fast rules you must follow.

Examples of some of these pages are included on the "Authorship" and "What types of manuscripts does the journal accept?" tabs of this guide.

Scholarly Publishing Checklist

This checklist is a guided pathway to assist you in answering the questions necessary for publishing your manuscript: Scholarly Publishing Checklist. Please follow the instructions carefully.

Before writing your manuscript, what other literature has been published on the subject?

Search to find case report writing examples and/or journals that publish case reports. Add a specific topic to the terms listed in the search box if you wish (example: "Case Reports"[Publication Type] AND english[la] AND medline[sb] AND traumatic brain injury)

Think of articles you enjoy reading. Being an active, engaged reader makes you a better writer.

Write your manuscript from the inside out.

Well written articles will meet readers' expectations. Additionally, easy-to-read articles are structured for parsing technical literature. With this in mind, pay specific attention to these areas:

1. Figures and Tables - remember: a picture is worth a thousand words. If you have informative, readable figures and tables, let that do the "talking."

2. Methods and Results

3. Discussion and Introduction

4. Abstract and Title (Be sure to think of the readers' expectations when writing this section. Don't use a bait and switch just to get clicks.)

Further Readings

Take some time to skim these articles and websites for important tips and instructions to help you write your manuscript: 

11 steps to structuring a science paper editors will take seriously

Equator - Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research

Research publication advice from a JAMA editor

AMA Manual of Style | Oxford Academic (

ICMJE | Recommendations | Preparing a Manuscript for Submission to a Medical Journal

Parts of a Manuscript

Title and Abstract
  • Introduction: Present an argument for the need for your study. What is your "elevator speech?" End this section with explicit study objectives.
    • Funnel technique:
      • Paragraph 1 - high level problem
      • Paragraph 2 - Narrow the topic to what is the unknown or complexity of the issue
      • Paragraph 3 - Specific study objectives
  • Literature Review: What has been said about this topic before?
  • Methods: How did you conduct the study? The goal is for someone else to be able to replicate your work. Describe in roughly temporal order a timeline for your study. Section headings are helpful. Include a description of the statistical analysis.
    • A very robust protocol makes methods section easier to write.
  • Results: What answer did you get?  (Note: for this part you only address the results directly associated with  your study. If you discovered some other profound information, discuss that at the end of your paper.)
    • NOT Methodology
    • NOT interpretation - that goes in the discussion
  • Discussion: What does it all mean?
    • Interpret your results in context of existing knowledge
    • How do your findings confirm/conflict with current knowledge
    • How can results be put into practice
    • Discuss limitations

REMEMBER: You'll need to keep in mind any specific instructions to authors the journal has you write your manuscript!

For more information on best practices related to writing your manuscript visit the Chester Fritz Library's Communicating Your Research guide.

Case Reports

"The basic definition of a case report is the detailed report of an individual including aspects like exposure, symptoms, signs, intervention, and outcome. . . . A case report may describe an unusual etiology, an unusual or unknown disorder, a challenging differential diagnosis, an unusual setting for care, information that can not be reproduced due to ethical reasons, unusual or puzzling clinical features, improved or unique technical procedures, unusual interactions, rare or novel adverse reactions to care, or new insight into the pathogenesis of disease."

Source:  Garg R, Lakhan SE, Dhanasekaran AK. How to review a case report. J Med Case Rep. 2016 Apr 6;10:88. doi: 10.1186/s13256-016-0853-3 

BMJ Case Reports

UND SMHS Library Resources pays for a BMJ Case Reports institutional fellowship. This fellowship allows UND-affiliated students, residents, faculty, and staff to publish case reports without having to pay article processing charges. Contact a librarian to receive the UND fellowship code.

You must use the BMJ Case Reports patient consent form.

BMJ Case Reports articles must be submitted using one of these templates:

AI Policies

Academic freedom is critical to the mission of universities. Publishers and disciplines have their own approaches to GenAI and those approaches vary in how they do, or do not, address the challenges and opportunities of these technologies.

The links in the list below take you to the policies of major scholarly publishers and represent various approaches and stances. Some guidance addresses both the use of GenAI and the use of artificial intelligence as a research method.

Many organizations take definitive positions on the use of GenAI. The American Naturalist (jpournal) offers an example of a restrictive AI use policy. The ICMJE | Recommendations | Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors says AI use must be disclosed and cannot be listed as an author. Additionally, the JAMA "Instruction for Authors" page similarly states: "Nonhuman artificial intelligence, language models, machine learning, or similar technologies do not qualify for authorship. If these models or tools are used to create content or assist with writing or manuscript preparation, authors must take responsibility for the integrity of the content generated by these tools."

Most publishers and journals now have specific AI use policies; however, it is best to check the submission guidance for the particular journal to which you are submitting, or you can contact the editor.