Monday, August 1, 2011

Transforming a Presentation into a Publication

I am just back from riding RAGBRAI, which this year involved 500 miles of biking over a 7-day period. I have to say it was hot, and one day it hit 101 degrees. But overall it was great fun and a superb ride. And coming into davenport at the very end was a nice touch; I was able to ride my bike home, a real treat in that I did not have to disassemble it to ship it home from a distant location. And Davenport looked great itself with all the Bix runners and RAGBRAI riders.

I had planned to continue presenting a continuation of my last two entries, but I came across a useful little paper that provides information on how to transform a presentation into a publication (1). It is well known that the yield of papers from conference presentations is rather low, usually around 10%. I am mindful that we had well over 30 papers presented at ACC-RAC last year, and if this rule were to hold true, at best we would see only 3 papers published. I would like to think we could do better than that, so this paper is timely. Let’s look at its suggestions.

The author recommends that you use PowerPoint for facilitating the transformation of a conference presentation into a potentially publishable article. This provides you the means to develop an outline of key ideas and topics, and the notes page allows you to add your own thoughts as you work out the details. In essence, this is similar to how some of us develop lectures. Schrager suggests you follow these steps:

1. Determine if the topic is appropriate for publication. Is your topic important and one that has not been adequately covered in the literature. Are you offering a new educational approach or a new look at an old topic? If the answer to such question is “no,” then perhaps this might not make a good paper for publication. But you might even then be able to prepare a review of that topic.

2. Identify a journal for the article. This will depend on the topic, the type or article and the audience you wish to reach. We have relatively few journals in our profession to choose from, but for educational papers the Journal of Chiropractic Education makes sense; other journals may also accept such papers. Make sure your content matches the goals of the journal you are submitting to.

3. Develop the article content. Set aside some time to ponder the ideas you wish to incorporate into your paper. Do a literature search on that topic as well so that you are grounded in the area to be discussed. Look for the best evidence-based information that is out there.

4. Write the manuscript. Now, you have to write. Keep mindful that you need to be more formal in your manuscript than you might have been in making a verbal presentation. Here at Palmer you have a CTL that will help you with writing and manuscript presentation. We have a dedicated wiki for developing papers, where I can immediately go in and help edit or work with you on your paper. If you are interested but do not have access, let me know and I can direct you to the site. Do not try to be perfect; it will frustrate you and that is why we have editors.

With just a little effort we can turn our ACC-RAC presentations into manuscripts and increase our yield of published papers. I am happy to help you do so.

1. Schrager S. Transforming your presentation into a publication. Fam Med 2010;42:268-272

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