preparing journal articles

Top tips on preparing journal articles

Do you get stuck sometimes when you are writing articles about your research?  How about predicting what peer review questions and comments might come up? This time I have checked out a publisher’s site for some tips about both these aspects of journal writing.

You’ve done the research, now how do you start writing?

Pitched more to technical papers, Springer advocates that, so as to get right into the flow, you should write the sections in this order:

  1. Materials Methods
  2. Results
  3. Introduction
  4. Discussion
  5. Conclusion

This way you report on what you did and how, then what it showed, before immersing yourself in what might be a potentially tangential contextualization of your study within other research in the relevant areas. Then the relevance and value of your research contribution can be emphasized after you have done all the hard work of writing it and know what it looks like. But some writing coaches recommend writing about your research’s significance right away before you get bogged down in too many of the details, then coming back to this theme later. More from Springer here.

How can I prepare for the peer review before I submit the article?

Peer reviews can be:

  • closed: reviewers know the names of the author/a but reviewers themselves remain anonymous to the author/s
  • double-blind: neither the reviewer nor the author knows each other’s names
  • open: both reviewers and authors know each other’s names. The reviewers’ reports in some journals with an open review process are reproduced next to the article.

While some of the information at this link is pretty basic, the part about the peer review gives some grounding in the bigger picture.

It is helpful to know how different journal articles arrive at their peer review processes. Some publishers give more information about this than others and some information is fairly generic. I guess this is one reason why it is helpful to participate in conferences where editors and people on various journal advisory committees will be.