Successful submissions: Helpful Editor Tips

Since the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI) began 21 years ago, nurses have been encouraged to submit manuscripts for double blind peer review. This process is consistent with many other nursing journals. Writers submit their blinded document for review, and two peer reviewers are assigned to carefully evaluate the submission for relevance, clarity, scholarship, organization, readability and logical presentation.

The two peer reviewers read each manuscript with the following questions in mind:

  • Is the content appropriate for the OJNI?
  • Is the subject relevant and interesting to our readers?
  • Is the manuscript well organized and logically presented?
  • Does the manuscript cite appropriate literature and provide proper credit to existing work on its topic?
  • Is the content clear, concise and easy to read?
  • Do tables, graphs or images enhance the manuscript content?
  • Does the paper represent an original, interesting and meaningful contribution to the topic?
  • Are references complete, current, and appropriate and in APA format?
  • Does the abstract explain the content clearly and concisely?

If both reviewers decide that a manuscript does meet these criteria, the editorial staff will work with the author to guide them to refine their work for final publication. Student articles are peer reviewed by the Editor in Chief, who works with the student to prepare their manuscript for final review and publication.

Since the OJNI has a focus on nursing informatics, all submissions are expected to somehow relate to nursing informatics. Since this field continues to expand, the lens of your research or paper can vary within a wide range of topics, for instance mobile health electronic health records, telehealth, system planning and implementation, education, technological tools, informatics specialists, competencies, privacy and confidentiality, new innovations, and so on. The key is to ensure your topic relates to nursing informatics in some way.

The Editorial team is eager to solicit higher numbers of submissions in the coming months. We would like to see more nurses take the leap, sit down and write up their research and experiences, or their recommendations for nursing informatics evolution. To further encourage submissions, I offer some tips from an editor’s perspective to help you to do this successfully.

Outline your work so that your writing flows logically. You do not need to follow a set section pattern but the way you present your work should seem intuitive and make sense to the reader. There are resources available to help you to do this. Also, the more you write, the better you will get. Practice does indeed make perfect with writing

Refine your work until your grammar, sentence structure and spelling are impeccable. A handy tip to help you with this – read your work out loud to yourself.  Awkward sentences are easy to hear, but are often missed during proofreading, especially for new writers. It also helps to have a second set of eyes review your work before submitting. Ask a friend or mentor to read your work and offer helpful feedback. Another tip – avoid jargon and make sure to spell out all acronyms the first time they are used.

Here are some resources that can help with this:

Ensure you follow the required style manual as you write your paper. For instance, the OJNI requires APA style for referencing and presentation. However, we do modify the layout of manuscripts a bit to better fit the online environment. For instance, references lists are presented flush left instead of requiring the typical APA indentations. Thus, you may submit your manuscript with a left margin if you desire. The rest of the reference list and within text citations should follow APA guidelines, though.

Here are some APA related resources:

Write for a target audience of nursing peers. Keep your writing clear, crisp, understandable, and usable. Does your work clearly contribute to the nursing informatics body of knowledge?

Here are some resources that target nurses specifically.

Manuscript submission can be a challenging and daunting endeavor, but it is also a very rewarding and acknowledging one. We encourage you to write, to contribute, to take up the challenge. You may well find the experience both fulfilling and edifying. Once published, your visibility as a professional instantly improves. Please consider writing and sharing your knowledge and experience.