Where should I publish my research

Publish scientific work in five steps

At last! You wrapped up the last attempt or conducted the last interview for your survey. Now it's a matter of putting the results on paper. But what is the best way to proceed? What do you have to pay attention to when you want to publish a work?

In the beginning it makes sense to pause and think about what you actually want to communicate to the scientific community. What's the most important part of the job? What should the reader take home with them, what should stay in the mind of the reader? For a scientific report, study or series of tests, the answer to this question can only be: the progress in knowledge, the newly discovered, the unexpected result. So we're talking about the part of the manuscript with the results.

This part not only contains the most important things, but it also represents the section of the project or study that has cost you the most time, energy, despair, frustration, and maybe even tears. Your work and dedication deserve to be considered the most important part of the manuscript.

Tip # 1: start with the results!

Of course, you hope that many scholars will read your manuscript after it is published. But who will be the first to read it? Sure, your fellow students and your supervisor will have read it and made suggestions for improvement. However, these people are clearly familiar with the content and will often read what they want to read and not have the gaze of a critical outsider.

If you send your manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal or publisher, the first reader will be the editor of that journal. However, the editor is someone who does not know your work and has not accompanied it from the beginning. Naturally, he first reads the title and the abstract and uses this as a basis to form an idea. If he is convinced that your results are within the subject area of ​​the journal or of the publisher and show sufficient progress in knowledge, he will select reviewers and send your manuscript to them. Based on the information in the title and in the abstract, the reviewers decide whether they will review the manuscript or not.

Tip # 2: Don't write the title and abstract at the end.

They are the calling card of a scientific manuscript and have to be well thought out.

By the way, where do you think the reviewers will start your manuscript? Probably not with your introduction that has been worked out for so long, but with the results section and, above all, with the figures and tables!

Tip # 3: Make sure that the figures and tables are clear and easy to understand

In this way you can ensure that they tell the story of the manuscript without having to read the text. It is also extremely important that all controls are in place, that the diagram axes are labeled, the units are present and correct, and that the figures are consistent (i.e. same size, same units, same scales, same abbreviations, etc.).


Tip # 4: question your test series!

The previous paragraph brings us to tip four. As I said, you have to check the figures and tables for scientific correctness. If you don't do this until you've finished the practical or experimental part, it will be difficult to go back to the lab or the field to catch up on a missing control or time series. Writing a manuscript begins with the planning and implementation of the experiments, surveys or research. Tip four is: Keep asking yourself whether a series of experiments is complete. What could one criticize? What could be improved? What will someone think who sees the experiment or dataset for the first time? It is much better to ask yourself such questions early on in the practical work. Of course, you will not be able to prepare everything in advance for publication, but everything that can be carried out immediately with the other experiments saves time and effort later and certainly leads to a more solid manuscript. The summary, introduction and discussion have one thing in common: You compare your own work, your own thoughts with those of others. Describe what has been done before in this area, what makes your own work different from it and what you have found new. Words and sentences from other authors may not be used, otherwise you will commit plagiarism. You probably already know that, but do you also know the best way to avoid plagiarism?

Tip # 5: Read any work you want to cite, then set it aside.

Immediately afterwards you write down the most important or the most relevant for you in your own words. Then compare your formulations with the original. If you use the same words in some places, look for alternatives. If you have to use a word because it is a technical term and there is no alternative, make sure that the sentence formulation is different from the original. By the way, your efforts to avoid plagiarism will increase the quality of the manuscript: the quality and content of the language vary from author to author and are therefore easy to distinguish.