Tips for Writing Better Science Papers: References (8)

Tips for Writing Better Science Papers: References (8)

Author: Richard Threlfall

Have you ever struggled to write up your results into a publishable paper only to get it rejected? Richard Threlfall, Managing Editor, Asian Journal of Organic Chemistry, gives some insider tips on how to improve each section of your article and increase your chances of getting published.



Like the experimental, the reference section is very easy to compile, but there are some small things you can do to make it user friendly.

Especially when referencing the introduction of your manuscript, a good tip is to only reference the most relevant papers or some good thorough reviews on your particular area of research. Perhaps you might not think about it, but this shows the editor and the reviewers that you have a good knowledge of your field and really understand what is important in this context.

As a basic example, using a statement like “C–H activation has become increasingly important in recent years [1]”, then giving 25 different examples of C–H activation in reference 1 is not very helpful. Unless it is really necessary, these broad statements do not add much to the understanding of the concept being discussed and are best avoided.

Good reference management software can help a lot with your reference section. A good reference management program will ensure consistency in your numbering of references, will let you apply different styles from different journals, and will automatically update the references throughout the manuscript when it is modified, to help avoid confusion. Some of these packages are available as web-based apps and are well worth investigating.

Finally, make sure that your reference section is up-to-date. A reference section that does not have many recent publications in it tells an editor or reviewer two things: 1) This area of research is not very modern and 2) This author does not have a good knowledge of the current literature. When you think about it this way, your references can have a bigger influence on the outcome of the review process than you might realize!


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