Advice to authors from the Editorial Board Members of BMC Cardiovascular Disorders

The Editorial Board Member (EBM) of the month initiative, a series of interviews with selected EBMs took place between May 2021 and April 2022 in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. One of the questions of the interview was:‘ ’What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective authors as an EBM overseeing peer review?“ Below are some of the insightful responses of the EBMs (edited for conciseness) that we hope all authors will benefit from.

We asked the EBMs of the month of BMC Cardiovascular Disorders the question:

‘’ What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective authors as an EBM overseeing peer review ?“

Here are their replies:

  • “I would advise authors to provide all relevant information in their manuscript. In particular, the methods section of a paper should provide sufficient detail on what was done, such that if the data were available one would be able to reproduce the authors’ results based solely on the information presented in the paper”. Dr Christiana Kartsonaki, senior statistician, Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, UK


  • “Before submitting the manuscript, I recommend all authors to read it, exchange constructive advice and revise the manuscript together as all authors would be responsible to ensure questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. Try to put yourself into the shoes of the reviewers and re-read the article from another perspective, from the title to all figures and tables, from punctuation to grammar. Though the accuracy of tables and grammar may not be the priority when reviewers are deciding whether to accept the paper or not, it shows respect to the journals and reviewers. Treat your reviewers as you hope they will treat you”. Prof Guo-wei Tu, Chief Physician and Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine of Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China


  • “I would advise authors to really highlight how their research is contributing to the specific field and how their findings fit in the wider picture. Authors should always consider statistical power and also consult an experienced analyst, when performing their statistical analysis and presenting their results for a manuscript. The Methods section is a vital part of each manuscript and should include enough details to enable the reviewers to ascertain the credibility of the experiment/study/analysis. Authors should make sure that they are as transparent as possible when describing the methods to avoid delays or unfavorable reviews”. Dr Stavroula Kanoni, Lecturer in Nutrigenetics and Cardiovascular Health in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology, at William Harvey Research Institute, Barts & the London Medical School, Queen Mary University of London, UK


  • “Every author, including me, should be committed and adhered to principles of ethics and integrity in research. The authors should avoid misconduct in research in any form”. Prof Elaheh Malakan Rad, Professor of Pediatric Interventional Cardiology at Children’s Medical Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran


  • “I would always recommend looking in-depth at the existing literature. I see, especially in my field (digital health and telemedicine), that many authors are naïve and not well informed on the specific literature, and often they cannot discern the quality of the cited research”. Prof Stefano Omboni, Director of the Italian Institute of Telemedicine, Italy and Professor of Cardiology at the First Moscow State Medical University Department of Cardiology, Russia 


  • “I take a step back by suggesting authors to check for the scientific soundness of the paper. If you feel it is not sound, please work on it again and revise what is not sound. When you submit papers, please take the time to carefully check for English language and typos as these might limit the attraction of a manuscript for a reviewer, who usually revises a lot of papers every week. In addition, statistical analysis is often neglected or covered in a superficial way, but this is very important. Wrong analyses lead to wrong results. In general, although time is important in research, please do take the time to double-check that every aspect is perfect, or nearly perfect before submitting”. Dr Aldo Bonaventura, Division of Internal Medicine at the Ospedale di Circolo e Fondazione Macchi in Varese (Italy)


  • “I am fostering high-quality fair perfectionism in science. It is typical for submitted papers to have many grammar errors and typos and sometimes the statistics’ superficial vision. It is very critical to write a paper transparent enough for peers and readers with the justification of the statistical power and with good English to avoid any misunderstanding. A solid statistical approach and ample clarity regarding the scientific approach’s design and content guarantee publication despite any limitations”. Dr John Alexander Kharlamov, De Haar Research Task Force, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and Tallinn, Estonia


  • “It is essential to read your manuscript twice and thrice before hitting the submit button. Manuscripts go over a lot of iterations and edits from the coauthors, and something is always missed. One good final read before submitting is crucial and makes it easy for you and everyone else involved. I would also advise authors to try as much as possible to comply with the journal’s guidelines, even the tiny details like word count or the abstracts’ subheadings. It is a long process to go back and forth to fix these small details”. Dr Michael Megaly, Interventional Cardiology Fellow and Clinical Instructor Faculty at Banner University Medical Center and UA College of Medicine-Phoenix, USA


  • “In my opinion, the publication of negative results from studies is as important as the publication of positive results”. Dr Gaurav Sharma, early-career biomedical researcher at the Advanced Imaging Research Centre, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, USA


  • “When submitting an article, put yourself in the Editor’s and Reviewers’ shoes and try to understand if the main question that the paper is trying to answer is clear to the readership. If the scientific purpose of the paper is not crystal clear, the reviewers and editors will find it hard to understand the scientific importance of your paper and will likely fail to give it sufficient priority”. Dr Claudio Montalto, Cardiology resident at the University of Pavia, Italy and an Interventional Cardiology Fellow at the Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust, UK


  • “Though I firmly believe that authors rigorously review and edit the manuscript before submission, additional editing is still required during the revision cycle until it’s finally published. Therefore, I would highly recommend authors to share the manuscript with their colleagues, other Professors, and scientific staff and get their honest feedback and additional eye-scan before final submission. I would encourage authors to mention additional scientific queries, limitations of their studies/methods used, any biased approach followed during analysis, and try to interpret and discuss all results. If English is not their first language, I would recommend authors utilize institutional/private creative writing and editing services. Authors should be careful about grammar, data analysis, data interpretation and make sure content in the title, abstract, results and the discussion is aligned”. Dr Gourav Bhardwaj, senior research investigator, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, USA

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