Revista de Saúde Pública
versión On-line ISSN 1518-8787
SZKLO, Moyses. Quality of scientific articles. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2006, vol.40, n.spe, pp. 30-35. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102006000400005.
The paper discusses the difficulties in judging the quality of scientific manuscripts and describes some common pitfalls that should be avoided when preparing a paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. Peer review is an imperfect system, with less than optimal reliability and uncertain validity. However, as it is likely that it will remain as the principal process of screening papers for publication, authors should avoid some common mistakes when preparing a report based on empirical findings of human research. Among these are: excessively long abstracts, extensive use of abbreviations, failure to report results of parsimonious data analyses, and misinterpretation of statistical associations identified in observational studies as causal. Another common problem in many manuscripts is their excessive length, which makes them more difficult to be evaluated or read by the intended readers, if published. The evaluation of papers after their publication with a view towards their inclusion in a systematic review is also discussed. The limitations of the impact factor as a criterion to judge the quality of a paper are reviewed.
Palabras clave : Editorial policies; Peer review, research; Evaluation [standards]; Publications [standards]; Scientific publications.