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Writing Tips for Your Next Research Article

Writing Tips for Your Next Research Article

An academic article is often regarded just as an archival device for storing a completed research program. Actually, a successful paper is also the blueprint for planning your research in progress. We will discuss how to write articles that not only successfully navigate the peer-review process, but are also discovered, read, cited, and make an impact in the research community.


Matteo Cavalleri

February 16, 2021


  1. Wiley Writing Tips for your next research article Dr Matteo

    Cavalleri, Publisher, Materials Science & Physics, WILEY @physicsteo 22 de Abril 2020, UNAM-FES Cuautitlán
  2. Wiley Ojalá me hubiesen contado esto cuando escribia mi primer

  3. There is no universal formula…because every paper is different and

    different disciplines have different standards. Disclaimer:
  4. Who I am M.S. in Chemistry (1999) PhD in Chemical

    Physics (2005) PostDoc 2005-2008
  5. Who I am Editor-in-Chief Publisher

  6. Where I work HOBOKEN, NJ • Founded in 1807 in

    NYC • Headquarter in Hoboken, NJ • Publicly listed in NYSE • ~5000 staff worldwide • ~1600 journals • ~9000 books …in partnership with 1085 organizations (865 scholarly societies, + institutes, universities, goverments,…)
  7. Where I work HOBOKEN, NJ • Founded in 1807 in

    NYC • Headquarter in Hoboken, NJ • Publicly listed in NYSE • ~5000 staff worldwide • ~1600 journals • ~9000 books …in partnership with 1085 organizations (865 scholarly societies, + institutes, universities, goverments,…) View from the office (not my office)
  8. Wiley journals: 200 years of heritage and quality publishing

  9. Why publish? •Fame •Recognition by peers •Fortune •Promotions •Grant applications

    •Establish precedence •Responsibility •Taxpayer-funded research • Making your research public • “If your research does not generate papers, it might just as well not have been done.” –George Whitesides • Papers provide the shoulders that others can stand on
  10. What to publish? LITERATURE REVIEWS -Discuss knowledge accumulated in published

    literature -Reviews, mini-reviews, overviews, perspectives, essays,… ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLES -Share NEW results -Rapid Communications, Letters, Full Papers,…. Seek advice from colleagues and coauthors
  11. Where to submit? • Journal Impact Factor is not everything!

    • What are the implications of your research? • Whom do you want to reach with this publication? Whom can you (realistically) reach? • How important will others find your research? • In your field? • In related fields? • Where do you read papers related to your research? Which do you like the most? • What is the scope of your candidate journal? • Who reads your candidate journal? • What is the format of your candidate journal?
  12. Where to submit? • What is the journal’s copyright policy?

    • Is that subscription based or Open Access? • How fast is their submission to publication time? • What’s the journal stand on self-archiving? • Does the journal allow you to comply with your funder’s mandates? • What is their policy on prior publication? • In online/only printed conference proceedings • In online preprint servers (arXiv, ChemRxiv…) • On your own website DO NOT submit to several journals at the same time
  13. Content Access • Subscription only journals: • Free to publish

    but need to be subscriber to read • Open Access journals: • Articles are freely accessible online • Authors pay an Article Publication Charge (APC) • The APC can be paid via the author’s institution or funding • Hybrid journals: • Subscription journal that allows Open Access publications • Article can be published behind or outside paywall https://journalfinder.wiley.com/
  14. Beware of predatory journals • Use the Open Access publication

    model (Most Open Access journals are okay) • Do not provide legitimate writing , peer-review, and publishing services • Send frequent spam messages • Sometimes use names of researchers without their consent • Look carefully at the publishing company, the affiliated scholarly society and the journal indexation • Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers: https://beallslist.net/ • Cabells’ Journal Blacklist: https://www2.cabells.com/about-blacklist • Stop Predatory Journals: https://predatoryjournals.com/ • Useful Appraisal Tool: https://thinkchecksubmit.org/ PREDATORY JOURNALS INFORM/DEFEND YOURSELF
  15. Let’s Start!

  16. Where to start • ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, readcarefully

    thejournal’s guidelines for authors • What is required at submission? In which format? • Is there a template? • Is there a graphical abstract? How long? • Check the definition of authorship • Word/Page limits are imperative • Find out & follow the best practice in the field • Data deposition • Reporting standards • Think like a referee, check the journal’s reviewer guide • Violating ethical guidelines is the fastest way to rejection, and worse • No cover letter = wasted opportunity
  17. Language and presentation • Make sure you set the language

    on your work processing software to English. • Carry out at least one spell-check. • Ask a colleague in your field to proof-read your manuscript. • Ask a native or fluent English speaker to proof-read your manuscript. • Be consistent with heading/subheading format. Use the Style function of your word-processing software. • Be accurate and consistent with formatting in the text. Certain scientific terms (e.g., genes, species names, etc.) require italics. • Do your best to ensure the manuscript is free from typos and careless mistakes. • Be consistent in formatting in figures/graphics. • Ensure abbreviations are defined in the first instance, and then used consistently thereafter. Note, the abstract should stand-alone. Editors and reviewers are impressed by a well-presented manuscript Wiley language editing service: http://wileyeditingservices.com/en/
  18. General structure of a scientific article 1. Have something to

    say 2. Say it 3. Stop as soon as you have said it. Billings, J., An address to our medical literature. British Medical Journal 1881, 262-268
  19. Writing strategy • Write down, in any order, all important

    ideas that occur to you concerning the paper • Sort all your ideas into three major sections: • Introduction • Results and Discussion • Conclusions • Organize each of these sections on yet finer scale George M. Whitesides, “Writing a Paper” Adv. Mater. 2004, 16, 1375 ABSTRACT & TITLE FIGURES Introduction, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusion,…
  20. Figures & Tables = Your paper’s storyboard Figure 1 Figure

    2 Figure 3 ….. Figure 7 Figure 8 Star Wars, Episode V; The Empire Strikes Back
  21. The A,B,C of good scientific writing • Avoid vague language

    and be precise/specific • Say EXACTLY what you mean and avoid over/under statements • Make the discussion concise but informative. Focus on the important and unexpected results. Not on small details. • Use as few words as possible while retaining meaning without sacrificing scientific details • Use simple words and avoid jargon • Use verb tense consistently throughout the paper • Where possible, use verbs instead of noun forms
  22. The core of the article MATERIALS AND METHODS INTRODUCTION •

    Introduce the reader to what is really relevant to your research, and explain why. • Provide the necessary background information. • Put the study into context. Make sure that the cited literature reflects the current state of knowledge in the field. • Characterize methods and materials fully, in extensive details, and according to journal requirements • Be transparent with editors, reviewers, and readers. Impurities, missing data, problems encountered • Already published techniques should simply be referred to RESULTS & DISCUSSION • Focus on the important and unexpected results. Not on small details. • Stand proudly on the shoulder of giants. Don’t sell an old idea as a new one; cite the source. • Tell your main results as a logical easy-to- understand story (this is not necessarily the order in which you performed the investigation). • Discuss all results, and any limitations in your data • Salami are for eating, not publishing • ”Salami slicing”: Fragmentation of results into multiple papers Tips for writing better science papers, Series in ChemistryViews: http://bit.ly/ChemistryViews_BetterPapers
  23. Title Better as: “Tree-climbing behavior by mountain cottontail rabbits” OR

    “Mountain cottontail rabbits can climb trees” • Include only one key message of the study • Completely understandable on first reading • Simple and specific to describe the content. • Be concise, use less words possible. • Not too technical, no jargon. • Include keywords 1st IMPRESSION COUNTS!
  24. Abstract You have 20 seconds to explain your work to

    a scientist who is unfamiliar with it. • Don’t cram the abstract with details. Tell the audience that the butler did it in the 1st sentence! • Stand alone. Use plain language, avoid citations and non-standard abbreviations • Include keywords • In 7-10 sentences: Key results, what you did, unanswered questions, broader view/implications SHORT, STAND-ALONE SUMMARY OF YOUR RESEARCG
  25. Keywords • Choose 5-10 keywords / phrases • Test your

    keywords with free tools • Use keywords in: • The title (2-4) • The abstract (3-4) • Subtitles • The fields reserved for keywords (5-7) • Use the keywords in a natural way • Avoid excessive use KEY TO SEO https://authorservices.wiley.com/author-resources/Journal-Authors/Prepare/writing-for-seo.html
  26. References • Cite the main scientific publications on which your

    work is based. • Make sure that the cited literature is up to date and reflects the current state of knowledge in the field. • Do not “cherry pick” papers that support your viewpoint only; acknowledge contrasting hypotheses. • Do not inflate the manuscript with too many references – it doesn’t make it a better manuscript! Cite Reviews instead! • Avoid excessive self-citations. More mistakes are found in the references than any other part of the manuscript! STAND PROUDLY ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS
  27. Authorship Definition*: 1. Substantial contributions to conceptionand design, acquisition of

    data, or analysis and interpretation of data, AND 2. drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, AND 3. final approval of the version to be published *International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)
  28. Authorship Best Practices: • Discuss and agree on individual contributions

    and author order prior to submission • Changes post-submission (NEVER post-acceptance) are admissible, if explained and agreed by all • All listed authors are accountable for accuracy and integrity of all parts of the work • Reveal conflict of interest (financial, personal, academic, …) • Make sure you are recognized. Use ORCiD! • Provide statement of individual contribution, if requested (or even if not)
  29. Be identified, be credited Persistent digital identifier that distinguishes researchers

    from each other. http://orcid.org High-level taxonomy that can be used to represent the roles typically played by contributors to scientific scholarly output. https://casrai.org/credit.html
  30. Poor cover letter = wasted opportunity Explain to the editor:

    • Why work is significant • What is the major advance • What is new (novel!), better on previous works • Why the journal is the right on for the work • Disclose conflicts of interest • List related papers in press, submitted-prepare to provide copies! • Disclose data (crystal structures, spectra,…) that are available to the editors and reviewers in open repositories, websites • Provide reviewers suggestions The cover letter should take shape from the paper’s intro & conclusion PRO TIP: Get the journal/editor’s names right! Especially if not 1st choice… Dear Editor of JOURNAL B, We would like to submit our manuscript *******. We hope you will found suitable for JOURNAL A. Best wishes
  31. Ethical issues in submitted articles 1.Duplicated publications 2.Plagiarism 3.Fraud: falsification

    and fabrication 4.Authorship issues
  32. Ethical issues in submitted articles • Don’t republish the same

    findings • Don’t submit the same paper to multiple journals simultaneously • No Salami slicing”: (Fragmentation of results into multiple papers) • Plagiarism: Unreferenced use of previously published ideas and concepts • Including verbatim reproduction of text (yes, even your own) • Submissions are prescreened for plagiarism with software • Falsification: Distortion of data or results • Hiding outliers, selective removal of data points,… • Post-hoc analysis • Fabrication: Invention of data or results DUPLICATED SUBMISSION PLAGIARISM AND FRAUD Editors wants you to succeed! In doubt, seek editorial advice WILEY Ethical Guidelines https://authorservices.wiley.com/editors/ethical-guidelines/index.html Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): https://publicationethics.org/
  33. Muchas gracias por su atención. Dr. Matteo Cavalleri mcavalleri@wiley.com @physicsteo