The translational impact of articles published in Letters in Applied Microbiology is now at the forefront of the journal's strategy, as is reflected by the new ‘Significance and Impact of the Study’ section in each article. This section is not a summary of the abstract, but a reflection of the results reported in the published article and how these results will be applicable in their respective field.
In considering the impact of the study, authors should reflect on what constructive and applied contribution their study will make to their field of research. Authors are reminded that Letters in Applied Microbiology publishes across a wide range of applied microbiology areas and that readers might not necessarily be familiar with their specific field of research. The impact of what is being reported in the study should be written with a nonexpert reader in mind.
The significance of the study should reflect on the extent of the contribution made by the study to improve our understanding, to change a concept or to promote a new hypothesis in a particular field of research. The significance of the study could be simply reflected by the following two questions: Why should my study be published? What significant scientific contribution is my study making to my field of research? The significance of the study should also be written with a nonexpert in mind.
Letters in Applied Microbiology is ideally placed to become the medium in which significant studies from a global authorship can be rapidly published. With this in mind, the Significance and Impact of the Study is highly visible in both the online and print editions of the journal, and as such, it is important that authors take full advantage to promote and highlight the key messages of their article.
The global readership of Letters in Applied Microbiology ensures a properly written Significance and Impact of the Study section can not only promote greater interest from readers within the field of research of a given article, but also across a wider audience.
Testing for antimicrobial activity
Antimicrobials are a key topic for Letters in Applied Microbiology. Articles featuring novel actives, potentiation of antimicrobial activity and synergism or antimicrobial resistance are prominent items, although a number of submissions cannot be published because they lack standardized test methodologies. Authors are now provided with new guidelines, under the heading ‘Antibiotic antimicrobial susceptibility testing and microbial resistance’ in the main journal guidelines, to ensure that the methodologies used to measure antimicrobial activity and to define microbial resistance and multiresistance are appropriate. By promoting the use of standardized testing, I want to ensure the usability of the results published in Letters in Applied Microbiology.
Finally, I take this opportunity to thank the Editors and the reviewers who are committed to providing comprehensive and constructive reviews, which remains an important service of Letters in Applied Microbiology to each author.
The Background Section or Significance (Need) for the Work
This section will be labeled differently depending on the guidelines. It addresses why the proposed work is important in the field, and answers the question, “so what?” In this section, provide the status quo of the relevant work field and identify a gap in knowledge or activities that must be filled to move the field forward. Sufficient details should be given in this discussion (1) to make clear what the research problem is and exactly what has been accomplished; (2) to give evidence of your own competence in the field; and (3) to show why the previous work needs to be continued.
Literature reviews should be selective and critical. Reviewers do not want to read through a voluminous working bibliography; they want to know the pertinent works and your evaluation of them. Discussions of work done by others should therefore lead the reader to a clear impression of how you will be building upon what has already been done and how your work differs from theirs. It is important to establish what is original in your approach (innovative), what circumstances have changed since related work was done, or what is unique about the time and place of the proposed research. Note: guidelines may require a separate section for innovation or for transformative potential of the work.
This is one place where a PI may include their own work (and that of their research team) related or preliminary to the proposed study. Preliminary data or pilot studies must relate directly to the hypothesis or aims, and show the reviewer that the aims are feasible and the team has the required experience and skills. Data may or may not be published, but published data have more credibility.
Next: Project Purpose
Updated in 2014 by Christine Black.
Originally produced by Don Thackrey.