The Art of Writing
Publications are vital to building your profile, but for many scientists it’s less of an art and more of an afterthought. Here, we present a straightforward guide to preparing papers and posters that will get you noticed.
Paul Haddad, Emily F. Hilder, Frantisek Svec |
Over the years, we have presented the “Scientific Writing and Publishing” course at a number of analytical science conferences across the world.The origins of the course lie in discussions between the editors of several major journals in the field about the common mistakes made by authors, especially young scientists. Here, we distill the course into a straightforward guide to creating journal articles and posters that are clear and concise – but that also catch the reader’s attention.
The Write Stuff
How to prepare a manuscript for publication.
Before you type a single syllable, ask yourself: are my results suitable for publication?
Publications are one of the important outputs of any scientific researcher. Results that stay “in the drawer” and are not shared with the community are of little value to you or others. Publishing papers and presenting at scientific meetings serves not only the outside community, but your own career, especially when you are starting out. Defending a PhD thesis with no published papers is exceedingly difficult at best, and your publication record is scrutinized by granting agencies when reviewing project proposals.
Getting a manuscript published in a good journal is never easy; most journals have high rejection rates. There is no secret recipe for success – just some simple rules, dedication and hard work. Authors should remember that editors are very busy people, so it is in everyone’s interests to make the editor’s job as straightforward as possible. Authors should cherish their work and take the greatest care in preparing their manuscripts properly. Finally, authors must expect some of their submissions to be rejected. Rejection is a statistical inevitability – the important thing is to understand why the article was rejected and incorporate this knowledge into future submissions. Success will come if you persevere.
Paul R. Haddad is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.
Emily F. Hilder is Director of the Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.
Frantisek Svec is a Professor in the Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Charles University, 50005 Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.
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