Getting published

Add to favourites

There are a variety of ways health and social care staff can share their experiences to benefit others. This guidance focuses on publishing in journals.

The content is also available in downloadable PDF format.


There are many reasons why you might want to publish, for example:

  • You have an interesting and/or innovative story
  • To educate others
  • To share your clinical work, your research or your experience
  • To provoke debate
  • To change practice
  • Professional development
  • Status, recognition and sense of achievement for the individual or team
  • Adding to the existing body of literature
  • You want to make a difference in practice
  • In educational institutions, you must publish or perish it is different in the NHS but this means you are less likely to be given dedicated time to write
  • Ethical duty to share your findings to benefit others

The important point is to be clear why YOU are writing the paper and want to get it published.

It is hard work but worth the effort as it is rewarding to see your work in print.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. WHY are you writing it?
  2. WHO are you writing it for (target audience)?
  3. WHERE do you aim to publish?
  4. WHAT do you need to do?

Finding and Using Knowledge  provides guidance on ways to get knowledge used in practice and alternative ways to share knowledge.

How to get published

In October 2023 NES Knowledge Services organised a series of talks on the topic of 'How to Get Published'.

The sessions covered:

  • Publication Research and Ethics
  • What's it all about?  The publishing process and what to think about
  • Finding a home for your paper: Choosing a publisher and journal
  • Copyright in NHS Scotland 
  • What is Open Access?  
  • Beginners guide to referencing and plagiarism 
  • Getting the best out of RefWorks 
  • The authors view: General discussion panel session

Recordings of all the sessions are available on Getting Published Month 2023.


2017 Getting Published Webinar:

A webinar hosted in 2017 by NES Knowledge Services looked at how to get your improvement project findings, clinical work, research or experience published. There were speakers from publishers who discussed how to: 

  • Write for publication
  • Find a journal
  • Navigate the review process
  • Publish and promote your work

Watch the recording, and access the resource list on Turas Learn.

General tools and guidance

The British Library have a range of resources related to publishing research including leaflets on:

  • A Guide to Publishing Reaserch
  • A Guide to Sharing Your Research Online

These are part of the British Library Scholalry Communications Toolkit.  

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) Knowledge Services continues to develop this guidance.

Thank you to all those involved in the 2023 and 2017 events as well as Healthcare Improvement Scotland for sharing their local toolkit that supports staff to publish.