Research Tips

Writing your way to abstract acceptance

Having the opportunity to present your research at a scientific conference is a big deal! Not only does it look good to have a conference proceeding to add to your CV but dissemination of your findings to your colleagues can open many doors for future projects and collaborations.

The first hurdle is to get past the scientific committee, who are the gatekeepers on deciding whether or not your abstract is accepted for the conference. Their perspective on abstract acceptance depends on several factors. These factors include whether your abstract contribute to the body of scientific knowledge, have educational value for the intended audience and add value to the conference program/themes. Look at it this way, your abstract should sell/pitch your research findings to the gatekeepers, who if convinced, will give you the key to the conference.

So, here are some tips for writing a good abstract.

  1. Follow the “author instructions” or “abstract template” found on the conference website. There is nothing more annoying to conference organisers than those authors who do not use the correct font, stick to word limit, or forget to add the key words as requested.
  2. List all authors and affiliations. Make sure all authors agree on the order listed as this cannot be easily changed once submitted.
  3. Start with a statement that describes your research question, followed by a description of the research method and design, the major findings, and the conclusions reached.
  4. Stick to concise language that flesh out the main points/findings of your research. Avoid tangential or generalised statements that do not add value to your research.
  5. Ensure you answer the aims of your research in the abstract conclusion.
  6. Check your spelling and grammar prior to submission.
  7. Create an attractive title that describes and promote your research

Remember, the scientific committee is not the only hurdle your abstract faces. Even after abstract acceptance, you still have to face the audience hurdle! Nobody wants to present to an empty room or be the loner next to the poster that draws zero attention. Keep the delegate audience in mind during abstract writing because for many delegates who have never heard of you, the conference abstract is their only window to your work and the only factor in determining their attendance of your presentation.

For more information, read the AJOPS editorial by Dr Darrell Perkins on “Guidelines and tips for getting your abstract accepted: ASPS PSC”.

The Holy Grail of grant writing

The shear mention of “grant writing” is enough to elicit exasperated grunts from many researchers. Sadly, grant writing a necessary evil for most researchers as money is required to make your research happen. Looking at it positively, writing a research grant application can help frame your research question and the more practice you have, the better the writer you become (notwithstanding more grey hair to add to the mix!). Grant funding is the Holy Grail for researchers so let’s get started with the following tips to maximise your chances of success.

1.Find the right grant for your needs.

There are different types of grants for different needs. For example, there are grants for the purpose of funding research equipment or staff that are separate to general research project funding. Look at the priorities of the funding body and ensure your research matches them. These funding priorities may be fixed for the purpose of a particular grant or they may change each time the grant is open for applications. Early career researchers (less than 5 years post PhD) may find that there are particular grants targeting their level of research experience while more experienced researchers may battle it out for more lucrative higher value grants.

2.When is the grant open for application?

Funding bodies advertise when grants are open and closed for applications. You may find this information on the funding body website. Universities and health departments often have dedicated pages listing which grants are open for applications. It can be helpful to sign up to email alerts from funding bodies to remind you when to start preparing an application or to be alerted of upcoming due dates. Due dates are usually very strict with funding bodies and it’s not up for negotiation. Grant applications can take a lot of preparation so allow plenty of time for the process.

3.Read the instructions.

This may seem obvious but you will be surprised at the number of applicants who don’t follow the guidelines provided by the funding body. If provided, use the funding body’s template for your application rather than create your own document. Stick to the word limit and don’t waffle just to fill space.

4.Do some background research on the funding body.

It is useful to gather information about the funding body so you can write your application to align with their vision. This is particularly important when you are applying to a charitable or a philanthropic organisation that may be interested in certain aspects of disease or patient experience.

5.Read previous successful applications and talk to colleagues who have had funding success.

Sometimes, funding bodies make available a summary or abstract of previous successful applications. It is very helpful to review these or if not available, try and connect with colleagues who have been successful in grant applications. Pick their brains and ask for tips that may help in getting your research funded.

6.Pitch your research

Be concise and clear in your research proposal so your reviewer can understand and be captivated by your research idea. You want the reviewer to find your research idea interesting, feasible and worthy of funding. Despite funding bodies aiming to match reviewers’ expertise with your research topic, it is possible that your reviewer may not be familiar with the terms and acronyms used in your niche field. It is always useful to ask colleagues outside of your niche field to read over your grant application and give feedback.

7.Consider your track record.

Not only do you have to pitch your idea as a researcher but you also have to pitch the fact that you and your team are capable of making the research happen and carrying it to fruition. Funding bodies want to see your research make an impact in various areas such as making change to health processes, outcomes, protocols, and costs. It is difficult for early career researchers to compete with experienced researchers with impressive track records in the same funding rounds, however, teamwork is the key. If you think your track record is a bit light, consider collaborating with colleagues who have more research experience, so that reviewers can score your application on your team’s track record rather than just your own.

8.Give a realistic budget.

If you don’t want to run out of funds midway through your research project, plan your budget carefully. Be realistic but not ridiculous in your request so reviewers take your research seriously. You need to be able to justify each and every item in your budget to your reviewer. Again, read the instructions carefully because there may be certain conditions depending on the funding body. For example, some grants do not permit equipment or salaries to be added to be budget.  If permitted, salaries may need to include öncosts. These on-costs may be 20% extra to cover things like superannuation and leave entitlements for research assistants.

9.Edit and check your work.

It’s very annoying to read grant applications that have spelling and typographical errors. Proof read your application before submission.

Grant success is hard to come by and it can take many failed attempts before you achieve the Holy Grail of funding. Prepare meticulously, have a formidable team, revise and take on the feedback. This will no doubt set you up to be in the best position possible for grant success.

For further information, please look at this helpful webinar series on NHMRC grant writing tips.

A simple guide to qualitative research

Qualitative research has suffered from an image problem in the research world for a long time with researchers and reviewers often questioning the methods of, and outcomes produced. However, times have changed and are continuing to change, with researchers and readers coming to the realisation that qualitative research provides answers to questions that cannot be answered by quantitative means. Put simply, numbers and statistics don’t always tell the story of a research problem or solution. Qualitative research, when used appropriately, gives insight and depth to participants’ experiences, perceptions, and motivations behind a behaviour.

Like all research, qualitative research should be performed with a specific aim or research question in mind. For example, what are the factors that influences women’s choice of breast reconstruction after mastectomy? How does social media affect patient selection of plastic surgeon for aesthetic surgery? Do body image perceptions of burns survivors change over time?

A variety of qualitative research approaches may be chosen to answer the research question. They include:

  • Narrative Research – Individual stories are explored to understand how participants perceive and make sense of their experiences.
  • Phenomenological Research – Researchers investigate a phenomenon or event by describing and interpreting participants’ lived experiences.
  • Grounded Theory Research – Researchers collect data on a topic of interest and develop theories in the context of the experience/phenomena being studied.
  • Ethnography – Researchers immerse themselves in groups or organisations to understand their shared cultures.

 

Data collection may consist of one or more of the below methods:

  • Observations – A detailed record of what the researcher has seen, heard or encountered.
  • Interviews – One-on-one conversations between the researcher and participant. These may be structured, semi-structured, or unstructured depending on the aim of the study.
  • Focus groups – Usually these are small groups led by the researcher asking questions and generating discussion about a topic of interest.
  • Surveys – Distribution of questionnaires which may include open and closed-ended questions.
  • Secondary research – Collection of existing data in the form of texts, images, audio or video recordings.

 

Interviews and focus-group conversations are recorded and carefully transcribed prior to analysis. The researcher may categorise and describe common words, phrases, and ideas found in their data (Content Analysis) or they may choose to identify and interpret patterns and themes (Thematic analysis).

Care needs to be taken when performing or reviewing qualitative research, as research bias may be present. These biases include the Hawthorne effect (when people behave differently because they know they are being observed), recall bias and observer bias. In light of these issues, an awareness and identification of these potential problems at planning and analysis, can help researchers and reviewers qualify the outcomes.

References:

Bhandari, P. (2022, November 24). What Is Qualitative Research? | Methods & Examples. Scribbr. https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/qualitative-research/

All about systematic reviews

Systematic reviews are notoriously labour-intensive, involving countless hours of reading and computer work, following strictly-defined methods to find, select, process and interpret all previous studies to answer a single research question. So why do them? Simply, because they provide high quality evidence to research questions. Systematic reviews can be replicated and updated as more research become available over time.

Here are some basic tips for conducting a systematic review:

1.Start with a specific research question.

The question should be clear and identify the Population, Intervention, Comparison and Outcome (PICO) elements of your systematic review. Check if other systematic reviews have been performed or are currently being performed for the same question. You may wish to start with a unique question or update a previous review.

2.Set aside time and gather your team.

Experienced, full-time researchers usually allow 6 or more months to complete a systematic review. You will need a team of at least 3 people, familiar with the topic area and methodology, to conduct a systematic review. It helps to have a written research protocol, with a formal methodology, that is understood and agreed upon by your team before you start. It is highly recommended that you register your systematic review online in a Trial Registry.

3.Identify relevant articles

The idea is to identify ALL articles that may answer your research question. Firstly, the titles and abstracts are screened independently with respect to your pre-determined inclusion and exclusion criteria, then the full-texts are downloaded and screened further. This process of screening is performed by at least 2 people on your research team, with the third person to resolve any disagreements.

You will need access to electronic databases such as Medline and PubMed, as well as print libraries. Hospitals, Universities and/or RACS membership can provide access to these databases. You will also need referencing software such as Endnote to manage all the identified articles.

Manual bibliography searches are also performed of included articles or reviews and authors and experts may be contacted to identify other articles for inclusion.

At each step of screening, a record is kept of which articles are included or excluded. When the selection process is complete, a PRISMA flow diagram may be produced for inclusion in the systematic review manuscript.

4.Carefully extract data and perform quality assessment of included studies.

Data extraction includes a tabulated summary of study and patient characteristics and outcomes. Once the data has been extracted, cross-checking and data cleaning are performed to ensure accuracy. A feature of systematic reviews is an evaluation of the quality of the studies included. There are specific tools that you can use for this purpose depending on the study design. These include the Cochrane tool for Randomised Controlled Trials and the National Institute of Health tool for observational and cross-sectional studies. The purpose of the quality assessment is to evaluate the possibility of bias and determine the study’s internal validity strength.

Similar to the study selection, two researchers independently assess the studies for quality with a third researcher resolving any disagreements.

5.Interpret the data

Data is usually described qualitatively and the combined results of various studies may be entered into a meta-analyses to harness a combined effect. This may be helpful when answering questions that have not been studied previously, increase precision, as well as to resolve controversies from conflicting results from previous studies. However, it is important to note any differences in study design and bias across the studies included in the meta-analyses. Large variations between studies or lack of studies, may rule out a meta-analyses.

6.Publish and disseminate your findings.

Once your report is written, you can publish it in a systematic review database, such as the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and/or in a peer-reviewed journal.

 

References:

Bhandari, P. (2022, November 24). What Is Qualitative Research? | Methods & Examples. Scribbr. https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/qualitative-research/

Navigating the minefield of statistical analyses

Statistical analyses can be overwhelming for many early career and even, experienced researchers. It can be mind-boggling getting your head around which tests to use and how to interpret them. Fear not, let us try to tackle basic principles of statistical analysis, following the steps proposed by Guetterman (2019).

1. Formulate your research question/hypothesis.

Your hypothesis should be specific and give the reader an idea of the main variables involved. It may be a null hypothesis or a hypothesis about relationships between variables.

2. Choose an appropriate statistic test.

Based on your answer to step 1, choose an appropriate statistical test. Table 1 (below) will guide you in this process.

3. Determine sample size based on a power analysis

A power analysis is a calculation that helps you determine a minimum sample size for your study. Having enough statistical power is necessary to draw accurate conclusions about your study population. Power is usually set at 80% and significance level (alpha) at 5%. This means that 80 out of 100 statistical tests will detect the same effect in different studies of your population, with a maximum risk of hypothesis rejection at 5%. There are free online sample size calculators for researchers to use.

4. Prepare data for analysis

Clean and cross-check the data. Comb through the descriptive statistics. Look for outliers and missing data and check if there are any patterns. Decide how you will manage outliers and missing data.

5. Start the analysis with descriptive statistics

Look for trends and errors by reviewing frequencies, minimums and maximums.

6. Check assumptions of statistical tests

Check for normal distribution of data for parametric statistics e.g. t tests, ANOVAs, correlations and regressions.

7. Run the analysis

Use statistical software such as SPSS to provide key test statistics.eg. p values, confidence intervals, effect size.

8. Examine how well the statistical model fits

For t-tests, ANOVAS, correlation and regression, examine an overall test of significance. Refer to Table 1 column; “How to interpret”. If p> 0.05 or confidence interval crossed 0, you can conclude there is no significant difference between groups. If there is a statistical significance, you may need to perform further tests to interpret the magnitude or direction of the result.

9. Report the results of the statistical analysis

Start with the descriptive statistics and note whether assumptions for tests were met. In the results, give the statistic itself, e.g. a F statistic, the measure of significance (p value or confidence interval), the effect size and a brief written interpretation of the statistical test. For example, that an intervention was not significantly different from control or that it was associated with improvements that was statistically significant.

10. Evaluate threats to statistical conclusion validity

Threats such as low statistical power, repeated tests of same data, measurement error, and/or protocol deviation should be anticipated and minimised where possible, and those that cannot be avoided or arise after data collection and analysis such as non-normal distribution and outliers, should be made transparent in the discussion of the study’s limitations.

Many hospitals, universities and research institutions have statisticians available to help calculate your sample size, formulate, perform and help interpret your study’s results. They are a most valuable resource and will no doubt help you navigate the minefield of research statistics.

References:

https://www.scribbr.com/statistics/statistical-power/

Guetterman TC. Fam Med Com Health 2019; 7.

Journal peer reviews are a crucial part of the scientific publication process and invitations to review should be celebrated as a mark of your research expertise and eminence. As a journal reviewer, your feedback can help shape the understanding of important health and professional issues and advance the field of plastic surgery. Being a journal reviewer also keeps you up-to-date with the latest research, helps you accrue professional development points and adds to your curriculum vitae. Below are some considerations that can transform you from a journal reviewer to a ‘great’ journal reviewer.

1. Know your journal and its guidelines

It is important you take the time to read the reviewer guidelines and understand the journal’s objectives and target audience. You should familiarise yourself with the requirements for the manuscript type such as word count, abstract structure, number of figures and tables and references. In addition, you should be aware of the requirements for reporting of clinical and randomised controlled trials outlined in the CONSORT Statement (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) and the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in the PRISMA Statement.

2. Declare any conflicts of interest

Most journals have a double-blinded peer review process. Any relationships/affiliations with the author/s and/or products described in the manuscript that may create a conflict of interest should be disclosed to the journal editor. This includes any financial support or arrangements you may have with companies whose product features in a submitted manuscript or with a company making a competing product. This is to ensure all reviews are impartial and not subject to bias.

3. Read the manuscript thoroughly

Set aside time to read the manuscript thoroughly. Remember the manuscript content is likely to be the result of years, or even decades, of work for researchers so it is worthy of your uninterrupted attention. Check the manuscript for the accuracy and completeness of data, appropriateness of the statistical methods used, and relevance and originality of the research. Look for inconsistencies, inaccuracies and other issues that need to be addressed. Highlight areas that need clarification or additional information.

4. Provide constructive feedback in your evaluation

Constructive feedback is the essence of what separates a ‘great’ journal reviewer from any journal reviewer. Focus on the research and be specific in your comments and suggestions. If appropriate, provide evidence or examples of how the authors can improve their work. Justify your decision to accept, revise or decline the manuscript so that the editor and authors can understand your point of view. Avoid using emotive language or making derogatory remarks even if the manuscript may not be up to journal standard. Choose your words carefully and impartially in your evaluation. Although you can comment generally on the spelling/grammar/structure of the manuscript, it is best to restrict your comments to the research and leave any specific editorial corrections to the journal production team.

5. Meet the deadline

Journal editors and authors rely on reviewers to provide feedback by the due date. For many researchers, their research is ‘on hold’ until you have completed your review. If you are unable to meet the deadline, contact the editor as soon as possible as they may wish to reallocate the manuscript to another reviewer or work with you to arrange an alternative deadline. Feel free to suggest other reviewers to the editor if you cannot commit to a review on a given occasion.

6. Maintain confidentiality

Journal peer review is a confidential process and you should maintain strict confidentiality throughout the review process. Do not discuss the manuscript or its contents with anyone else. Manuscripts sent for review are privileged communications and are the private property of the authors. Information obtained through manuscript reviews must not be used for your own research or private gain in any way.

7. Plagiarism

The editor needs to be made aware of any significant similarity between the submitted manuscript and any published paper or works of which you are aware. If you have any concerns about the integrity of the manuscript submitted, you can choose to provide confidential feedback to the editor. There is usually a section called ‘comments to the editor’.

8. Develop your expertise

To be an effective journal reviewer, you need to have a solid and continual understanding of the research area you are reviewing. You should contact the editor if the submission is not in your area of expertise or if you do not feel confident in your ability to review the manuscript content. To develop and maintain your expertise, it is advised that you seek ongoing education, for example, attending conferences and reading relevant journals, to keep up-to-date with the latest research and developments in your area of interest.

Lastly, being a great journal reviewer requires having the right mindset; if you look at journal peer reviewing as a chore, then it is likely the job would be better served by someone else. You are certainly not obliged to accept an invitation to review but should you accept, know that you have a responsibility to the journal, readers and authors to ensure the quality, accuracy and relevance of the published work. Being objective, committed and constructive in the review process takes a fresh mind and a positive approach, so ask yourself, are you ready to a great journal reviewer?

References

AJOPS Guide for Reviewers

COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers.

Choice of a good research mentor can pave the way for a positive research and academic experience. Not only will a good mentor provide guidance and support, they can help open doors to people and places that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue. Conversely, poor choice in mentors can result in frustration, conflict, time wasted, unfinished work and burnout. This is why it is important to consider the following tips to help you snag a good research mentor.

 

Know who you are and who you want to be

  • What are you hoping to gain from a research mentor/mentee relationship?
  • What are your aspirations? Is it to fulfill the research requirement of your specialist training? Are you aiming to complete a higher degree, e.g. PhD, or is the purpose to improve your track record through grants, publications and conference proceedings?
  • What research experience do you have and what type/how much mentoring will you likely need?
  • What sort of personality do you have and what type of personality do you work best with?

 

Know where your potential mentors are or could be

  • Start with the area or field of research that interests you in order to help narrow down potential mentors who specialise in that area.
  • Search electronic databases such as Medline and PubMed to see who has recently authored articles or are actively involved in your area of interest.
  • Attend events, meetings, and scientific conferences.
  • Seek recommendations from colleagues and experts who may have knowledge about potential research mentors.

 

Look at track records and talk to prior mentees

  • Look at potential mentors’ track record, e.g. through ORCID or ResearchGate. Note who their co-authors are and the order of authors for recent publications. Are recent mentees listed as first authors?
  • Talk to prior mentees to establish the experience they have had with your potential mentor. What is their style of mentoring? When did the mentee know that it was time to move on and how did that go?
  • Under the mentor’s supervision, what is the trainee and junior researchers’ track record of placement and promotion?
  • Prioritise mentors’ availability over their fame.

 

Pitch yourself as someone worth mentoring

  • Have current mentors make connection or introduce you to other experts in the area.
  • Don’t forget surgeons/scientists/researchers do chat within their networks about potential mentees, so let it be known you are searching for a mentor.
  • Once you have identified potential mentors, reach out to them through email or in person. Introduce yourself, express your interest in their research, and explain why you believe they would be a good fit as a mentor. You may want to write a brief research proposal if you have one in mind. Be specific about what aspects of their work align with your own research interests. This will demonstrate your seriousness and provide a starting point for discussion with potential mentors.
  • Follow up the email with a phone call or propose a meeting date/time.
  • In some cases, you may wish to approach a mentor formally by providing an introduction letter as well as a letter of reference.
  • Be proactive and persistent within reasonable limits. If you don’t receive a response initially, don’t be discouraged. Show your enthusiasm and commitment to research.
  • Keep an open mind and explore various possibilities presented to you. Your potential mentor may suggest exploring an alternative or abstract idea that may not necessarily be what you had in mind.

 

Establish a mentoring relationship – Routine is key

  • Clearly communicate your expectations, including the level of involvement, frequency of meetings, and the specific skills or knowledge you hope to gain. Similarly, ask about the mentor’s expectations, such as your commitment, timeline, and responsibilities.
  • Set up a standing meeting.
  • Know and work with their admin assistant to schedule meetings.
  • Set agendas and send follow-up notes after meetings.
  • Stick to deadlines.
  • Do nag (gently) to maintain progress.
  • Don’t overpromise and under-deliver.
  • Do have a thick skin when it comes to receiving feedback

 

Know when to part ways

It is important to recognise that there is a point when the mentor/mentee relationship is no longer beneficial or required. Reasons include:

  • Too much overlap between mentor and mentee research spheres.
  • Mentee needs to demonstrate independence and is unable to when he/she continues working under the mentor.
  • Conflict of interest develops between mentor and mentee.
  • Mentor and/or mentee becomes over-committed or distracted and availability or quality of mentorship may be impaired.
  • Mentor becomes less qualified over time in content or methods of the mentee’s work.
  • Opportunity for better mentoring relationship presents itself.

Remember, finding a good research mentor is a mutual process. It is essential to find someone who is not only knowledgeable and experienced but also invested in your growth and development as a researcher.

 

Reference

Fayanju, Oluwadamilola (2023). How to snag a good research mentor. Developing a Career and Skills in Academic Surgery Course. Adelaide.

The nervous wait is over. Sitting in your inbox is the email with the subject line “Manuscript Decision”. Let’s face it, “Accept without revisions”, or “Love at first sight” is a rare event in the academic world. More commonly, minor or major revisions are required. Of course, “Reject” is a word authors fear most but know that it happens to the best of us, from early career researchers to well-known Professors. Breathe, give yourself time to process, pick yourself up and try another journal. When you finally receive the decision for minor or major revisions, celebrate it as a win! It means the journal is interested in your manuscript and that with appropriate amendments, the elusive “Accept” may well be round the corner.

Before you craft a response to your reviewers, keep in mind your goal of an “Accept” decision. Acknowledge study limitations and faults, address deficiencies, clarify and generally, engage in a constructive dialogue with your reviewers.

  1. Take your time to read the comments carefully even if you think they may be incorrect or biased at first sight. It is normal to feel disappointed when you first read the comments. After all, you have invested countless hours performing and writing up your research to reach manuscript stage You need time to process your emotions and digest the critique, before planning your response.
  2. Talk to your co-authors. Each author may have unique areas of expertise. Delegate and ask for help depending on the reviewers’ query. For example, there may be questions relating to statistical methods that need clarification from your biostatistician.
  3. Be professional and respectful in your response. Some reviewers may be, or you may feel that they are, harsh and discourteous. By no means should you respond in the same manner if your aim is to achieve an “Accept” decision. Do not use emotive language even if you are feeling insulted or vengeful. Maintain impartiality and professionalism in your response.
  4. Be acceptive of the comments. Your manuscript content may seem as clear as day to you but if your reviewer cannot understand or interpret it in the same way you have, then it is likely your audience will also have the same problem. Even if you are convinced that there is nothing wrong with your content, do your best to acknowledge and implement the changes requested by the reviewer to increase your likelihood of receiving an “Accept” decision.
  5. Provide a cover letter. In the letter, acknowledge and thank the reviewers for their time, effort and feedback in helping you improve on your manuscript. In the introduction, summarise the changes that have occurred since last submission including new analyses or additional figures or tables made in response to reviewers’ comments. Let them know if you have highlighted changes or used “tracked” changes in the re-submitted document. Follow the journal guidelines about re-submission.
  6. Respond to each reviewer by addressing their comments individually. Use clear headings or numbering to address each comment, then provide a clear and concise response to the reviewer’s question/comment. Include changes that have been made, and the site where the change took place. If changes have not been made, provide a rationale for this decision. Do not skip or ignore comments. eg
    Response to Reviewer 2
    Comment from Reviewer: The authors need to provide further explanation with respect to the effects of X on Y.Author response: Thank you for pointing this out. The reviewer is correct and we have made changes in our revised manuscript to reflect this. The revised text reads as follows: The effect of X on Y is likely due to…………. [See Discussion, Paragraph 2.]
  7. Use references to support your responses. This will strengthen your point of view and lend more credibility to your interpretation of the data.
  8. Seek clarification. If the reviewers’ comment is ambiguous or requires further explanation, you can write to the editor and ask for clarification before re-submitting your paper.
  9. Proof read your letter and response to the reviewers’ comments. Check for structure, grammar and spelling. A well-presented response will bring you one step closer to your goal of publication.

Some manuscripts require multiple revisions before reviewers and/or the journal editor are prepared to “Accept”. Usually, the responses will go back to the same reviewers who made the initial comments so it works in your favour to be professional and courteous in your response. Lastly, do unto others as you have done unto you because it is likely that the tables will turn at some point, and you will be the reviewer seeking authors’ response.

Reference

Locke, Michelle (2023). When a journal reviewer swipes right. Developing a Career and Skills in Academic Surgery Course. Adelaide.

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