From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, October 8, 2010

Editor's note: This feature is written by nursing staff development expert Adrianne Avillion. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of staff development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Q: I recently submitted a manuscript for publication to a professional nursing journal. It is my first attempt at publication, and I'm really excited. The article deals with a project that staff development and staff nurses implemented together and I know it would be of interest to readers of a number of journals. Can I submit the same manuscript to more than one journal at a time?

It's a risk to submit an identical manuscript to more than one journal at a time. If a journal accepts your manuscript and publishes it, the journal's publishing company owns the copyright to that article. Many authors don't realize this and assume they can simply publish the same manuscript in multiple publications, but this would be a copyright violation.

You can, however, submit different manuscripts for publication on the same topic. For example, suppose you focus on the staff development aspects of your project and have the staff development specialists act as the primary authors. It would be most appropriate for this article to be submitted to a journal that is dedicated to staff development or nursing continuing education. Another manuscript could use the clinicians as primary authors and focus on the clinical aspects of the project. This article would be most appropriately submitted to a journal that is dedicated to clinical issues. Thus the same project, but with different areas of emphasis, can be written as two different articles and submitted to two different journals. But the article must be different. You can't just change a paragraph or two; you must write completely different articles.

Another option is to submit your article to one journal and wait for a response. If your manuscript is not accepted, you may submit the article to another journal. Most journals that reject an article usually give specific reasons for the rejection. You would be wise to consider any constructive criticism and revise your article accordingly. Many journals accept an article provisionally, but require you make specific revisions before acceptance is absolute. Don't be discouraged if this happens. Most writers are asked to make revisions prior to publication. Good luck!

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