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   2019| April  | Volume 13 | Issue 5  
    Online since February 21, 2019

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The STROBE guidelines
Sarah Cuschieri
April 2019, 13(5):31-34
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_543_18  PMID:30930717
An observational study is a type of epidemiological study design, which can take the form of a cohort, a case–control, or a cross-sectional study. When presenting observational studies in manuscripts, an author needs to ascertain a clear presentation of the work and provide the reader with appropriate information to enable critical appraisal of the research. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) guidelines were created to aid the author in ensuring high-quality presentation of the conducted observational study. The original articles publishing the STROBE guidelines together with their bibliographies were identified and thoroughly reviewed. These guidelines consist of 22 checklist items that the author needs to fulfil before submitting the manuscript to a journal. The STROBE guidelines were created to aid the authors in presenting their work and not to act as a validation tool for the conducted study or as a framework to conduct an observational study on. The authors complying with these guidelines are more likely to succeed in publishing their observational study work in a journal.
  52,554 13,465 544
Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key
Milind S Tullu
April 2019, 13(5):12-17
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_685_18  PMID:30930712
This article deals with formulating a suitable title and an appropriate abstract for an original research paper. The “title” and the “abstract” are the “initial impressions” of a research article, and hence they need to be drafted correctly, accurately, carefully, and meticulously. Often both of these are drafted after the full manuscript is ready. Most readers read only the title and the abstract of a research paper and very few will go on to read the full paper. The title and the abstract are the most important parts of a research paper and should be pleasant to read. The “title” should be descriptive, direct, accurate, appropriate, interesting, concise, precise, unique, and should not be misleading. The “abstract” needs to be simple, specific, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, stand-alone, complete, scholarly, (preferably) structured, and should not be misrepresentative. The abstract should be consistent with the main text of the paper, especially after a revision is made to the paper and should include the key message prominently. It is very important to include the most important words and terms (the “keywords”) in the title and the abstract for appropriate indexing purpose and for retrieval from the search engines and scientific databases. Such keywords should be listed after the abstract. One must adhere to the instructions laid down by the target journal with regard to the style and number of words permitted for the title and the abstract.
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The CONSORT statement
Sarah Cuschieri
April 2019, 13(5):27-30
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_559_18  PMID:30930716
Randomized control trials (RCT's) are the gold standard in evaluating and efficiently translating research data into clinical practice. The CONSORT statement was conceptualized in order to help ascertain standardization and reproducibility of RCT's. The articles publishing the CONSORT 2010 statement along with their bibliographies were identified and thoroughly reviewed. The CONSORT statement is made up of a 25-item checklist that provides the author with a solid backbone around which to construct and present an RCT. It sets standards on the trial's design, analysis, and interpretation of the results.
  12,521 2,103 59
How to choose a journal and write a cover letter
Duncan Nicholas
April 2019, 13(5):35-41
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_691_18  PMID:30930718
Selecting a suitable journal for submitting a manuscript can be a complex and confusing task, and end in disappointment when a paper is rejected quickly for reasons that may not be clear to the author. There have been several articles written offering advice on journal selection, but this article is the most thorough of its kind, using recent evidence to inform the strategies presented. This article provides details on the factors involved in optimal journal selection, giving insights into how to identify suitable journals, why particular criteria are important and ideal methods to approach this task. The article also includes a spreadsheet tool for tracking information about potential titles of interest and submission details, and finally, provides notes on supporting your submission with an effective cover letter.
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Turnitin: Is it a text matching or plagiarism detection tool?
Sultan A Meo, Muhammad Talha
April 2019, 13(5):48-51
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_772_18  PMID:30930721
The institutional integrity constitutes the bases of scientific activity. The frequent incidences of similarity, plagiarism, and retraction cases created the space for frequent use of similarity and plagiarism detecting tools. Turnitin is software that identifies the matched material by checking the electronically submitted documents against its database of academic publications, internet, and previously submitted documents. Turnitin provides a “similarity index,” which does not mean plagiarism. The prevalence of plagiarism could not reduce tremendously in the presence of many paid and un-paid plagiarism detecting tools because of the assortment of reasons such as poor research and citation skills, language problems, underdeveloped academic skills, etc., This paper may provide an adequate feedback to the students, researchers, and faculty members in understanding the difference between similarity index and plagiarism.
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How to write introduction and discussion
Shaukat Ali Jawaid, Masood Jawaid
April 2019, 13(5):18-19
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_584_18  PMID:30930713
Scientific writing has a proper format. The anatomical structure or important components of an original article consists of a structured abstract (usually in four sub-headings i.e. objective, methods, results and conclusions with appropriate key words), introduciton, methodology, results and discussion. It is summarized by the acronym IMRAD wherein: I stands for Introduction, M for Methods, R for Results, A for And, D for Discussion. This manuscript describes the information which has to be included in the Introduction and Discussion sections of an original article.
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The peer review process
Dmitry Tumin, Joseph Drew Tobias
April 2019, 13(5):52-58
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_544_18  PMID:30930722
The peer review process provides a foundation for the credibility of scientific findings in medicine. The following article discusses the history of peer review in scientific and medical journals, the process for the selection of peer reviewers, and how journal editors arrive at a decision on submitted manuscripts. To aid authors who are invited to revise their manuscripts for further consideration, we outline steps for considering reviewer comments and provide suggestions for organizing the author's response to reviewers. We also examine ethical issues in peer review and provide recommendations for authors interested in becoming peer reviewers themselves.
  4,390 569 3
Pathophysiology of a scientific paper
Sultan Ayoub Meo, Abdelazeem A Eldawlatly
April 2019, 13(5):9-11
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_48_19  PMID:30930711
Scientific paper writing for science journals is highly adroit, competitive, and laborious process. Scientific writing has a constant design, which is confounding for apprentice science writers. The huge amount of impediments is associated with scientific writing which may be reduced by applying some practices and guidelines. The basic structure of scientific articles mainly comprises of the title, abstract, keywords, introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, acknowledgments, and references. The pathophysiological aspects which minimize the chances of publication of an academic paper are rarely discussed in the literature. Early career of physicians and researchers is not well acquainted with the components of scientific paper. This study established an approach to understand the basic characteristics of pathophysiology of scientific writing.
  3,812 582 5
Writing the methods section
Abdelazeem A Eldawlatly, Sultan Ayoub Meo
April 2019, 13(5):20-22
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_805_18  PMID:30930714
Methods section is the easiest part of the scientific paper and you can start writing it down even when the research is unfinished. It has to be written in the past tense because you have already written the proposal and either you have started or have conducted the study. The basic elements of the methods section are study design, setting and subjects, data collection, data analysis, and ethical approval.
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Can the similarity index predict the causes of retractions in high-impact anesthesia journals? A bibliometric analysis
Mohamed R El-Tahan
April 2019, 13(5):2-8
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_709_18  PMID:30930710
Background: The overall similarity index (OSI) and highest similarity scores (HSSs) from a single source might help to predict the potential reasons for the retraction from the anesthesia journals. Methods: Retracted publications, from five highest impact anesthesia journals, were retrieved from the MEDLINE and journal archives and analyzed using a plagiarism detection software (iThenticate) and manually verified for citation characteristics, OSI, HSS, and the presence, extent, and location of the duplicate text. The validity of the OSI including and excluding quotations and references and the HSS in predicting the potential reasons for retraction were tested using the receiver operating characteristic curves. Results: Of the total 138 retracted original and corresponding articles identified, 131 articles were analyzed. Most of them had the HSS more than 40% arising from a single source. Extensive degree of plagiarism (OSI score >35%) was identified through the main text of all analyzed retracted articles. The areas under the curves indicate that the OSI including and excluding quotations and bibliography and the HSS had reasonable ability to predict plagiarism and fabrication with a perfect sensitivity rate and low specificity but were weaker at distinguishing ethical misconduct or inconsistent or erroneous contents. Conclusions: The study highlights the presence of significant plagiarism in the retracted anesthesia publications irrespective to the reasons for retraction. The high OSI and the HSS could be useful tools to identify the potential manuscripts with high risks for plagiarism and fabrication.
  3,316 308 3
WASP (write a scientific paper): The ethical stages of publishing a research paper
Pierre Mallia
April 2019, 13(5):44-47
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_675_18  PMID:30930720
Background: Authors have to be aware of the ethical stages in writing a scientific paper in order to be cognizant of what is required of them as researchers. The research ethics committee concerns itself with patient protection and therefore looks closely not only at the protocol, but also at the informed consent process and data protection issues. Conversely the publishers has ethical issues of their own relating to their reputation in publishing ethically sound and justified studies. Materials/Methods: The article describes the ethics required of the research by looking at documents and directives which describe the ethical duties of the research, the functions of Research Ethics Committee and Publishing Ethics. Results: The Researcher should be familiar with the informed consent process and data protection for research and the requirements of the research ethics committee. The informed consent process involves discussion of the research, the risks, the requirements from the patient/ participant and issues related with data protection. The second stage is that of the research ethics committee. This committee reviews the proposal and protocol of the research and any updates after the research approval. RECs are much concerned with the informed consent process and what is to be said to patients/participants. Any precautions or arrangement for vulnerable groups should be identified. RECs move according to research ethics guidelines and are objective in their response. The final stage is the ethics of publication. The editor of a journal must ensure that ethics review has been made and ascertain as much as possible any conflicting or competing interests on the part of the researcher/s. The issue of identity of reviewers of the paper is also discussed. Conclusion: The ethics of publication involves various ethical stages, each having their own responsibility towards patients and the scientific community.
  2,680 303 1
Faultless impressive results: How can I do it?
Waleed Riad
April 2019, 13(5):23-26
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_690_18  PMID:30930715
The result section of the research presents your actual work. The results could be either support or invalidate the research hypothesis. Writing in a scientific, impressive and faultless way increases the chance of acceptance in high impact factors journal. The result would be in a descriptive style around 3-4 paragraphs. The first paragraph is normally an illustration of the studied population. Followed by the second paragraph, which is a description of the main results. Expressing the secondary outcome is usually the next paragraph. Additional results not directly related to the research question are mentioned in the last paragraph. Chosen the correct format for the data (Tables and Figures) is mentioned in this review.
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Special issue on “how to write a scientific paper”
Abdelazeem A Eldawlatly
April 2019, 13(5):1-1
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_807_18  PMID:30930709
  2,537 408 -
Presenting scientific work-news media theory in presentations, abstracts, and posters
Victor Grech
April 2019, 13(5):59-62
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_556_18  PMID:30930723
The effective presentation of scientific work in abstracts, posters, and PowerPoint presentations resembles popular newspaper writing far more than it does traditional paper writing. In the former three, a good “hook” is essential and must be obvious and apparent up front. A slight element of truthful sensationalism is therefore often helpful. Research preparation and presentation and skills of all sorts are increasingly critical in the incrementally competitive world of academia. This paper will offer factual and practical guidelines with regards to preparing research in these formats since self-presentation is essential for career progression. It is not only what we do but how we are seen to be doing it, acceding to Batman's aphorism: “it's not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.”
  2,609 321 3
Clinical trial publications
Sarah Cuschieri
April 2019, 13(5):42-43
DOI:10.4103/sja.SJA_575_18  PMID:30930719
Clinical trials are observations or experiments performed in clinical research. It is customary for researchers to publish their interim findings during the course of the trial. However, publishing the final results and outcomes is imperative. The CONSORT statement was developed to aid the randomized control clinical trial's authors to standardize the reporting of the trial's design, analysis, and interpretation of the results. Readers need to understand all the trial outcomes irrespective of whether they are beneficial or harmful as these impact future research. Well-reported clinical trials are a must as these provide the basis for systemic reviews, meta-analyses, and eventual clinical guidelines.
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