Publishing with Karger: Fabia’s Experience

Publishing your research as a first-time author can be a daunting experience.  It is therefore very important that publishers support their authors through every step of the Cycle of Knowledge to the final dissemination of an article.

Fabia Stich, author of "The Potential Role of Sleep in Promoting a Healthy Body Composition: Underlying Mechanisms Determining Muscle, Fat, and Bone Mass and Their Association with Sleep" from the Karger journal "Neuroendocrinology"

We spoke with our author, Ms. Fabia Stich, who recently published her first research article on “The Potential Role of Sleep in Promoting a Healthy Body Composition” with Karger in the journal Neuroendocrinology. Fabia is affiliated with the Neural Control of Movement Lab within the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich. We are pleased to learn more about her research and experience publishing with Karger.

Please could you tell us a little bit about your background and your area of research?

I studied health sciences and technology with a major in molecular health sciences. During my Master’s, I discovered my interest in the interface between neuroscience and the molecular pathways that are involved in human physiology and pathology. It was more by chance that I then got into sleep research, where I found exactly this interesting interface. As a Master’s student, I became part of a wonderful sleep research team at ETH Zurich, where I was able to contribute to ongoing research with my own research questions focusing on molecular pathways.

You recently published a manuscript in Neuroendocrinology, can you tell us a little about your paper?

Sleep plays an essential role in human life and we all know that it is important to get enough sleep. It is also well known that sleep deprivation negatively impacts cognitive performance and may ultimately increase the risk of accidents. However, that unhealthy sleeping habits also contribute to an unhealthy body composition is often neglected, likely because the consequence only slowly and steadily becomes apparent. There is evidence for sleep guiding certain pathways contributing to the balance of body core tissues: bone, fat and muscle mass. In our paper we reviewed potential mechanisms by which sleep and sleep oscillations may influence underlying pathways regulating body core tissues under resting and challenging conditions. Among other pathways, the human growth hormone has been found to be involved in turnover pathways of all core tissues and at the same time it is linked to the brain activity characterizing deep sleep. Therefore, deep sleep seems to play a key role in connecting sleep to the human body composition and should be further investigated in well-controlled studies.

How do you think the findings of your study might be used in the future?

Given the increasing prevalence of different chronic diseases resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle, sleep could, alongside diet and physical activity, be a key target to promote a healthy body composition. These days mainly diet and physical inactivity are believed to cause an accumulation of adipose tissue and other unhealthy changes in body core tissue, whereas sleep is rarely considered as a causal risk factor. However, the importance of sleep is still underestimated, and wrongly so, because as shown in this review, there is a good evidence for the link between sleep and body composition. The identification of sleep characteristics that are critically involved in the regulation of body core tissues has great potential as a target for future treatment possibilities for lifestyle-related diseases and comorbidities.

Why did you decide to publish this study with Karger?

After reading the description of the Karger journal Neuroendocrinology I knew that our publication was a perfect fit.  According to the editor’s description of the journal, Neuroendocrinology “explores the complex bidirectional interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine systems […]” – which was exactly what we focused on in the review paper: the bidirectional relationship between sleep (as a central nervous system phenomenon) and endocrine pathways regulating body core tissues.  Karger’s open access journals make knowledge more accessible and they truly support Karger’s mission to connect and advance health sciences. I was impressed by their professional and personal manner and I would recommend them to any other health scientist.

Can you tell us a little about your experience of publishing with Karger?

After I had written my review, it had to be customized to comply with the technical guidelines for the preparation of manuscripts. The requirements are clearly listed and easy to understand in the “Guidelines for Authors”. After the manuscript meets the specifications in all respects, it is ready to be submitted. All Karger journals offer very easy online submission. The process is straightforward. After submission, the status can be viewed on the portal at any time. This way, you always know who is currently dealing with the paper. If further action by the author is required, e.g. an adjustment and resubmission, you will also be informed by Karger via e-mail. If the submission is incomplete or does not formally meet the requirements, you will be informed within a few days and can make the appropriate adjustments. I also had the positive experience that Karger is always available to help if anything is unclear.

What advice would you give to researchers writing their first articles to get the most out of the publishing process?

If you are thinking about publishing, usually you have done high quality and interesting research you want to share with the research community. Keep in mind that the readers are not a reflection of you. They may come from a completely different field of research and still be interested in your research. Therefore, always peer-review your work, it will improve the quality of work. Peer review can identify aspects you would never have thought of yourself or it may give you ideas of ways to improve your work. And then, just do it – submit your paper.

Thank you very much for telling us about your research and experience publishing with us here at Karger. We are certain that your comments will help others in the future.

Read Fabia’s article and the latest from Neuroendocrinology.

If you are interested in publishing with Karger, read this blog post on the submission process at Karger and find the answers to all the common questions.