When writing your first academic paper for publishing, the jitters and the butterflies would be a constant reminder of your anxiousness to write a good piece, that is worthy of publication and to the eyes of your peers. To help with all the cold feet and brain freezes that come with writing your pioneer piece for publishing, we’ve put together a list of what first-timers should be aware of when writing for publication for the very first time.
☑ #1 Keep it Concise
As much as academic papers do need to be informational and contain some groundbreaking research results, it does not necessarily have to be too wordy. Let’s face it, we’re already trying to understand the concepts and ideas that are being presented in a research piece, our brains could use the extra processing power, without having to spend it on longer sentences and big words that rarely show up in writing.
☑ #2 Degree of Authorship
This is quite an important factor that is usually over looked by new and junior researchers. The order in which your name appears as the author of an academic paper would indirectly indicate the amount of work or knowledge contribution that you have put in, in order to produce such written research work. The most common convention is to let the person who is more experienced to have the first spot. However, if this is a collaborative paper which dictates whether or not you will be conferred an academic title, it’s best that your name come first.
☑ #3 Know the Journal
Writing for a journal is much more complex than writing a stand-alone paper that would be published by research libraries. For a journal-centric academic paper, you will need to first get hold of a copy of the said journal and pore through it. Understand the tone and style that is applied throughout and adapt it to suit your own research work and writing style.
☑ #4 Get Editorial Help
Find a few experienced writers that have contributed substantially to academic writing and seek their experience in helping you edit your written piece. Commissioned academic editors are also available, albeit a little bit pricey. Also, be sure that your editor and you are on the same page about the contents of the research paper as well as how you would like to present it to your potential readers. The last thing you need on your list is your biology research paper coming off as a chemistry experiment.
☑ #5 Think About the Readers
The journal that you choose to publish in may be one that has a global following. This means that your writing should not only follow your local standard of academic compositions but also that of the international academic community. Do some research on how local and international standards differ and try to create your academic piece in a more neutral style that is acceptable by both local and international research communities.
☑ #6 Heed the Reviews
Gather a group of academicians and give them each a copy of your written work for them to review. It’s always good to have one or two reviewers from fields that differ from yours. Once they have, take note of all their comments and notes. This way, you will get to see how different people perceive your research and you would be able to determine the most suitable writing stance that would be able to clearly project the details of your research to a group of people who may or may not be in the same field of study as you are.
☑ #7 Write Logically
When writing a research paper, we may be tempted to write as we go, resulting in a chronological arrangement of details in our final written work. This may not always be the winning recipe. The best method, by far, is to note down all findings and data, re-arrange them logically and then begin writing. This way, you would have a research piece that is coherently linked, point after point. And this also helps give your piece a smooth flow, somewhat like telling a story about your research.
☑ #8 Re-check Facts
Often, we’re so engrossed in getting the writing done that we may miss out on re-checking if the actual data and research results have been stated correctly. Once you’ve done writing, it never hurts to give your final data a go over. Also, go through your written text to see if you may have messed up any of the numbers when mentioning your findings.
Publishing an academic paper for the first time can be a little stressful. After all, it would go down in history as your first attempt to paint a picture of yourself as an academician to your research community. A good academic paper would be able to present the findings and give the readers a concise overview of what the research is about, how it was done and how were the findings obtained.
Make sure that your piece tells the story of your research, step by step and is not just a pile of data and superfluous words.