Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Publishing your scientific paper: tips and tricks from a scientific editor

I have written several posts about my work as a scientific editor, but I haven't talked about performing institutional visits, which I sometimes combine with an author workshop discussing the publication process. At Elsevier, these author workshops are given by many different people across the company and they start with the title "How to Publish in Scholarly Journals". Over time, my talk has evolved to focus on the scientific editor's perspective on the publication process; I try to give the audience my pro-tips for navigating peer review from start to finish. The major theme of my talk is making it easy for people to read and interpret your paper: first, the journal's editors (who you want to send it out for review), then the reviewers (who you want to review it fairly and favorably), and finally the readers (who you want to read the paper so they can cite it). I have given this talk enough times that it is starting to feel like my own. I even have a couple of good zingers, including one about the authors who requested that no one from Japan review their paper (obviously we could not satisfy that exclusion request).*

Every time I give this talk, I refer to several online resources that I have found useful in putting together my slides.** Because my blog audience is much broader than my typical seminar audience, I decided to put together a collection of the best of these resources in combination with some of my own tips. 

General Tips: 
Preparing your Manuscript:
Preparing your Figures/Image Manipulation Policies: 
Revisions and Rejections: 
Getting Your Paper Noticed: 
  • After your paper is published, remember to share your work with others and follow how your paper is doing. 
  • First, you might want to read this post on Scholastica about why this is important.
  • Elsevier's Publishing Campus has additional tips and tricks
  • Altmetric and Mendeley Stats can help you gauge the impact of your article before citations start. 


* The Tufts Post doc association has a blog post about my visit.

** I recently noticed that I refer frequently to the Cell Press CrossTalk blog in my author talk. While I work for the same company as the Cell Press folks, I do not actually receive any click-through dividends. It just happens to be a great site with many useful posts.

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