Where to publish: Top journals for physicians in training

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Getting published as a physician in training can build your CV and reputation in the profession, but knowing where to submit your research is half the battle of breaking into medical publishing. Whether you’ve recently started your research or already have plans to publish it, here’s a must-have list of journals that accept submissions from trainees. Flag this to keep handy as you plot your publishing plans.

Competitive publications such as the New England Journal of Medicine publish “only the top 5 percent of the 5,000 research submissions [they] receive each year,” and JAMA Internal Medicine—although devoted to a single specialty—receives approximately 3,000 submissions per year and has a 13 percent acceptance rate.

But don’t be discouraged. These are the heavyweights of medical publishing, but many other opportunities exist. For instance, JAMA’s Clinical Challenge is particularly well-suited for writing teams of attending physicians and residents or medical students. So when you’re considering where to send your work, take time to research publication guidelines and special opportunities that fit your level of training.

Here’s a list of peer-reviewed publications to help you get started on the road to successful publication.

Especially for students

These journals specifically seek submissions from physicians in training and are accessible for newcomers in publishing.  

  •  The American Medical Student Research Journal - Created by medical students, this journal gives future physician-scientists the opportunity to develop the critical thinking skills needed to succeed in academia and clinical practice. The journal is authored, reviewed and edited by medical students working under the guidance of faculty mentors. It accepts submissions ranging from basic science research and case reports to personal experience essays. See submission guidelines.
  •  The Harvard Medical Student Review - The Harvard Medical Student Review is student-founded, student-managed and student-administered, under the guidance of faculty and staff. Its mission is to provide a platform for students to contribute to important issues facing health and medicine through a variety of formats, including scholarly articles, editorials and original artwork. See submission guidelines.
  • Harvard Public Health Review - This publication seeks diverse research interests that addresses issues of health equity and invites submissions from students and faculty across academic disciplines. The staff announces publication themes each quarter with special calls for contributions released in response to pressing public health issues. See submission guidelines.
  • International Journal of Medical Students - The International Journal of Medical Students is a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal created to share the research and experiences of medical students worldwide. See submission guidelines
  • Student BMJ - Launched in 1992, this international journal publishes articles that have been commissioned with medical students in mind. See submission guidelines.

Publications residents should consider

If you’re a resident or fellow, these publications may be a good fit for you. Many of these journals are ideal for publishing quality improvement project research and results.

  • Journal of Graduate Medical Education - The Journal of Graduate Medical Education publishes original research articles, educational innovations, narrative and systematic reviews, brief reports, personal essays about teaching and learning, commentaries, editorials and letters to the editor. The journal focuses on the education of medical residents and fellows, and the environment in which they learn. See submission guidelines.
  • Journal for Healthcare Quality - The Journal for Healthcare Quality, a publication of the National Association for Health Quality, features creative and scientific solutions in the pursuit of health care quality. See submission guidelines
  • The Journal of Healthcare Risk Management - This journal publishes research, trends and new developments in the field of health care risk management with the ultimate goal of advancing safe and patient-centered health care delivery. See submission guidelines
  • Implementation Science - Implementation Science is an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal that publishes research relevant to the scientific study of methods to promote the uptake of research findings into routine health care in clinical, organizational or policy contexts. See submission guidelines.
  • PLOS ONE - PLOS ONE is an international peer-reviewed, open-access online publication that welcomes reports on primary research from any scientific discipline. See submission guidelines.

Top recognized publications

As some of the most prestigious publications in health care, these journals are highly competitive. At this point in your career, publishing in them now may be a long shot, but they are great references as you develop your research skills. Follow studies from these publications, paying close attention to abstracts and figures as examples of exceptional research for your own work.

  • The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) - This international peer-reviewed medical journal is a fully online-first publication that seeks to lead the debate on health and engage, inform and stimulate physicians, researchers and other health professionals in ways that will improve outcomes for patients. See submission guidelines.
  • BMJ Quality & Safety - BMJ Quality & Safety (previously Quality & Safety in Health Care) is an international peer-reviewed publication providing research, opinions, debates and reviews for academics, clinicians and health care managers. It focuses on the quality and safety of health care and the science of improvement. See submission guidelines
  • The JAMA Network - Published continuously since 1883, JAMA is an international peer-reviewed general medical journal published 48 times per year in print/online issues, and new articles are published several times a week online. JAMA is the most widely circulated medical journal in the world. See submission guidelines. See information about the 10 specialty journals that also make up the JAMA Network. 
  • The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety - Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. See submission guidelines
  • New England Journal of Medicine - The New England Journal of Medicine is dedicated to bringing physicians the best research and key information at the intersection of biomedical science and clinical practice. See submission guidelines.

For additional publications you might consider, view a list from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Ready to publish? Reference these resources:

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Medical school
Oct 27, 2016
Medical education is hugely expensive. Are students getting good value for their investment? One school looks at evaluating what they spend on education and what actually has the highest impact.