Top 10 Avoidable Mistakes as an Author

Top 10 Avoidable Mistakes as an Author

Publishing a research paper can be a rather time consuming process, right from submission until the journal’s final decision. As an author, you can help to speed up this process by ensuring that you avoid certain simple mistakes in your paper. But do you know what these mistakes are?

The committee of journal editors, who compiled the AMA (American Medical Association) Manual of Style, came up with a list of the 10 most common errors that they encounter in submitted manuscripts. This infographic lists these top 10 avoidable mistakes made by authors. Although some of these mistakes may not be the sole reason for rejection, if left unresolved they could definitely create unnecessary delays in the publication process.

Top 10 avoidable mistakes as an author

You can download a PDF of this infographic at the Editage Insights website–link below.

You might also be interested in reading:
Top 10 mistakes authors make—As compiled by a committee of journal editors

This post Top 10 avoidable mistakes as an author was originally published on Editage Insights.

Follow Up on Student Authors

At INANE 2015, there was a report from Shawn Kennedy and colleagues on the survey done of INANE members about student authors and papers. Patricia Gonce Morton, Editor of the Journal of Professional Nursing, the official publication of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, was asked to “take the message back to the AACN.” She has done so and this is her report:

  • I met with the board of directors of AACN and discussed the issue.
  • I gave a report to all assembled at our conference last week (about 600 people) and addressed the issue.
  • I alerted all to my editorial this month in the Journal of Professional Nursing that includes a link to a publishing course I created while a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow.
  • The 12 module course can be used or adapted by any organization under the Creative Commons rule.  The first 11 modules focus on how to write a manuscript for publication in a journal and the last module is focused on how to be a manuscript reviewer.  The link to the course is:

Thank you, Trish, for your leadership and follow-up in this area. I encourage all potential authors, whether students, faculty, or clinicians, to read the editorial and take advantage of the resources that are available.

Editor’s Guide to Identifying Plagiarism

All the discussions and admonitions that we hear and engage in around the issue of plagiarism usually leave me a bit unsettled because they tend to be so “black and white,” with very little acknowledgement of the nuances that leave most students and novice writers unclear and confused.  So when I came across this excellent MediaWire article – “Is it original? An Editor’s Guide to Identifying Plagiarism” published in September, I vowed to share it with all INANE readers!

There are, of course, excellent resources online to help address plagiarism as a more complex issue with many shades of grey – particularly’s “Types of Plagiarism” and iThenticate has an interactive web page that addresses types of plagiarism that they identify.  But the article provides the chart below that is available to either download as a PDF, or save as a PNG file – a useful resource to keep posted near your workspace!  This can even be used as a teaching tool!


NLN Foundation Announces Spring 2014 Writing Retreats


The NLN Foundation Announces Writing Retreats for Spring 2014!

Scholarly Writing Retreats Spring 2014
March 21-23, 2014
The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education
Chapel Hill, NC
Leader: Marilyn H. Oermann, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN

April 25-27, 2014
Embassy Suites Phoenix North
Phoenix, AZ
Leader: Leslie H. Nicoll, PhD, MBA, RN, BC

Registration Fee: $825 (Registration includes tuition, meals, and two nights’ accommodation at the host site.)

Program Description

Thanks to a generous five-year grant from Pocket Nurse Enterprises, Inc., the National League for Nursing and the NLN Foundation for Nursing Education are pleased to continue the expansion of the NLN Scholarly Writing Retreat, now in its sixth year.

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Free Titles from the National Academies Press



The National Academies—National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council—are committed to distributing their reports to as wide an audience as possible. Since 1994 we have offered “Read for Free” options for almost all our titles. In addition, we have been offering free downloads of most of our titles to everyone and of all titles to readers in the developing world. We are now going one step further. Effective June 2nd, PDFs of reports that are currently for sale on the National Academies Press (NAP) Website and PDFs associated with future reports* will be offered free of charge to all Web visitors.

For more than 140 years, the NAS, NAE, IOM, and NRC have been advising the nation on issues of science, technology, and medicine. Like no other collection of organizations, the Academies enlist the nation’s foremost scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts to address the scientific and technical aspects of society’s most pressing problems. The results of their work are authoritative and independent studies published by the National Academies Press.

NAP produces more than 200 books a year on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and health, capturing the best-informed views on important issues. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health which was released earlier this year.

We invite you to visit the NAP homepage and experience the new opportunities available to access our publications. There you can sign up for MyNAP, a new way for us to deliver all of our content for free to loyal subscribers like you and to reward you with exclusive offers and discounts on our printed books. This enhancement to our free downloads means that we can reach out even further to inform government decision making and public policy, increase public education and understanding, and promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge.

*There are a small number of reports that never had PDF files and, therefore, those reports are not available for download. In addition, part of the series, “Nutrient Requirements of Domestic Animals” are not be available in PDF and future titles in this series will also not have PDFs associated with them.

Spaces After Periods: What’s Your Opinion?

I enjoyed this article I read recently on Slate:

Space Invaders

Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period.

By Farhad Manjoo Posted Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, at 6:20 PM ET

Can I let you in on a secret? Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.

(To read the whole thing, click here.)

As of this morning, it had received 2309 comments, so obviously people are passionate about the subject. Personally, back when I took “typing for college-bound students” I was taught to put in two spaces. With the advent of word processors, I read somewhere that one space was correct; my automatic “two clicks on the space bar” was a hard habit to break, but eventually I did.

I had a student tell me that she has/had a faculty member who was adamant about two spaces and in fact, marked her paper down because of the missing spaces after periods. This person probably has a disagreeing comment buried in one of the 2300+ posted on the article by Farhad.

I am wondering about my editor colleagues. One space or two, or don’t you give a hoot? Please share in the comments!


Mark Twain left a comment about “Huckleberry Finn,” in his copy of “The Pen and the Book” by Walter Besant.

There was an interesting article in the New York Times over the weekend about marginalia, that is, writing comments in the margins of books. Mark Twain was an avid marginaliast; many of his annotated books are in the archives of the Newberry Library in Chicago. Books once owned and annotated by authors are known as association copies (my new word for the day!) and is the subject of an upcoming conference, sponsored by the library and the Caxton Club: Other People’s Books: Association Copies and the Stories They Tell. It sounds like an interesting day–one of those events that if I had unlimited time and unlimited money I’d attend but alas, I have neither so I’ll be staying put in Maine. 🙂

I’ve never been one for annotating books, actually, nor was I ever much of a highlighter. My mother always admonished against writing in books; worse was folding down the corner to mark the page. “It makes the book cry,” she’d always say. Back in the old days when we had “bib cards” I’d make notes on those. Then I went through a post-it phase, sticking them all over photocopied articles. Now I read online and I just try to remember where I read something! I can annotate with my Kindle, but rarely do. One new habit I’ve developed with Kindle reading is looking up new words in the online dictionary and then clipping the definition to save for future reference. A few of the words I’ve learned in recent months: pellucid, kickshaw, thurifer, numinous, and ormolu. Any guesses about what they mean?

Writing this reminded me of an MNRS conference I attended in April 1984 in Minneapolis. I was presenting–on what, I don’t remember. Maybe my thesis? Pam Reed was there and (I believe) a presenter, too. For some reason I had the October 1983 issue of Advances in Nursing Science with me and Pam had an article published in that issue. I asked her to autograph it for me. She obliged and seemed flattered, although I think she thought I was a little bit crazy. LOL. I saved that issue for years. It is probably still tucked away on my bookshelf, somewhere.

Does anyone know–is there a name for people who collect autographs? I just did a quick Google search and didn’t come up with anything.