October 2010 - Enago Blog: Scientific Publication Help
How to write a scientific paper, How to publish in a research journal English Editing and Publication Support for Scientific Manuscripts

Archive for October, 2010

28 October 2010  |  Posted in Choice of journal, Impact of article  |  4 Comments »

Journals have differing recognition factors, which can be specific to a field or applicable across multiple disciplines. The quality and impact of the journal is usually apparent through how widely it is read, how often it is cited, and its perception in the community. The quality and impact can be quantified in terms of various widely-accepted parameters, among others the Impact Factor, SCImago Journal Rank, Article Influence and H-Index, which are described in brief in this post. In general, these parameters are based on the number of citations received for articles published in the respective journal as compared to others.

The Impact Factor is calculated over a three-year period and represents the average number of times papers are cited up to two years after publication. For example, the Impact Factor of a journal for the year 2009 would be the ratio of the number of times articles published in that journal during 2007-08 were cited in indexed journals (part of a predefined selection) during 2009 to the number of articles published in 2007-08.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

A typical example of SJR and citation data

The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) is a scale which orders journals based on the average number of weighted citations received by an article in the chosen year divided by the number of manuscripts published in the journal during the previous three years.

The Article Influence quantifies the average influence in a period of five years following the publication of the article. It is the ratio of the EigenFactor score of the journal to the number of articles in the journal, normalized as a fraction of all articles from among a predefined selection of over 7000 journals. The Eigenfactor score is determined using the number of times an article has been cited in the previous five years, and is weighted in favor of highly cited journals, with self-citations being excluded. The mean value of the Article Influence score is 1.0, with a value greater or lesser than 1.0, indicative of above-average or below-average influence, respectively.

The H-index was suggested by Jorge E. Hirsch, and is a measure of the scientific output of a research entity. It can be applied to scientists, research groups, institutions or countries. For example, a researcher has an index equal to H if he/she has published N papers and H of these papers have greater than or equal to H citations, while the rest have less than or equal to H citations. The H-index takes into account both the number of publications and citations, and is a quite useful alternative to conventional approaches for quantifying impact.

Typically, researchers prefer to publish in “high-impact” journals since that assures them of a better and a wider audience, and also leads to advancement of their career and research funding. However, the downside is that due to the high volume of articles submitted to such journals, the rejection rates tend to be high. Therefore it is quite important to select the most appropriate journal for publication by optimizing between the quality of the article submitted and the recognition factor of the journal. This contributes toward maximizing the impact of the article for the given situation.

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.

26 October 2010  |  Posted in Presentation aspects, Research and Writing  |  Comment on this post »

There are several aspects which are critical to capturing the attention of the reader and then maintaining a high level of engagement throughout the length of the article. An author has to strike the right balance between several different and at times conflicting considerations for this purpose. The content of the article should be characterized by appropriate language and expression, and should be elegantly structured to maximize impact.

Title: The title should grab the attention of the reader and condense in a few words what the article is all about. Avoid technical terms as far as possible and keep the title lean (on words) and mean!

The essential ingredients of an engaging article

The essential ingredients of an engaging article

Abstract and keywords: Choose a few keywords most appropriate for your work. The abstract should summarize the highlights of all aspects of the article, motivate the reader to venture further into the article, and be limited to the word count specified by the journal. Remember that there may be many readers who will just read the abstract (in part due to the fact that it is freely accessible for most journal articles).

Introduction: The introduction should be written such that it positions the novelty and impact of the research in the context of existing work and outlines the approach adopted in pursuit of the goals.

Description of research techniques: The methods used should be described in a lucid and concise fashion, and details should be provided wherever required, especially when new approaches have been employed.

Discussion: The results should be followed by an interesting and detailed discussion and interpretation. The text should be supplemented by schematic diagrams, images or graphs wherever necessary. Artwork should conform to journal specifications.

Conclusion: Along with a summary of the results, the overall impact of the work and its significance within the specified field or beyond should be persuasively delineated. Possible future research directions should be mentioned.

Citations: The article should be interspersed with suitable, and if possible, a thorough list of citations.

Good research, backed up by structured and attractively presented content created specifically for the target audience makes for an engaging article, which is bound to be read and cited often!

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.

20 October 2010  |  Posted in Conference material  |  Comment on this post »

Once you have gained control of your materials and practiced in steps 1 and 2, you can focus your full awareness on each moment of your presentation to truly give your audience the best possible experience. Live the principle, “Be here now,” and your audience will be there with you.

Step 3: Use this time-honored approach to making your presentation meaningful to your audience:

  1. Introduce yourself and your topic – build rapport with your audience and establish your credibility. Use a story or anecdote, a tasteful and relevant joke, or one attention-getting word, fact, or statistic.
  2. State your message – identify your specific goal. “At the end of our session, I hope that you will … [know] [understand] [do, take action].” Tell your audience, “We’ll be together for [## minutes], and we’ll use [##] of those minutes for [questions and answers, or discussion, or an activity in which you participate], so let’s get started.”
  3. Briefly tell the story of your involvement with the topic – why you care, how you became involved, what important results are for the research and applied communities. Reiterate your specific goal for what they take away from your presentation.
  4. Hit the highlights – introduce the main points you’re going to elaborate on.
  5. Elaborate on those points – use stories, examples, demonstrations. Remember, your allotted time may permit you to discuss only the major details, but you can hand out a more lengthy paper at the end.
  6. Lead up to the conclusion – help your audience think their way to the specific goal or impact you identified in step 2.
  7. Clinch your goal – state the conclusion you want the audience to reach or the action you want them to take.
  8. Engage them in a dialog or activity related to your research. At least, initiate a question and answer period. If time allows, have them take a sample of a survey used in your research or encourage them to discuss a point for further research in small groups and then have a member of each group tell the entire audience what they thought. Practice with colleagues how long this may take and leave time for it.
  9. Wrap it up with thanks – make your closing statement, usually a reiteration of your specific goal, and thank the audience for their participation with your wishes for their own successful research projects. Offer your contact information if you want to invite further questions or collaboration opportunities.
  10. Get written feedback – during your wrap up, distribute a one-page evaluation form with statements of the key elements of your presentation, each with check-boxes on the effective-to-ineffective or ‘loved it’-to-‘hated it’ or ‘totally agree’-to-‘totally disagree’ spectrum. Tell the audience you care about their response to your topic and ask them to complete the evaluation. Allow audience members the choice of handing you the form or placing it on a table anonymously on their way out.

What do you think? Please share your comments.

18 October 2010  |  Posted in Conference material  |  Comment on this post »

Whether this is your first presentation at a professional conference or your twentieth, showing your research to an audience of your peers can be intimidating. Everyone feels “butterflies in my stomach,” even the most experienced speaker. My advice is: Embrace your butterflies! Envision them keeping you energized during your presentation. The tips in the first two of three “Professional Speaker” steps below will help you prepare thoroughly and engage your audience’s interest effectively so your butterflies work for you. The third step, in the next blog, contains tips for delivering your presentation.

Step 1: Prepare Thoroughly. Of course, you know your material, but preparing to share it with others means you have to give some thought to why they should care.

1. Write your specific goal, a statement that begins, “I want my audience to … [know] [understand] [do something, take action].” If you focus on your audience’s interest, you’ll worry less about your own nervousness.

2. Based on your goal, the audience profile, and time limit determine …

  • How you can relate to them: Are they fellow researchers or in professions that apply your research, or some of each?
  • How to show them that your subject is important for them: Ask for a show of hands of people who are researching related topics right now or plan to soon, or ask each person to briefly write down their primary point of interest in your topic as a basis for questions at the end.
  • Your main points (on the slides) and supporting details (in your talk), what to keep in the presentation within the time limit and which details you can hand out afterward.
  • Any stories you can tell to make your points come alive for your audience.
  • Visual media for support – PowerPoint slides, posters, pictures, flip charts, etc.
  • Hand-outs – what you distribute at the beginning (the printed “Notes Pages” or “Handout” version of your slides) to help the audience take notes and follow along; what you distribute during the speech for impact at the moment; what you distribute at the end, such as an evaluation form.

Step 2: Practice Making your Presentation while Motivated by the Presenter’s Mind-set

Rehearse in front of a mirror or with a trusted colleague or two. Either way, you’ll get feedback, polish your content and delivery, learn where to speed up or reduce content to meet the time limit … and gain confidence.

Keep these attitudes in mind –

  • I’m focused on my goal for the audience’s information or action.
  • I want to show the audience how my topic relates to their concerns.
  • I am drawing a map for the audience to understand the path of logic I followed in my research through my presentation so they reach the conclusion I want them to reach.
  • I will use language tailored to the audience’s sophistication about my topic.

Step 3 will be posted soon!

What do you think? Please share your comments.

15 October 2010  |  Posted in General, Scientific conventions  |  2 Comments »

Accuracy or precision is probably the most critical characteristic of measured or collected data. The nature of conclusions derived from the data, and eventually the quality of the work is determined by the extent of precision in both measurements and analyses. This post describes some of the sources of error (both random and systematic), how these can be isolated, and the statistical distributions used to characterize them. This is followed by a short discussion on how errors in multiple measured quantities affect the final measured or calculated values.

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.

Research paper topics, editing proofreading serviceHow to publish in a research journal
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