Once the results of the study are complete, it is time to start writing your report or article for publication in a scientific journal or other forum.
The main purpose of medical research is to improve human health. In order to achieve this purpose, the results from research need to be communicated in an understandable way, and to reach the correct recipient.
Writing a scientific article
By means of scientific articles, research results can be disseminated to researcher colleagues, healthcare personnel and the general public, and generate further development in the long term and function as a basis for changes in healthcare. Before scientific articles are published, they are scrutinised using peer review. The persons scrutinising the article are experts in the subject area, and the scrutiny is carried out to ensure the research is of a good scientific standard.
It is an advantage if the article is written using simple language, and gives a clear answer to the scientific question. Being clear with both the message and what you want to disseminate facilitates matters for both the readers and the author.
The websites of journals have detailed instructions for authors, including the type of publications the journal can receive, what headings should be included, information on how the publication shall be formatted, and the rules that apply for any figures or tables. A typical medical scientific article is divided up into introduction, method, result and discussion, and answers the questions:
- Why was the study conducted?
- What was done?
- What were the results?
- What is the importance?
Selecting the journal
Selecting the journal is an important part of the publication process. Important factors to consider are:
- What journals exist within the subject area?
- How can the target group best be reached?
- What is the impact factor of the journal?
The choice of journal is directed by the strength of the message, that is to say both the scientific strength and the novelty value. It is a good idea for the selection of journal to be done as early as possible, so that the design is right from the start.
Journals are ranked according to how often their articles are cited, that is to say according to their impact factor. The International Scientific Institute has searchable lists of the impact factors of indexed journals. You can also often find information about impact factor on the journals’ own websites. You can also ask a librarian within your organisation or at your HEI for advice and help in selecting a journal.
Publishing with open access
Publishing with open access means that scientific publications that are financed by public funds are accessible to everyone, in a digital format and free of charge.
National guidelines for open access to scientific information is available on the website of the Swedish Research Council. You can read more about open access and open archives at Swedish HEIs on the website of the National Library of Sweden.
Publishing the results in a public database
Many respected scientific journals require studies to be registered in order for the results to be approved for publication, and in practice there is thus often a registration requirement even for studies that are not medicine studies. (You can find more information on how to registering studies under the tab “Application”). Many databases also require the study results to be reported, to avoid selective publishing, for example.
Informing study participants of the study results
Study participants should be informed about the conclusion and results of the study according to what has been stated in the information to study participants. On the Ethical Review Authority‘s website there is Guidance for information to study participants.
Specific rules for medicines or medical devices
There are specific rules to attend to during final reporting of medical device-studies that have a permit from the Medical Product Agency.
Specific rules for medical devices
Writing a final report
When a study requires a permit from the Swedish Medical Products Agency, you must write a final report that is available on request, according to instructions on the Medical Products Agency’s website.
Guidelines for the content of the report are available in ISO 14155, Annex D.
The written final report shall include study data analysed in accordance with what has been previously defined in the clinical trial plan. The final report shall be reviewed by the participating investigators, and the final report shall be signed by the sponsor and principal investigator, or the coordinating investigator for multi-centre studies. The report shall be submitted to the Medical Products Agency on request.