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How do you publish a paper?

  1. Feb 27, 2012 #1
    How do you publish a scientific paper? How do you know that your idea has not already been published somewhere? How would you go about making sure your idea is new?
    What happens if you wrote a paper in a field that someone already researched on without knowing?

    Who do you speak with to start a paper? What are requirements for writing a paper? Do they have to have experiments if they are in physics/chemistry? What if it's an economics paper? Can papers in these subjects be written using only analytical arguments with no resort to experiments?

    I would appreciate if anyone would take the time to answer some of these questions.


  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2012 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    You should be reading journals, and the journals have an "instructions for authors" section. If you are not reading what anyone else is saying, the odds of you coming up with something worth reading are miniscule.
  4. Feb 27, 2012 #3


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    Once you've done a piece of research, you write it up as a manuscript and then submit it to a journal that's appropriate for publishing that work. The journal editor will then select referees to review the work and will ultimately decide whether or not they will publish the paper.

    By reading and networking. In order to do research, you need to be familiar with all the journals that publish research in that field and read them regularly. You should also attend conferences where you can interact with others in the field, view posters, and attend presentations and discussions so you know what others are working on. Just keeping current in a field is an enormous effort.

    The chances of this happening are actually quite small if you've done your homework. However, what can happen is that something you're working on comes into publication while you're working on it. I've had this happen to me before. In a worst case scenario it means that your work is no longer publishable. However, in most cases you end up with some overlap and some unique work. It will depend on the referees as to how much overlap is permissable. There is a certain scientific value in independent groups working on the same problem though, so just because someone else has published a result, doesn't necessarly mean your own work will be rejected.

    Because you're asking these questions I assume that you're a student. In that case, you would start on a project of some sort with a mentor and once you've done something novel and of value to your field, you can start writing up a paper.

    Generally speaking you need to have done a piece of scientific work that is (a) novel, (b) of some value to the scientific community, and (c) of interest to the readership of the journal you're submitting to. Specific requirements are usually listed on the submission page of the journal's website.

    You can write a paper without having done an experiment. Many papers are based on analytical calculations, or simulations. But in order to do this, you need to be able to base the work within the body of data from experiments that have been done (if any).
  5. Feb 27, 2012 #4
    Thank you! That was very helpful.
    How would you recommend I keep up to date with what field I am interested in? Are journals available for the public to read or is there some kind of subscription required to read them?

  6. Feb 27, 2012 #5
    Why don't you tell us which field you are interested in?
    Physics and mathematicians read the arxiv everyday.
  7. Feb 27, 2012 #6
    I've read some papers on chemistry and physics, and a few on math. But they were very short papers, around 4-5 pages long each. I don't know whether they can be considered actual research papers. I've noticed they make frequent use of simulation such as from MATLAB. But unfortunately I'm not interested in pursuing these subjects.

    I am interested in economics and computer science. I would like to use math and MATLAB to write papers in these field(s). The problem is that these fields as far as I know are kind of different from the natural sciences, and I think the writing style and procedure would be different since they do not use experimental techniques as much.

    Thank you!

  8. Feb 27, 2012 #7
    Wow I have just checked out the link you just gave me. It has articles on computer science and finance! Thank you so much for this link!

  9. Mar 4, 2012 #8
    I am currently in the process of writing a manuscript on the Isotopy problem (Symplectic Geometry), but this was never my intention. It came about as I wrote another manuscript on the Oka Principle. I later recognized one problem would help solve, or lead others, in some fruitful way, to the solution of another.

    In addition to extensive hours reading, investigating, and meditating; I have also communicated my ideas with a fellow professor at MIT; and thus far, the problems are still open, and my contribution could be beneficial to the field.

    I suggest you look for open problems (if you're a mathematician), and give them a go, for the most part, I consider maths as an art. There just isn't a step-by-step guide on how to write a piece. It is built upon by many other pieces, One problem leads to another, and so forth
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