Writing for Publication and the Research Toolkit

Earlier this year Knowledge for Health commissioned me to develop a Research Toolkit based on a research flowchart originally developed by members of the now defunct HEALER (Health Information and Libraries for Evaluation and Research) Network. Launched in April 2020, the Research Toolkit  provides ten simple steps as a starting point for health LKS workers wishing to undertake research.

The ten steps highlights issues to consider and resources to help guide you through the research process, from turning your idea into a research question, designing your study, obtaining trust approval, collecting, collating, analysing and interpreting your data, and disseminating your findings.

Writing for publication was already recognised in Step 9 of the Research Toolkit. However, the importance of acknowledging writing in the planning process of a project and, being mindful of the end of goal of sharing findings, lead to an invitation to further develop the Research Toolkit this autumn.

At first glance, writing for publication can seem like something that you only need to think about when your project is completed, though its influence can be felt throughout the research process. When designing your research, you may choose to pre-register your research plan as part the movement to improving quality and transparency of research. If you’re involving participants in any research you plan to publish, you’ll need to let them know in your consent form, assuring confidentiality, while your funders may have expectations and provide guidance on how you make your findings available. Knowing you’re planning to publish your findings can also inform the notes you keep to ensure you can meet the EQUATOR Network reporting guidelines.

The publishing landscape is changing, and it’s increasingly common to want to publish your work open access. Open access can be more than making research available to read. As well as increasing the reach of your findings it can mean your data is similarly more widely available. Not only that but publishing open access can help improve research quality through open, transparent and reproducible research practice. And for those for whom it’s important, open access has been shown to increase the number of citations received.

There are lots of useful resources outlining the range of open access models available (diamond open access anyone?), busting the jargon on all things open access,  and summarising the copyright and open access archiving policies for publishers around the world.

Some publishers have signed transitional agreements with national bodies to facilitate ‘read and publish’ deals. This can mean that if you’re a corresponding author for a paper and affiliated with a participating institution e.g. based in an NHS trust affiliated to a university, you’re eligible to access funds to cover your article processing charge to provide open access to your work.

Writing for publication shouldn’t be viewed as an add on to a research project but be recognised as an integral part of the research process. The extended Research Toolkit is now available  and provides links to a wide variety of resources to help guide and support your writing choices.

Maria J Grant
Maria J Grant Consulting
MariaJGrantFCLIP@outlook.com @MariaJGrant < https://twitter.com/MariaJGrant >
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-grant-28a12b27/

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