How To Write a Scientific Paper A General Guide Presentation Sources Significant portions were adapted from a 2005 Elsevier Presentation Additional material adapted from Journal Development Authors workshop material: INASP June 2005 Key Topics
Key elements of publishing Article submission/peer review process Author and reader priorities Hands on activities Publish or Perish Publishing is the chief currency in this universe, the main source of validation of ones research, and often the key indicator of academic success. Promotion and tenure committees value peerreviewed publications above all;... that is,
regrettably, even above clinical performance or community service. Open access anxiety in the publish or perish world blogged by Jacalyn Clark Overview Task of writing a research paper can be daunting Even with groundbreaking research, unless the paper is correctly written: at best, publication will be delayed at worse, never published Goal is to provide an overview of how to write a well-structured research paper for
publication Key Elements of Publishing Ethical Issues Style and language Structure of paper
Components of paper Article submission/journal selection Publishers process/peer review Ethical Issues Disclosure of Conflict of Interest Acknowledgment of funding sources Image manipulation guidelines
Online submission - supplemental information (datasets, videos) For Health Sciences Submission of a Clinical Trials to a Central Registry Institutional Review Board approval See: Blackwell Science - Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/Publicationethics/ Style and Language Refer to the journals author guide for notes on style (see Publishing Skills Web-Bibliography
for examples) Some authors write their paper with a specific journal in mind Others write the paper and then adapt it to fit the style of a journal they subsequently choose Objective is to report your findings and conclusions clearly and concisely as possible Style and Language If English is not your first language, find a native English speaker (if possible) to review the content and language of the paper before
submitting it Regardless of primary language, find a colleague/editor to review the content and language of the paper See: Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication http://www.icmje.org/ Structure of a Paper Scientific writing follows a rigid structure a format developed over hundreds of years Consequently, a paper can be read at several levels:
Some people just will refer to the title Others may read only the title and abstract Others will read the paper for a deeper understanding Note: this structured abstract format also is invaluable for submitting papers to workshops or conferences. Components of a Paper Purpose Clearly describes contents Ensures recognition for the writer(s) Describes what was done 150 words Ensures the article is correctly identified
Key Words (some journals) in abstracting and indexing services Explains the problem Introduction Explains how the data were collected Methods Describes what was discovered Results Discusses the implications of the findings Discussion Ensures those who helped in the research Acknowledgements are recognised
Ensures previously published work is References recognised Provides supplemental data for the expert Appendices (some journals) reader Section Title Authors Abstract Authors Listing ONLY include those who have made an
intellectual contribution to the research OR those who will publicly defend the data and conclusions, and who have approved the final version Order of the names of the authors can vary from discipline to discipline In some fields, the corresponding authors name appears first Title Describes the papers content clearly and precisely including keywords Is the advertisement for the article
Do not use abbreviations and jargon Search engines/indexing databases depend on the accuracy of the title - since they use the keywords to identify relevant articles Abstract Briefly summarize (approximately 150 words) the problem, the method, the results, and the conclusions so that The reader can decide whether or not to read the whole article Together, the title and the abstract should stand on their own
Many authors write the abstract last so that it accurately reflects the content of the paper See: The Structured Abstract: An Essential Tool for Research http://research.mlanet.org/structured_abstract.html Introduction Clearly state the: Problem being investigated Background that explains the problem Reasons for conducting the research Summarize relevant research to provide context State how your work differs from published work
Identify the questions you are answering Explain what other findings, if any, you are challenging or extending Briefly describe the experiment, hypothesis(es), research question(s); general experimental design or method Methods Provide the reader enough details so they can understand and replicate your research Explain how you studied the problem, identify the procedures you followed, and order these chronologically where possible Explain new methodology in detail; otherwise name
the method and cite the previously published work Include the frequency of observations, what types of data were recorded, etc. Be precise in describing measurements and include errors of measurement or research design limits Gerald had begun to think that his methodology was too detailed. Results Objectively present your findings, and explain what was found Show that your new results are contributing to
the body of scientific knowledge Follow a logical sequence based on the tables and figures presenting the findings to answer the question or hypothesis Figures should have a brief description (a legend), providing the reader sufficient information to know how the data were produced Discussion/Conclusion Describe what your results mean in context of what was already known about the subject Indicate how the results relate to expectations and to the literature previously cited
Explain how the research has moved the body of scientific knowledge forward Do not extend your conclusions beyond what is directly supported by your results - avoid undue speculation Outline the next steps for further study References Whenever you draw upon previously published work, you must acknowledge the source Any information not from your experiment and not common knowledge should be recognized by a citation
How references are presented varies considerably - refer to notes for authors for the specific journal Avoid references that are difficult to find Avoid listing related references that were not important to the study Elements of (one type of) Reference Citation Harvard Reference Style Uses the author's name and date of publication in the body of the text, and the
bibliography is given alphabetically by author Adams, A.B. (1983a) Article title: subtitle. Journal Title 46 (Suppl. 2), 617-619 Adams, A.B. (1983b) Book Title. Publisher, New York. Bennett, W.P., Hoskins, M.A., Brady, F.P. et al. (1993) Article title. Journal Title 334 , 3135. Vancouver Reference Style Uses a number series to indicate references; bibliographies list these in numerical order as they appear in the text
1. Adams, A.B. (1983) Article title: subtitle. Journal Title 46 (Suppl. 2), 617-619. 2. Lessells, D.E. (1989) Chapter title. In: Arnold, J.R. & Davies, G.H.B. (eds.) Book Title , 3rd edn. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp. 3268. 3. Bennett, W.P., Hoskins, M.A., Brady, F.P. et al. (1993) Article title. Journal Title 334 , 31-35. Summaries/Examples of Styles International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Sample References http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/uniform_requirements.html
How to Cite References/Vancouver Style, Murdoch University, Australia http://wwwlib.murdoch.edu.au/find/citation/vancouver.html Blackwell Publishing Online/References http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/authors/reference_text.asp BMA Reference Styles http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/LIBReferenceStyles Reference Management Software Tools Tools such as EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero can be used to create the footnote and reference format required by a
specific publisher See the Reference Management Software Tools modules to learn how to access, download and use these options Jane suddenly realised that her reference list had too many self citations Article Submission Select your journal carefully Read the aims and scope Think about your target audience and the level of your work do you have a realistic chance of
being accepted? Follow the guidelines in the notes for authors and include everything they ask it makes the editors job easier Articles should not be submitted to more than one journal at a time See: Instructions to Authors in Health Sciences http://mulford.mco.edu/instr/ Online Submission Many publishers now offer a completely electronic submission process Article is submitted online and all of the
review procedure also happens online Speeds up the editorial process Is invaluable for authors in low-income countries After Submission Most journal editors will make an initial decision on a paper - to review or to reject Most editors appoint two referees Refereeing speed varies tremendously between journals Authors should receive a decision of Accept, Accept with Revision (Minor or Major), or Reject
If a paper is rejected, most editors will write to you explaining their decision After rejection, authors have the option of submitting the paper to another journal - editors suggestions should be addressed Overview of Peer Review Process Paper Submitted Notification to Author Confirmation of Receipt Initial Decision by Editor Rejection
Decide to Review Assign Reviewers Revise Accept Revision Received Revision Checked Reviewers Accept Invite Reviews Completed
Revise Accept Reject Paper sent to Publisher Publishing Tips Editors and reviewers are looking for original and innovative research that will add to the field of study For research-based papers, ensure that you have enough
numbers to justify sound statistical conclusions For a larger study, it may be better to produce one important research paper, rather than a number of average incremental papers: See: www.elsevier.com/connect/8-reasons-i-accepted-yourarticle www.elsevier.com/connect/8-reasons-i-rejected-yourarticle The Bottom Line: You Will Get Published if
You picked an important research question. You used the right method to answer it. You wrote a short, clear account of the study that followed a tight structure and used effective writing to convey your message clearly. (PLOS Writing Workshop 05 2014) Background: Authors Perspective Motivation to publish:
Dissemination (54% 1st choice) Career prospects (20% 1st choice) Improved funding (11% 1st choice) Ego (8% 1st choice) Patent protection (4% 1st choice) Other (3% 1st choice) Bryan Coles (ed.) The STM Information System in the UK, BL Report 6123, Royal Society, BL, ALPSP, 1993 Author Publishing Priorities Quality and speed Top items were Refereeing speed
Refereeing standard Journal reputation Editor/board, physical quality and publication services Readers priorities
Authoritative quality articles Ease of access Rapid delivery Convenient format Linking of information - clustering Low or no cost Up-to-date information Author versus Reader Behaviour Author behaviour Want to publish more
Peer review essential Other journal functions crucial Wider dissemination Reader behaviour Want integrated system Browsing is crucial Quality information important Want to read less
Elsevier study of 36,000 authors (1999-2002) presented by Michael Mabe at ALPSP Seminar on Learning from users 2003; www.alpsp.org Differences: Authors and Readers Authors are journal focused Readers are article focused Publish more/read less dichotomy Priorities for Readers in Low-Income Countries (discussion) Rank on a Scale of 5:1 5 (very useful), 4 (somewhat useful), 3 (average), (somewhat not useful), 1 (not useful)
Authoritative quality articles Ease of access Rapid delivery Convenient format Linking of information - clustering
Low or no cost (Open Access or HINARI publisher) Up-to-date information Other 2 Open Access Journals Open Access (OA) journals are scholarly journals that are available without financial or technical barriers other than Internet access Articles either are directly accessible from the publisher (e.g. PLOS) or archived in a repository (e.g. PubMed Central)
In most cases, the copyright is owned by the author, not the publisher Some OA journals are subsidized by academic or governmental institutions OA Journal Options Fee-based OA journals require payment by the author - often paid by a grant or institution; access is free to all users these OA journals accept articles from authors in low-income countries; the number varies from journal to journal; peer-reviewers (theoretically) do not know if authors have requested fee waivers
Delayed open access journals where the articles are available between 6 24 months Hybrid open access journals contain some current articles that are free access Call for Papers Elsevier 06 2008 ELSEVIER: BUILDING INSIGHTS; BREAKING BOUNDARIES/MANUSCRIPTS SUBMISSION On behalf of all the Editors-in-chief of Elsevier journals, we wish to Communicate to you that we are currently accepting manuscripts in all fields of human endeavour. Authors are invited to submit manuscripts reporting recent developments in their fields. Papers submitted will be sorted out and
published in any of our numerous journals that best fits The submitted papers must be written in English and describe original research not published nor currently under review by other journals. Parallel submissions will not be accepted. Our goal is to inform authors about their paper(s) within one week of receipt. All submitted papers, if relevant, will go through an external peer-review process. Submissions should include an abstract, 5-10 key words, the e-mail address of the corresponding author. The paper length should not exceed 30 double-spaced pages including figures and references on 8.5 by 11 inch paper
using at least 11 point font. Authors should select a category designation for their manuscripts (article, short communication, review, etc.). Papers should be submitted electronically via email in Microsoft Word or PDF attachments and should Include a cover sheet containing corresponding Author's name, Paper Title, affiliation, mailing address, phone, fax number, email address etc. Would-be authors should send their manuscript to: [email protected] Kind Regards, Philip Mcgregor (Prof.) Further Resources Davis, Martha (2005) Scientific Papers and
Presentations, 2nd Edition. Academic Press (ISBN 0-12088424-0) Grossman, Michael (2004) Writing and Presenting Scientific Papers, 2nd edition, Nottingham University Press, (ISBN 1-897676-12-3). Clare, J & Hamilton, H (2003) Writing research transforming Data into Text, Churchill Livingstone (ISBN 0443071829). HINARI Publishing Skills Web-bibliography Essential Health Links/Publishing Skills http://www.healthnet.org/essential-links/publishing-skills.html Hands On Activities Any Questions?
We now will proceed to the Hands On Activities for How to Write a Scientific Paper Structured Abstract Bibliographic citations Journal selection Last Updated 2014 06 Appendix: How To Submit a Journal Article This is a list compiled by Grace Ajuwon, an
author from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria: Read the instructions for authors carefully Format manuscript in line with the journal style Send the manuscript to the journal editor and await for the acknowledgement Wait for reviewers comments Address all the comments of the reviewers Keep to deadline for submission of revised manuscript Return the revised manuscript to the editor with a point-by-point response to the reviewers comments
Read the proof sent by the editor and ensure that everything is okay Return the proof back to the editor before the deadline Complete and return copyright form to the editor (some journals need this before publication) Wait to see the article in print or online If the manuscript is rejected at the peer review level, revise it using the reviewers comments and send to another journal
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