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Articles Related by ‘Type of article’

04 November 2013  |  Posted in Impact of article, Publication, Type of article  |  Comment on this post »

A number of years ago when I was working as a government contractor, I talked to a professor at a local university about the possibility of collaborating on a research project. He listened with interest to my idea and then asked one question, “What do you think would be the possibility of generating a publication out of this project?” We wanted a problem solved. What he wanted was a publication. His priorities were understandable: he was a young professor working to get tenure and felt that his list of publications was scanty. The more publications on a resume the better. But is this true? I don’t think so. A researcher should aim for high quality publications. The more of these the better. But generating publications simply to pad a resume will be counterproductive in the long run.

For example, consider H. C. Brown, who won 1979 Nobel Prize for his work on boron reagents in organic chemistry. Brown may have been the most prolific scientific publisher of the 20th Century. He always seemed to have articles coming out. But his detractors (and there were quite a few) said that he published the same paper over and over, with minor changes in ligand or substrate. Critics said he would have done better to have published half as many papers, longer and more considered rather than so many bits and pieces of preliminary results.

On the other hand there is R. B. Woodward, who published relatively few papers compared to Brown, but what papers! The list of authors on his great paper on the synthesis of vitamin B12 was almost as long as some communications. On a personal level Woodward may have had detractors, but I’ve never heard of anyone attack his scientific prowess. The main controversy seems to be about whether he deserved one Nobel Prize or two.

I think we can all agree that results that are really new and important ought to be published as soon as possible, particularly if other researchers are working in the same area. Otherwise a full paper, carefully worked out and detailed, should be the goal. Publication just for the sake of a head count will eventually gain a researcher a reputation that he does not want. As a grad student I was reluctant to publish one part of my research because I felt our argument in favor of a novel mechanism was weak and circumstantial and there were other mechanisms which were more likely though less novel. We needed to do more work. My adviser disagreed, saying “I don’t think you realize just what can be published.” We delayed writing the paper until one more experiment was performed. The result showed that our favored mechanism was untenable. A good thing we held off. Better no publication than a weak one.

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

10 November 2010  |  Posted in Research and Writing, Type of article  |  3 Comments »

Before you begin to write a research article, it is essential to have a clear idea about the intended readers, their degree of expertise, and their objective in reading the manuscript. A suitable journal should be selected after factoring in these constraints or requirements. The organization, presentation style and depth of the article should be tailored to the target audience.

The key steps in organizing a research article are to first define an overall structure for the manuscript, decide on specific topics or sections, and then finalize the precise content to be included. Articles can be broadly grouped into two types i.e. either those intended for experts or for a general/broad audience.

Articles written for an expert audience

Experts can be of two types: those who are knowledgeable about the overall subject area (general experts). A subset of these can have a detailed and in-depth understanding of the specific topic of research (specialized experts).

The aim of experts in reading a manuscript may be any one of the following:

  • Update or expand their knowledge and understanding of the specific topic or subject area
  • Learn about new concepts or techniques or obtain detailed information about existing ones
  • Seek solutions to problems encountered in the course of their own work
  • To evaluate the quality of the content of the article

When describing concepts, methods and results to general experts, sufficient background information should be provided, including any specialized conventions and terminology. This is usually not required for specialized experts, who can be assumed to have a considerable amount of knowledge. For an expert audience, it is essential to provide a detailed description of various parts and processes through the use of appropriate figures and tables.

Articles written for laypersons

These are people who possess little or no knowledge of the subject area or specific topic. Therefore, no prior knowledge should be assumed, and extensive and easily comprehensible background information should be provided. The use of technical terms should be kept to a minimum and if any are used, these should be explained thoroughly. Attempt to use examples or analogies with which people are generally familiar, and have a bearing on your article or research. Figures outlining the basic concepts should be presented along with those about specific results.

Laypersons may read your article for several reasons:

  • Enhance their general knowledge
  • Learn more about basics and current state of knowledge in a specific field with a view towards achieving expertise
  • To understand specific concepts or methods with the goal of applying these in given situations

When targeting either experts or laypersons, it is essential that the article be written such that it conforms to the journal style. Further, for improving overall readability and presentation, input from subject-area experts can also be taken into account. This allows you to generate more interest amongst readers and maximize the impact of the article.

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



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