1st International Conference on Chemo and BioInformatics, ICCBIKG  2021, (44-45)

AUTHOR(S) / АУТОР(И): Nenad M. Kostić


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DOI: 10.46793/ICCBI21.044K


Good scientific study must at the same time be original, correct, and significant. Such studies enhance the reputation of their coauthors and deserve to be published in good journals. Any two of the three requirements are easily achieved, but such studies would be unworthy of publication and would harm the reputation of its coauthors.

After you and coworkers completed and skeptically verified a substantial study corresponding to a full article in a selective journal, continue expanding the study through additional research until you have enough material for two full articles. If the results and discussion of the two phases of the project agree with each other, then you should decide whether to submit them for publication separately or together, as one bigger article. Domestic academic customs notwithstanding, publishing fuller articles benefits science, the authors, and the readers alike.

Inexperienced researchers struggle when writing manuscripts for publication because they deal with substance and form simultaneously. In this conference presentation I will explain an effective, much- tested method of separating the two aspects of writing. In short: completely outline the scientific content of the manuscript – procedures, results, discussion – before you begin composing sentences and grouping them into paragraphs. Figuratively speaking about making an imaginary animal, complete the skeleton and attach all muscles to it before you begin stretching the skin, which you will later decorate with fur and cover patches.

Gradually develop the scientific content in outlines consisting of keywords and phrases, not sentences. Keep arranging and rearranging phrases and minimal summaries of results and their interpretations. Use signs such as ?? and !? for brevity. Acknowledge any gaps in evidence and weakness in your arguments, but emphasize findings that support your conclusion. Keep thinking of science, not of language. Connect assumptions and facts in cause-and-effect arguments leading to conclusions. At each stage of developing and expanding the outline double or triple the number of words or of lines.

When the final, large outline is complete, take your mind away from the science and keep it on the language. Make paragraph the unit of presentation and reasoning; develop one theme or idea per paragraph. Make transitions between sentences within a paragraph and between paragraphs. Write clearly and concisely, omitting needless words.

Put the drafts aside for a while between successive rounds of revising and editing so that you can see the text with fresh eyes each time. Follow the instructions of the journal to which you will submit the manuscript. If you write in a foreign language that you have not mastered, let a colleague who has mastered it review and edit your manuscript. Include as coauthors all those who have made major contributions to the study: ideas, important results, interpretation of important results, discussion, conclusions. Every coauthor must be able to defend the study or a substantial portion of the study or in a discussion with experts. Exclude from coauthors any and all persons who fail the above description. Excluding a true coauthor and including a gratuitous coauthor are both unethical acts, which distort the record and professional biographies.

Consider anonymous reviewers of your manuscript as helpful allies, not adversaries. If they are mixed or negative, put them aside until your initial reaction subsides. Accept the reviewers’ evaluations and editor’s decision. If necessary, perform additional work, reconsider your reasoning and discussion, and improve your manuscript. Refrain from arguing with reviewer unless the review is clearly wrong. In this case, explain the error to the anonymous colleague and the editor.

In the conference presentation I will illustrate some of this advice with examples from my 38-year experience at American universities and as author, coauthor, reviewer, and editorial adviser.