When and how to appeal a rejection of your manuscript from a scientific journal

Two fighting bisons.
Two fighting bisons.
Photo by Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash

After spending time doing research, writing a manuscript, incorporating comments from your co-authors, formatting it and ultimately submitting it to the journal of your choice, receiving a rejection in return for all your hard work can be frustrating.

While you can always try to appeal the rejection, you should know that your chances are usually slim and that you should therefore weigh the decision carefully.

The first thing you should do after reading through the usual “we receive so many great manuscripts that we just cannot publish everything” is to close the email, do other things for a while and preferably wait until at least the next day. There is no benefit to skimming through the reviewer comments in an anger-fueled frenzy. …

An often overlooked way for people who want to make writing their career

A laptop and a hot beverage on a table
A laptop and a hot beverage on a table
Photo by Bao Tran on Unsplash

When people learn that I used to write textbooks when I was a still a student in medical school, they, almost without fail, have two questions:

  1. How do you start writing and especially publishing textbooks?
  2. How much can you earn?

Today, we will discuss both of these questions as well as some tips you can use to increase your earning potential.

Getting published

Finding a publisher for a textbook is a lot like finding a publisher for novels or most other books: You need a concept that shows that the world needs your book and an extract to show that you can actually write it. …

How to review a review

A lightbulb in a hand
A lightbulb in a hand
Photo by Rohan Makhecha on Unsplash

Writing review articles is common in the life sciences, especially medicine and many people believe it‘s not a difficult task but instead an easy way to start (or boost) your publishing career. You just pick a topic you know more about than your colleagues, pick a few articles and summarize them. You can write your manuscript quickly and it doesn‘t even require you to have/analyze any data from your own lab!

In fact, writing a review requires good analytical and critical thinking skills as well as very good command of the English language to understand the papers you read and to write a nuanced analysis. …

…or anybody who doesn’t have much time

A photo of a computer screen with code.
A photo of a computer screen with code.
Photo by AltumCode on Unsplash


  1. Formal education
  2. Bootcamps
  3. Self-learning
  4. My suggestions

After discussing why physicians/medical students should consider learning to code and a key mistake that you should avoid along the way, it’s time to talk about how to do it.

People who want to learn programming generally have three options: Going down the route of formal education and taking classes at a university, enrolling in a bootcamp for a period of roughly 2–4 months or trying to find their own way as self-learners.

The potential advantages and disadvantages have been discussed extensively in various blogs and forums from a general point of view. Today, I’d like to share my thoughts on how they apply to people in the medical field and what they want to achieve by acquiring programming skills. …

Reasons to take a closer look

A security camera
A security camera
Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash


  1. Questionable use of p-values
  2. Big findings
  3. Hiding the effect size

When you get invited to review your first scientific publication for a journal, you’re probably excited because that means that somebody recognizes your expertise in a field. However, you might also be a little nervous since peer review is an important process and figuring out whether a manuscript provides good science is not always easy.

In this first article of a series of tips for first time reviewers, we will go through findings that should make you suspicious that there might be something wrong with an article and that you should take an even closer look. …

Tutorial hell is very real

Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan
Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan
Photo by Ybrayym Esenov on Unsplash


  1. Why people get stuck in tutorial hell
  2. Why people with a medical background get stuck in tutorial hell
  3. How to get out

Learning programming can be daunting. The more research you do, the more topics you will encounter that you know almost nothing about. If you subscribe to newsletters, you see how fast the field is progressing while you don’t even know where to start. …

A little knowledge can go a long way

A photo of a computer screen with code.
A photo of a computer screen with code.
Photo by Chris Ried on Unsplash


  1. Boost your research
  2. Become ‘computer literate’
  3. Understand trends and developments
  4. Expand your options

Whether you‘re a doctor, a medical student or just thinking about going into medicine someday, you have probably heard about how important technology will become in your job.

Those of you who want to do radiology have been told that deep learning algorithms will replace them in a few years. Those who have worked with an electronic medical record have wondered why nobody has built one with a user friendly interface. …


Paul Windisch

Resident & researcher in radiation oncology with an interest for data science — https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-windisch

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