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How to write a world class paper


How to write a world class paper Anthony P.F. Turner 2008 10th Biosensors Conference, Shanghai Professor Anthony P.F. Turner Editor-In-Chief, Biosensors ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to write a world class paper

How to write a world class paper
  • Anthony P.F. Turner
  • 2008 10th Biosensors Conference,

Professor Anthony P.F. Turner
  • Editor-In-Chief, Biosensors Bioelectronics,
    Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology,
    Commercial Director, Cranfield Health, Director
    Cranfield Ventures
  • PhD, DSc, FRSC
  • Founder and Editor of BB since 1985
  • Cranfield University

Professor Turner's name is synonymous with the
field of Biosensors
  • Current status of Chinese articles
  • Why do scientists publish?
  • Ethical issues
  • Revision, and response to reviewers
  • What gets you accepted?
  • How to write a good manuscript for an
    international journal
  • 1.preparations before starting
  • of an article
  • 3.technical details

Current status of Chinese articles
  • High quantity exponential growth since 1999
  • Low quality China is at 70 of the world average

Comparison of number of Chinese submissions and
accepted articles in BB
2006 2007 of rate of of rate of Submission acceptance Submission acceptance
China 18 17 29 25
US 12 16 15 20

How can Chinese authors do better?
We have encountered the following serious issues
  • English is poor
  • Papers which are deeply out of scope of our
  • Failure to format the paper according to the
    guide for authors
  • Inadequate response to reviewers
  • Multiple submissions
  • Submission of paper already published in Chinese
  • Plagiarism (especially of small parts of a paper)

And who has to deal with it?
  • Editors and reviewers
  • 1.The most precious resource of a journal!
  • 2.Practicing scientists, even leaders in their
  • 3.Busy people doing their own research, writing
    and teaching, and working for journals in their
    spare time, to contribute to science
  • 4.Editors may receive a small payment, but
    reviewers are UNPAID

Your personal reason for publishing
get promoted???
Get funding?
  • ???

PhD degree?
  • However, editors, reviewers, and research
    community dont consider these reasons when
    assessing your work.

Why should scientists publish?
  • Scientists publish to share with the science
    COMMUNITY something that advances, not repeats,
    knowledge and understanding in a certain field.
  • To present new, original results of methods
  • To rationalize published results
  • To present a review of the field or to summarize
    a particular topic

Journal publishers do not want zero-cited articles
  • Editors now regularly analyse citations per
  • the statistic that 27 of our papers were
    not cited in 5 years was disconcerting. It
    certainly indicates that it is important to
    maintain high standards when accepting papers
    nothing would have been lost except the CVs of
    those authors would have been shorter
  • Articles are increasingly checked for originality
    and relevance

QUALITY and VALUE are at the heart of scholarly
  • Do not publish
  • 1.reports of no scientific interest
  • 2.out of date work
  • 3.duplication of previously published work
  • 4.incorrect/unacceptable conclusions
  • 5. salami-sliced papers datasets too
    small to be meaningful

Deadly sins-Unethical behavior can earn
rejection and even a ban from publishing in the
journal Terry M
Phillips, Editor, Journal of Chromatography B
  • Multiple submissions
  • Redundant publications
  • Plagiarism
  • Data fabrication and falsification
  • Improper use of human subjects and animals in
  • Improper author contribution

1. Multiple submissions(????)
  • Multiple submissions save your time but waste
  • The editorial process of your manuscripts will be
    completely stopped if the duplicated submission
    are discovered.
  • it is considered to be unethical We have
    thrown out a paper when an author was caught
    doing this. I believe that the other journal did
    the same thing.
  • James C. Hower, Editor, the
    international Journal of Coal Geology
  • Competing journals constantly exchange
    information on suspicious papers (even between
    competitors) .
  • You should not send your manuscripts to a second
    journal UNTIL you receive the final decision of
    the first journal.

2. Redundant publication(????)
  • An author should not submit for consideration in
    another journal a previously published paper.
  • 1.Published studies do not need to be
    repeated unless further conformation is required.
  • 2.Previous publication of an abstract
    during the proceedings of conferences does not
    preclude subsequent submission for publication,
    but full disclosure should be made at the time of
  • 3. Re-publication of a paper in another
    language is acceptance, provided that there is
    full and prominent disclosure of its original
    source at the time of submission.
  • 4.At the time of submission, authors
    should disclose details of related papers, even
    if in a different language, and similar papers in

  • Plagiarism is the appropriation of another
    persons ideas,processes,results,or words without
    giving appropriate credit, including those
    obtained through confidential review of others
    research proposals and manuscripts (the Federal
    Office of Science and Technology Policy,1999).
  • Presenting the data or interpretations of others
    without crediting them, and thereby gaining for
    yourself the rewards earned by others is theft,
    and it eliminates the motivation of working
    scientists to generate new data and
  • ---Bruce Railsback, Professor,
    Department of Geology, University of Georgia
  • For more informatin on plagiarism and
    self-plagiarism, please see http//facpub.stjohns.

  • Source China Daily,15 March 2006
  • Chinese authorities take strong measures
    against scientific dishonesty
  • Plagiarism and stealing work from colleagues
    can lead to serious consequence

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Inappropriate paraphrasing
Example 1
  • Paraphrasing is restating someone elses ideas
    while not copying verbatim.
  • Unacceptable paraphrasing includes any of the
  • using phrases from the original source
    without enclosing them in quotation marks
  • emulating sentence structure even when
    using different wording
  • emulating paragraph organization even
    when using different wording or sentence
  • -Statement on Plagiarism.
    Department of Biology, Davidson College.
  • http//

Acceptable paraphrasing
Example 2
  • Original(Buchanan,1996)
  • what makes intentionally killing a human
    being a moral wrong for which the killer is to be
    condemned is that the killer did this morally bad
    thing not inadvertently or even negligently, but
    with a conscious purpose-with eyes open and a
    will directed toward that very object.
  • Restatement 2
  • Buchanan(1996)states that we condemn a person
    who intentionally kills a human being because he
    did a morally bad thing not through negligence
    of accident but with open eyes and a direct will
    to take that life.
  • -Ronald K. Gratz. Using
    Others Words and Ideas.
  • Department of Biological Sciences,
    Michigan Technological University

4.Data fabrication and falsification(????)
  • Fabrication is making up data or results, and
    recording or reporting them.
  • Falsification is manipulating research materials,
    equipment, processes, or changing/omitting data
    or results such that the research is not
    accurately represented in the research record.
  • The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a
    slightly distorted truth.

  • -G.C.Lichtenberg(1742-1799)

5.Improper use of human subjects and animals
  • Experiments on human subjects or animals should
    follow related ethical standards, e.g. Helsinki
    Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000(5).
  • If doubt exists in accordance of the research
    with Helsinki Declaration, authors must explain
    the rationale for their approach and demonstrate
    the approval from the institutional review body

6.Improper author contribution
  • Authorship credit should be based on
  • 1. substantial contributions to conception
    and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis
    and interpretation of data
  • 2. drafting the article or revising it
    critically for important intellectual content
  • 3. final approval of the version to be
  • Authors should meet conditions 1,2,and
    3.Those who have participated in certain
    substantive aspects of the research project
    should be acknowledged or listed as contributors.

Why is revision important and necessary?
  • Which procedure do you prefer?
  • Send out a sloppily prepared manuscript
    get rejected after 4-6 months send out again
    only a few days later get rejected again.
    Sink into despair
  • Take 3-4 months to prepare the manuscript
    get the first decision after 4 months revise
    carefully within time limitation.accepted
  • ???????
  • Please cherish your own achievements!

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Revision before submission-checklist
  • Reasons for early rejection Content (aims and
  • Paper is of limited interest or covers local
    issues only (sample type, geography, specific
    product, etc).
  • Paper is a routine application of well-known
  • Paper presents an incremental advance or is
    limited in scope
  • Novelty and significance are not immediately
    evident or sufficiently well-justified
  • Unacceptably poor English

Revision before submission-checklist
  • Reasons for early rejection Content (aims and
  • Paper is of limited interest or covers local
    issues only (sample type, geography, specific
    product, etc).
  • Paper is a routine application of well-known
  • Paper presents an incremental advance or is
    limited in scope
  • Novelty and significance are not immediately
    evident or sufficiently well-justified
  • Reasons for early rejection Preparation
  • Failure to meet submission requirements
  • Unacceptably poor English

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Rejection not the end of the world
  • Everyone has papers rejected-do not take it
  • Try to understand why the paper was rejected.
  • Note that you have received the benefit of the
    editors and reviewers time take their advice
  • Re-evaluate your work and decide whether it is
    appropriate to submit the paper elsewhere.
  • If so, begin as if you are going to write a new
    article. Read the Guide for Authors of the new
    journal, again and again.

Dont resubmit a rejected manuscript to another
journal without significant revision! It wont
  • A suggested strategy
  • In your cover letter, declare that the
    paper was rejected and name the journal.
  • Include the referees reports and a
    detailed letter of response, showing how each
    comment has been addressed.
  • Explain why you are resubmitting the paper
    to this journal, e.g. this journal is a more
    appropriate journal the manuscript has been
    improved as a result of tis previous review, etc.

1.Check the originality of your idea
  • Have you done something new and interesting?
  • Is there anything challenging in your work?
  • Is the work directly related to a current hot
  • Have you provided solutions to any difficult
  • If all answers are yes, then start preparing
    your manuscript.

2.Decide the type of your manuscript
  • Full articles/Original articles
  • Letters/Rapid Communications/Short
  • Review papers/perspectives
  • Self-evaluate your work Is it sufficient for a
    full article? Or are your results so thrilling
    that they need to be shown as soon as possible?
  • Ask your supervisor and colleagues for advice on
    manuscript type. Sometimes outsiders see things
    more clearly than you.

3.Who is your audience?
  • Do you want to reach specialists,
    multidisciplinary researchers, a general
    audience? You will need to adjust information and
    writing stle accordingly
  • Journals, even in similar subjects, reach readers
    with different background
  • Each journal has its own style read other
    articles to see what gets accepted
  • Is readership worldwide or local?

4.Choose the right journal
  • Investigate all candidate journals to find out
  • Aims and scope
  • Types of articles
  • Readership
  • Current hot topics (go through recent
    abstracts )
  • You can get help from your supervisor or
    colleagues. Chase them if necessary.
  • Articles in your references will likely lead you
    to the right journal.
  • DO NOT gamble by scattering your manuscript to
    many journals. Only submit once!

Differences between journals
  • In addition to ensuring technical correctness,
    journal editors seek to maintain their journals
    philosophy and quality
  • Some of this can be understood from a journals
    statement of scope, which should be read
  • However, journals clearly have different rankings
    and you will not get into a top journal designed
    for general readership if your paper addresses a
    specialist audience
  • Equally, high impact specialist journals will
    tend to rigorously enforce editorial criteria
    such as interest to the community
  • Choose a journal appropriate to the breadth and
    importance of your work and take advice when
    unsure to avoid rejection and associated delay in

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Content and Presentation
  • A good paper leads readers
  • to scientific significance
  • Content is essential
  • contains an adequate, useful, exciting and
    convincing scientific message
  • Presentation is critical
  • in a logical mannerreaders arrive at the
    same conclusions as authors
  • in a good format-best showcases the materials
  • in a clear style-clearly transmits the

The general structure of an article
  • Title
  • Authors
  • Abstract For indexing and
    searching! (informative,

  • attractive, effective)
  • Keywords
  • Main text
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results Each has
    a distinct function
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Supplementary materials-for the electronic copy

We often write in the following order
  • Figures and Tables
  • Materials and Metheods
  • Results and Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • Introduction
  • Abstract and Title

  • A good title should contain the fewest
    possible words that adequately describe the
  • A good title
  • is concise, but informative
  • is accurate, clear, specific, and complete
  • identifies the main issue of the paper
  • can attract readers
  • Please do not include infrequently-used

  • Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or
    general supervision of the research group, alone.
    Does not justify authorship
  • Each author should have sufficiently participated
    in the work to take public responsibility for
    appropriate portions of the content.
  • The corresponding author should ensure that all
    appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate
    co-authors are included on the paper.
  • People who have helped, but, not authors, should
    be acknowledged.

5. Introduction
Answer a series of questions
  • What is the problem?
  • Are there any existing solutions?
  • Which is the best?
  • What is its main limitation?
  • What do you hope to achieve?

Provide sufficient background information to help
readers evaluate your work Convince readers that
your work is important
  • In summary, the Introduction section should
  • State the purpose of the investigation
  • Cite relevant references not an extensive
    review and avoid extensive self- citation
  • Briefly describe your work
  • Not mix introduction, results, discussion and

6.Materials and Methods
  • Authors must provide enough information so
    that people can repeat the experiments
  • Materials and Chemicals
  • Instruments
  • Measurements
  • Procedures (published procedures should just be
  • Safety considerations (hazardous procedures and
    special precautions, and toxic chemicals)

7.Results and Discussion
  • A set of principal equations or theorems
  • The main findings (adequate, useful and
  • Text (simple findings)
  • Figures and/or tables including Error bars or
    Relative standard deviation
  • The interpretation of the results
  • The comparison between your approach and results
    and those published and should include
  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Valuable conformation
  • Contrary findings
  • Your findings building on previous knowledge
  • Future experiments

Captions of Figures and Tables
  • Keep it concise
  • Make it self-sufficient
  • Figures and tables together with their
    captions should be clearly understandable without
    having to read the text

8. Conclusions
  • Do
  • Give global and specific conclusions, in relation
    to the objectives
  • Indicate uses, extensions, and limitations if
  • Suggest future work and point out those that are
  • Do not
  • Summarize the paper
  • Make a list of trivial statements of your results
  • Make statements that the results can not support
  • Make judgments about impact
  • Use uncertain words such as might, probably

5.Cover letter
  • Do not summarize your manuscript!
  • Title of the manuscript
  • Article Type Review or Full paper or Short
  • New method used and its advantages limits
  • Application of published techniques
  • Extension of your previous publication and its
  • Potential reviewers (not you friends)