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Scientific writing Publishing in Hydrobiologia

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Title: Scientific writing Publishing in Hydrobiologia


1
Scientific writing Publishing in Hydrobiologia
  • Koen Martens
  • (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences,
    Brussels, Belgium)

2
I will
  • Make this powerpoint available to all interested
  • I am willing to look at draft manuscripts during
    my stay at this conference (till Thursday
    morning)

3
Publish and be damned.
When the courtesan Harriette Wilson threatened
to publish her memoirs and his letters...
Arthur Wellesley,1st Duke of Wellington
4
In science, the creditgoes to the man who
convinces the world,not the man to whomthe idea
first occurs. Sir Francis Darwin (1848 -
1925)
The better you write, the more people will take
notice
5
Content
  • Types of journals
  • Impact factors
  • Publishing in Hydrobiologia
  • Some tips for scientific writing

6
What level of publication to aim for with primary
research papers?
  • All good research is worthwhile!
  • Difference between levels mostly related to
  • research question of general or of local
    interest
  • descriptive or hypothesis testing
  • qualitative or quantitative
  • with or without replication, statistical analyses
  • .

7
Is my paper local, national or international ?
  • International journals also several levels
    (examples from the field of aquatic sciences)
  • General top level (Science, Nature, PNAS)
  • Of very wide interest (world press)
  • Top research, but especially spectacular
  • New discovery, new method,
  • (within) new paradigm
  • Biology, London office 1/60 weekly
  • IF 25-30

8
Is my paper local, national or international ?
  • 2. General international, intermediate level
  • (e.g. Oecologia, LO, Freshwater Biology,,
    Hydrobiologia)
  • Hypothesis-driven
  • Required
  • Not purely descriptive
  • Including replication, appropriate statistical
    analyses
  • Of more than local/ national interest
  • Of interest for a wide scientific audience

9
Is my paper local, national or international ?
  • 3. More specialised international journals
    (Crustaceana, Aquatic Insects)
  • More rigorous in scope, less difficult regarding
    general interest
  • Depending on the field, pure descriptive work can
    be accepted
  • For example
  • pure alpha-taxonomy,
  • 1-year limnological cycles,
  • 1-parameter models,

10
Is my paper local, national or international ?
  • National, Museum journals
  • Eg. inventories of nature reserves, pure alpha
    taxonomy, new species for national fauna,
  • Local
  • Short notes on faunistic or floristic
    observations, general natural history,

All of these are worthwhile!!!
11
Same research, different way of presenting
  • Exx one year cycle of phytoplankton in a lake
  • Description, no replicas, no statistical
    analyses, only raw data presented
  • National or local
  • Replicate sampling, results of statistical
    analyses
  • International specialised journal
  • Hypothesis-testing (eg. Hutchinsons paradox of
    plankton), multiple lakes, controlled field
    experiment
  • International general journals (Hydrobiologia,
    LO)
  • Use of space craft and nuclear reactor
  • Nature or Science!

12
Why aim for high level publication?
  • Higher dissemination, higher impact in scientific
    world
  • Better use of research funding
  • Senior researchers
  • Higher chances for research funding
  • Students
  • higher chances to find positions
  • Responsibility of supervisor!

13
The hierarchy of journals and publications
  • Journal with peer reviewing, with IF
  • Both national and international
  • Some research institutions require
  • Higher than a particular IF (eg gt 2)
  • Top 10 or 25 of your particular field
  • Peer review, no IF
  • National, museum journals,
  • No peer review, no IF
  • Some local journals
  • Some books, chapters in books
  • Many webpages!!!
  • Grey literature
  • Abstracts for conferences (both oral and poster)
  • Theses, reports,

14
Other types of papers
  • Opinion
  • Reviews
  • Target papers
  • Short research notes
  • News and views
  • Book reviews, abstracts,..

15
Excursus Open Access Publishing
  • Traditional way of publishing
  • authors publish in scientific journals,
  • publishers sell these journals to libraries,
  • access is limited to subscribing individuals/
    institutions
  • Libraries pay for access
  • sometimes subscription page charge
  • Traditional publishing at present
  • Paper journals
  • Paper plus electronic access
  • Electronic access only
  • gt All access restricted to subscribers

16
Open Access Publishing
  • Open access
  • Authors publish in an electronic journal
  • Authors pay for publication costs (gt 1500 USD per
    accepted manuscript, depending on journal)
  • OR member institutes pay a fee
  • Electronic journal is open access gt no
    subscription restrictions

Costs shift from Library gt Author
17
Open Access Publishing
  • Sounded like a good idea initially
  • gt 400 institutions became member of BMC BioMed
    Central major open access publisher with 100s
    of journals
  • PLOS Public Library of Science
  • Large movement of cancellation of traditional
    journals

Source Matt Cockerill, BMC
18
Open Access Publishing
  • http//www.soros.org/openaccess/
  • Budapest Open Access Initiative 2001
  • Since then, little more than 5000 signatures have
    been added to the petition
  • Yale University withdrew its membership from BMC,
    others will follow
  • Too expensive
  • Example
  • 1 journal costs 8000 USD/ yr to the library
  • 10 authors publish in open access journal It
    will cost 15,000 USD
  • In addition, cost is unpredictable per year

19
Open Access Publishing
  • PRO
  • Unlimited access of all papers to the scientific
    community
  • Allows for full text mining
  • CONTRA
  • Will not reduce costs
  • Scientific community continues to pay
  • Apparently does not reach all that much larger an
    audience

Subscription model or open access model ? The
future will tell. gt Scientific publishing
market is very volatile .
20
Content
  • Types of journals
  • Impact factors
  • Publishing in Hydrobiologia
  • Some tips for scientific writing

21
Impact Factors
22
Institute for Scientific Information
Eugen Garfield
23
The tyranny of the Impact Factors Thomson
Scientific(formerly ISI)
  • Database with references citations from 1000s
    of journals
  • Inclusion of journal Subjective decision by ISI
  • Products
  • (Current Contents)
  • Web of Science, Web of Knowledge
  • Journal Citation
  • Impact Factors, Immediacy Index,

24
Impact Factor 2007 Hydrobiologia
25
Evolution of Impact Factor Hydrobiologia
26
Five year trend of change of IF

27
Over 5 year trend of change of IF

28
Impact Factors
Asked on several occasions that Thomson
scientific would provide the primary files used
to calculate IFs gt T.S. failed to provide the
exact data
29
High impact factors for
  • Very bad papers!
  • Papers describing new methodology
  • Review papers
  • Opinion papers
  • Papers in journals
  • With fast publication
  • Which are widely available AND widely read
  • Electronic, web-based journals
  • Attracting high level authors
  • .

30
Impact factors are unscientific
  • TREE IF cannot be used to compare
  • Disciplines,
  • Institutes,
  • Individual Researchers,.
  • Garfield Eugene 2005
  • 50 of papers in ISI database never gets cited
  • 0nly 0.1 of papers gt 200 citations
  • IF journal, not
  • Individual paper
  • Individual scientists
  • gt yet, IF are used to evaluate individual
    scientists, departments, etc.

31
The h - factor
  • Definition A scientist has index h if h of his
    or her Np papers have at least h citations each
  • The highest h-factor for physics was that of E.
    Witten (h 110). This means Witten has 110 papers
    that are cited 110 times or more

32
An index to quantify an individuals
scientific research output J. E. Hirsch, 2005
PNAS 102 (46) 1656916572
33
Fig. 2. Histogram giving the number of Nobel
prize recipients in physics in the last 20 years
versus their h index. The peak is at the h index
between 35 and 39. (Hirsch, 2005)
34
Content
  • Types of journals
  • Impact factors
  • Publishing in Hydrobiologia
  • Some tips for scientific writing

35
Hydrobiologia
  • 21 volumes annually (c 11 specials)
  • gt 5300 pages, c 500 papers / yr
  • The aquatic library
  • submission gt 1200 mss / yr
  • acceptance regular papers c 25
  • 200 out of c 800 submissions
  • IF 0.653 (2004) gt 1.201 (2007)
  • I am EiC since Sept 2003 (with vol. 500) when I
    took
  • over from Henri Dumont (23 years!!!)
  • we just published volume 610

36
Hydrobiologia is in a very competitive market!!!
37
Editorial Policy
  • More focus on scope Biology of aquatic habitats
    and biota
  • No pure ecotoxicology, biochemistry,
  • Less strict for special issues, but show
    relevance of work for aquatic communities
  • Trying to reach a wider audience Writing for a
    wide, international audience, high scientific
    standard
  • Not purely descriptive (taxonomy, ecology,
    limnology)
  • Dealing with general biological question
  • Quantitative/ statistical analyses
  • Be respected by that audience High technical
    standards
  • Language
  • Figures and tables

38
Hydrobiologia publishes taxonomy!!!
  • Descriptive part OK, no page limitation
  • But of course as concise as possible
  • But USE your new data!
  • Quantitative phylogenetic analyses
  • Quantitative biogeographical analyses
  • Molecular vs morphological data
  • Quantitative morphological comparisons
  • gt Similar approach to ecological/ limnological
    papers

39
Your proceedings in Hydrobiologia?
  • Why an A-level journal for proceedings?
  • Book has no IF
  • gt Student in early stage of career MUST publish
    with IF
  • Papers are rejected for journal, so no complete
    proceedings.
  • gt Books will also not give complete overview
  • Also outreach to scientific community OUTSIDE of
    Copepoda
  • Why Hydrobiologia?
  • Tradition for copepod volumes
  • Hydro (still) takes organism-based proceedings
  • IF on the rise
  • What are Developments in Hydrobiology?
  • Hard cover spin off series of Hydrobiologia
  • COULD include also papers rejected for
    Hydrobiologia

40
Content
  • Types of journals
  • Impact factors
  • Publishing in Hydrobiologia
  • Some tips for scientific writing

41
(No Transcript)
42
Rule 1
  • ONE PAPER,
  • ONE STORY!!!

43
Rule 2
  • KEEP IT SIMPLE
  • All big things have little names, such as life
    and death, peace and war, or dawn, day, night,
    love, home. Learn to use little words in a big
    way - It is hard to do. But they say what you
    mean.
  • When you dont know what you mean, use big words
    They often fool little people.

44
Rule 3
  • USE CORRECT LANGUAGE

Ask a native English speaking colleague to help
you..
45
Organisation of a primary research paper
  • introduced by American National Standards
    Institute in 1979

46
Organisation of a primary research paper IMRAD
  • INTRODUCTION
  • What did you do? Why did you do it?
  • MATERIAL AND METHODS
  • How did you do it?
  • RESULTS
  • What did you find?
  • DISCUSSION
  • What does it mean ?
  • (CONCLUSIONS)

Never mix Results and Discussion in one section
!!!
47
Organisation of a primary research paper
  • Title (page)
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Material and methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • (Conclusions)
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Tables and Figures, including captions
  • (Appendices)

48
Organisation of a primary research paper
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Material and methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • (Conclusions)
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Tables and Figures, including captions
  • (Appendices)

Title and abstract are often the only items that
your peers will read make them attractive
49
How to choose a title?
First impressions are powerful make them count!
Two approaches to attract attention
  • Correct and concise
  • Absence of allelic divergence shows that there
    is no Meselson effect in an ancient asexual
    ostracod
  • Catchy
  • No slave to sex

50
How to choose a title?
  • Catchy title, but not very informative as to
    content
  • If you like to reach a wide audience
  • Some of your colleagues will NOT like this sort
    of TV
  • advertisement

51
How to choose a title?
  • Studies on.
  • Characterisation of .
  • Observations on.
  • Investigations into.
  • Too descriptive, not catchy, not .
  • If you are unable to think of a specific
    biological question which your study might begin
    to address, it may be time to consider an
    alternative career..
  • (Martin Welch)

52
Abstract
  • Must HAVE content NOT these results are
    discussed
  • Research question, hypothesis to be tested,
    general context
  • Major methodologies
  • Major results (no raw data!)
  • Major significance of these results (for example
    hypothesis rejected or not)
  • gt In some journals, these sections are numbered

53
Material and Methods
  • Watch how you write things
  • After standing in boiling water for an hour, I
    loaded the sample on a gel..
  • Ouch.
  • The sample was kept at room temperature
  • In London or Pataya ????
  • Blood samples were taken from 48 informed and
    consenting patients.. the subjects ranged in age
    from 6 months to 22 years. (Pediatr. Res. 626
    (1972))
  • Clever kids!
  • Give exact origin of chemicals, biological
    materials
  • Use SI units throughout

54
The hardest rule of all
  • Do not put results in material and methods
  • Do not put results in discussion
  • Do not describe methods in results
  • Do not describe methods in discussion
  • Do not discuss results in material and methods
  • Do not discuss results in results

55
Results how not to do it
  • In this experiment, one third of the mice were
    cured by the test drug, one third were unaffected
    by the drug and remained moribund, and the third
    mouse got away.
  • (Reputedly from a MS submitted
  • to Infection and Immunity)

Moribund in the state of dying
56
Discussion
  • The squid technique. Here, the author,
    doubtful about his facts or reasoning, retreats
    behind a protective cloud of ink.
  • Probably the easiest section to write, but the
    hardest section to get right

57
Refereeing
  • Editors send ms to referees (usually gt 2)
  • Peer review
  • Peers your colleagues
  • Suitability for specific journal
  • Scientific content
  • Technical quality (English, figures,)

58
Refereeing
  • Rejection is a fact of life..
  • Editors judge individual manuscripts, NOT
    personal standing, careers,
  • Referees try to help authors free of charge
  • gt Please respond respectfully

59
Conclusions
  • One paper one story
  • Use simple words and phrases
  • Use correct English
  • Not purely descriptive
  • For wide, international audience
  • Use correct structure of manuscript
  • guidelines of journal
  • IMRAD
  • Pay attention to Title and Abstract!

60
Welcome to Hydrobiologia!
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