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news & views



The blog aims to provide useful information and helpful tips to communicate and publish scientific research.



By bioexact, Apr 29 2016 06:32PM

English is viewed as the lingua franca for most international journals and used by eighty percent of all those indexed in Scopus. This presents a problem in non-English speaking countries where the cost of translation can divert valuable funds from research. Furthermore, the scientific community may overlook important results when published in other languages besides English.

These issues are being addressed by some national journals. In Spain, for instance, articles tend to be published in Spanish and English. Changes have also been brought about by the increased use of open access articles. The Public Library of Science (PLOS) open access sites encourage authors to provide copies of articles in their native language as supporting material.

Some publishers have now begun to translate well-cited national publications into English. Many countries have taken this initiative including China who has entered an agreement with Springer (Heidelberg, Germany) to translate and publish the most cited articles from Chinese journals. Japanese articles indexed by the Japan Science and Technology Information Aggregator are also available in English, as are publications from Czech, South Korean, and Hungarian articles indexed by Thompson Scientific.

A number of projects now allow organizations in less developed non-English speaking countries greater access to published research. Research4life is a program of collaboration between WHO, FAO, UNEP, WIPO, Cornell and Yale Universities, the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers and Microsoft. The aim is to provide organizations in eligible countries free accessibility to research articles. Many leading journals, including those from the Nature Publishing Group, participate in this scheme.

There are also organizations that assist individual researchers in getting published. AuthorAID is one such organization; it is an online social network that brings together academics and researchers from all over the globe.

Additional Information:

International Association of STM Publishers:



By bioexact, Feb 18 2015 03:54PM

Most researchers are aware that scientific journals adopt very different writing styles. Reformatting manuscripts from one journal to another can be time-consuming and introduce errors, especially when transforming a reference list from Harvard style (name, year) to Vancouver (numbers).

Fortunately, there are several bibliographic tools and reference managers (RMs) to take the strain out of organizing citation lists. Besides being able to format and organize a reference list in a word processing program, many (eg, Mendeley, Zotero) can also import citations from online databases and publisher’s websites. In most cases, some editing of the reference list will still be required, as RMs tend to fall short in correcting journal abbreviations and changing paper titles to sentence case. A small amount of editing, however, is a big improvement on reformatting a whole reference list manually.

Some RMs are only accessible online while others have desktop access too. Many are free to use but some require a subscription. The following RMs are popular with scientists:

Endnote: Fee-based desktop access, free online.

CiteULike: Free online.

Mendeley: Free online with synchronizing desktop access. Plug-in for MS Word.

RefWorks: Fee-paying online.

Zotero: Free browser plug-in.

Gilmour and Cobus-Kuo (2011) compared four RMs for a range of features. They found that each of the RMs had various strengths and weaknesses which could depend on the user’s requirements. They gave Mendeley the highest cumulative score followed closely by Zotero, with CiteULike lacking in several areas and scoring lowest.

Gilmour R, Cobus-Kuo L. Reference management software: a comparative analysis of four products. 2011; doi: 10.5062/F4Z60KZF [Article]


Choosing a citation manager:

By bioexact, Dec 2 2014 09:14PM

The journal impact factor (IF) was originally created to indicate which journals were most frequently used as reference sources to allow institutions to appropriately allocate library funding. They have since adapted an alternative use in assessing the quality of research produced by academics and institutions. Promotion may even be accelerated if a researcher publishes regularly in journals with high IFs.

Eugene Garfield first developed the idea for an index to identify well-cited papers in 1955 [1]. In a paper published in Science [1], he presented a method of indexing citations which eventually led to the concept of the Science Citation Index. Alongside Irving H. Sher, he refined his initial ideas to select journals for the newly formed index. This was achieved by simply sorting an author citation index into a journal citation index [2].

The IF, created by Garfield, allowed the comparison of journals that produced a different number of articles. It consisted of a numerator, the number of citations in the current year of items published in the previous two years, and, a denominator, the number of articles published in the previous two years [3].

The citation rate, though, can be influenced by a number of other indirect factors besides the quality of science, including: the scientific discipline; type of article (review or report); article length and subject area [4]. Review articles tend to be amongst the most cited papers. In 2007, seven of the top ten impact factors were for review journals [4]. Methodology papers, especially those that are used to replicate experimental conditions, can also attract a high number of citations. For instance, a paper published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry by Lowry et al [5], describing an assay on how to measure protein, has been cited nearly 300,000 times.

Therefore, to create a lasting impression with your manuscript not only is quality important but rubbing shoulders with the journal IF may also help. Increasing the number of citations your research will attract could make it more appealing to some journals.

1. Garfield E. Citation indexes to science: a new dimension in documentation through association of ideas. Science. 1955;122(3159):108-111.

2. Garfield E, Sher IH. New factors in the evaluation of scientific literature through citation indexing. Am. Doc. 1963;14(3):195–201.

3. Garfield E. Citation analysis as a tool in journal evaluation. Science. 1972;178:471-479.

4. Grzybowski A . The Journal Impact Factor: How to interpret its true value and importance. Med. Sci. Monit. 2009;15(2): SR1-4.

5. Lowry et al. Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent. J. Biol. Chem. 1951;193 (1):265– 275.

By bioexact, Dec 2 2014 08:45PM

Abstracts are seen first by potential reviewers and will be freely accessible to the public if your manuscript is published. Most importantly, they are targeted by search engines so they must contain the essential key words of your article.

The title should be written to encourage further reading of your study. It should aim to be around twelve words long and clearly describe the core research. Start by listing the essential keywords and then arrange them into a meaningful sentence. At least six or seven of the words in the title should be the descriptive terms used to search for the subject matter.

The abstract itself should also contain as many keywords as possible and be between 100 and 350 words long. Some Journals may state a specific word limit. Abstracts tend to lose their function as a brief synopsis if they are too long. Furthermore, excess words may be omitted by many indexing services. Abstracts for biological journals are usually arranged into background, results and conclusions whilst those in medical journals are normally divided into subtitled sections of background, methods, results and conclusion.

The first couple of sentences should state the precise reasons for the research. State why the work is important and why your research differs from other studies. These first few sentences should entice the reader into finding out more. The next few sentences can describe what methods you used and the results obtained. Finally, wind up the abstract with a concluding statement on why the findings are important.

By bioexact, Nov 13 2014 03:37PM

A dynamic press release is a useful way of alerting intended audiences to the presence of your article and in generating public interest. It also helps increase online traffic and potential citations.

The first step in creating a press release is to compile a thought-provoking headline containing your article’s essential key words. Next is the main body, this usually starts with originating city and date [city, date] immediately followed by a captivating lead sentence. The lead sentence needs to further expand on the headline in a way that grabs the reader’s attention. In some cases this can also be used as a subheading. The first few sentences should summarize the content but not include facts, figures and quote, these can follow in later paragraphs. Many readers will not read the rest of the article if the first paragraph fails to grab their immediate attention. Avoid too much technical jargon or over long sentences but remember to include who, what, when, where and why.

Press releases usually follow a standard format. The statements ‘FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE’ or ‘EMBARGOED UNTIL’ are at the top of the page followed by the centered headline in bold and subhead in italics. Body text goes between the headlines and 3 hash symbols (###), which should be centered after the last line. The hashes inform the publisher where the press release ends and additional information begins. In the additional information, often called the boilerplate, add facts about the organization. Include contact details and relevant media links if these are available.

When you have completed your press release why not take advantage of our free editing offer.

News feed author Dr S Bowen.