How to write a scientific article?
The most important thing:
In order to publish the article, it should contain new interesting results (you will most likely get a review of other people’s results only after you publish some of your own). Interesting – this means that (from the editor’s point of view), at least somebody will want to read this article and, then, look, ee to quote.
Log selection. Recently, articles are increasingly sent to the most prestigious journal, Nature, Science, Cell, from which they are immediately rejected, after which the authors go down the Impact Factor scale until they fall into the area of medium journals with IF in the region of 2-8 (in different areas in different ways), where these articles are only beginning to be seriously considered. Many of the familiar editors react rather painfully when they are sent an article clearly not on the subject of this magazine and usually return it without a review.
What is an open access or subscription journal?
Funding of scientific publications can take place in different ways. So, the subscription model of the magazine assumes compensation for publisher’s expenses at the expense of libraries and other interested organizations. For the author this is good – no cost. However, there are situations when you have to pay for additional pages or color illustrations.
In turn, the open access model allows the reader to use free of charge any materials published in this magazine, but the cost of the publication is covered by authors, research institutions, sponsoring organizations, etc. By the way, some open access journals can provide a discount; so ask if you have a chance at a discount?
Work on the future publication.
Undoubtedly, in the article that is offered to a serious journal, the main role is played by sharpened formulations reflecting the scientific novelty and significance of the results obtained. But, unfortunately, while individual researchers sometimes forget about the unloved from the school days of the plan. Therefore, to facilitate the authors of life, a number of magazines offer original templates, which reveal the purpose of the basic structural elements of the article.
For example, the name – it should attract the attention of the reader. However, if you focus on professionals, you will have to sacrifice the beauty of the form for the sake of accuracy.
The abstract allows the reader to understand whether it is worth wasting time on an article. By the way, the annotation does not accept the use of abbreviations and professional jargon, and its size usually does not exceed 200 words.
The introduction gives a description of the object of research, the definition of goals and objectives, as well as a brief history of the issue.
The section “Theoretical and experimental methods” contains data that allows other scientists to reproduce your results.
In Results and Discussion, along with a description of the results themselves, their potential significance and scientific novelty should be determined.
Conclusions formulate conclusions, and if necessary, prospects for further research are outlined.
The “Gratitude” section is entirely devoted to those who rendered assistance to the author, including financial assistance.
“References” hardly requires comment.
As for the illustrations, they should be attractive and easily readable. In this case, the return on them will be maximum.
While working on the text of the article, one should strive for maximum clarity of presentation, and this means:
1. You must represent the level of knowledge of a potential reader;
2. Anything that can cause difficulties must be immediately “chewed”.
The article should be written in good English, so do not hesitate to seek help from native speakers. By the way, some magazines offer appropriate assistance to foreign authors.
Next is brevity. No derogations from the main idea. But do not get carried away, otherwise the article will turn into a telegram.
And remember that you can improve and correct forever, so the main thing is to stop in time. If you have co-authors, coordinate all the changes with them. When the approvals are completed, we make proof-reading corrections and send the article to the journal.
Editor and reviewer.
Having received the article, the editor looks at whether it is suitable for the publication, and if the decision is positive, selects competent reviewers. You can offer your candidate (or even a few) for this role, and also indicate why you would not like to be reviewed by one or another specialist. The editorial board will take into account your suggestions and comments, nevertheless reserving the right to independently select reviewers.
The time for review depends on the subject of your research and the possibilities of the reviewer. On the websites of some magazines, information is given on the standard deadlines, and often the authors have the opportunity to follow the online review.
Usually the reviewer evaluates:
1) the scientific value of the results and the accuracy of the wording;
2) originality and novelty;
3) compliance with the subject matter of the journal;
4) clarity and brevity of presentation;
5) structure and composition;
6) style and size of the article;
7) references to literature. Let’s notice, at completion of article the qualified review is the best assistant.
Having received reviews (usually from two or more reviewers), the editor decides:
1) publish the article;
2) publish the article after the author has made a number of amendments;
3) require a radical alteration and re-review;
4) reject the article. In the latter case, most journals grant you the right to appeal. Write to the editor of the journal and try as convincingly as possible to refute the arguments that led to the refusal – in this case, the appeal can bring the desired result.
In the event that the opinions of reviewers diverge, the editor can draw as an arbitrator additional reviewer.
Finalization of the article.
After receiving a review, remember that the action is equal to counteraction. Therefore, be attentive to all wishes and remarks: none of them can not be left unanswered, even when the review is positive. If it contains unacceptable recommendations for you, you should explain in detail and reasonably the reasons for your disagreement.
Referring to the revised article, do not forget to attach to it:
1) an electronic copy of the text, in which all the amendments are clearly marked (color font, etc.);
2) list of corrections by type “recommended – done”, “question-answer”.
The terms of revision are determined by the publisher, depending on the volume of the proposed changes. And the work sent late can be rejected or offered to consider it as a new article. Therefore, when you see that you are getting out of the schedule, report this: maybe they will meet you. But if the article is intended for a special issue, etc., then, you know …
If the proposed amendments were not of a fundamental nature, the editor immediately decides its future fate. In other cases, the work may be sent to former reviewers who will advise whether the text requires further revision. However, the final verdict is made by the editor: either by his authority, or after consultations with the senior reviewer.
Scheme of the process of reviewing an article in a Western journal.
Preprint preparation and publication.
Working with proofreading, you can face different problems: distortion of meaning during editorial editing of the English text, unsuccessful formatting, unsatisfactory color solution. Contact the editor, as the solution of these issues is in his competence.
The proofs approved by the author go to press, and since the publication of the online content of the article can not be changed. In exceptional cases, the editorial board may wish to publish a separate error note in an article found after its publication. The printed version of the journal, if it exists, usually comes out later (how much depends on the periodicity of the publication), and you should notify you of the publication of the article.
Advertising of the published article.
The editorial board may ask you to send additional information materials about the article, and if the work will be of particular interest, take part in the preparation of the press release. Do not give up-it all works for your scientific reputation.
Why advertise your work? So in fact – the more readers, the more feedback, the stronger the resonance of your ideas and, hopefully, the higher quoting of your work.
And yet no one cares about your baby better than you! Therefore, report the publication of the article to colleagues, enlist the assistance of the press service of your organization, use all possible Internet resources – from social networks to the website of your research team. And do not hesitate to talk about your publication at conferences and seminars.
Advertising should be targeted. If your audience is narrow specialists, concentrate on conceptual aspects; if not – limit yourself to an accessible presentation of the main ideas, focusing on the novelty and significance of the results.
How to measure the success of your work? There is no universal method. Often an indicator is the number of links to your article or the number of downloads of articles from the magazine’s website. Although in order to understand the true value of the work, the scientific community usually takes time. But a well-publicized article has more readers, which means it is more likely that understanding will come faster.
Copyright and license agreement.
Typically, a license agreement on the transfer of copyright to the publisher is signed before the publication of the article. Becoming the copyright holder, the publisher gets the opportunity to regulate the replication and distribution of work in printed and electronic form, freely place materials in various information environments, thus creating a kind of “global” profile of the author.
In addition, by concluding a similar agreement, the publisher assumes the responsibility to protect your copyright.
For the use of copyrighted material and for inclusion in the text of your article, it is usually necessary to have written permission from the author and the interested publisher.
Publishing and scientific ethics imposes a number of limitations on the author. For example, it is unethical to send one article to several magazines, even worse, to publish incomplete data. But plagiarism is considered to be the height of impropriety. Therefore, avoid “blind” quotes, and if you reproduce large amounts of other people’s material, do not be lazy to get permission to do so.
In addition, the author should express gratitude to all whose materials were used by him (for this there is a section “Acknowledgments”), and to give references to works that had a significant impact on his research.