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Publish or Perish: Tools for Survival

Stuart F. Quan, M.D.1

Jonathan F. Borus, M.D.2


1Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders and 2Department of Psychiatry

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Harvard Medical School

Boston, MA USA


(Editor's Note: A downloadable PowerPoint presentation accompanies this article and be accessed by clicking on the following link "Publish or Perish: Tools for Suvival". It is 20 Mb and may take some time to download).

Success in one’s chosen profession is often predicated upon meeting a profession-wide standard of excellence or productivity. In the corporate world, the metric might be sales volume and in clinical medicine it may be patient satisfaction and/or number of patients seen. In academic medicine, including the fields of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, the “coin of the realm” is demonstrable written scholarship. In large part, this is determined by the number and quality of publications in scientific journals. Unfortunately, the skills required to navigate the complexities of how to publish in the scientific literature rarely are taught in either medical school or postgraduate training. To assist the inexperienced academic physician or scientist, the Writing for Scholarship Interest Group of the Harvard Medical School Academy recently published “A Writer’s Toolkit” (1). This comprehensive monograph provides valuable information on all phases of the writing process ranging from conceptualization of a manuscript to understanding of the publication process itself. In today’s society, however, there are alternative methods of disseminating knowledge that may be better received by some learners than traditional prose. Examples include videos, podcasts and online interactive courses.

In order to provide a complementary method of presenting some of the information contained in “A Writer’s Toolkit” for more active learners, we have developed a self-paced interactive learning module to help young authors better understand the submission, review, and response to reviews stages of the publishing process. The module entitled “Publish or Perish: Tools for Survival” is downloadable from this journal’s website. We believe that providing a way for self-learners to better understand these processes will help such inexperienced authors more successfully get published and therefore share their work with others in the field.


  1. Pories S. Bard T, Bell S et al. A Writer’s Toolkit. MedEdPORTAL, Association of American Medical Colleges; 2012. Available from:

Cite as: Quan SF, Borus JF. Publish or perish: tools for survival. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017;14(2):67. doi: PDF 

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April 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom

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