Purpose: A stepwise process for planning, writing, and submitting a research manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal is described.
Summary: The research project and writing-related activities should be conducted concurrently along a clear timeline developed with input from all members of the writing team. Issues of conformance to standards of scholarly publishing (e.g., ordering of the author list, contributor acknowledgments, disclosure statements) should be resolved and agreed on by all authors before manuscript development begins. After deciding on an appropriate hypothesis or research question, members of the writing team should meet to craft a detailed manuscript outline and identify a target journal. In addition to writing or coordinating the writing of the various manuscript sections, one designated team member (typically the lead, or primary, author) should be responsible for ensuring consistency of data presentation and overall article cohesion. Before submitting the manuscript to a journal, the writing team should solicit internal and external review and feedback from colleagues with expertise in statistical analysis and the research topic. Once an article is accepted by a journal, the corresponding author has primary responsibility for communicating with editors and coordinating the team's response to peer reviewer concerns and requests for revisions.
Conclusion: The process of writing and securing journal acceptance of manuscripts should proceed along a well-defined pathway integrating all research and writing tasks. Close adherence to the target journal's instructions for authors and prompt response to reviewer comments help avoid delays in the publication of accepted articles.