Six tips on how to write a first-class paper and publish in renowned journals
Although manuscripts have a strict format, there is still room to weave a captivating story that clearly communicates the science while still being enjoyable to read. Let’s discuss the value and significance of creativity and how to create an excellent research paper.
Make sure your message is clear.
Consider the message you intend to send to your readers. If that isn’t clear, there’s the risk of later misinterpretations. It helps to work with peers not just on the main message but also on the data selection, visualization, and information needed to convey a powerful message.
The main text should contain the most essential information. Place additional data in the supplementary section to avoid distraction.
Innumerous manuscripts are turned down because the dialogue part is so lacking that it’s plain the author doesn’t comprehend the current literature. Writers should place their discoveries in a larger context to show what makes them worthwhile or unique.
There is a fine line between theory and evidence-based judgments to be drawn. In the conversation, a writer can speculate — but not unduly. It’s never good when the discussion is just guesswork because it’s not based on the author’s experience. Include a one- or two-sentence mention at the end of the study you want to execute in the future and what else needs to be explored.
Organize your thoughts into a logical framework.
The importance of structure cannot be overstated. You have no chance if you don’t get the structure right. It’s critical to concentrate your work on a single central point, which you should convey in the title. Everything in the document should support that idea logically and structurally. It’s fun to break the rules in new ways, but you must first understand them.
I won’t know why I should be interested in your experiment unless you tell me. As a writer, you must describe the issue in detail. You must lead the uninitiated reader to the point where they are ready to comprehend what you have done.
Make a strong argument for yourself.
The immediate responsibility of the science writer is clarity, but I frequently find that the ‘What’s new’ part is hidden. Every section of the manuscript must back up that single central idea. The key to figuring out a piece’s structure is to answer one core question: “What did you do?”
The “red thread,” which is the straight line the audience follows from start to finish, is a German notion. The red thread in science is ‘What’s new and compelling?’ It’s why you’re writing the paper in the first place. Then, after that’s established, the following paragraphs become the logical units that make up the red thread.
Authors of scientific papers are typically afraid to make bold statements. As a result, the authors’ language becomes turgid, with too many qualifiers and sounds defensive. The outcome is muddled language when they write for a journal gatekeeper rather than a human individual.
This type of example is not uncommon: “Though not exhaustive, this study summarizes well-known physical oceanographic methodologies, utilizing various research as examples to show the methodological problems that lead to successful solutions to the issues inherent in oceanographic research.” Instead, how about this: “We explore oceanographic research methodologies with instances that show unique issues and solutions”?
I encourage scientists to read beyond their subject to better understand writing techniques and concepts. If the text muddles the science, the writer has failed to express the message and has alienated the reader by making them work too hard. The reader’s responsibility is to pay attention and retain what they have read. It is the writer’s role to make those two tasks simple.
Use as little jargon as possible.
When writing your paper, keep your busy, fatigued reader in mind, and strive to create a paper that you would like reading.
Science does not exist until it is read. Why do scientists have to write in a stodgy, dry, and abstract manner? Humans are storytellers by nature. It’s difficult to absorb the significance of what we’re reading if we don’t participate in that portion of ourselves. Scientific writing should be matter-of-fact, concise, and evidence-based. Still, it doesn’t rule out the prospect of being creative — expressed in a unique style — and entertaining.
One of the most significant drawbacks of writing a manuscript is losing your unique voice. Mentors, manuscript reviewers, and journal editors may stigmatize writers who utilize their own voices. Students tell me they feel inspired to write but are concerned that their adviser would not encourage them. It is a source of concern. We need to rethink the ‘official style,’ a dry, technical language that hasn’t changed in decades.
When it comes to creativity, be cautious.
Writers must be cautious when using the term “creativity.” It may sound appealing, but the goal of a scientific publication is to disseminate information. That is all there is to it. Flourishes can be a nuisance. A non-native English speaker can be perplexed by figurative language. My recommendation is to keep the writing as simple as possible.
However, there are numerous approaches to producing an ineffective paper. One of the most significant is leaving vital information out of the approaches section. It’s simple to accomplish, especially in a detailed study. Still, missing data might make reproducing the study difficult, if not impossible. This could indicate that the research has reached a stalemate.
It’s also crucial that the claims made in the study are supported by proof. At the same time, authors should be cautious about overstating their conclusions.
Editors and peer reviewers are on the lookout for fascinating and beneficial outcomes for the discipline. A paper may be rejected if it lacks these elements. Authors, however, have a hard time with the discussion section. They must explain why the findings are noteworthy and how they impact a broader understanding of the subject. Authors should also assess the current literature to see if their findings pave the way for future research. They must also persuade readers that they have considered alternate theories to demonstrate how solid their conclusions are.
Make an effort to appeal to a wide range of people.
Before starting their position, authors spend a lot of time putting up long-winded arguments to dispel any objections. Make your idea clear and brief, preferably in non-specialist language, so that readers from various professions can understand it fast.
Amy Rees, an Altmetric colleague, observes that academics are becoming more intentional and thoughtful in how they communicate their work. Suppose you write in a style that non-specialists can understand. In that case, you increase your chances of being cited by experts in other subjects and make your writing accessible to laypeople, especially in biomedical fields.
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