How to Write High-impact Research Papers / 如何撰写高影响力的研究论文

  • Date: 08 November 2013
  • Author: Richard Threlfall
  • Published: 30 September 2013
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Associated Societies: Asian Chemical Editorial Society (ACES)

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Writing high-impact research papers
is a lot easier than you think!

This presentation gives you a step-by-step guide to composing an exciting and thought-provoking manuscript which will impress journal editors, referees and readers no matter what type of research you're doing.

The seminar will include:
•How to prepare a cover letter
•How important the title of a paper can be
•How to write a concise abstract
•How to prepare graphics




Dr. Richard Threlfall

Managing Editor Asian Journal of Organic Chemistry

and author of Tips for Writing Better Science Papers

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Q&A Session

Participants of the Webinar could ask questions during the presentation and these were answered at the end. As there was not enough time to answer all of them, the answers to the remaining questions have been written below.

Duplicate questions have been taken out.

  • I have designed an antenna and want to write a paper so that it has novelty. How I should start and what’s the best way to proceed with the paper?

You should start by stating the research question that you wanted to answer, for example, why is a new design needed and what would a new design do that old designs don’t. Then you can discuss the relative pros and cons of your design.

  • How do I prepare a cover letter?

You can find detailed information in Tips for Writing Better Science Papers: The Cover Letter (1)

  • How can one summit a written manuscript to your journal. What are processes required of the authors?

Please see the author guidelines

  • What is the main difference between abstract and conclusion?

This question was answered in the Q&A session of the Webinar.
Mainly that the abstract should be factually based, state the research question and give the main results, the conclusion can contain a bit more about what the results showed and what can be learned, and some speculation about the implications.

  • U have very good hypothesis but your results are supporting only 60-70% of hypothesis. What is fate of the paper? is this publishable?

This question was answered in the Q&A session of the Webinar.

  • Hi, I had a case that referee was not objective, wrote that my paper should be rejected because I did not cite all the papers, whereas I wrote back that I can pick up the most relevant papers. He did not comment on my work. I saw this as he did not want that my work gets published. Would be great if you can tell me what the best way to deal with such situation. Thank you.

In this case you should make your opinions known to the editor of the journal in a letter that states your reasons for believing that the review was unfair, but these should be solid scientific reasons. For example, you could show why you think that the references you have chosen are the most relevant, and why ones you haven’t chosen are not so relevant. You could also request that your manuscript be sent to another independent referee, but it is ultimately a matter for the journal editor to decide how to proceed.

  • Will a conference paper and journal paper on the same work be calculated as double publications, I saw many people are doing this.

This question was answered in the Q&A session of the Webinar.

  • How we can adapt the introduction depending on the journal?

You should ask yourself who the readers of that journal are likely to be, what fields are they likely to have the most knowledge in and, therefore, which topics might need more explaining than others.

  • I have question about unethical authorship. If PhD student is deprived from being first author and the paper is published, is there any way to change this in published work?

Not usually. If there is a dispute about authorship then this is best resolved before publication. The ethical guidelines should help with this.

  • Title: keep it short or use a long one which comprises all the aspects of the research in the paper?

Short titles are fine, but don’t omit keywords to make a title shorter. Try to balance the two.

  • If my experimental part is small, can I include it in materials and methods?

You should keep the appropriate sections separate to avoid confusion.

  • Explain how to limit the references in the Introduction section? I mean how can I choose the most important papers in the specific field.

You are the best judge of what is important in terms of the background to your project. Choose the papers that you think are, for example, good examples of previous relevant work, or good reviews that describe the current challenges in your field. Then you can explain how your work builds on what is already known and how it advances research on the particular theme.

  • If you receive a paper that is very good in terms of science but written in bad English, how will it affect your decision?

The most important thing is that the ideas and the significance of the results come across clearly. If the English is not clear, then the chance that the referees might miss or not understand the important things and the paper might not be evaluated so positively is much higher.

  • Hi. I came in late (5:45am here) and missed the part about cover letters. In your personal experience how much of an impact do you think it makes? I believe some editors don't think it even matters. Is it plausible that where there is an editorial board (more scientists with a variety of disciplines) it is not read, while where there isn't a board then it is pivotal.

I believe the cover letter is very important and I read them before I read the manuscripts. A cover letter that shows an editor how excited an author is about a piece of work and explains the significance of the results makes a much bigger first impression than just sending a paper in with a couple of lines that essentially say “here is a manuscript”.

How would you feel if someone came into your office, put something on your desk, and then walked out without saying anything? Would your reaction be different if that person came in very excited and told you how great this paper was because of the amazing results? I think so.

  • Thank you for your very useful lecture. The question is: Why do Editors sometimes not even send a publication to be analyzed by the referees?

In most cases, the reason is that the content is not suitable for the journal, that is, the paper might be too specialized or not on quite the appropriate topic for the audience of the journal.

  • When asked to be a referee for a publication, what steps have to be made when not knowing the journal in detail?

I would advise you to take a close look at the journal’s homepage.
Have a look at the previous issues and decide if you are comfortable with the subject material that the journal covers. Then you need to decide if you are familiar enough with the material covered in the manuscript in this context. If the journal is very unfamiliar, check that it is published by a reputable publisher and check if it is listed in some of the larger journal indexes. Ask for more information about the journal from the editorial office if you are still unsure.

  • Should we put our results in the last of introduction paragraph?

In general, no. You should keep the results in the results section because many people do not read a whole paper in order that it appears. Often people will skip to the section that interests them the most, so if you put something in an inappropriate place, it might be missed or cause confusion.

  • Thank you for this interesting lecture. My question is: what if part of my results was against the literature expectations and recently I found two papers that confirm my results and discussion?

This is exactly what you should write! This is how science adapts and changes because people find things that do not support current ideas and these ideas need to be changed to adapt to new results. Take care to explain how your results do and don’t agree with what is currently in the literature, and what the possible reasons for this might be. Of course, the more scientific evidence you have for your ideas, the better. It is harder to argue against new ideas when there is solid data to back them up.

  • If I want to publish a communication, is it necessary to make/publish a full paper in the future and what’s the main difference between the two?

Not necessarily. A communication reports the urgent initial findings of a study, usually in cases where it would benefit the community to know these result as soon as possible. A full paper reports the study when it has been taken to its logical conclusion, for example, when the results reported in the communication have been applied to other systems and more information about the initial results have been found. If your communication explains all your findings in enough detail that everyone can understand and/or reproduce your work, and you do not find anything more significant after that, then a full paper is not necessary.

  • How strict is it to keep using the UK English or USA English throughout the article?

This is not such an important thing, but check the author guidelines of the journal you are submitting to to see what is preferred.

  • My paper is interdisciplinary, what's your suggestion?

This question was answered in the Q&A session of the Webinar.

  • It was mentioned in this webinar to not keep small stuff a secret. Will the referees be able to tell the difference from papers without details and the ones with small stuff included? From personal experience, some published papers' methods are unsuitable for reproducing similar results as published.

Referees who are experts in the field will know when something is not quite right with a paper and will usually mention it in their assessment. It is to your benefit to include every detail that someone needs to reproduce your results in your experimental section. Even if it is something simple that you think everybody should already know, there may be someone out there who does not know it, and this helps to avoid the very situation of that someone trying unsuccessfully to reproduce what you have done.

  • Publishing in national journal and an international one, is that duplication?

Publishing a paper in a national journal that is published in a different language to the international one is generally acceptable. Publishing two papers in the same language but in different journals is duplication.

  • How to deal with the situation which the editor doesn’t get the importance of the work you submitted?

This question was answered during the Webinar.

  • I need to ask if accepted papers in an international conference can be published in a scientific journal? Can we write a paper with additional studies on data presented for symposium.

If you have presented data anywhere before, be it in a conference paper or something similar, you must cite it in any paper written on the subject. You should not submit a duplicate paper from a conference to another journal, but a paper can include data from conference papers, as long as they are cited clearly.

  • I’m a physicist, most papers in physics journals are like mystery, without details. So why do you say that everything has to be explained in detail?

I’m definitely not an expert in physics papers, but in my opinion there is little purpose in publishing a paper without any details because there is no way to reproduce or verify if the techniques work. I would not accept, and I think most referees would not accept, a paper that did not give enough details for the technique to be independently tested if desired.

  • Should graphics make use of color or be in black and white

It depends on what is important for the information contained within a graphic. If color gets the message across best, use color. If a simple black and white picture is enough, then that’s fine too.

  • How to reintroduce a research field on which a lot of work has already been done and if your work adds new perspectives to it creating curiosity among the readers for the same old topic.

You should be honest. Say that there has already been a lot of work done, but that you have found something new perhaps emphasize that this changes the way the old data should be interpreted.

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Mon Mar 24 13:20:40 UTC 2014

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