Scientific communication How to make it effectively?
Correspondence to Correspondence to: *Saul Goldenberg Alameda Rio Claro, 179 - 14° andar 01332-010, São Paulo-SP, Brasil Phone/Fax: (11) 3287-8814 Email: email@example.com
Scientific communication consists in publishing research results to the scientific community, allowing knowledge dissemination. The authors are expected to meet the requirements of the Editorial Board and dedicate special attention to the readers. However, some of them are well disciplined and follow the rules while others are negligent.
Scientific publishing and its preparation deserve our respectful attention (11, 12, 13).
Rule observance: this is the motto that led to the publication of the periodical Acta Cirúrgica Brasileira and to the creation of the Research Group on Scientific Communication in Surgery [Núcleo de Comunicação Científica em Cirurgia NCCC] (8), which is registered at CNPq, linked to and accredited by the Coordination of Graduation and Research Programs of the Federal University of São Paulo, School of Medicine of São Paulo (Unifesp-EPM), Brazil, and is a member of the Brazilian Society for the Development of Research in Surgery [Sociedade Brasileira para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Cirurgia Sobradpec], whose aim is to follow and critically evaluate scientific literature, mainly in Surgery. I accepted the invitation to write this editorial aiming at alerting negligent authors. Language's main role is communication (1). The part of language dedicated to science is called scientific language, which has many subdivisions; one of them is medical language with two main branches: the writing and the terminology or nomenclature (9).
Writing is to represent through characters, which not always convey the idea accurately and sometimes are not in our dictionaries.
Professional writing is to express concepts, i.e. express the thoughts in literary form, which requires great care and refinement.
Each field has its specific nomenclature, which is a technical and specialized branch of medical language, e. g. Nomina Anatomica is international, prepared by the International Commission on Anatomical Nomenclature, translated into Portuguese by the Brazilian Society of Anatomy (14), and must be followed.
Standardizing is beneficial and avoids misunderstandings, mainly when the standardization is consensual and universal (7). Adoption and compliance with editorial and bibliographic rules are indispensable for the record, the retrieval and the use of the published information (15).
When writing, both style and content should be equally taken into consideration. The "Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication" proposed and recommended by the Vancouver Group are the main tool to facilitate and guide this activity (15). However, disregard and disobedience to standards, negligence and disrespect for the national (Portuguese language) and international (English language) conventions, and lack of consideration for nomenclature rules are more and more common.
The Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), The State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), MEDLINE, EXCERPTA MEDICA, ISI-Thomson Scientific, and demanding readers evaluate the published articles and observe with magnifying glass the style, the content, and the attention paid to the rules. A standard is designed to regulate proceedings and achieve excellence. It characterizes discipline. Standardizing is beneficial (7). Journals have adopted standardization to make publication uniform. However, authors seldom follow it.
FAULTY ASPECTS OBSERVED IN ARTICLES
1- Authors sometimes do not check the instructions to the authors or/and do not use papers recently published in the journal they have chosen as models.
2- Authors sometimes do not give due consideration to Copyright issue.
Once their paper is accepted for publication, the authors must transfer all copyright to the journal. This statement must be sent in a letter together with the paper and must be signed by all authors. The first author on behalf of all the other authors assumes the responsibility for the content of the article to be published.
According to the Copyright Act of 1976, the following declaration has to be attached to every article: "I/we hereby transfer(s) all copyrights on the manuscript entitled '_____________________' to the Journal. I/we state(s) the article is original, does not infringe any copyright or a third party right, is not being evaluated by any other periodical and has not been previously published. The paper has been read and approved by every author." Legible name and signature.
3-Ethics: The authors are to follow CIOMS (Council for International Organization of Medical Sciences) ethical code for animal experimentation (3) and the guidelines of the Brazilian Association for Laboratory Animal Science [Colégio Brasileiro de Experimentação Animal COBEA] (5, 6, 2). Researches using human beings need the approval of the Ethics Committee of the Institution where they were carried out, according to Resolution n. 196/96 of the National Health Council. The authors must send a copy of the Committee certificate.
4- Abstracts should be structured according to the journal standards. Carelessness with language aspects and content is frequently observed.
5- Key words are essential for the accessibility and retrieval of the articles. They guide users in the localization and selection of the scientific information. It is imperative that the authors use the conventional terms found at Health Science Descriptors DeCS (4, 10).
6- Authors seldom follow the Vancouver style in their texts and references (15).
7- Tables, figures and their respective captions sometimes are not clearly mentioned in the text. Frequently, captions do not explain exactly what figures show, which may complicate understanding. Table captions must be above a table and figure captions should be placed underneath a figure. Moreover, the poor quality of the illustrations may jeopardize reproduction and printing.
8- Faulty observance of nomenclature-terminology rules (14).
9- Careless bibliographical review and little investigation into Medline/PubMed. National authors are seldom cited and the same can be observed as to articles of the journal published by SciELO.
10-Incomplete or unmentioned address of the main author.
11-Many authors do not state CONFLICTS OF INTEREST (according to Resolution n.1595/2000 of the National Medical Board, which vetoes articles, publications and advertising material or equipment used in medical field).
12-The authors should inform both the funding agency and the process number.
In conclusion, the authors frequently send their papers without carefully reviewing them, which is indispensable.
Queries should be sent to the editor-in-chief by mail, email or phone/fax.
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14 SOCIEDADE BRASILEIRA DE ANATOMIA. Terminologia Anatômica. São Paulo: Manole, 2001.
15 UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS FOR MANUSCRIPTS SUBMITTED TO BIOMEDICAL JOURNALS: WRITING AND EDITING FOR BIOMEDICAL PUBLICATION. [homepage on the Internet]. Philadelphia: International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, 2006. Available from: <http://www.icmje.org>
* Founder and editor-in-chief of the journal Acta Cirúrgica Brasileira and leader of the Research Group on Scientific Communication in Surgery of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Brazil.
Publication in this collection
09 May 2007
Date of issue