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Writing and getting published in science (2012)

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Rebecca Ferguson
9 March 2012

Science workshop led by Professor David Male.

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Introduction to Professor David Male. Interests in the fields of neuroimmunology and vascular cell biology.

Initially he stresses about the fact that there are variations in details of publications, it varies between departments so students should take advice from supervisors.

Writing paper if different from thesis, but paper writing makes the thesis writing much easier.

Before writing a paper student should think: what you would like see in a paper? Helps to keep you on course.

When paper goes off for review, the comments of the reviewer are useful. Because sometime you are so focused on the topic and content then the comments help you to think about why your work is important in broader sense.


What to publish

Cost of publication, some requires payments, colour or black/white can change in payment.

Open access, no body is excluded and more citations.

Example of couple of papers, where I am the last author, I am showing these because I want to talk about the authorship.

First author and last author has got more credit in biological science, other may different.

The corresponding author is important. Journals like one person to communicate on behalf of others, corresponded authors should be fixed and stable in terms of moving institutions otherwise might have the danger of loosing communication.

Thesis will include background information and calibrations, but a paper is the presentation of the important thing.

Scientific papers are basically the narrative, are the stories, first is the aim, then what other people think about the subject, what are the key questions and what you did, after that what did you saw and how do you interpret the data? Then it is about how you answering the questions and relate that with previous findings.



The order explained may not the best order to start writing a paper, the best place to start writing with findings, figures, legends, tables and footnotes that will the build the narrative, results to the methods.


Often methods and results doesn’t match up they should be marry up. Keywords are important for searching to be found. Acknowledgement needs a little effort but goes long way really. Number of references depends on the work you are doing.

Title: (examples on the slide)

Example 1st one is very general, 2nd one is very specific. Should be something in middle.

Write some title, which will draw the attention of broader audience and then bring down to abstract.


Which Journal?

High impact factor.

Many journals will ask a list of referees you want as your reviewer. If you don’t anyone you should have a proper reason for that.

After deciding the journal read the instruction for the authors which is very important.

Student question:

How do you get to the point that you are able to decide which journal to send in?

You should read a lot, discuss with supervisor, and have a good idea about the high impact journals.

Discussion about the specific recommendation about the figures and format, size, single column, double column, colour or black and white, 300 dpi for line drawings.

If 2 or 3 authors are writing, often different fonts and inconsistence may occur, better to product template early and requested the same format.

Most of the journal will ask a submission format, often requested single pdf file, reviewer will add the comments of pdf format and finally editors will ask word documents for formatting.


Style: Active/ passive

Traditionally passive, but it is changing due to the non-native speaker and as easy to understand active is usually using. Whatever the case should be consistent.


Be precise as possible, avoid double stands, or inconsistency.


Group work (only abstract to read)

A hand out of the first page of a paper called “The influence of ligand organization on the rate of uptake of gold nanoparticles by colorectal cancer calls”.

Was found mismatches of tenses

Another paper ”Biodistribution of colloidal gold nanoparticles after intravenous administration: Effect of particle size by Ganeshchandra Sonavanea, Keishiro Tomodaa, Kimiko Makino ”

The problem of using “the” or “a”, too long abstract and too much description about the method in the abstraction.


How to reply to the responses from the journal

Some things should or can be done, some not possible and you are allowed to reply to say why do you thing it is not possible with proper evidence.

Example of his career: Over 100 publications only one had accepted as “thanks for your paper and we will publish it” so do not be down hearted.


Student question:

What do you do if rejected? Publish in another journal?

There are several ways of doing it. Some may not match with readership and you just have to rethink and find a suitable one.

Some may be too much for one paper. An example of splitting a paper into two different but strong papers.



Khadija Tahera
17:54 on 20 March 2012 (Edited 10:56 on 21 March 2012)

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added by Brian Plüss


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