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Decent paper for submission to a journal?

  1. Apr 14, 2010 #1
    I was wondering how do you know when you have a, what i will call, somewhat 'decent' paper to submit to an undergraduate mathematics journal for publishing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2010 #2
    Have your friends look at it, and if they think it's interesting then submit it.
  4. Apr 15, 2010 #3
    Not yet! I will actually have a presentation in a few days, since i am still working on it.

    But it just occured to me that, unless you cracked one of the unsolved problems or something along those lines, how do people generally decide that their work is good enough to submitted to a journal. I personally wouldn't want to submitt something and get ridiculed about it, so to speak.

    My work is nothing fancy, nevertheless i believe that to some extent and in some sense, i would add, is rather original. However, i admit that besides the fact that to some degree it might be interesting for its own sake, there is nothing else to it.
  5. Apr 15, 2010 #4
    You know when you know. Figuring out when you have something interesting is part of your education.

    That's why you should show it to a few friends first. If they can't see an embarrassing problem, then chances are that no one else will either. One thing in science and mathematics is to submit stuff that is "interesting". It's OK to be wrong if you are wrong in a new and creative way.
  6. Apr 15, 2010 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Are you reading the journal that you plan to submit to? If so, you'll know if your paper "fits in" or not.

    If not, why not?
  7. Apr 15, 2010 #6


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    It's not too common for undergraduates to write and submit a paper to a journal alone. Usually you rely on a mentor or supervisor to guide your project.

    If done properly, as soon as you seriously start putting time into a project (beyond preliminary background reading and the brainstorming phase), you should define what you expect to be publishable material. Of course, this changes. It's research and things don't always go the way you expect, but part of project planning is to have a vague idea of where you're going.

    As an undergrad, you usually have a mentor or supervisor who can tell you at what point you have something of value. Then, once you move through the process a few times, you'll get an idea of what constitutes publishable material.

    Some general rules though, are that the material needs to have a novel component to it, and it has to be of interest to the scientific community (and specifically the readership of the journal). To gauge this, you need to read the journal on a regular basis.
  8. Apr 15, 2010 #7
    Great advide! Great advice, indeed!

    Thanks for your replies.

    Btw, where could i find a list of undergraduate journals. I tried to google a few, but i guess what i am aksing is of some journals that are not notorious for turning down peoples work. In other words, journals that do not have their standards too high.
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