How to write a research paper

Category: Education

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This was presented in BIT Patna on Scholar Day


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How to write a publishable research paper:

How to write a publishable research paper Bijay Kumar Sharma, Retired Professor(NITP), Currently doing Research in IITP 1

How is Research Paper evaluated:

How is Research Paper evaluated Research Paper is evaluated: by the Impact factor of the Journal and By the Citation Index of your Paper. Initially high Impact Factor Journals will never accept your paper even if it is a discovery paper unless your discovery stands out. 2

Go for low I.F. Journal:

Go for low I.F. Journal Initially when you are new you go for low I.F. Journal and get it published. As your citation index improves you will be considered for higher I.F. Journal. So first we must examine the term: Citation Index and Impact Factor. 3

What is Citation Index?:

What is Citation Index? Citation of your paper means how many times in subsequent years, that is subsequent to your publication, you paper gets citated by other authors in your field in which you have published. So Citation Index involves Citation Analysis which also means Scientometrics . 4

Citation Index continued:

Citation Index continued Citation Index is a kind of biblographic data base. This gives the citation count of your published work in subsequent publications of different journals. This calculation is done by : Institute of Scientific Information(ISI); 5

List of Agencies giving Citation Index:

List of Agencies giving Citation Index ISI first introduced the citation index for Academic Journals known as Science Citation Index(SCI); Subsequently ISI introduced Social Science Citation Index(SSCI); Lastly it introduced Arts & Humanities Citation Index(AHCI); 6

Automatically generated C.I.:

Automatically generated C.I. CiteSeer introduced automatically generated C.I. since 1997; GoogleScholar also intoduced automatic C.I.; ISI publishes C.I.under Web of Science which is a part of Web of Knowledge; Elsevier publishes C.I. under Scopus; Indian Citation Index covers the papers published in peer reviewed Indian Journals. 7

Google Scholar Universal Gadget:

Google Scholar Universal Gadget The URL for this software: This gives Total Citation Count-5(in B.K.Sharma+B.Ishwar+N.Rangesh ); No.of cited Publications-3; H-Index-2; H-Index measures the productivity and the impact of the published work of a Scholar; 8

Journals with high Impact Factor:

Journals with high Impact Factor Nature has the highest Impact Factor of 36.28 Science Impact Factor is 31.201 Scientific American Impact Factor is 2.369 Nature NanoTechnology Impact Factor is 27.27 Nature Photonics-IF_29.278 Nature Mater_IF_32.841 9

Impact Factor Continued:

Impact Factor Continued Annual Review Astronomy & Astrophysics_I.F._26.452; Nature Physics_I.F._18.967; Earth,Moon & Planets_I.F._0.667(2011); Advances in Space Research_I.F._1.066(last5y); IET( Circuits,Devices&Systems )_I.F._0.547; IEEE_Device Letters_2.849; 10

How is I.F. calculated?:

How is I.F. calculated? A= the number of times the articles published in the given journal in 2009-2010 were cited indexed journals during 2011; B=the total number of articles, reviews, proceedings or notes published in the given journal during 2009-2010; I.F. of the given journal=A/B; 11

Know the Journals in your Field.:

Know the Journals in your Field. Suppose my field is Astronomy & Astrophysics then I can publish in: Nature & Science- but most probably I will be rejected; So my next bet is – Current Science(India); Earth,Moon & Planets(Netherland);Astrophysical Journal; Astronomy & Astrophysics; ICARUS,ASR; 12

Format of the Paper for a given J.:

Format of the Paper for a given J. First get registered into editormanager of J. Next read the instruction for Authors; There will be a template. It is mandatory to prepare the manuscript on the template. So download the template. See if the manuscript will be in 2 Columns or 1 column and accordingly prepare your manuscript; What are Standards for Figures-PNG,JPEG,TIFF or GIF; 13

Format continued.:

Format continued. See Number of Words restriction; See Number of Figures restriction; Style of referencing; Style of preparing the Biblography (same as list of references); Abstracts has to be submitted seperately ; Keywords should carefully chosen for appropriate indexing in the future; 14

Format concluded:

Format concluded Generally a cover letter has to be prepared as to how the paper originated and its possible impact on Technology and Industries; Generally J. want main text, figures and tables to be seperately uploaded; Before the final confirmation they want you to proof read the pdf generated from their side and then only confirm the submission; 15

Our performance as Knowledge Generator:

Our performance as Knowledge Generator We are in top 10 in the volume of papers published; Our present growth rate is 14.3%; Our Citation per published paper has improved 2 to 2.7 in 5 years; Publication discipline wise is 38% in Chemistry,15% in Engineering;10% in Maths and Physics; 16

Our performance before and after G.:

Our performance before and after G. After Globalisation our best brains have moved to MNCs and Financial Sector which pay thick pay packets; We were in top 5 publication wise in 80s; Today we are in top 10; China use to be way behind; Today China is in second position and it is likely to take over USA. 17

When do I have a publishable Paper?:

When do I have a publishable Paper? When I am presenting Research Paper we must see if it is advancing the present level of knowledge in the given field; If it is then it is publishable; If I am submitting a Review Paper I must be comprehensive and lucid in presentation of my ideas. 18

Advances understanding in the field:

Advances understanding in the field Does it give new, original results or methods; Or am I refining, rationalizng and re-interpreting the results; Or am I comprehensively reviewing or summarizing the field; 19

Strong Manuscript is publishable.:

Strong Manuscript is publishable. It should deliver a clear, useful and exciting message; The paper should be developed logically; The results should be discussed in totality that its strength should be pointed out but if it has some ambiguity or weakness it should be admitted; There should be no attempt to fudge the result; 20

Strong Manuscript cont’d:

Strong Manuscript cont’d The result should be repeatable and reproducible. If this does not happen it should not be reported; Reviewers may like to repeat your experiment or your calculations. If they do so they must get the same results as in your paper. Reviewers and editors must grasp the significance of your findings. 21

What should be avoided ?:

What should be avoided ? It should not be an outdated work. For instance a work on Vacuum Tube is obsolete; It should not be a duplication-serving old wine in a new bottle; We must present verifiable results and wrong results must be rejected outright; One good paper enhances your reputation much more than 100 mediocre ones. 22

What type of paper is it?:

What type of paper is it? Is it a conference paper or an original research paper; Is it a short communication or letter; Is it a review paper or a perspective paper; Accordingly it should be submitted ; 23

Classification of Types:

Classification of Types Conference paper will report in-progress research finding and it will be upto10 pages,maximum 3 Figures and maximum 15 references; Full length Research paper will report complete research findings and it will 8to 10 pages, 5 Figures and 25 references; Letters will be for reporting significant and original advances. 24

Review or Perspective Papers:

Review or Perspective Papers Critical synthesis of all the research done in a particular topic; Typically it will consist of 10+ pages, 5+figures and upto 80 references; A review paper is generally an invited paper; This is a good way of consolidating a scientific research career; 25

Citation impact varies by Pub.Type:

Citation impact varies by Pub.Type 26

Choosing the right journal:

Choosing the right journal Examine the aims and objective of various Journals for instance Transactions on Electron Devices are concerned with the materials , design and fabrication of devices per se and not with the circuits. For circuits oriented Journal go for Transactions on Circuit and Systems. 27

Right Journal continued:

Right Journal continued By going through the content and through the abstracts you can find out the hot topics of a particular field and concentrate doing research in those fields and report accordingly. Don’t aim for too high a journal; Don’t aim for too low a journal; Go for something in-between. 28

Right Journal continued:

Right Journal continued Never submit the same paper to two Journals; Only after your paper is rejected from one that you go to the second journal. Conferences have their own systems of peer review publications; Only after your paper is rejected that you can go out and submit it to another Journal otherwise it is mandatory that you submit to conference Journal.COSPAR has JASR. 29

Do publishers correct language?:

Do publishers correct language? No; It is fully Author’s responsibility to correct the language and prepare the text, figures and Tables in proper format. All journals do technical screening; Only after your paper has passed through this screening that it will go for in-depth peer review. 30

Manuscript Language Overview:

Manuscript Language Overview Write with clarity, objectivity, accuracy and brevity; Be alert to common errors in using the language such as: Construction of sentence, use of a consistent tense through out the paper, use of correct grammer and use American or British English through out the paper; 31

Sentence Construction:

Sentence Construction Avoid long sentences. Use short sentences whose meanings are clearly conveyed. There should be no ambiguity in your presentation. For example: 32

Bad English:

Bad English “If it is the case, intravenous administration should result in that emulsion has higher intravenous administration retention concentration, but which is not in accordance with the result, and therefore the more rational interpretation should be that SLN with mean diameter of 46nm is greatly different from emulsion with mean diameter of 65 nm in entering tumor, namely, it is probably difficult for emulsion to enter and exit from tumorblood vessel as freely as SLN, which may be caused by the fact that the tumorblood vessel aperture is smaller.” 33

Good English:

Good English “It was expected that the intravenous administration via emulsion would have a higher retention concentration. However, the experimental results suggest otherwise. The SLN entered the tumor blood vessel more easily than the emulsion. This may be due to the smaller aperture of the SLN (46 nm) compared with the aperture of the emulsion (65 nm).” 34

Use of correct tenses:

Use of correct tenses Present tense for known facts and hypotheses: “The average life of a honey bee is 6 weeks” Past tense for experiments you have conducted: “All the honey bees were maintained in an environment with a consistent temperature of 23 degrees centigrade…” 35

Correct Grammer:

Correct Grammer Use active voice to shorten sentences –Passive voice: “It has been found that there had been…” –Active voice: “We found that…” –Passive voice: “carbon dioxide was consumed by the plant…” –Active voice: “…the plant consumed carbon dioxide..” 36

Grammer continued:

Grammer continued Avoid abbreviations: “it’s”, “weren’t”, “hasn’t” –Never use them in scientific writing –Only use abbreviations for units of measure or established scientific abbreviations, e.g. DNA –Double-check unfamiliar words or phrases 37

PowerPoint Presentation:



Title 39


Abstract This is freely available in electronic abstracting indexing services[ PubMed , Medline, Embase , SciVerseScopus , ....]. This is the advertisement of your article. Make it interesting, and easy to be understood without reading the whole article. –You must be accurate and specific! –A clear abstract will strongly influence whether or not your work is further considered. –Keep it as brief as possible!!! 40


Keywords 41


Introduction Be brief • Clearly address the following: –What is the problem? –Are there any existing solutions? –Which solution is the best? –What is its main limitation? –What do you hope to achieve? • Try to be consistent with the nature of the journal 42


Methods Describe how the problem was studied Include detailed information Do not describe previously published procedures Identify the equipment and describe materials used 43

Results-what have you found?:

Results-what have you found? Tell a clear and easy-to-understand story. RED THREAD –Be structured (sub-headings) The following should be included: –The main findings Thus not all findings (Add Supplementary Materials for data of secondary importance) Findings from experiments described in the Methods section –Highlight findings that differ from findings in previous publications, and unexpected findings –Results of the statistical analysis 44

Results-Figures and Tables:

Results-Figures and Tables Illustrations are critical, because •Figures and tables are the most efficient way to present results and; •Results are the driving force of the publication Captions and legends must be detailed enough to make figures and tables self-explanatory 45


Discussion What the results mean •Most important section •Make the Discussion correspond to the Results •You need to compare published results with yours and explain the discrepency or confirmation. If there is discrepency why is there a discrepency . 46


Conclusion How the work advances the field from the present state of knowledge •Should be clear •Justify your work in the research field •Suggest future experiments 47


References Cite the main scientific publications on which your work is basedJuly Do not use too many references •Always ensure you have fully absorbed material you are referencing and do not just rely on checking excerpts or isolated sentences •Avoid excessive self-citations •Avoid excessive citations of publications from the same region •Conform strictly to the style given in the Guide for Authors 48


Acknowledgement Ensures those who helped in the research are recognised Include individuals who have assisted with your study, including: •Advisors •Financial supporters •Proofreaders •Typists •Suppliers who may have given materials 49

Cover Letter:

Cover Letter Your chance to speak to the editor directly; Submitted along with your manuscript •Mention what would make your manuscript special to the journal •Note special requirements (reviewers, conflicts of interest) 50


Authorship General principles for who is listed first First Author •Conducts and/or supervises the data generation and analysis and the proper presentation and interpretation of the results •Puts paper together and submits the paper to journal • Corresponding author •The first author or a senior author from the institution – 51

Avoid the following:

Avoid the following Ghost Authorship –leaving out authors who should be included • Gift Authorship –including authors who did not contribute significantly • Misspelling names:Be consistent! 52

Finally, SUBMIT your manuscript with a cover letter and await a response… :

Finally, SUBMIT your manuscript with a cover letter and await a response… 53

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