Before you jump into writing an article, you’ll need to have a clear, focused question. Start by exploring existing literature to determine if it’s viable. Has the question already been answered? Do you have anything unique to offer on the topic? Are you trying to answer too many questions in one manuscript? Is there enough literature and data to support your research?
Search PubMed or another major database to see what’s already out there.
Ask a senior colleague about your topic. They may be able to offer insight, and even become a future co-author.
Make a Plan
Gather a Team
Once you define your topic, you’ll need to gather a team. Consider researchers already working in the field or have experience in publishing. Do you need a statistician to analyze your research findings? Contact your departmental biostatistician. Review the ICJME Guidelines to determine who should be listed as a co-author, and who should be acknowledged.
Create a Data Management Plan
Before you begin collecting data you should make a data management plan. Here are a few things to consider:
In order to reprint published figures or text in a publication or presentation, you must ask for permission. To use a previously published work, you must request permission through the Copyright Clearance Center. Many authors do not retain the copyright of their published works, which means, from a legal perspective, the permission you need is from the publisher of the text. Learn more here.
Modifying a Figure or Table For Your Own Publication
There’s no “magic” number of changes that can be made to a previously published figure or table that will circumvent copyright. The only way to legally use a modified a table or figure is to create a version that is substantially different from the original. If someone looking at the original version and your version side by side would think they are similar, you probably have not made enough changes.
If you like an original figure or table, you can request permission to reprint the item as is or to publish an adapted version of the item through the Copyright Clearance Center.