Scientific publishing workshop helps students navigate the publishing process

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David Baker, journal manager at AIP Publishing, hosted a workshop at Colorado State University on February 10 about the basics of publishing scientific research. An insider to the publishing world and a self-termed “publishing advocate,” Baker explained the process of publishing and dished out advice about how to be successful in the often confusing world of journals.

Baker discussed what he believes to be the most important aspects of publishing one’s research. He emphasized the importance of being sure that the journal you choose to submit to is a correct fit for your research. Publishing in a journal that’s relevant to your field can make the article more impactful, as it can be seen by your peers and lead to more citations.

Publishing is crucial in the world of scientific research, and Baker repeated the oft-cited parable of “publish or perish.” Even if all you have is a basic idea, he advised, consider submitting a letter, which is around two to four pages and serves as a “topical time-stamp” to make sure that you receive credit for your ideas.

He also explained journal metrics such as “impact factor,” which measures the total number of citations in a year against the total number of articles published within the past two year. Baker went on to tell about author metrics like the H index, which measures how prolific a researcher is.

Overall, the total number of citations is extremely important when evaluating an article or a journal, and Baker cautioned that researchers should consider citations more than impact factor when choosing a journal to submit to.

Baker emphasized the importance of a good title, which should describe the aim of the experiment and not the results. Also necessary is an abstract that explains the experiment’s background, aim, approach, results, and conclusions.

He advised students who are submitting an article to take their reviewers’ feedback seriously, and use it to revise appropriately and thus increase the chances of being published.

Other advice that Baker gave includes:

· Ask the journal manager if you need to submit a cover letter with your article.

· Always expand on your research: never republish the same material.

· Be wary of shady, pay-to-publish journals and always double-check the reputation of the journal to which you submit your research.

· Don’t submit the same article to multiple journals at the same time.

AIP Publishing publishes 19 journals, including the Journal of Applied Physics and the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.