Publishing Trends In Materials Science


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An overview of publishing trends in materials science with advice from Dave Flanagan, the Editor-in-Chief of Advanced Functional Materials on getting your best results published in top journals.

I recently gave this talk at the Sino-US Nanomeeting at the University of Science and Technology (USTC), Hefei, China and at a number of universities that I had the opportunity to visit.

Questions and comments are welcome in the discussion below.

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Publishing Trends In Materials Science

  1. 1. Publishing Trends in Materials Science(and how to maximize your success!)<br />Dave Flanagan<br />Wiley-VCH<br />
  2. 2. Outline<br />Why publish?<br />Why peer review?<br />What editors look for<br />Accept, reject, or revise: how decisions are made and how to respond<br />Publishing ethics<br />Summary and discussion<br />
  3. 3. Our Flagship Materials Science Journals材料科学头牌期刊<br />
  4. 4. Materials & Polymer Journals材料科学和聚合物方面的期刊<br />
  5. 5. Long Cooperation长久的合作<br />
  6. 6. Published Articles from China年发表的来自中国的论文<br />
  7. 7. Published Articles from China年发表的来自中国的论文<br />
  8. 8. Impact Factors 影响因子<br />
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
  11. 11. Why publish at all?<br />“Fame”<br />Recognition by your peers<br />“Fortune”<br />Promotions<br />Grant applications<br />Responsibility<br />To society<br />Taxpayer-funded research<br />Making your research public<br />Whitesides: “If your research does not generate papers, it might just as well not have been done.”<br />Papers provide the shoulders that others can stand on<br />
  12. 12. Why peer review?<br />To select items for publication<br />True/credible?<br />Important?<br />Relevant?<br />Communicated effectively?<br />Quality?<br />To improve the item for publication<br />Interpretation of results<br />Presentation<br />Critical feedback<br />New ideas<br />Competitive and cooperative<br />
  13. 13. Why peer review?<br />“[Peer review] is the worst form of [research evaluation] except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”<br />Winston Churchill, 1947 (paraphrased)<br />
  14. 14. What editors look for<br />What all editors look for:<br />Scope<br />Does the topic fit the journal?<br />Format<br />Communication, full paper, review…<br />What some journals require (to varying degrees):<br />Novelty<br />How different is it from previous work?<br />Importance<br />In those in specific field<br />To those in related fields<br />Interest<br />
  15. 15. What AM editors look for<br />Synthesis/fabrication<br />Is it a new material or material system?<br />Characterization<br />Is it fully characterized?<br />Properties<br />Does it have new properties that are superior to previously reported materials?<br />Application<br />Does it have a technological application or solve a scientific problem?<br />
  16. 16. How reviewers are chosen<br />Reviewer database<br />&gt;10,000 in Wiley-VCH database<br />Keywords, interests, history<br />Suggestions from authors<br />Very helpful!<br />Not just the big names please<br />From related papers<br />Cited in manuscript<br />Literature searches<br />Editor’s knowledge and experience<br />
  17. 17. What reviewers look for<br />Is the motivation clear?<br />Is the motivation important?<br />Is the work novel and original?<br />Are the conclusions supported by the data?<br />Are the results important?<br />Are the results interesting?<br />Are there ethical questions?<br />Is the presentation clear?<br />
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Planning your manuscript<br />“A paper is not just an archival device for storing a completed research program; it is also a structure for planning your research in progress.”<br />Whitesides, “Writing a Paper”, 2004.<br />
  20. 20. Planning your manuscript<br />Use an outline to plan a paper, including the data.<br />Ideas<br />Figures<br />Schemes<br />Data<br />Questions<br />Hypotheses<br />Objectives<br />References<br />…<br />
  21. 21. Planning your manuscript<br />Organize into three piles:<br />Introduction: Why did I do it?<br />Results and Discussion: What did I do?<br />Conclusions: What does it mean?<br />Organize each pile:<br />Organize the data<br />Sketch figures<br />Put things in order<br />Important: Figure out what data / figures / results are still needed to complete the outline—and complete the paper<br />This becomes an iterative process between you and your advisor, collaborators, etc. of refining the outline.<br />
  22. 22. Preparing your submission<br />Selecting the journal<br />Preparing your manuscript<br />Figures<br />Text<br />Writing the cover letter<br />Submitting the package<br />
  23. 23. Selecting the journal<br />Journal Impact Factor is not everything!<br />What are the implications of your research?<br />How important will others find your research?<br />In your field?<br />In related fields?<br />Where do you read papers related to your research? Which do you like the most?<br />What is the scope of your candidate journal?<br />What is the format of your candidate journal?<br />
  24. 24. Selecting the journal<br />What is the journal’s policy on prior publication?<br />In peer-reviewed printed journals<br />In peer-reviewed online-only journals<br />In printed conference proceedings<br />In online-only conference proceedings<br />In online preprint servers<br />On your website<br />
  25. 25. Preparing the figures<br />Figures (and schemes, tables, equations) are critical:<br />Figures summarize the results<br />Figures are “read” first<br />By editors, by referees, by readers<br />The text in the paper is secondary!<br />The text explains the data in the figures<br />
  26. 26. Preparing the figures<br />Figures should be designed for<br />Clarity<br />Simplicity<br />Impact<br />
  27. 27. Preparing the figures<br />Bitmaps<br />Also called raster, continuous tone<br />Used for photos, micrographs, SEM, TEM, AFM, …<br />Tiff usually preferred<br />Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, GIMP<br />Vector graphics<br />Also called line art<br />Used for plots, graphs, chemical structures, schemes, …<br />EPS or WMF common<br />Illustrator, Excel, PowerPoint, ChemDraw, gnuplot, Origin<br />
  28. 28. Preparing the text<br />Consult the guide for authors<br />Look at a recent copy of the journal<br />Obtain a style guide<br />ACS Style Guide<br />Chicago Manual of Style<br />Use the text to explain the data, figures, schemes organized in the outline<br />Not arranged chronologically, but by importance<br />Consider a native English speaker or copyediting service<br />
  29. 29. Abstract and keywords<br />Abstract and keywords are more important than ever<br />At time of submission<br />Summarizing the results<br />Identifying relevance and scope<br />Identifying potential referees<br />After publication<br />Indexing and searching<br />Papers need to be found to have an impact!<br />
  30. 30. Preparing the text<br />RTF or Word .doc<br />Microsoft Word<br /><br />AbiWord…<br />Reference manager software<br />EndNote<br />BibTeX<br />LaTeX<br />Check journal guidelines first<br />Manuscript formatting<br />Journal template<br />Double-spaced, 12 pt, reasonable margins<br />Figures at end<br />Please put captions with figures!<br />
  31. 31. What about Supporting Information?<br />Supporting Information should support the manuscript:<br />NMR spectra, diffraction data, movies, calculations…<br />The manuscript should still be convincing if the SI is unavailable<br />If you need to refer to SI in the main text, it may not be SI!<br />SI should not be used to squeeze full papers into communications<br />
  32. 32. Writing the cover letter<br />Why is this topic important?<br />Why are the results significant?<br />What is the key result?<br />Why is it an advance on previous work?<br />Why are you submitting to this journal?<br />Why will this journal’s readers read it?<br />
  33. 33. Writing the cover letter<br />Disclose conflicts of interest<br />Provide reviewer suggestions<br />List related papers in press or under consideration<br />Other tips:<br />Get the editor’s name right!<br />Moved, dead, etc.<br />Get the journal’s name right!<br />Especially if not your first-choice journal…<br />
  34. 34. Conflicts of interest<br />Potential conflicts of interest:<br />Competitor that could “scoop” you<br />Current or former collaborators, grant co-applicants<br />Members of your institution<br />Current or former thesis or postdoc advisor<br />Anyone you believe could not give an impartial report<br />within reason…<br />
  35. 35. Should I appeal?<br />Usually, no<br />Risk of long time to publication<br />Good papers are cited<br />Editors and referees know journal<br />Criticisms may be valid!<br />Occasionally, yes<br />Importance / impact / novelty missed by editor/referees<br />Need for a good cover letter!<br />Factual errors in referee reports that led to rejection<br />
  36. 36. Revision<br />Carefully consider reviewer comments<br />Not all changes have to be made…<br />…but need convincing arguments for changes not made<br />Prepare revision<br />Revise manuscript<br />Highlight changes in manuscript<br />Point-by-point response to all reviewer issues<br />Changes made<br />Why changes not made<br />Response may go back to reviewers!<br />Need to convince editor and reviewers<br />
  37. 37. Author responsibilities<br />Present data honestly and accurately, not fabricate or falsify data<br />Reference and cite properly, not plagiarize or ignore related work<br />Avoid fragmentation and redundant publication<br />Inform the editor of related manuscripts under consideration or in press<br />Submit to only one journal at a time<br />Disclose conflicts of interest<br />More information under “For Authors” at <br />
  38. 38. Reviewer responsibilities<br />Ensure confidentiality of manuscripts<br />Inform editor quickly if not qualified or unable to review<br />Judge manuscript objectively and in timely fashion<br />Return to editor without review if conflict of interest<br />Explain and support recommendations with arguments and references where appropriate<br />Not use work reported in a submitted manuscript for one’s own research<br />Inform editor of similarities between submitted manuscript and published or unpublished manuscripts elsewhere<br />Inform editor if plagiarized or falsified data is suspected<br />More information under “For Reviewers” at<br />
  39. 39. Editor responsibilities<br />Ensure efficient, fair, and timely manuscript processing<br />Ensure confidentiality of submitted manuscripts<br />Make the final decision for accepting or rejecting<br />Base decision to accept or reject only on the merits of the manuscript<br />Not use work reported in a submitted manuscript for their own research<br />Ensure fair selection of referees, including those suggested or requested for exclusion by author<br />Respond to suggestions of scientific misconduct<br />Deal fairly with author appeals<br />
  40. 40. Conclusions<br />Unpublished work is lost<br />Science output is growing fast and is the driver of reviewer loads, production costs, and journal pricing<br />Asia, particularly China, is growing in volume and quality, but Europe is still strong<br />Access is huge and has never been greater<br />Peer review isn‘t perfect but it is the best we have<br />Competition is hard, so make your work stand out<br />
  41. 41. Thank you — 谢谢!<br />More information at under “Guide for Authors”<br />Daily materials science news at<br />Follow me at<br />Questions?<br />