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Research as a Medical Student – where to publish???

by Anmol Naik

Most of us do know that research invariably plays a very important role in our overall profile-build-up for the USMLE. An aptitude for research goes a long way in boosting our CV, our career and our life as a whole. There are hundreds of journals for doctors to publish their research. But for undergraduate students like us, the journey stops abruptly because 99% of us are not aware of the journals where we can get our work published. Plus the dismal state of affairs of undergraduate medical research in India (and ‘m sure the situation is no better in  other countries of our sub-continent) doesn’t help either.

      I had an aptitude for research as well and took up a study as early as in second year (even before I knew the difference between incidence and prevalence; even before I knew the ABC of statistics!) However, I faced the same problem as to where to submit my studies for publication. Yes, there are a great deal of journals around. But (as Umar bhai aptly said) it is very difficult to get studies published in well-known journals. The more reputed a journal, the more difficult it is to get a publication in it. Hence I started surfing the net for journals dedicated exclusively to publishing undergraduate research. After 2 years of extensive searching, I’v managed to obtain a few trustworthy ones.

  1. McGill Journal of Medicine -
    • Re-launched in 1994, this journal is peer-reviewed, published and maintained entirely by students of McGill University (Canada).
    • A journal held in high regard amongst undergraduate medical community and probably the most popular one.
    • What’s more, its indexed in pubmed (has an NLM id but not indexed in Index Medicus. I don’t know what difference it makes/doesn’t make.)
  1. Journal of Young Investigators (JYI) -
    • Its been around since 10 years and so is popular as well.
    • I have no idea about its pubmed status (probably not indexed)
  1. Reinvention: a journal of undergraduate research
    • Published by the University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University (UK)
    • Launched its first issue in 2007
    • Home page states it has got an ISSN id but could not find it in pubmed.

      4. Australasian Medical Journal

- Launched in 2008, this journal is rapidly gaining popularity in India and other nations

- The journal has many novel sections which allow more opportunities to get our work published

- Not indexed in PubMed but can be found in other databases such as Index CopernicusGoogle scholar, etc.

      *NOTE :

      1.To check about the pubmed status, following link may   be approached -

      2. undergraduate medical students can submit research articles to the conventional journals as well (for e.g, Lancet, NEJM, etc.). But obviously such journals are highly reputed. So they receive thousands of research articles to review for each issue. So chances for our study to get published will obviously be bleak (not impossible though). Most studies published here are Multi-National, Multi-centric trials and the like.

      Besides, there are many journals of individual universities, mostly of the US and UK and some of these seem to accept international articles. (for eg., AJUR: American Journal of Undergraduate Research, IMPULSE: An Undergraduate Journal for Neuroscience, etc.) However, I have no idea, contact or correspondence with any of these and you guys may individually verify if need arises.

      FINALLY, I have just provided a list of the journals I could manage to find and by no means this list is All-exhaustive. Neither do I claim that these are the best journals or anything like that. The list is just to aid all of us to do justice to our research aptitude. I myself haven’t got any article of mine published at the present moment, so I cannot comment on the credibility of any journal.

      One more thing guys, getting a research published is a very tedious, time-consuming affair. May take anywhere between 3months to 2 years!!! (That’s what my guide told me). So, BE PATIENT…

      Any updates/ other journals that you know or comments are warmly welcomed! 

medical education event

thanks for Ur nice article
we students in our university in Iran had held a festival about medical education last year on medical education day
i should ask u may i publishing its full report in some authoritative journal?

Can you tell me how PLoS one

Can you tell me how PLoS one journal is? Is it indexed and will a publication in it help me with my residency in America?

online medical research publication

For those who are unable to or do not wish to wait for the peer review process associated in publishing in large peer reviewed journals, or have work that has been rejected from these publications, you can now publish your work online for free at  Unlike a journal we do not take the copyright, therefore you can publish elsewhere if you like.  Your research, case study, poster project, or quality improvement projects will be posted online and distrubuted to the medical community via social networking upon submission.  Your publication will be seen by more individuals that if you were to publish in many of the less well known peer reviewed journals.  Check it out, the site was launched in June 2010.


Jeremy Mills, D.O.

President, Research Vault

@ Umar bhai

I had a quick question: When emailing profs about working on a research project, is it recommended to include a CV and cover letter? (My CV is not so good as I have no prior research experience, big accomplishments.) Thanks.

yes it is a MUST... CV is

umar's picture

yes it is a MUST... CV is MUST and cover letter.... optional!

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.


hey medisid i was aware of this thing called impact factor/ projected impact factor! but did not know wat it actually meant so din include it in my article.. however thnx for d same mate!

n thnx for d compliments abt the article (though i dont deserve it)

hope the article serves its purpose by helpin u n evry1 out der! cheers

@ Andy , Umar bhai and all

vaibhav's picture

 I m in a little fix.. i had made a presentation on a rare case in a national anatomy conference n.. My mentor wants to get it published in Indian journal for plastic surgery... with d mention of my name too.. but i heard smewher that if u publish an article in one journal u cant publish it elsewher.. so if publishin it in that indian journal will nil my chances of gettin it published in american journals? or can i still publish it? if any1 has any idea plz let me know.. thnk u

@ vaibhav


its true that once u decide to submit a publication to a journal , U CANNOT get it published in any other journal. in fact at time of publication almost all journals will giv d followin statement in their terms & conditions section- "by agreein to submit, i am aware dat i am not submitting this article/case report to any other journal for reviewing nor has it been published in any other journal. I also am aware dat XYZ journal will exclusively have d rights of publication, online uploading etc., in case d article is accepted for publication".

however, u can submit it simultaneously 2 two journals in case u want...cuz it takes 3-9 months for reply from a journal and in case one journal accepts and other rejects, u can save valuable time rather dan submittin to one, gettin a rejection(god forbid) and then submittin to another and waitin once again!

but there's a catch to this too, since if both journalsaccept ur article, then evn i dunno wat to do!! so its a gamble dat u can take if u want to save time...

Hope dat helps! all d best!


@ Anmol converted to andy :P lol

vaibhav's picture

 Thanks for the reply bro... i guess i will have to compromise on the Indian journal of plastic surgery as it is my mentors patient so i cant go against him.. :( any way somethin is better than nothin... will try to write sme other article ... n i knw how frustrating it is bro.. i was totally free i mean doin it durin my internship was a tough job u managing final year n this .. its really great on ur part.. All the best .. Cheers

Impact Factor!

Nice article which i will put to good use for personal benefit. Thanks Andy.

I would like to one note about the relative reputation of journals. Its decided by 'Impact Factor' of each journal. When you have got a very good study and you have many options; then it is wise to decide between journals by its IF. The worlds most reputed journal is NEJM(New England-, published in Massachhussets). Its IF is around 40. And it is very diffcult to get a publication there. Even PhDs and faculty are continuously striving for it. The Indian Journal of Medical Research(official pub of ICMR) has an IF of 2-3(yes between 2 and 3!) and IJMR claims to be having the highest IF among all indian journals. So IF is a good way to decide the relative reputation of indexed journals. The calculation of IF is done by the # of references cited by other journals to the articles of journals being tested for its IF. Its a complex statistical process beyond simple understanding.

But having said that any article in an indexed journal is good. If possible try for journals with high IF. But a non-indexed publication is fine too, coz it will prove that you are well aquainted with the process of writing an article and getting it published, than others who dont.

Best Wishes and Andy continue passing things like this to us and i hope u do good in ur final exams.

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