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[Editage Seminar] Common language mistakes made by Japanese authors and essential tips to publish successfully@ MBSJ conference


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[Editage Seminar] Common language mistakes made by Japanese authors and essential tips to publish successfully@ MBSJ conference

  1. 1. The 36th Annual Meeting of the Molecular Biology Society of Japan Presented by Yukti Bharwani December 05, 2013 1
  2. 2. Session Outline Part 1: Common language mistakes made by Japanese authors and some tips to avoid them Part 2: Essential tips to publish successfully 2
  3. 3. Part 1: Common language mistakes made by Japanese authors and some tips to avoid them Part 2: Essential tips to publish successfully 3
  4. 4. Show of Hands • How many of you have already written a research paper? • If yes, how many of you felt that you couldn’t document your research as well as you could/should have? • Do you know what each part of a paper should include? 4
  5. 5. Objectives By the end of this session, you will • Be able to recognize some errors commonly made by authors when writing each part of a paper • Receive some tips on how to avoid making such errors 5
  6. 6. Common reasons for manuscript rejection • Mismatch with the journal • Lack of originality, novelty, or significance • Flaws in study design • Poor writing and organization • Inadequate preparation of the manuscript • Reasons not related to the manuscript, like space constraints 6
  7. 7. Title Common errors Includes non-essential information Includes waster words (e.g., study of, investigates) Titles taken from articles published in BMC Biochemistry (CC-by license) 7
  8. 8. Title Tips Answer the questions: – – – – What is the paper about? What techniques/ designs were used? Who/what is studied? What were the results? Contain useful keywords Titles taken from articles published in BMC Biochemistry (CC-by license) 8
  9. 9. Keywords Common errors Insufficient time is spent on thinking of relevant keywords Keywords are too generic or too specific Titles taken from articles published in BMC Biochemistry (CC-by license) 9
  10. 10. Keywords Tips  Understand that this is important; journals, search engines, and indexing and abstracting services classify papers using keywords  Use accurate list of keywords to ensure correct indexing  Contain terms/phrases that are used repeatedly in the text.  Include variants of a term/phrase (e.g., kidney and renal), drug names, procedures, etc • Note: Type the keywords into Google Scholar and check if the results include similar papers or at least papers that match the subject of the manuscript. Titles taken from articles published in BMC Biochemistry (CC-by license) 10
  11. 11. Cover letter Common errors The cover letter is just a summary of the study The cover letter contains general statements like “We believe this study is suitable for the journal.” 11
  12. 12. Cover letter Tips  Include a convincing reason why you have chosen to submit to the journal and why the paper is suitable for the journal  Talk about why the work is interesting and important  Include declarations required by the journal (e.g., that all authors approve the submission, author contributions, ethics declarations) 12
  13. 13. Introduction Sets the context for the study and problem. Several readers may not understand the significance of your study right away, so it’s best to use general language and carefully developed logic to guide readers to the main problem/objective of the study. 13
  14. 14. Introduction Common error The introduction reviews all studies that have ever been published on the topic 14
  15. 15. Introduction Tips  Describe the rationale for undertaking the study  Explain how the research makes an important contribution to the field or advances knowledge  State the research question clearly  Explain the theoretical framework that the study is based on  Provide a background of the problem or issue that your research aims to understand or resolve, citing studies to support your arguments  Summarize the current state of knowledge on the topic, citing studies as appropriate 15
  16. 16. Methods This section is the most specific to your study. A primary criterion for well-conducted research is that it must be replicable. This will enable another researcher to reproduce the results by following the methods detailed in your paper. 16
  17. 17. Methods Common errors Excludes important details simply to avoid a lengthy description of the methods 17
  18. 18. Methods Tips  Provide full details of all methods, techniques, and instruments  Include an image or diagram of the experimental setup  Describe the questionnaire, survey, or other data collection instruments  Provide or cite studies that support the validity and reliability of the analysis methods and instruments  Describe the lab settings or environment  Explain the analysis methods and why you chose them 18
  19. 19. Results This section includes all details about the data and results so that readers can understand the results without spending too much time reading this section. 19
  20. 20. Results Common errors Include detailed descriptions of the results in the text even though you have illustrated these results in figures and tables Generalizations of the results 20
  21. 21. Results Tips  Use tables and figures effectively to present results in a manner that’s easy to understand at a glance  Explain what the results are saying, rather than simply stating the statistical data (e.g., “X was found to substantially increase with Y [followed by statistical data]” rather than “X and Y had a positive correlation of .73”) 21
  22. 22. Discussion This section extends the specific results to their broader implications, which can then be tied in with the general background given in the introduction. Readers should understand what the research/data is saying and how and why. 22
  23. 23. Discussion Common errors Repeat the results in this section Draw conclusions that are not supported by the data 23
  24. 24. Discussion Tips  Start by stating whether the hypothesis was supported  Interpret the results: what do the results imply?  Relate the findings to those of previous studies, for example, whether the results support or deviate from results in previous studies  Explain how the study adds to previous knowledge  Mention possible alternative explanations for the results  Address the limitations of the study 24
  25. 25. Conclusion This section states the main conclusions of the study in the context of the formulated problem. 25
  26. 26. Conclusion Common errors Oversell the research or “overgeneralize” the results, that is, stretch the study findings to provide suggestions or conclusions that the research doesn’t really support Simply summarize the results 26
  27. 27. Conclusion Tips  Explain what the authors have learned from the study  Ensure that the conclusion is directly related to the research question and stated purpose of the study  Elaborate on the broader implications of the research  Suggest specific future avenues of research to advance the knowledge that’s been gained from the study or answer questions that your study did not address 27
  28. 28. References Common errors The references in the text (citations) are not listed in the references section at the end of the paper All the sources referred to are not listed in the references section 28
  29. 29. References Tips Acknowledging a peer’s work is of utmost importance. Give credit to the original work Don’t forget to check that all citations are also listed in the references section at the end 29
  30. 30. Other errors—miscount Sometimes these changes are introduced while incorporating review changes. Authors might add/delete items and forget to update the corresponding number. Example: The three dimensions: time, length, width, and depth 30
  31. 31. Other errors—miscount Tips Count every list you have numbered. 31
  32. 32. Other errors—the number zero Wrong number of zeros or the wrong exponent Example: 100,000 when you actually mean ten thousand 32
  33. 33. Other errors—the number zero Tip To catch this error, you will have to rely on the context and your subject matter expertise 33
  34. 34. Other errors—the number zero Letter O for 0 and letter I for 1 or vice versa Example: In 2003, elderly people constituted 1O.6% of India’s population. 34
  35. 35. Other errors—the number zero Tip Sometimes there is a typo and sometimes it is difficult to tell. Look out for this error in equations! 35
  36. 36. Questions? Hmm. All very good questions!
  37. 37. Part 1: Common language mistakes made by Japanese authors and some tips to avoid them Part 2: Essential tips to publish successfully 37
  38. 38. The Research Challenge • You believe you have something to contribute to the scientific literature • You believe that your data is good • You have a hard time writing and expressing yourself in English • You are under great pressure to publish in high-impact peer-reviewed western journals 38
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  40. 40. How to Navigate the Process The Standard Approach: • Choose the science • Select the audience • Select the journal • Write the manuscript, submit, and hope it is accepted However, before you even start the process, you need to understand one very important concept: 40
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  42. 42. Who Are the Gatekeepers? Unfortunately • You are not writing for yourself • You are not writing for the simple intent of writing • You are not writing for your career advancement You are ONLY writing for two “Gatekeepers” 1. The Journal Editor 2. The Peer Reviewer These are the two people that you need to solve for, and in that order. 42
  43. 43. Who Are the Gatekeepers? • Always keep in mind that the Journal Editor and the Peer Reviewer are professionals just like you! They are: • Successful in research • Successful as writers 43
  44. 44. The Job of the Journal Editor The Journal Editor has the job to determine whether your manuscript will: • Interest the journal readership? • Advance knowledge in the field? • Improve coverage of this particular topic in the journal? • Improve the reputation of the journal and help increase the journal’s Impact Factor? 44 They are busy people and they are also thinking about: • Publication timelines • High publishing standards • Budgetary constraints • Pleasing editorial boards • Managing staff • …and many other things!
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  46. 46. Should You Contact the Journal Editor? Yes. Absolutely. Have the conversation before you submit the manuscript…especially, if you have never submitted a paper to the journal before. Reasons: • You will save time if the format or subject matter of the paper is out of the scope of the journal • When the manuscript is received, the Journal Editor will already have a positive perception • You will no longer be simply a name on a piece of paper 46
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  48. 48. How Do They Look at Your Paper? Editorial steps: • They read the cover letter • They read the title of the manuscript • They read the abstract • They look at the results • They jump to the discussion and conclusions … and yes, unfortunately, they look at the names on the by-line to see if they recognize any well-known researchers. 48
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  50. 50. Example of a Manuscript Title Original How an Editage editor would edit it • A study of Schizosaccharomyces pombe Mcm4, Mcm6, and Mcm7 • Expression, purification, and biochemical characterization of Schizosaccharomyces pombe Mcm4, Mcm6, and Mcm7 • Fatty acyl-CoA reductases of birds • Avian fatty acyl-coA reductases are expressed together with wax ester synthases Titles taken from articles published in BMC Biochemistry (CC-by license) 50
  51. 51. Readability of the English Language You dno’t have to be raelly smrat to raed tihs. In the Elgnsih lugnagae it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers are in a wrod. The olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers are pneiostiod in the rghit pclae. The rset of the lrtetes can be jmulebd and you can sitll raed it wiuthot porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn barin deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but lokos for sncetnene and luganage petatnrs. 51
  52. 52. Readability of the English Language You don’t have to be really smart to read this. In the English language it doesn't matter in what order the letters are in a word. The only important thing is that the first and last letters are positioned in the right place. The rest of the letters can be jumbled and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human brain does not read every letter by itself, but looks for sentence and language patterns. 52
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  54. 54. So Where Do You Start? Before your manuscript reaches the Journal Editor, evaluate the manuscript carefully: • Have you selected the right manuscript structure and journal for your research? • Are your findings complete? • Is your study novel? • How will your study advance knowledge in the field? • Have you followed the journal guidelines? • Are there any grammatical or typographical errors? 54
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  56. 56. Structural Elements to Consider Did you follow the standard IMRAD scientific format when writing your manuscript? Introduction | Materials + Methods | Results | (and) | Discussion Did you review the Instructions for Authors for the journal? 56
  57. 57. This resource also contains links to some of the most respected research and authorship guidelines, such as ICMJE, COPE, CONSORT, etc. 57
  58. 58. Questions? Hmm. All very good questions!
  59. 59. Contact Information Cactus Communications K.K. Website: Yukti Bharwani Email: Dr. EddyTM personifies our efforts to support authors with good publication practices.