Writing Clinic: After Submitting the Manuscript, Part 3

Michael Gerchufsky, ELS, is the managing editor of Consultant. E-mail him with thoughts on this post at mgerchufsky@hmpglobal.com.

In previous Writing Clinic blog posts, part 1, part 2, and part 3 of “Choose Your Topic Carefully,” I recommended a few first steps to contributing an article to Consultant. In part 1, part 2, and part 3 of “Choosing an Approach,” I discussed the array of possible article formats in the journal and other tips for approaching the writing of an article. I also advised about contacting the editor and performing a literature search.

Part 1part 2, and part 3 of “Nuts and Bolts of the Manuscript" discussed article lengths and article extras, respectively.

In part 1 and part 2 of “After Submitting the Manuscript,” I opened the discussion of what to expect after submitting a manuscript Consultant. 

This post describes the final steps in the transformation from practicing clinician to published Consultant author.


So, your article has been accepted for publication, and the editors and peer-reviewer’s comments and questions have been inserted into your manuscript. The prose itself has been polished, and the facts have been checked against the sources in the reference list.

You now have the manuscript back, and you’ve been given a fairly tight turnaround time for revisions.

While many smaller changes have been made already, such as grammatical fixes and matters of style, it’s very likely that the manuscript contains questions and comments from the reviewers and editors about things they couldn’t fix. These can range from matters as simple as an equivocal drug dosage or other detail, or they can be more significant matters such as a treatment option that wasn’t mentioned, or a possible diagnostic pitfall that wasn’t addressed completely.

We require that you address each one of the questions, suggestions, and comments. If you disagree with an editor’s or reviewer’s suggestion or comment, we ask that you explain why you disagree. Because you’ll likely need to consult your original source material to answer some of the questions, it’s very important to keep good records during your research and writing process, as discussed in my previous post on the literature search.

After you have reviewed the new draft and acted upon each comment, and you’re confident that the draft is complete, you’ll return it to the editor, who will reassess the draft. In some cases, particularly those in which the manuscript has had significant additions and revisions, a second round of peer-review is necessary to ensure the quality of the article. In most cases, however, the draft is now ready for layout by our graphic artists, using specialized layout software.

After one of our talented graphic artists has laid out the article, including tables, graphs, photos, sidebars, etc.—we will email you a draft PDF of the article for your review. In addition to asking you to reread the text of the article, at this stage we also ask you to read over the entire package of information to make sure that, for example, any tables are properly formatted, photos are accurately cropped and labeled, and text requiring special formatting (such as boldface, italics, superscripts) and special characters (eg, Greek letters such as α and β) are accurately presented.

You’re now on the home stretch! Only a few more details need to be taken care of before publication, including copyright forms, disclosures of conflicts of interest, and scheduling.

If you haven't already done so at this point, we'll ask you to complete two important forms.

One is a disclosure of potential conflicts of interest (available by clicking here), which each coauthor is required to complete and return before publication. This form asks you to disclose any non-financial or commercial, proprietary, or financial interest in the products or companies that may be mentioned in the manuscript. This includes any grants or consultant honoraria. It also asks you to disclose any financial relationship with the companies that produce or market products or services relevant to the topic of this manuscript. For example, if you have written about a case of diabetes in which portable blood glucose monitoring is mentioned, and you are on the speakers' bureau for a company that manufactures one of the devices, we'll ask you to disclose that information so that it can be published along with your author bio. This is very important in maintaining the integrity and unbiased nature of clinical articles published in Consultant.

The other form we'll ask you as the corresponding author to complete and return is an Assignment of Copyright (available by clicking here). This agreement between you, the author, and us, the publisher, protects both parties' interests by explicitly describing how the article will be disseminated and protecting the content from being used by third parties without your or our express written consent.

Once we have completed the layout and have received all of the completed prepublication forms, your article is ready for publication! We very likely will publish it online-first at the Consultant Early View site, and then schedule it for official publication in an issue of the journal.

And with that, you will have gone from practicing clinician to published Consultant author. We at Consultant look forward to receiving your submission. Thanks for reading!

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