Having a research paper published is a crucial step in the career of every research scientist and academic. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, this article is designed to walk first-time research authors through the typical steps of publishing a research paper. First-timers will be able to find out how to get their article published, from choosing the right journal publications and understanding how to format their manuscripts in the right manner to preparing and sticking to a pre-defined schedule that will help in fulfilling paper writing objectives. Writing a research paper is hard to even for most veteran research authors. From conceptualizing the document, breaking it down into its constituent parts and finally, referencing many other documents and books to putting forward a distinct article the entire process can be intimidating, to say the least. What it is not, it is impossible. This article is meant to offer first-time research authors guidance on how they can make their research paper a good read and improve the chances of their paper being accepted on their very first try.
1. Meticulously Planning The Structure Of The Article
The hardest thing about research article writing is producing continuous text, as it requires attention to grammar and syntax – which is why it helps create a framework, just like an architect prepares a plan before getting started with the construction of a building. Describing and structuring the document also requires authors to organize their document into logical sections.
If one’s target journal adhered to a certain format their job becomes easier although they should include captions as needed under the four main headings, namely
- Materials and Methods
- Results and Discussion
If the SCI journals that one is targeting do not have a set format, they will also need to think of suitable main headlines and organize them in the correct order. This job does not require continuous periods – one can prepare and revise the plan for short periods.
This helps to show the proposed scheme to one’s colleagues and revise it if necessary, as what is obvious to them may not be obvious to their colleagues (one’s close involvement in the work they report can blind them to abrupt changes in the flow of one’s story, for example).
2. Paying Attention To The Details
What all research authors see in front of them at the start is a blank screen, while what they see in their minds is a finished product – a perfectly written, well-formatted paper with no spelling, punctuation or grammatical mistakes. Too much envisioning and not doing can result in glaring enough to freeze one in inaction. The solution? Not to think about the end product as a whole but divide it into bite-sized pieces. Writing paragraph by paragraph and section by section helps avoid complacency.
3. Identifying A Journal & Writing A Manuscript Specifically For That Journal
Choosing a journal is a separate topic in itself, but research authors should choose their target SCIE journals (the journal to which they plan to submit their articles) as early on in the process as possible. This will provide them with sufficient time to study its instructions to authors and also to review recent issues of this journal. Once they’ve made sure their article is in the journal, they can start writing. Authors should avoid waiting until their research is finished and instead should write as they continue with their lab or fieldwork. They can start writing the section on materials and methods, for example, while the details are still fresh in their mind. They can even create dummy tables with column headers and row headers. They just need to enter the values in the appropriate cells as their results arrive.
4. Engaging In Dialogue About Research & Findings With Other Professionals
Talking about one’s research and findings before they proceed to write an article on it will prepare them for the task. They will find that words come easily to them if they have explained their work to others. As an author’s thoughts become organized into words, they will find that they can organize and write their article with much more ease. Such discussions with one’s collaborators or trusted colleagues also alert them to any gaps in their work that need to be rectified or looked into. Veteran research authors spend a lot of time in this stage to help solidify the arguments that they make in their research article. Fool-proof arguments that either have very few negligible or no cracks at all in them are what make for world-class research papers that deserve being published in highly reputable Scopus journals and read by masses worldwide.
5. Setting Writing Goals To Preserve The Essence Of The Research Findings & Potential Avoid Delays
Every time one starts a writing session, they should set a goal telling themself that they won’t leave the session until they’ve written a certain number of words. It works better than setting aside, say, the next three hours to write. What also helps is to allocate a regular time slot for writing, Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning, for example, to help develop the habit of writing. By sitting down to write at a specific time of day, authors train their brains to adapt. Sticking to the schedule until it becomes a habit helps tremendously in the long run, as research authors often tend to get stuck in thought about the nitty-gritty of their research.
6. Post Publication Follow-Ups Are Crucial
Creating real impact with one’s work can be a difficult and time-consuming task, which can seem difficult to fit into an already demanding academic career. That is why it is crucial for first-time authors who have successfully navigated the publication of a research paper to note that the process does not end there. Now that their research has been successfully published in a journal of their choice that’s accessible to the world, they need to know how to access their article and make sure it has the impact they intend for it to have. Taking the time to make sure their research is having an impact can help them
- Advance their careers
- Build their networks
- Secure funding for new research
So, following up after successfully getting a research paper published is always worth the investment.
If you’re a first-time author, following the above-detailed tips is bound to help ease the pressure of going into the unknown and give you a fair idea of what to do and when in your maiden research article publishing voyage.