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Publishing Scientific Research and How to Write High-Impact Research Papers

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Presentation given by John Uhlrich, as the Editor-in-Chief of Energy Technology at Wiley-VCH, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on November 18, 2016.

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Publishing Scientific Research and How to Write High-Impact Research Papers

  1. 1. © 2016 Publishing Scientific Research & How to Write High-Impact Research Papers Dr. John Uhlrich Editor
  2. 2. © 2016 1) About Wiley-VCH 2) The psychology of editors and reviewers and demystifying the publication process 3) Writing for scientific success 4) Q & A Today’s Talk
  3. 3. © 2016 • PhD students? • Post-Docs or beyond? • Who has already published something? • Have you had the opportunity to act as a peer reviewer for a submitted research manuscript? • Who can imagine a career in publishing? Who are you?
  4. 4. © 2016 Who am I? • Chemical Engineering, PhD University of Wisconsin, USA • Interface Chemistry of Hybrid Photovoltaic Materials/Devices • Postdoc 2009-2011: Fritz Haber Institute, Berlin Department of Chemical Physics (H.J. Freund) • Surface Science for Model Catalysis • 2011– 2012: – Editor, Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials • 2012-present: – Editor, Energy Technology
  5. 5. © 2016 Who am I? • Chemical Engineering, PhD University of Wisconsin, USA • Interface Chemistry of Hybrid Photovoltaic Materials/Devices • Postdoc 2009-2011: Fritz Haber Institute, Berlin Department of Chemical Physics (H.J. Freund) • Surface Science for Model Catalysis • 2011– 2012: – Editor, Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials • 2012-present: – Editor, Energy Technology
  6. 6. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons South Korea Founded in 1807 in New York City by John Wiley To this day family-owned in the 6th generation Approx. 5,000 staff worldwide Wiley Online Library has 130 million users 1,500 journals, 1200 society partners Company headquarters are in Hoboken (New Jersey) Wiley-VCH (Germany) has been part of Wiley since 1996
  7. 7. © 2016
  8. 8. © 2016 where John lives Weinheim office
  9. 9. © 2016 • Wiley-VCH, Wiley-Blackwell, Ernst & Sohn, GIT • Weinheim, Berlin, Zürich (CH) • 530 employees (450/ 70/ 14) – With a PhD: 20% - University degree: 30% – ~ 70% female - 30% male – Average age ~ 42 years – Average time with Wiley-VCH ~ 10 years – Foreign employees 40% from 24 different nations • Primarily chemists, followed by materials scientists, physicists, biologists, mathematicians Wiley in Germany
  10. 10. © 2016 Wiley-VCH Journal Genealogy
  11. 11. © 2016 1500 journals, books And More...
  12. 12. © 2016 • Honestly assess the importance/impact and scope of your work • Journal Impact Factor is not everything! • What are the implications of your research? • How important will others find your research? – In your field? – In related fields? • Publication fees? Open access? • Speed of publication? • What is the scope of your candidate journal? • Who reads your candidate journal? Selecting the Journal
  13. 13. © 2016 Publishing by the numbers 1) On the author level: Hirsch Index (H-Index) - h published articles, each cited at least h times 2) On the journal level: Impact Factor - measures level of citation of articles in a given journal 3) On the article level: Altmetrics Nothing replaces reading the article itself! - measures the attention an individual article receives on social media and in the news
  14. 14. © 2016 Number of source items published in 2014 and 2013 _________________________________ Impact Factor2015 = Number of citations in 2015 to articles published in 2014 and 2013 Example Journal of … publishes 75 articles in 2013 and 83 articles in 2014. In 2015 it receives a total of 344 citations to these articles in all the other published journals. The journal’s Impact Factor for 2015 is 344  (75 + 83) = 2.18 2016 2013 2012 2011 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Cited window Citing window 2015 2014 2015 Impact Factor (IF) The 2015 Impact Factor first appears in 2016.
  15. 15. © 2016 “...originally appeared in a postscript of my previous Editorial, and then it was just to note that I did not wish to write about it because it has become a plague. ”
  16. 16. © 2016 1) Arbitrary 2-year window, citation practices depend upon the field and on the specific work 2) Assumes that all citations are positive (a citation is not necessarily an endorsement!) 3) Overinterpretation and misuse of the Impact Factor values: doesn’t say anything about the quality of an individual work 4) Incentives for poor research practice & unethical behavior (on the parts of both publishers and authors) Problems with IF-based Assessment
  17. 17. © 2016 •Covering the technical aspects of applied energy research –Generation –Conversion –Storage –Distribution •Companion journal of other related Wiley titles (Advanced Energy Materials, ChemSusChem, etc.) •Listed in important databases (ISI, Web of Knowledge) •First full Impact Factor (2015): 2.557 •Online publication (no color fees) Launched in 2013 Editor-in-Chief Dr. John Uhlrich
  18. 18. © 2016 Printed Energy Technologies Shale Gas Technology Fraunhofer ISE (Solar Energy Systems) Energy, Science & Engineering Conference Special Issues Energy Storage Materials/Batteries
  19. 19. © 2016 Printed Energy Technologies Energy Storage Materials/Batteries Shale Gas Technology Fraunhofer ISE (Solar Energy Systems) Energy, Science & Engineering Conference On the way: • Chemical Looping Technologies • Pyrolysis for Energy Technologies • Li-Ion Batteries • CO2 Utilization • KIT Energy Research Special Issues
  20. 20. © 2016 “If your research does not generate papers, it might just as well not have been done. ‘Interesting and unpublished‘ is equivalent to non-existant.“ “Realize that your objective in research is to formulate and test hypotheses, to draw conclusions from these tests, and to teach these conclusions to others. Your objective is not to ‘collect data‘.“ George Whitesides, “Whitesides‘ Group: Writing a Paper“, Essay in Advanced Materials, 2004, 16, 1375 . Why publish at all?
  21. 21. © 2016 Don't underestimate how hard it is or how long it takes to write a good paper.
  22. 22. © 2016 Is the novelty high enough? Difference to prior work? Important to the whole readership? Important to researchers in this field? After the initial check for scope and length is done, the manuscript is examined more closely: the most important hurdle! „Publishing space is limited – choose a journal whose readership will be keen to see your results!“ What Editors Look For (Manuscript Suitability)
  23. 23. © 2016 Conclusions section of manuscript While reading new manuscripts, editors will especially look at: Cover letter “If I‘m interested, my readers will be, too!ˮ Keywords Literature references Visual information Abstract Where will the Editor look?
  24. 24. © 2016 Dear Editor Compound X is a potent anticancer agent and was synthesized in 99 % yield… Reactions catalyzed by A are ten times faster than those catalyzed by B because… Our method for protein isolation gives 50 % higher yields than previous ones because… My suggestions for referees are: Cover Letter: Attention Editor!
  25. 25. © 2016 • Why is this topic important? • Why are these results significant? • What is the key result? (breakthrough!) • Why is it an advance on previous work? • Why are you submitting to this journal? • Why will this journal’s readers read it? • Provide reviewer suggestions Together with the conclusions section of your paper, the cover letter is one of the first things the editor will see, so make it count! Tip: Keep the letter as concise as possible – the longer it is, the easier it becomes to overlook something important. Maximizing Success: Writing the Cover Letter
  26. 26. © 2016 • Why is this topic important? • Why are these results significant? • What is the key result? (breakthrough!) • Why is it an advance on previous work? • Why are you submitting to this journal? • Why will this journal’s readers read it? • Provide reviewer suggestions Together with the conclusions section of your paper, the cover letter is one of the first things the editor will see, so make it count! Tip: Keep the letter as concise as possible – the longer it is, the easier it becomes to overlook something important. Maximizing Success: Writing the Cover Letter Solar Cell Example: We have fabricated a solar cell with high efficiency and stability, using earth-abundant materials, by using a simple synthetic method, nontoxic precursors, using a scaleable fabrication procedure, with a unique combination materials that increase our fundamental understanding of photovoltaic devices.
  27. 27. © 2016 Manuscript rejected on reports Manuscript submitted Editors examine & make initial decision in house Manuscript sent out for external peer review Editor makes decision based on reports Manuscript is accepted as is or with minor revisions Manuscript transferred to the publication workflow Manuscript rejected on reports but reinvited if major revisions promising Manuscript rejected on topic, novelty, or quality Revisions requested if possible in short time Manuscript rejected on format but reinvited (e.g., shorten) Peer Review Editorial Workflow
  28. 28. © 2016 • Present data honestly and accurately, not fabricate or falsify data • Reference and cite properly, not plagiarize or ignore related work • Avoid fragmentation and redundant publication • Inform the editor of related manuscripts under consideration or in press • Submit to only one journal at a time • Disclose conflicts of interest Author Responsibilities
  29. 29. © 2016 • Ensure efficient, fair, and timely manuscript processing • Ensure confidentiality of submitted manuscripts • Make the final decision for accepting or rejecting • Base decision to accept or reject only on the merits of the manuscript • Not use work reported in a submitted manuscript for their own research • Ensure fair selection of referees, including those suggested or requested for exclusion by author • Respond to suggestions of scientific misconduct • Deal fairly with author appeals Editor Responsibilities
  30. 30. © 2016 • Treat it as a discussion of your paper from one of the top experts in your field. • Don’t take it personally – it is not an attack on you! • Be thorough and a little self-critical; remember that the referee is trying to help you improve your work and its presentation. • Remember that everyone is human! Take every criticism as an opportunity for improvement; this is a “trial run“ for how your work may be perceived after publication. How to Read a Referee Report
  31. 31. Credit: Nick Kim (www.nearingzero.net) Stay Calm 
  32. 32. © 2016 http://exchanges.wiley.com/blog/2013/09/23/10-easy-ways-to-make-sure-your-article-gets-read/ Search-engine optimization Your institutional library and press office Departmental webpage Personal webpage Videos & blogs Social media Promoting Your Published Work
  33. 33. © 2016 1. Have something to say. 2. Say it. 3. Stop as soon as you have said it! 4. Give the paper a proper title! Source: John S. Billings: An Address on our Medical Literature. Br Med J (1881) 2:262-268. The Four Basic Rules
  34. 34. © 2016 Titles and abstracts are searchable separately from the main paper in databases and online Therefore to increase your paper’s “discoverability”: give it a specific and concise title include many appropriate keywords “search-engine optimization” Title & Abstract
  35. 35. © 2016 What effect? Which metal(s)? What type of coupling reaction(s)? Which aryl alcohols? Specific Concise Contains many keywords Effect of Metal Catalyst on the Outcome of Coupling Reactions with Aryl Alcohols Ruthenium Trichloride: An Effective Catalyst for C-H Activation with 2,4-Disubstituted Aryl Alcohols Targeting Your Title
  36. 36. © 2016 “During prescreening I look for an up-to-date and relevant bibliography and a clear comparison of the results with those of previous studies—it is difficult to assess the significance of the findings if they are not presented in an appropriate context. I routinely read the literature cited and conduct my own literature search to check if important papers have been omitted that may detract from the novelty of the work. I also appreciate honest reporting. While your work may represent an advance, there will certainly be shortcomings and room for improvement. This should be discussed but is too often neglected. A final piece of advice is that as a reader and reviewer of our journals, you should self-assess your manuscript and submit accordingly to the most appropriate journal, rather than the one with the highest Impact Factor. This will ensure swifter publication of your work.” Dr. Adam Brotchie
  37. 37. © 2016 “Compared to Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials adopts the same criteria in terms of scientific novelty and importance. If the manuscript has been previously rejected by Advanced Materials, only a superficial change in the format (Communication to Full Paper) may still result in a direct rejection. Paper evaluation is not a "gambling game", and it is inappropriate to ignore the previous comments with the belief that a new group of editors/reviewers might generate a new result.” Dr. Yan Li
  38. 38. © 2016 “Think of the reader: Compare your results to the work of others wherever possible (a good table/figure helps the reader a lot). And use the most widely accepted units! If not possible, give reasons why. Mention and discuss differences (because that’s what scientific publishing is about after all… ).” Dr. Till Graberg
  39. 39. © 2016 39 “Novelty and state-of-the-art of the presented results must be ensured. Incremental results or simple extensions of published work are not desired, neither are specialized topics. The title, abstract, and conclusions, as well as the figures should be appealing and motivating, and concisely explain the key findings. The writing should be easy-to-read and the English should be good.” Dr. Ingeborg Stass
  40. 40. © 2016 www.ChemistryViews.org Getting Help: Resources Have a friend/colleague read your manuscript; read your work again after setting it aside for a couple of days; have a native speaker proofread for language, if available.
  41. 41. © 2016 1) Unpublished work is lost and properly communicating science takes effort 2) A simple writing style is best! 3) Optimize your content for internet use 4) Peer review isn’t perfect but it is the best we have 5) Competition is hard, so make your work stand out 6) Take an active role in promoting your work Conclusions
  42. 42. © 2016 @EnergyTechnol Questions? • Contact me: – John Uhlrich jjuhlrich@wiley.com Energy Technology www.entechnol.de energy-technology@wiley.com Submissions: www.editorialmanager.com/ente/ https://www.facebook.com/EnergyTechnologyJournal/

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