Tips On How To Get Your Research Papers Published

Tips On How To Get Your Research Papers PublishedBy Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Ikhwan Hashim

BANGI, 14 May 2015 – Post-graduate students should go straight to the point and state their objectives and key outcomes right from the start when writing their research papers.

One of Scotland’s most eminent business academics Prof. Dr. Ben Jacobsen, Professor of Financial Markets at the University of Edinburgh, Britain, said they should avoid long and convoluted drafts that just turn off editors of journals who would miss something interesting or even ground-breaking.

Good research should be simple – the simpler the better, said Prof Jacobsen at his public lecture called Sexy Titles, Dutch Data and Other Writing & Research Mistakes organised by the Graduate Centre of the National University of Malaysia (UKM) here today.

“Keep It Short and Simple, K-I-S-S,” said Prof Jacobsen.

He said researchers should try attracting the attention of editors by giving their papers a title that is a gist of their work or findings, said Prof Jacobsen

Prof Jacobsen who is the Tun Ismail Mohamed Ali Foundation, YTI-UKM Endowment Chair Holder, cautioned researchers against using long and complicated sentences that would confuse anyone, even experienced editors who examine their work for possible publication.

“I would say that if you want to write, do something that even a 13 year-old might understand. Publishers are not impressed with big words. Use simpler words and shorter sentences that tell the same thing a long paragraph could describe,” he said.

He advised writers to explain their work right from the start; in their titles and abstracts because editors don’t like reading a long proposition in order to look for the point the writer really would like to make.

“Good titles can be a very powerful tool. In the abstract say what you found out.

“If the paper makes it clear in the title what the writer wants to say, you don’t need a conclusion (for the research paper), he said.

He said he personally had made such mistakes in the past but he learnt from them.

“If I knew 20 years ago what I know now, I would have saved a lot of time and money. I have had many papers rejected because I wasn’t convincing enough,” he explained.

Those who wrote long-winded reports face the risk of having their papers turned down by prestigious publishers.

“With reference publications, there have been very good papers that got rejected. In finance journals only 5% of papers get published. Be prepared for rejection,” Prof Jacobsen explained.

He further warned students not to put too many questions in one paper and focus on just one issue.

Among his other advice:

  1. Formulate your research question in one sentence.
  2. Make as few assumptions as possible; let others make the assumptions for you.
  3. Be careful with proxies and concepts; the less correlation there is with what you want to measure, the more proxies are needed.
  4. Work on something that a lot of people are interested in.
  5. Work on something that relates to some of the top papers.

However, he admitted that as with life in general, Luck plays a part in getting a paper published.