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Articles and journal publications

Need assistance with articles or journal presentations?

You are ready to share results of your research with colleagues and the scientific community. Duke has many resources and tools to support this activity. For a comprehensive guide to the scientific publishing process, access the Wiley Researcher Academy. For other resources and tools, visit the sections below.

Preparing for the publication
  • Determine authorship early. Deciding authorship has the potential to impact careers, funding for future research, and intellectual credit for a body of work.
    • Communicate with research team members early to clarify roles, ensure motivation, and minimize the chance of disappointment or disputes.   
    • Recognize inherent power imbalances, to ensure that attribution within publications is equitable and transparent.
    • Refer to the “Guidelines for Authorship and Authorship Dispute Resolution” policy to understand the recommended principles of authorship, and what to do if resolution is needed.
  • Even before preparing your publication, determine whether you should work with the Duke Office for Translation and Commercialization to submit an Invention Disclosure Form. This is particularly important if you will seek a patent, or otherwise need to discuss protection of intellectual property and potential commercialization of your research.
  • Select an appropriate venue for your publication
    • Access publication guidance hosted by the Duke University Medical Center, to access tools, checklists, and best practice guides that can guide your decision on “where” to submit.
    • If you receive solicitations from journals you haven’t read or heard of before, be wary, as they may be a potentially predatory publisher that doesn’t do real peer review and may have other fraudulent practices. Publishing with an untrusted journal can harm you and your discipline. To assess the legitimacy of a journal, review the Be iNFORMEd checklist or the website Think, Check, Submit.
  • Be aware of costs. Some journals may levy submission fees or page charges, and others may have article processing charges that enable the journal to make your article open access, so even those without subscription access can read it. Some funding agencies allow you to build these costs into your grant, and the university has some limited set-aside funds to support faculty, postdocs and graduate students in cases where other funding is not available.   
  • Ensure that there are no restrictions on your ability to publish the results. Work with your research contracting office and review relevant IRB protocols and agreements that may affect your ability to publish. Review your funding agency guidelines too, as they may require that you publish your research open access.
    Writing and revising the publication

    Finding time, getting motivated, and knowing your resources are important steps in the writing process. Be aware of the key tools such as writing groups, access to virtual coaches in its subscription to the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, the Thompson Writing Program, and much more in the Related Resources section.

    Publication writing best practices

    1. Have a template or formula for writing manuscripts. Include sections the manuscript will cover (ex: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Abstract) and use studies with similar approaches and/or methods for guidance.
    2. In the beginning, write without worrying about wording or references. You can fix those things later after words are on paper.
    3. Begin with the end in mind – use results (tables and figures) to outline and start the writing process. Think about the story you want to tell from the results.  
    4. Review the figures and tables, make sure the data support the story you are trying to tell. In addition, make sure the order of the figures aligns with the order in which you want to tell the story.
    5. Write from the reader’s perspective.


    Citations and acknowledgements

    • Avoid plagiarism. In general, plagiarism is the act of knowingly or unknowingly claiming someone’s work to be your own. Check out the Related Resources for tools, such as iThenticate, to help researchers reduce their risk for plagiarizing others’ work.
    • Appropriately cite your work and manage your references.
      • Researchers will amass a portfolio of references as they build their career.  Duke offers several tools to help effectively manage citations, including EndNote.
      • Librarians are available across the university to assist with questions regarding citations.
      • Don’t forget to cite your funding! Citing your sponsor for articles resulting from grant funding is sometimes required, but always important.
    • Appropriately acknowledge sponsors.
      • Sponsors should only be acknowledged in publications in which the research is directly related to the specific aims of the funded grant/contract.
      • If multiple awards are cited in a single publication, it could be taken as an indicator of scientific overlap among the acknowledged projects. 
      • Many funders provide additional guidance and suggested wording related to acknowledgements.


    Before you submit

    • Double-check submission requirements and author guidelines, to ensure that your article adheres.
    • Ask a trusted colleague to review your article. They can help find areas of the publication needing more clarity.
    • Write a cover letter to the journal that speaks to why your submission meets the aims and mission of their journal.


    After submission

    • Prior to peer review, you may get access to a full draft of your article in the form of a “preprint.”  You may be allowed to cite preprints in grant applications (check first with your funder’s policy). Many journals allow you to make your preprint openly available via an institutional repository or your personal web site, so read your publication contract, and ask about this if it’s not already addressed there.
    • If you are invited to resubmit your article after handling reviewer comments, there are a few things to consider.  List each comment, and calmly answer each one.  Ensure that you have addressed all comments and when possible, do as the reviewer requests.
    Maximize and track impact

    Congratulations, your paper has been accepted for publication! To optimize the reach and impact of your work, there are a few important things to consider.

    • First, visit this comprehensive checklist developed by Duke University Press for ensuring that your article reaches a wide audience.
    • Reach out to your unit communicator or University Communications at acceptance, and ask them to consider a press release. After the paper is published, they will be less likely to be interested.
    • Ensure you have an ORCID iD, and that it is registered with Duke.
    • Make sure your scholarly work is Open Access by depositing it in one of Duke’s repositories. Duke has an open access policy for faculty authors that makes it possible to share your peer reviewed articles via Duke, and Duke’s repositories will link your publications from your Scholars@Duke profile too.
      • You can ensure persistent access to your data and make it easier to get credit for it by putting it in the Duke Research Data Repository which assigns a digital object identifier (DOI).
    • Think outside the box for maximizing impact – consider whether your journal findings are appropriate for public outreach.
    Reporting your publication

    Oftentimes, reporting your publication is a requirement of the funder. For more information on reporting requirements, visit the Related Resource at right, or contact your librarian.