Table 1

Tips for publishing your clinical cardiology research

SectionEssential elementsTips
  • Descriptive of study design and objectives

  • Short and engaging

  • Avoid abbreviations or acronyms

  • No brand names

  • Avoid subtitles

  • State the hypothesis

  • Present key methods

  • Summarise the data—include absolute risks as well as relative risks

  • Appropriate conclusions

  • The abstract probably is all the editor (and most readers) will read before deciding to read further. Be sure it is complete and correct

  • Ensure conclusions are justified by the data—do not extrapolate too far

  • Identify the clinical or scientific question

  • Describe the background and rationale for the study clearly and concisely

  • State a hypothesis and specific aims

  • Make sure this is the appropriate journal for publication your paper

  • Review journal objectives

  • Look to see if papers like yours have been published in this journal

  • Include a flow chart for inclusion of subjects

  • Present sample size calculations

  • Describe methods in enough detail for validation and replication by others

  • Use statistical approaches appropriate for the data

  • Show that the study design can provide an answer to the research question

  • Cite any previous related papers

  • Explain any potential overlap with previous publications on this patient group or dataset

  • Results text should exactly match methods section, both content and order

  • Primarily present data in tables and figures

  • Keep it simple

  • Ensure there is no overlap among text, tables and figures

  • Ensure there are no missing data elements

  • Use standard tables for baseline demographics and results

  • Put information in a logical order

  • Use categories and subcategories effectively to highlight patterns in the data

  • Keep table titles, labels and footnotes brief.

  • Tables provide a concise format for detailed data

  • Define what numbers are being show in each row/column

  • Use online supplementary tables if needed

  • See online videos for additional tips on optimal tables

  • Use graphical displays of quantitative data whenever possible

  • Choose your graph type carefully for best visual clarity and avoid chart ‘art’

  • Use boxplots or other graphical displays to show the data distribution, as well as mean values

  • On life-table graphs, include the number of subjects at risk in each group at several time points along the x-axis

  • More complex data will require more a complex graphical display

  • Avoid bar graphs; never use ‘3D’ bar graphs

  • Use solid grey scale or colour fills rather than patterned fills

  • Use colour-blind compatible colours (see

  • Keep axis titles and labels brief. Use clear labels for units of measure on each axis

  • Aim to fill the frame to avoid large areas of white space

  • Start with the key findings and state whether these prove your hypothesis or not

  • Put your data into the context of previous research—explain any differences

  • List and discuss limitations of your study

  • Limit conclusions to those justified by the data

  • Point out what further research is needed

  • Use precise wording

  • A common mistake is to use words that imply causation when only an association has been demonstrated

  • Provide a balanced and nuanced discussion. You are not writing your own editorial

Trial registration and
Reporting guidelines
  • Clinical trials should be registered prospectively before participant enrolment

  • Reporting guidelines (research checklists) should be used during study design and manuscript preparation

Publication ethics
  • Include Ethics Committee approval and informed consent in the Methods section

  • Ensure wording of your paper is original

  • Avoid overlap, even with your own previous publications

  • Most journals now use platforms that compare the wording of your submission to any previous publication

  • Additional information at Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

Competing interests
  • Disclose all associations with commercial entities that might be perceived as a conflict of interest

  • Some non-financial associations also may be relevant

  • *See  Ref5 for tips on how to optimise presentation of data in tables.

  • See Refs7–10 for detailed discussions of graphics for clinical cardiology research.