Why publish your work?
Writing for publication is important for the dissemination of knowledge and practice. Individuals are often prevented from writing because of a lack of confidence or knowledge of what the process involves and insufficient time in which to write. Although it is expected that those undertaking research will write up their findings and submit them for publication, there are also many elements of clinical practice that are worthy of dissemination. Often, however, the nurses delivering these aspects of care do not realise that they too should be writing for publication. Many have, in the course of their work, designed or implemented ideas for practice or undertaken innovations that benefit service users, staff and communities and these are often not widely shared. Students are often involved in unique and ground breaking clinical practices while out on placement which is another reason to share those experiences. Additionally, it is always an advantage if students can learn from other students about what they have encountered particularly for those beginning their training or programme of study.
Benefits of Publishing your work
Writing for publication can appear to be a daunting activity but be assured that it is a skill that can be learned. Becoming an author and getting published is a way to gain your peers’ respect and establish your expertise in the nursing community both nationally and internationally in some cases. There are a huge amount of journals that may want to publish your written work and although it takes a bit of effort, it is possible to see your name in print and influence your nursing career in the process as well as providing great personal satisfaction at the same time. Ultimately, nurses have a responsibility to share their knowledge with each other, and that can be achieved by publishing in journals which in turn enhances the care that is provided.
Not only does having your work published help other nurses, but its influence also spreads amongst other health care professionals. Improvements in clinical practice occur when nurses share their experiences and their successes and failures, and when they provide challenges and questions for others to address. Often publishing work in peer reviewed journals helps to focus on a particular subject that you and others are struggling with. Sharing this with those from your professional group can generate a concerted effort or approach to tacking it. It does take time and effort to put pen to paper and write that manuscript and then to get it published for others to read, but it’s well worth it. Until you see your name in print as an author, difficult to understand the satisfaction it can bring not just because your name is in print, but because it means you have contributed to the profession of nursing. Writing and then publishing in peer reviewed, academic journals is an important career step but, like all things that are worthwhile, it takes time and energy. Reassuringly, it also gets easier with practice and with the right support. So don’t wait any longer, Start writing that paper now.
Where Should I Publish?
It’s usually useful to consider journals that actively encourage manuscripts from different authors as there are those who have a designated set of individuals who publish regularly. Likewise, journals who publish weekly will need more regular content than those who publish quarterly. Editors are often on the lookout for manuscripts that will fill their journal space frequently. Also, check that your manuscript is within the scope of the journal that you are hoping to submit to. This seems so obvious but it’s astonishing how many manuscripts are submitted to journals that are completely inappropriate. Ideally you will have begun this process when you have read through recent issues to ensure that it is publishing articles on the topic you are interested in and that are of similar quality and impact.
The ‘Nursing Standard’ is a weekly nursing journal aimed at students and qualified staff and publishes a wide range of clinical, research and issue related articles about a vast range of subjects including acute care, community nursing and care of the elderly.
Find out more information on the Nursing Standard website.
Journal of Advanced Nursing
The ‘Journal of Advanced Nursing’ is an international, peer reviewed, high impact journal that publishes high quality, research and scholarly work to advance knowledge in practice, education management or nursing policy. Unlike the Nursing Times it is aimed at an international audience so papers that are published must have a global significance or impact. It is essential that you read the scope of the journal as it provides valuable information on what the editor is looking for in terms of subject matter, style of presentation and its readers.
Find out more more information on the Journal of Advanced Nursing website.
Indexing and Abstracting Services
You may find an overwhelming number of journals cover your disciple and knowing which one/s to target can be difficult. For example, there are almost 150 journals with the word ‘Nursing’ in the title and many more covering related specialisms. To help you decide, here are some tips:
- Seek out a journal where (over time/years) a high proportion of its papers are cited by other researchers. You then have some confidence that the journal has impact on the academic community. A journal where typically half the papers remain uncited or used by other researchers is not a good sign
- Compare the journal ‘impact factor’ or SNIP value (source normalised impact per paper). These metrics are also linked to citations and the higher the value the better. Do not use this metric on its own as other factors such as the age of the journal and the types of articles it publishes will affect the value, the impact factor varies widely across academic disciplines
- Make sure the journal has a rigorous peer review process; look at who sits on the Editorial Board, who they work for and where they publish. Good peer review will improve the quality of your eventual paper
Scopus is the one of the largest abstract and citation databases for peer reviewed literature. This tool can be incredibly useful in order to find journals you may wish to publish in. Using the Scopus platform you can compare journal metrics in order to find out which are the most popular journals in your field as well as find out which have the most citations, highest ranking and best impact factor.
Find more journals on the Scopus website.