Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Publication Cycle

A good idea

Most research ideas begin as an informal conversation. Typically, between a research student and a supervisor or between research colleagues.  Conversations like this take place within the context of a university degree/research programmes.  However,  they increasingly take place in the workplace as part of the process of improving practice, developing guidelines and seeking to ground current practice in a sound evidence base. By their nature, they are difficult to access but they may surface on social media and any workplace research meetings. 


Conferences are the first place that ideas are shared in public.  Conferences, such as the 999 EMS Forum, are a key part of the process of sharing and promoting research.  A conference presentation could be a poster or the formal presentation of a paper to conference delegates. The role of the conference is to challenge and refine research ideas before they go on to further development. The proceedings may be published as a collection of abstracts and papers or as part of a peer-reviewed journal such as the Emergency Medicine Journal



A preprint is a version of a research manuscript published before peer review.  Typically these are published as electronic documents and made freely available on large databases - preprint servers or repositories.  Publishing a preprint aims to speed up the process of disseminating research avoiding the delays caused by the publication process.  Publishing research as a preprint allows you to generate a conversation around your research and gain feedback from others. Authors would normally seek to publish their research in a peer-reviewed journal at a later date

Peer Reviewed Journals

Peer Reviewed journals or scholarly or academic journals are the place where the outcome of research projects are reported.  Publication requires that the authors achieve a certain standard of quality in reporting and reliability in their research findings.  While all journal articles follow a basic format:  literature review, methodology, results, discussion conclusion and suggestions for further research increasingly authors are increasingly required to adhere to reporting guidelines.  The journal article is a key artifact in research publishing. Publishing in a reputable journal means that ideas are given a credibility and degree of acceptance. 

Clinical Guidelines, Systematic Reviews and Evidence Summaries

Evidence Summaries, Guidelines, and Systematic Reviews summarise and synthesis evidence published in journal articles.  They aim to ensure that clinical practice is supported by evidence and to identify gaps for further research.  Publications that summarise and review play a key part in the dissemination of research. In any review of the literature identifying a relevant Systematic Review, for example, should identify all relevant published research on any topic.  Databases directed at locating evidence summaries include Cochrane and TRIP.  

Books, Textbooks and Handbooks

Research ideas that achieve a broad acceptance become part of the established research base of any subject. They will be included for example in textbooks for students, other scholarly books, and subject handbooks.  

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias and Reference Books

The final point on the publication cycle is for research to be included in scholarly reference books.  These books or increasingly online resources represent the definitive statement of what is known about any topic.