November 8, 2008
Early Career and FIT Program: Track A for the Basic Scientist
Scientific Sessions 2008
Manuscript Writing 101:
Essentials for Journal Acceptance
Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine,
Cardiovascular Research Institute, UMDNJ, NJMS
Vasade Bioscience Inc.
All papers co-authored by a No papers co-authored by a
Number of publications 15 previous mentor previous mentor
Junior faculty position
5 9/00 -present
0 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Pre-doc Post-doc Independent Lab
Morisco C, Zebrowski DC, Vatner SF, Sadoshima J. The Akt-GSK3b pathway regulates
transcription of ANF induced by b adrenergic receptor stimulation in cardiac
myocytes. J. Biol. Chem.: 275, 14466-14475, 2000. (accepted in January)
• How can we successfully prepare
• How can we improve our productivity?
• Suitable Quality?
• Sufficient General Interest?
• Conclusions Justified?
• Clearly Written?
• Procedures Described?
• Clarify a central message before you
start writing. Use PowerPoint
presentations. Describe your work to a
colleague in one or two sentences.
• A paper should address one main
• Irrelevant experimental data should be
• Write in your own voice.
• Eliminate the possibility of being
• Putting oneself in the reader’s position.
Keep to the word limit (Short papers are
not equal to short manuscripts)
Present Figures and Tables clearly
Avoid excessive abbreviations
Use English editing services
Assist reviewers in understanding your work, and get constructive criticisms
Assist readers in understanding your paper, and get more citations
• Seek opinions from non-experts. Find
out which part of your manuscript is
difficult to follow.
• Degree of Novelty (Excellent, Good,
Satisfactory, Fair, Poor)
• Strength of Mechanistic Insights
• Technical Excellence
• Priority (Top 5%, Top 20%, Satisfactory, Fair,
• Recommendation (Accept, Reconsider after
moderate revision, Reconsider after major
When should we submit?
• Manuscript with novel findings cannot
be rejected easily.
• Find the underlying mechanism of the
• Study the functional significance of the
• Find the relevance of the biological response
• Study the properties of the endogenous
molecule, using loss of function approaches.
• Study the in vivo significance of the biological
response studied in vitro.
• Plan these experiments in the early stages
of your study.
How to increase your
• Assemble Figures and Tables in the early
stages of your work.
• Prepare a folder for data and references.
• Start writing wherever you can. Write the
paper in parts.
• Prepare outlines and headings and write the
• Write quickly and put the draft aside for at
least one day before revising
• Prepare for the revision in advance. Don’t be
afraid of receiving criticisms.
• Always make a wish list for improvement.
• The best opportunity to learn what is
necessary for acceptance of the journal.
• It is not a waste of time. A good way to
practice time management.
• The best exercise to improve the quality
of your science.
• Making constructive comments benefits
your experimental design as well.
• The best opportunity to understand the
quality of your data objectively.
• A good opportunity to make your wish
list for future presentations.
• Always include new data.
• Accept criticism, assess the response of
the audience, and improve the clarity of
• Bring your manuscript to meetings.
Yamamoto M, Yang G, Hong C, Liu J, Holle E, Yu X, Wagner T,
Vatner SF, Sadoshima J. Inhibition of thioredoxin in the
heart increases oxidative stress and cardiac hypertrophy. J
Clin Invest:112, 1395-1406, 2003.
2003 Microarray analyses, Bioinformatics
2004 AHA summer conference Information regarding Mrj
Initial interest in DnaJb5 (Dr. Molkentin)
(to elucidate the
2005 AHA Scientific Sessions mechanism
The role of DnaJb5 in mediating the anti-hypertrophic actions of Trx1 by which Dnajb5
2006 AHA summer conferences, Scientific Sessions (to elucidate the
Trx1, TBP-2, DnaJb5, and HDAC4 form a complex Cysteine modification
of DnaJb5 and
HDAC4, using proteomics)
2007 AHA Scientific Sessions (to elucidate the Cysteine
Trx1 regulates cysteine modification of DnaJb5 and HDAC4 modification or proteins in situ )
Extensive proteomic analysis of proteins in situ
Ago T, Liu T, Zhai P, Chen W, Li H, Molkentin JD, Vatner SF, Sadoshima J. A redox
dependent pathway for regulating class II HDAC and cardiac hypertrophy. Cell:
133, 978-993, 2008.
Bottomley, M. J. et al. J. Biol. Chem.
• Weekly report
• Submit abstracts to AHA Summer
Conference and Scientific Sessions (a good
indicator of the impact of your work)
• Abstract grading
• Critical reading at Journal Club
• Preparation of reviews, editorials, book
• Nothing happens in one day. One
publication helps your next publication.
A publication could open up invaluable
• If your observation is really true, even
very difficult criticisms can be
• Sadoshima Lab members
• Supports from NIH and AHA
• Dr. Stephen F Vatner