The culmination of the research process comes when you can share your findings with the clinical and scientific communities. Only shared information can clarify, amplify, and expand the professional body of knowledge. This is the important link between the research process and practice. Without dissemination, evidence-based practice cannot be realized.
Determining the most appropriate format to present your research will depend on the project and your intended audience. Research findings can be developed into a written article, which provides a permanent record that a broad range of professionals may access. Oral reports and poster presentations at professional meetings serve to disseminate research information in a timely fashion, although the audience is limited, and the record of research findings will be found only in abstract form. Graduate students may be required to document their work in the form of a thesis or dissertation but may be given the option of writing it in the form of a journal article. In the digital era, scholarly communication may also occur in nontraditional media. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the process of deciding the appropriate venue for your research study and preparing and submitting the results for publication or presentation.
The typical place to disseminate a completed research study is through a peer-reviewed journal. This venue not only assures the widest audience of interested readers but also carries weight in the professional community. With over 28,000 peer-reviewed journals, you will likely face more than one possible choice of where to submit your work.1 To winnow the universe of possible publication channels, review the journals’ aim and scope. Editors reveal that one of the most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript is that it does not fit the editorial mission of the journal. You can search for recently published articles to gain a sense of a journal’s mission.
The Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE) is a free online tool that will suggest possible journals based on a title or abstract.2 Some journals require subscription while others are online open access. Many print journals also provide options for online or open access publication.
Despite all the considerations in selecting a target journal, one factor often outweighs the others—reputation, for which several indices have been developed. The most common index is the impact factor, also called the journal impact factor (JIF), which measures how frequently a journal’s articles have been cited elsewhere in the previous 2 years. Web of Science, a subscription-based service, calculates impact factors for thousands of journals. It is considered a reflection of the relative importance of a journal and often influences where certain researchers choose to publish their work. Some journals also report a 5-year impact factor.