Medical Writing Medical Writing in Oncology Manuscript Writing

Volume 21, Issue 1 - Medical Writing in Oncology

Manuscript Writing


In their article on handling manuscript rejection, Woolley and Barron1 offer the following soothing advice:

Authors, particularly inexperienced authors, may take comfort in knowing that manuscript rejection is common.

The rejection rate for many journals is over 50%, and for top-tier journals, it can be over 90%.26 Some of the reasons for these rejections are under the control of the medical writer, whereas others are not. Regardless, medical writers should be aware of the main reasons to minimize their occurrence and to be able to give practical advice to the authors and other contributors.

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  2. Wyness T, McGhee C, Patel DV. Manuscript rejection in ophthalmology and visual science journals: identifying and avoiding the common pitfalls. Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2009;37:864–7.
  3. Armstrong AW, Idriss SZ, Kimball AB, Bernhard JD. Fate of manuscripts declined by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol 2008;58:632–5.
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  10. Northam S, Yarbrough S, Haas B, Duke G. Journal editor survey: information to help authors publish. Nurse Educ 2010;35:29–36.
  11. Turcotte C, Drolet P, Girard M. Study design, originality and overall consistency influence acceptance or rejection of manuscripts submitted to the Journal. Can J Anaesth 2004;51:549–56.
  12. Lee KP, Boyd EA, Holroyd-Leduc JM, Bacchetti P, Bero LA. Predictors of publication: characteristics of submitted manuscripts associated with acceptance at major biomedical journals. Med J Aust 2006;184:621–6.
  13. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication. [cited 2011 October 7]. Available from:
  14. Schulz KF, Altman DG, Moher D. CONSORT 2010 statement: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials. PLoS Med 2010;7:e1000251.
  15. von Elm E, Altman DG, Egger M, Pocock SJ, Gotzsche PC, Vandenbroucke JP. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. J Clin Epidemiol 2008;61:344–9.
  16. Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. J Clin Epidemiol 2009;62:1006–12.
  17. Des Jarlais DC, Lyles C, Crepaz N. Improving the reporting quality of nonrandomized evaluations of behavioral and public health interventions: the TREND statement. Am J Public Health 2004;94:361–6.
  18. Pierson DJ. The top 10 reasons why manuscripts are not accepted for publication. Respir Care 2004;49:1246–52.
  19. Leventhal PS. How do I select a target journal for a manuscript? TWS 2011;20:268–269.
  20. Bernhard JD. No further studies are required: additional notes on avoiding manuscript rejection. J Am Acad Dermatol 2001;44:541–2.
  21. Ohri M, Dawes K. Successful abstract writing: an essential skill for medical writers. TWS 2009;18:27–8.



About the Medical Writing Journal
Oncology and medical writers
Message from the President
The war on cancer – What is the enemy, and are we winning?
Medical writing for cancer trials and submissions
Developing a treatment for ovarian cancer
The evolving landscape of medical education in oncology
Some considerations on the safety evaluation section of clinical study reports for studies with anticancer drugs
Identifying appropriate journals in which to publish original research on vaccines against human infectious diseases
New myths about English
From researcher in Europe to medical writer in India
Imaging techniques in oncology
Is cancer preventable? A literature review
A rising tide: Hospitals and social media
In the Bookstores
Journal Watch
The Webscout
Manuscript Writing
Regulatory Writing
Good Writing Practice
Out On Our Own
Translation Section


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Editoral Board


Raquel Billiones


Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

Managing Editor

Victoria White

Deputy Managing Editor

Alicia Brooks Waltman

Associate Editors

Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Nicole Bezuidenhout

Claire Chang

Barbara Grossman

Sarah Milner

John Plant

Sampoorna Rappaz

Amy Whereat

Section Editors

Daniela Kamir


Jennifer Bell


Nicole Bezuidenhout 

Digital Communication

Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News 

Ana Sofia Correia 

Gained in Translation

Ivana Turek

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh 

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Maddy Dyer


Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Payal Bhatia

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Adriana Rocha


Tiziana von Bruchhausen


Clare ChangZuo Yen Lee 

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

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Louisa Ludwig-Begall / Sarah Kabani

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Louisa Marcombes

Veterinary Writing

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Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

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Chris Monk