Hi everyone! This post comes from JIDC’s Technical Editor Nikki Kelvin and focuses on Academic Scientific Writing and Scientific Writing for publishing your research in JIDC. Originally written for Open Access Week, this post is a great guide to Scientific Writing! Please leave any questions on publishing that you would like answered.
Publishing a Scientific Article in JIDC: How does the editing process work, and what can I do to expedite the process?
How do I publish a scientific paper?
This question is asked by all young scientists. For those living and working in developing countries the question is at times frightening, but at JIDC we see many young scientists eagerly launch into the task.
It is well-known that scientists from developing countries face barriers that are not problematic for scientists in developed countries in getting their research published. As noted on the JIDC web site, these barriers may include issues such as lack of interest by some international journals in regional problems, the inexperience of authors from developing nations in presenting their research in international forums, and language barriers.
Previous posts have discussed the philosophy behind JIDC’s mentoring system and how it helps our authors not only improve their experimental design and analysis and presentation of data, but how to discuss the results within the boundaries of reasonable argument and make them interesting to a wider audience in addition to their national colleagues. Here we would like to talk about how JIDC’s technical and scientific editors contribute to the mentoring system. We will also present some tips on what authors can do to ensure that the editorial process moves efficiently.
Language is one of the greatest barriers faced by scientists from developing countries whose first language is not English. Many editors will immediately reject papers if the English is poor even though the articles may have scientific merit. At JIDC, we believe that the dissemination of scientific studies should not be impeded by language barriers; therefore, after articles have been reviewed and accepted for publication by a section editor, they are submitted to a double-editing process.
After being accepted for publication, articles are first sent to a technical editor for language editing. The editor will look for errors in sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, diction (i.e., correct choice and use of words), and punctuation and make the appropriate revisions. Occasionally, an author’s meaning will not be clear to the editor. In such cases, the editors will revise the sentence as they believe it should be written (and add a comment asking the author to verify the change) or ask the author to rewrite the sentence to make it clearer.
The technical editor also ensures that JIDC style is followed by checking that titles and abstracts do not exceed the required maximum length, that appropriate key words are present, and that abstracts and body text contain the appropriate section headings. Finally, the technical editors check that the references are set according to JIDC style.
When the technical editing has been completed, the article is sent to a scientific editor. Although this double-editing process takes time, it is an essential step to ensure that the scientific meaning was not altered in any way during the technical editing process. The scientific editor also checks the paper for scientific accuracy, ensures that terms are correctly italicized, checks that tables and figures match the text, and verifies equations and formulae.
While all the technical and scientific editors at JIDC take pride in helping our authors produce the best papers possible for publication, the process moves along more quickly and efficiently for articles that need few revisions. If possible, ask a colleague or friend who has good English skills to edit your paper for you before you submit it.
Here are some other tips to help move your article through the editorial process efficiently.
1. Write clearly and simply. This means that you should
- write short sentences and use simple words
- avoid using unnecessarily long sentences
- avoid using uncommon words (for example, more people would understand the word “confuse” than “obfuscate” so “confuse” is a better word choice)
- use fewer words (for example, “conducted” or “performed” are better choices than “carried out”, and “per” and “whether” are less wordy than “as per” or “whether or not”)
- use the spelling checker on your computer,
- be aware that spelling checkers may not identify words that are incorrectly used even when they are spelled correctly
- for example, a spelling checker will not alert you when you have written “might” when you mean “mite” or “for” when you mean “four” or “fore”
2. Review the following check list to ensure that your article follows the guidelines for authors as shown on the JIDC web site:
- Both the title and the running title are the correct length
- The abstract is the correct length and it contains the appropriate sections
- It can take a long time for an editor to shorten a 390 word abstract to 250 words, and you may disagree with the editor on which information should be eliminated, so it is better to ensure that the abstract adheres to the requirements before it is submitted
- The article text contains all the appropriate sections
- The article mentions all tables and figures in the text, and that the number of tables and figures mentioned matches the number of tables and figures submitted with the publication
- The editing process is slowed down considerably when the editors have to double-check whether an article should have four or five tables because the article mentions only four tables but five have been uploaded to the JIDC site
- The tables and figures are submitted and formatted as instructed on the JIDC web site
- The publication of many papers has been delayed because the figures and tables do not adhere to the proper specifications
- The references are in numerical order and set in square brackets (e.g.,  ) in the text
- The reference list at the end of the article follows JIDC style as shown on the web site, paying attention to punctuation and spacing as well as the accuracy of the authors’ names, dates, and page numbers
While at JIDC we do all that we can to mentor our authors and help them produce the best papers possible, we must work with the raw material that is sent to us. It is the responsibility of all authors to ensure that they send us their best work. Working together, we can have a positive and successful publishing experience.
Nikki in her OA T!
JIDC Technical Editor