Ten tips for Publishing your First Scientific Research Paper Successfully

Written by Carlos P. Carvajal

Good job, you have made it this far! You have finished your treacherous data collection, overcome the revolts of instruments and computer models, and finally interpreted those results that have been staring at you for months. You accomplished it all by always maintaining a positive and reasonable outlook on life, or by drinking gallons of coffee – most likely the latter. Anyway, it is time to let your research spread its glorious wings and see the world. Do not be scared! Publishing your first scientific paper does not need to be a torturous experience. Here is a list of steps that will help you put your foot in the door to google scholar. These tips were collected from a postgraduate seminar held at the University of Auckland by Assistant Professor and Editor of Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, Giovanni Coco.

Manuscript Preparation

  1. Identify a journal
    1. Review the spectrum (audience) and reputation (e., impact factor) of the journal.
  2. Coauthorship
    1. Identify and establish the roles of all co-authors and hold them accountable for their contributions.
  3. Data management
    1. Obtain appropriate permission to publish and release data (if needed). Create an ORCID; it is now required. Lastly, having universal sample identifiers (IGSNs) are recommended.

Manuscript Submission

  1. Formatting
    1. Review the rules and requirements of the journal (length, format, figures format, etc.).
  2. Cover letter
    1. Prepare a cover letter addressed to the editor explaining that your manuscript is fit to remit, its significance and novelty. Also, the letter should identify fair reviewers.
  3. Final touches
    1. Review the final manuscript with all authors and discuss financial aspects with them (e.g. open access, printed copies, etc.).
    2. Submit it and be patient.

Review, Revision, and Share

  1. Building that thick skin
    1. Although getting offended while taking criticism is easy, remember to be respectful and to take your reviewers seriously. The fact that a reviewer commented on a section of your manuscript indicates that you need to clarify or correct it for some readers.
  2. Contact the journal editor
    1. Do not hesitate to contact the editor with questions about comments and reviews. They want to work with you to get your paper published.
  3. Respond to reviewers
    1. Provide clear and fair responses to all reviewers. A rebuttal is acceptable for some remarks, however, remember to comment on the review and not the reviewer.
  4. Share and promote your science
    1. Once accepted, use a plain language summary to promote your publication in social media and other outlets (Academia, Researchgate, university media department, Kudos, etc.)

Remember that publishing your work is more than an academic duty – it is a social responsibility. We, scientists, are part of a bigger community outside academia that relies on our passion for discovery and exploration. By publishing your work, you are sharing your knowledge, creativity and hard work.

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