Sunday, 18 November 2012

How to get your work published...on high impact journals (Part II)

Heya folks,

In the previous post, we talked the importance of having original content if anyone wants to have a paper published. And its very important indeed. No one would want to read magazines with similar content by different authors page after page.

But .... why are some journals more 'popular' or of 'higher impact' than others? What makes people pay attention to them? 

The answer ... is novelty.


Readers want to see new information that is exciting. Just stating the obvious or paraphrasing common content is not interesting. An example would be our daily newspaper. We will flip through the pages quickly unless we see a headline that catches our attention. Something new, something out of the blue, something unexpected. That's novelty.

Good journal magazines like Nature and Science continue to attract readers because they contain a collection of articles that explains novel ideas with solid evidence. Ideas needs to be backed up with proofs and that's what the referees are for. 

Submitting article to referees

When an article is submitted to a magazine, the editor will sent it to two or more referees who are experts in that particular field to review the write-up. They will give their opinions on the merits of the article based on their experience as well as the evidence provided. Therefore, solid evidence such as characterization, data, trends, graphs and diagrams are of paramount importance.

Novelty ... often gets mixed up with originality!

These referees will also look out for novelty. Being experts in the field, they are experienced enough to know whether your article contains key points that will spearhead new frontiers in the field. It is different from being original. In fact it is an additional requirement to being original. 

Bring original means that you have prepared content that has not been published before. Being novel means your content is revolutionary , capable of helping people make breakthroughs or make people go 'wow, I did not think that's possible!'. Examples of revolutionary would be the article on DNA model by Watson and Crick.

Its not something that is easily described. Rather its more easily identified by 'feel'. I am sure you have read abstracts and said 'that's rubbish'. But have you ever wanted to read on because you wanted to know more? That article that keeps you wanting to know the details has more value.

Students tend to believe that journals will accept all works as long as their work has not been done before but editors are selective. 

So ... how to be novel?

My humble two cents in the next post ...

signing off~

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