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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-29

Types of research articles and research misconduct: Book review

1 Medical Surgical Nursing, College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Nursing, University Health, 4502 Medical Drive San Antonia, Texas, USA

Date of Submission18-Mar-2021
Date of Decision02-Apr-2021
Date of Acceptance10-Jun-2021
Date of Web Publication17-Aug-2021

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Nipin Kalal
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jihs.jihs_6_21

Rights and Permissions

The field of research involves persistence and hard work to conduct research and understand the results. It is a matter of concern for several initial career researchers that how to publish article. It is significant to have a comprehensive idea about the different kinds of articles that can be publish in different journals. This comprehensive book review provides ideas about types of research articles and research misconducts.

Keywords: Plagiarism, research misconducts, research paper, types of research articles

How to cite this article:
Kalal N, Rana N, Merchant M. Types of research articles and research misconduct: Book review. J Integr Health Sci 2021;9:24-9

How to cite this URL:
Kalal N, Rana N, Merchant M. Types of research articles and research misconduct: Book review. J Integr Health Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Jun 10];9:24-9. Available from: https://www.jihs.in/text.asp?2021/9/1/24/323956

  Introduction Top

The field of research involves perseverance and hard work to conduct research and infer the results. In this modest academic world, we all are expecting to publish research articles timely in our profession and really it is a matter of concern for several initial career researchers that how to publish article. It is significant to have a comprehensive idea about the different kinds of articles that can be publish in different journals. This will assist researcher to know the conducts in which dissemination of research work can be done and find what type of article would be appropriate for particular study. Most of the articles published are of the following types; original research, commentary article, letter to editor, editorial, perspectives, case study, case series, case report, review articles, systematic review, meta-analysis.[1] It is good practice to adopt policies and ethics before publishing any paper in journal. Ethics are moral conduct which have to follow while writing research paper or article. Unethical practices may be dangerous and threatening for the authors, it may bias the results of study. Hence, this is essential to sensitize all authors about use of scientific principles while writing and publishing paper. The objective of this article is to highlight the types of articles and kinds of misconduct in research.

  Methods Top

This book review summarizes the types of research articles and misconduct in research. We browsed PubMed, Google scholar, research gate, bibliographies, and related references for collecting information using MeSH terms and free text terms such As “Types Of Research Articles,” “Misconduct In Research,” “Original article,” “Case study,” “Case report,” “Letter to Editor,” “Editorial,” “Case series,” “Perspective,” “Systematic review,” “Review article,” “Meta-analysis.”

  Types of Articles Top

Original research/original article

Original article is the most common type of manuscript in journal. It is used to publish full information of data from research. It is also termed as original article, research article, research, primary literature, or just an article, depending on the journal.[1] Original research articles are long, with the word limit extending from 3000 to 6000.[2],[3] to 12,000 words for few journals.[4] To write an original article effectively, there are three basic prerequisites called “basic triad” which consist of, a subject in detail, understanding of the basic structure of a peer-reviewed article and fundamental of good writing.[5]

The original article contains the following items: A title page, an abstract, introduction, material and methods, results, discussion, summary, limitations, conclusion, recommendation, references, tables, figures, legends to figures, and acknowledgments. A checklist of the basic items is provided to the author is known as the author's checklist, it helps potential authors to comprehend the request of the journal and the criteria utilized by the reviewer is the reviewer's checklist.[5]

There could be standard and ideal approach to write an original research paper, i.e., to follow the IMRAD format: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion.[6],[7],[8]

The introduction states concisely the need and purpose of the study. The methods section should give a comprehensive clarification about the execution of the study. The results of the study should be well represented, in the form of tables. The discussion clarifies the significance of study results and compares with research studies of others authors. It also comprises of limitations and conclusion of study supported by the results. However, it is essential to do a good research work prior to write original article. Although if original article, is well written, conducted research is poor or has some methodological flaws, will not be able to be published in a high impact-factor journal.[7]

Commentary article

A commentary article is a remark on new published article. Commentary articles are pled by the chief editor from reviewers or specialists in the field or it can be submitted spontaneously. The author is contacting one of the Editors-in-Chief to check on the suitability of topic.[9] Authors should provide an abstract of 150 words or less. The body of a commentary might have section headings and subsections.[10] The objective of publishing commentaries is to enhance the research field by providing an opportunity for varying viewpoints on a certain topic under discussion in the specific journal. The writer of a commentary article possibly has in-depth understanding of the topic and is intense to present a novel and unique view on current problems, essential notions, and predominant ideas. Commentary article is use theoretical or operational outlook that sheds or reflects light on the issues addressed in the main article, on the writer's experiences in applicability of the issues addressed, and on the article in particular health and well-being settings.[11]

Letter to editor

It is a usually a short method of communiqué, and it can be written on any topic which draws the attention of the readers. Letter to editor is essential, for most of the journals and they are published under the observation of the editor. The objective of composing a letter to the editor is to comment on a published article,[9],[12] research study reports, case reports, case series, adversarial response to a drug can be expressed as a letter.[13] These interpretations, however, should be objective and have productive comments,[8] and the authors of the article writers are requested to respond to these letters (i.e., author's reply to the letter). Letter to editor must have goal, should be short, concise, and must carry a clear message that worth publication. It has two types, i.e., common and uncommon. The common type of editorial letter, in which responses to a previously published article (positive or negative comments), a brief feedback on clinical/research data, case reports are included. Comments on communal issues or journal's policy, comments on journal's quality or format, statement on patients, access to research content, or integrated studies are examples of uncommon type of editorial letter.[13] Letters to editor must be typed double-spaced and could not have abstracts and also could not be >500 words long.

The Letter will be sent to the editor in charge of particular post. If the editor believes that publication is needed, he will seek feedback from the article's corresponding author and make a recommendation to the editor in chief. The editor in chief has the final say on whether article will published or not.[10]


The publication type editorial will be used for articles stating opinions or written by scholarly journal editors[14] representing the official review of a society or organization are usually fundamental.[15] Editorials are frequently written in response to papers published in the same issue of a journal. It consists of a declaration of the editor or publisher of a journal's opinions, concepts, and policy, typically on current medical problems or those that have a scientific influence on the medical community or society at large. Editors' editorials are written in journals.[15] Which is quickly recognized. It always appears in start of a journal and is usually called editorial by the publisher. In most cases, an Editorial is not indexed in depth.[16] It should contain an abstract of 150 words or fewer.[10] Editorials has upper limit of 500 words conveyed by members of board of editor's address issues of science, politics, or policy.


Perspectives are brief reviews of essential concepts or predominant ideas or a few related concepts,[4] emphasizing on opinion and synthesis.[17] These are deliberated as secondary source of knowledge. Perspectives and are generally short articles with a word count of about 2000 words.[4] The writers should provide an abstract of 150 words or less.[10]

Case study

There is no single definition of case study.[18] Case study is a research design that involves an intensive and holistic analysis of present phenomena in a factual setting.[19],[20] Case study uses a variety of methods and data sources to investigate, define, or explain a single bounded case in time and space[20] (i.e., an occurrence, person, community, organization, or program).[18] The focus of a case study is typically on the basic features of the case under consideration, as well as its contextual dimensions, associations, and behaviors that influence it. As a qualitative approach case study research is described, in which the researcher determines a real-life, contemporary bounded structure (single or multiple case), i.e., multiple cases over time, through systematic, in-depth examination. Multiple sources of information, reports, a case summary, and case themes are included. In a case study, the unit of analysis could be several cases (a multisite study) or a single case (a within-site case study).[20] Case studies serve as a basis for improving clinical knowledge and problem-solving strategies.[21]

Case series

Case series is also termed as clinical series, which is one of the foremost types of observational and descriptive research design in which there is description of experiences of a small group of people. It gives a comprehensive description of each study subject's clinical practice. In a case study, a large number of people are evaluated and data are summarized using descriptive statistical measures but case series is a type of single case study in which researchers describe a number of cases and how they relate to one another and to the existing body of literature.[22]

The primary difference between case reports/series and the single-subject studies is that in a case report/series, the researcher does not control the intervention; instead, researcher simple explains and records the normal course of the intervention. In spite of many shortcomings, case series have a major impact on present medical practice, and they are widely used for future clinical study. Case series samples (patients) with both a specific outcome and a specific exposure, or samples (patients) with a specific outcome that contains patients regardless of exposure.[22] Informal versus formal case series, consecutive versus nonconsecutive case series, clinical versus population-based series, exposure or outcome-based sampling are types of case series.

According to Abu-Zidan et al. case series should contain more than four patients, while case studies should have four or fewer patients.[23]

Case report

The case report is precise and important form of study design that focuses on a specific aspect of patient care with three or fewer patients. It is the most important piece of research writing in the field of health. Case reports have educational values, contribute to health knowledge,[24] or demonstrate the need for improvements in clinical practice, diagnostic/prognostic approaches[25] and patient management. A case report is a comprehensive report of the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patient.[24]

The first line of evidence in health care is case reports, which form the basis of the evidence-based pyramid. In case reports researcher able to find the following: (a) Uncommon observations; (b) an unexpected correlation between diseases or symptoms; (c) n unforeseen study result; (d) finding out the probable pathogenesis of a disease or an adversative effect; (e) identifying features of a disease; unusual combination of conditions leading to confusion; (g) innovative therapeutic approaches; (h) variations of anatomical structures; (i) a newest theory; (j) a concern about an established theory; and (k) personal impact.[25] The lack of generalizability and consequences in clinical practice, are variables that are unsuitable for the learning model, are the most important limitations.[24]

Review article

Review articles provide a complete summary of research on a definite topic, and a viewpoint on the state of the field and where it is heading.[26] The primary goal of writing a review is to create a readable synthesis of the best resources available in the literature for a specific research issue or an existing area of research.[27] Reviews are widely read and mostly cited. Generally, reviews cite approximately 100 primary research articles.[26]

Systematic review

Systematic review is systematic method which consist of in-depth, comprehensive plan and search strategy which reduces bias by finding, evaluating, synthesizing all applicable studies,[28],[29] and summarize evidence on a particular topic or precise question.[30] The evidence-based pyramid shows that systematic reviews have a high level of evidence.[31] As a result, a well-conducted systematic review is seen as a practical solution for keeping health clinicians up to date on existing evidence-based medicine. Moreover, despite the existence of guidelines for performing a systematic review effectively, there are some common steps that include framing the issue, then identifying appropriate work which includes criteria and searching for articles, evaluating the quality of included research, summarizing the data, and interpreting the findings.[32]

The excellence of studies is assessed or measured during the systematic review process, the research findings are statistically meta-analyzed based on their significance.[33]


Meta-analysis is a type of systematic review.[28] “Meta” comes from the Greek word denotes “after” or “beyond.” Meta-analysis is an “analysis of analyses.”[34],[35] It is a valid, objective, and scientific method[27] or statistical technique of analyzing and combining results of numerous preceding studies into single estimate, as a result the challenges of limited sample sizes and insufficient statistical strength are overcome.[34] Meta-analysis aids in the accumulation and summarization of information in a research field.[33] The requisite for the validity of meta-analysis is statistical data from the included studies will have a similar research question and methodology.[36],[37] A meta-analysis can explore the origins of heterogeneity and classify subgroups linked to the factor of concern, potentially revealing new knowledge for upcoming studies.[33] Meta-analysis helps in reviewing large consolidated, quantitative, often complex, and sometimes contradictory body of literature.[38]

Research misconduct

Each journal has scientific prescribe guidelines to avoid misconduct in research paper.


Plagiarism springs from Latin word “plagiarius” which suggests “kidnapper,” who abducts the kid.[39] The word plagiarism embarked on the Oxford English dictionary in 1621. Plagiarism is considered as crime of academia because its involved act of piracy, forgery, and fraud.[40] Plagiarism does not follow the copyright law. While writing and publishing any scientific paper honesty should be maintained. The World Association of Medical Editors[41] define plagiarism as “the utilization of others' published and unpublished motives or words without attribution or prior approval and dispensing them as new and authentic instead of derived from an existing root.”

Types of plagiarism

Direct plagiarism

Direct plagiarism is a transcription of word for word in a particular paragraph or in a whole of someone else's work without citation. In such kind of plagiarism authors permission are not taken and his credential are not mention in acknowledgment. The intended plagiarism of someone else's work is fraudulent, immoral, and need strict disciplinary action against the researcher.[42]

Mosaic plagiarism

In mosaic plagiarism, author use phrases from original source without using a quotation. Sometimes authors find synonyms to vary word or meaning of the word while keeping the same statement or structure. Such kind of act is called as “patch writing,”[42] While writing the statement, modification are made in words and style but meaning and actuality remain same as it was in phrases.[43]

Accidental plagiarism

If an author avoid citing the sources or misquotes their sources, accidental plagiarism occurs. Accidental plagiarism also takes place when unintentionally paraphrases a source by using similar words, groups of words, and modify sentence structure without acknowledgment. The author should be very clear about the process of citation and take caution while taking any notes from previous published articles.

  Collusion Top

In case of Collusion author is hiring or approaching to professionals or agency to write a significant amount of work with or without paying money. Once it is done then the plagiarist presents it as its own work. This is a form of illegal and unauthorized work.[44]


Fabrication is the making up research data and results and reporting it when required in future.[45] In fabrication, data are constructed or addition of data or characteristics that never occurred in the collection of data. Such modification of data in the study has deleterious effect on outcome of the study and scientific literature.


Manipulating research materials, table, images, data, equipment, or processes. Falsification may have modification or deleting data that the research is not accurately represented.[46] Falsification is serious kind of misconduct because researcher convert and modify all scientific record that does not correctly reflect the true data.[46]

In falsification, the prevailing data is obliterate to require on the specified form or manipulated to possess a desired result.[47] “Obliterate and manipulated” are often undertaken through the use of not right for the purpose methods of facts observations and data analysis,[48] the exclusion of outliers in data evaluation[49] or the unpermitted changes of explicit.[50]

Inappropriate authorship

Authorship credit should go to the one who gives his contribution from selection of research title to analysis of research study. Most of the journal asked on a checklist to mention the precise role of every author or contributor on each step of work.

Different types or styles of inappropriate authorship are describe below.[51]

Ghost writing

Ghostwriting means hiring contract employee as an author to write down a piece of writing an article that is officially credited to a different person as an author. In some cases, senior designation person asking to a junior to write and prepare a manuscript, but all benefits and credit goes to senior author not the junior. If anyone who is not involved in writing and preparing any part of the manuscript and authors pay someone to write down the article is considered ghostwriting.[52]

Guest authorship

A guest author means intentionally mentioned of author name who has not done any writing work and not given any inputs or contributions in the research work or publication. This is often carry out to increase the probabilities of acceptance of manuscript by journal editors.[52],[53] There are several kinds of guest authors. Some leaders who are well known and revered personality in their field of interest who are paid to use their name. Some person are accepting gift authorship to reinforce their curriculum vitae.[54] Few authors may add their friend or relative name in paper without their contribution is the example of guest authorship.

Duplicate submission and multiple submission

When an author put forward his own paper or any part of paper for publication, which is already published to a different journal, without disclosing prior submission or without disclosing to the initials authors named is called Duplicate publication.[55]

If authors submit one same manuscript to two or more than two journal at a time is called as multiple submission. It can result in more than one journal publishing that specific paper.[56] It has been noticed that authors may do multiple submission due to a need for quicker publication. Once the manuscript is accepted by anyone journal, very soon authors will withdraw their manuscript from other journal.[57]

When an author republished a part or complete article which is already published, it is labeled as a redundant publication.[58]

Salami publication

If the author is publishing the single data or analysis into more than one or multiple article is called salami publication or salami slicing.[20] Salami slicing creating more manuscript by dividing and breaking a single study or analysis for publications. These segments are mentioned as “slices” of a study.

Competing interests/Conflict of interest

A competing interest also referred as a “conflict of interest,” can occur once you have a financial, legalized, or professional association with other organizations, or with the people working with them. If authors have a conflict of interest then it will influence the research work. Author should unveil interests which may seem to influence their ability to present or review work impartially and objectively.[59]



Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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