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Top tips for authors submitting their final report – webinar Q&A

Date: 18 December 2015

Last month, we hosted a webinar to support researchers who are in the final stage of preparing their report for submission. The session aimed to help with navigating the editorial requirements and to provide useful guidance on the publication process.

It included short presentations from Dr Martin Ashton-Key, an NIHR Journals Library Editor, and Helen Nolan, a Publishing Manager with the NIHR Journals Library team. They covered the requirements for a final report and explained common issues, such as dual publication and copyright, permissions and timelines. The presentations also allowed an opportunity to hear an editor’s perspective on the process.

The webinar concluded with a short Q&A session. Some of the key questions and answers raised are listed below. If you missed out on the day, the webinar is still accessible and can be viewed here

If you have any additional questions or would like to find out more about those listed below, please contact us.

1. When do you recommend starting to write the report?

As soon as possible! Your NIHR report is an extensive and comprehensive piece of work so we would advise that you do not wait until the last minute. We expect you to submit a complete report. We advise to allow plenty of time ahead of your submission deadline. Incomplete reports will not be accepted into the editorial process.

Top tip: It’s worth bearing in mind that once the research phase is complete often members of the project team will move on to new projects so you might need to consider the challenges involved in writing the report once the team has been reduced.

2. How long will you delay publication of my report if I want to publish in another journal?

The NIHR encourages and expects you to seek publication of your research in high impact journals to enhance the dissemination and uptake of the key research findings. Sometimes these journals will wish to publish your article ahead of the NIHR report and we are usually able to hold publication to accommodate that.

However, please keep in mind that our main aim is to ensure that your research is disseminated as soon as possible. Please get in touch with us as soon as possible and we will be able to advise on a case-by-case basis.

Top tip: To avoid complications, submit your articles to other journals as early as possible, ideally at the same time as you write your NIHR report.

Further guidance on publishing elsewhere can be found in the Information for Authors.

3. Part of our study is a lengthy literature review - will it be fine to include it as a chapter?

Yes - you will need to include it. The NIHR supports the principle that primary research should, as much as possible, be informed by a systematic review of the evidence. On occasion, the research programme might commission a review of the evidence as part of your research project, in which case the literature review is an integral part of the report.

Please ensure that the literature review and your NIHR report as a whole are written in a concise manner. If you are struggling to prioritise the content to include in your report, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

4. How many chapters would you usually expect to see in the report?

This entirely depends on your project. For example, if you have a health economics component you may wish to include a chapter on this. The Information for Authors details the report contents that we would expect to see in your report, including mandatory chapters such as the scientific summary, abstract and plain English summary.

5. Can I share my report with others before it is published?

We sometimes receive requests from policy customers or other interested parties to view NIHR reports ahead of publication. We consider requests on a case-by-case basis but will only share reports if they have already undergone the full editorial and peer review process. We also require permission from you as the author and the editors. We have a strict confidentiality policy (requiring the signing of a confidentiality agreement).

6. We are holding a workshop towards the end of our study - is this something that should be included in the final report?

Workshops should certainly be included if they are relevant to the report. It should also be a part of your dissemination plan and you will need to submit an output notification so that the Department of Health is aware of your plans. You should advise us of the workshop 28 days in advance and submit a copy of any relevant material.

To send an output notification please login to the NETSCC Management Information System. Once you have logged in:

  • Click on the ‘My Projects’ tab to access a list of your current NETSCC projects
  • Click on the NETSCC ID number for the relevant project to take you to the project details page
  • Select the action ‘Enter or Update Output Notification and click the ‘Request’ button
  • Complete the resulting task pages to notify us of the output