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Proofs The day will come when the proofs of an article that you submitted some months ago

arrive unexpectedly in the post or on your screen. The proofs will be accompanied by a note: 1 indicating that they need to be corrected and returned to the publishers within a day or two; and 2 making dire threats about the costs of making major changes. Proofs allow the author to check the accuracy of the typesetting, especially if the text has been altered to fit the printer’s house style, and possibly to make minor changes. In point of fact, most proofs these days have few spelling and typographical errors because the text is handled electronically. However, errors still creep in. It is indeed amazing that these ‘typos’ do occur, despite the fact that the text has been repeatedly read by the author(s), the journal editor, the referees and the copy editor setting the text. Checking the accuracy of the typesetting is not the same as reading the text. When reading we make inferences, and the text flows on without us noticing minor errors. When checking the proofs, we need to look at every word, every number and every comma separately, two or three times at least. Some authors find it useful to read the individual sentences and the table entries backwards, and to do it at least twice – on separate occasions – using fresh copies of the text each time. Publishers using printed rather than electronic methods usually supply a set of ‘proofreaders’ marks’ – ways of indicating changes – that they send to the authors with the proofs (see Day and Gastel, 2006, p. 134). Authors are required to mark the text and to indicate in the margins their requirements. However, these days, electronic proofs are more common, and these are typically accompanied by a numbered set of ‘author queries’. Here, the numbers are printed in the text at the appropriate places, and a numbered list of queries is printed at the end. Typically, these ask about minor things, such as the spelling of a particular word or name; page numbers omitted in a reference; the date of a reference in the text being different from that in the reference list; the name of an author in the text spelled differently in the reference list; and whether or not references listed as ‘in press’ when the manuscript was submitted can now be updated, and so on. These queries apply to the proofs as they are printed. Making changes rather than corrections is more complicated. Minor revisions of grammar may be acceptable, but complete revisions of paragraphs of text, deletions and insertions are not. Including a new additional reference might be appropriate if the name(date) system is used, but it might be seen as more difficult if a numbering system is used and every subsequent reference number has to be changed in both the text and the reference list. Making changes can thus be time-consuming and expensive if the results require re-pagination of the article and, indeed, possibly the whole issue of the journal in question. Nonetheless, electronic typesetting makes this much easier than it was.
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I find it helpful when returning proofs to indicate those changes that are essential. 37). a structured abstract might emerge in a traditional block form. found shorter refereeing times for papers previously given as conference papers in the American Journal of Psychology and in the Journal of Educational Psychology. those that are optional. for example. Thus. others have reported smaller proportions than this. Hartley (2005). authors will find that a copy editor has changed what they originally wrote to make it fit the house style. ---------------------------------Conference papers The conference paper has been described as ‘the essential launching pad for nearly all scholarly careers’ (Gould. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Drott (1995). Issue 63. p. (2002) report that only thirty per cent of conference papers in medical contexts found themselves in print. However. as few articles run to the foot of their final page. but. but not a lot. pp. Authors need to reaffirm that what they wrote is what they want. and your in-text boxed examples relabelled as appendices and placed at the end of the article. & Gastel. then I find it best to ask if this can be done (Hartley. but not in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Sometimes. R. Brown (2005) found that two-thirds of the papers published in three major accountancy journals had been previously delivered in conferences or workshops. if the spacing between the elements in a table is poorly done. A. 2007).Consequently. and hope that it will be achieved. Similar results were reported in the field of medicine (see Weller. June. Guiding the copy editor: Positioning tables and figures in the text. There is also some evidence. 2002). and those that might fit in between. that presenting papers in seminars and conferences can lead to shorter refereeing times and greater success in the refereeing process. conference papers can be found as preprints in some databases. For example. (2007). then you can ask for this to be improved. How to write and publish a scientific paper (6th edn). REFERENCES Day. More recently. J. 54–9. and Stolk et al. B. nearly half of the conference papers published in the sciences and the social sciences in the 1960s went on to become published papers – usually within two years or so. Hartley. if you want to move a table (say back from the discussion to the results section where you originally placed it). (2006). Often there is more space available to make changes than you think. 1995. a sentence written in a lively present tense might be rewritten in the passive. found that only thirteen per cent of conference papers in information science were developed into publications. PsyPAG Quarterly Newsletter. and Schwartz and Kennicutt (2004) report that such papers were cited twice as frequently as those not posted. for instance. According to Drott (1995). He concluded that: 2 .

was now a series of spaces. 2005) and that slides presented by PowerPoint are preferred to the same materials presented on flip charts and overhead projectors in certain circumstances (e.g. 2003). than literally to read the paper. POWERPOINT Most conference papers these days are accompanied by computer-based slides.. it is not a written paper. Myers points to a dozen changes overall. and possibly now out of date. it is better to give a conference talk from a set of notes. and seven lines per slide: (some say 5 x 5). they present simplistic arguments. they were more influential than were papers that had not been previously presented at conferences. He also says that scientists nearly always show slides. There may be a written version for the conference delegates who want one. p. READING VERSUS SPEAKING It is important to note that the conference paper is designed to be spoken and listened to. One feature that appeals to an audience is the ability to build up more complex pictures – by adding in more detail on each slide in a series. with some digressions for stories. Myers (2000). Another way of putting this is to say. Thus. The most common criticism of PowerPoint presentations is that the presenters preparing such displays get preoccupied with their format and that. marked by rather flashy transitions. Students also appreciate the clarity and legibility of PowerPoint presentations. perhaps prompted by visual aids. but it is not all gloom and doom. and references to texts on a handout. and the most common of these use PowerPoint software. ‘Write no more on a slide than you would on a postcard’! But suggestions like these bring us back to the criticisms. Direct speech is clearer than spoken written prose. but in the conference itself the focus is on speaking and displaying information. but they dislike poor typographic layouts and odd colour combinations. 2006). see AustinWells et al. 3 . whereas scientists speak extemporaneously from written notes.1 delivering workshop presentations and conference papers increased the probability of getting an initial favourable review (‘revise and resubmit’ rather than ‘reject’). in an insightful chapter. 39) remarks that humanists inevitably read their papers from a manuscript. Gould (1995. contrasts giving a conventional lecture (without visual aids) with learning to give the same one with PowerPoint slides. Students are not happy either if the lecturer simply reads out the PowerPoint slides. whereas humanists rely on text alone. leading him to conclude: The overall effect is that what was before a carefully connected sequence. These views may be exaggerations. In this connection. One rule of thumb that forces speakers to talk about their slides and not simply to regurgitate them is called the 7 x 7 rule: that is. use no more than seven words per line. by necessity. Such displays have met with considerable criticism (see Adams. There is some evidence from students that they like lectures accompanied by PowerPoint presentations (Susskind. but they are important. and 2 once such papers were published. and for other enquirers.

but let people know where they can be obtained. Such arguments. If you send for a conference paper today. 2000. does not help members of the audience to engage in higherorder thinking and deep understanding. Table 3. These are all useful features for listeners who might want to refer to it at a later date. He notes that students now focus on the screen rather than on him. and only half gave a sufficiently detailed contact address. in one particular study of conference papers. Instead of my speaking with the aid of some visual device. The hand-out should also contain the title of the talk.. p. and much is lost if the spoken accompaniment to the slides is omitted. and it makes all the content appear equally significant. Handouts help listeners follow the presentation and grasp its overall structure. the speaker’s name and institutional address. but rather a more detailed paper upon which the conference presentation was 4 . Some authors these days do not provide actual copies of their papers at the conferences themselves. The handout needs to be readable. the conference paper should contain the same features described above for the hand-out. 184) Adams (2006) makes similar criticisms. and the date and place of delivery. Vallance and Towndrow (2007) respond to these criticisms by indicating how one can use PowerPoint alone. of course. It is also helpful to have a full version of the paper available for distribution at the end of the talk and for later enquirers.(Myers. but it is unwise just to present them all in reduced size. 5). or to write to the author to ask for an update or further information. now she simply passes out a card indicating a www address where interested individuals can access the manuscripts via the Internet’ (Murphy et al. you will find that what you receive may not be an actual copy of what was said at the conference. it is argued.4. p. THE WRITTEN TEXT Although the conference paper is delivered orally. only twentyfive per cent of the papers had both of these pieces of information. As one group of authors put it: ‘The first author used to copy and pass out manuscripts at conferences. 2003. only half of the papers stated where and when the paper had been delivered. PowerPoint. (Myers. confound the method with the content. It may be helpful to reproduce copies of any of the key PowerPoint slides. No matter what the format. 2000. and that: I am seen as the animator rather than the source of the utterance. controls the sequence of presentation (so that it is not easy to respond to an unexpected question). the text is speaking with my aid. 184) He continues: ‘But these lists of formal changes don’t quite get at the shift in effect’. when these two features were combined.1 shows that. to achieve more desirable objectives. Furthermore. It is indeed remarkable that much of this information is often missing. it is useful to have a summary version available as a hand-out during the talk. and in conjunction with other methods. PowerPoint it is argued. p.

• Use one. a prepublication copy of a future book chapter. from the left in each column. In particular. A conventional size is about 4 feet (120 cm) wide by 2. • Do not underline headings.6. This can be given to enquirers and people who pass by.based (Hartley. (Try reading your poster – or someone else’s – from 3 to 6 feet away.) • Use no more than three columns of text and make the flow/organisation of the text clear. people seem reluctant to cut their material down to make it accessible on a poster. indeed. Most papers on posters concern their design. • Supplement your poster with a summary handout and/or a full paper that includes your name and address and the date and place of the presentation. Some suggestions for presentation. if appropriate. etc. It is essential. therefore. • Use short sentences and ‘bulleted’ lists. culled from various papers are: • Have a clear. short title. • Do not use 3D graphics (see p. that is. 2004). Most poster presenters offend at least one or more of these rules. • Use a large type size (24–30 point). • Do not use all capital letters for headings. and only if each colour has a didactic purpose. Even award-winning posters can be improved in this respect. Curiously enough. Conference organisers usually specify how large such posters can be. What you receive may be a prepublication version of a journal submission or. two or at most only three colours. to find out what size is allowed before designing a poster. This reflects the fact that it is now normal practice for researchers to provide their latest findings on request. or to remember that text is hard to read from a distance. Using the IMRAD structure for the sub-headings. titles. 107). is helpful in this regard. Some readers will expect to go across the columns and some down. but this can vary. I have been unable to find any assessments of their effectiveness in this respect. • Use only one or two type-faces. • Avoid acronyms in the title (and the text). • Do not set the text single-spaced. Figure 3.5 feet (75 cm) deep.1 shows a typical arrangement for a poster at a scientific conference. • Set the text ‘unjustified’. with equal word spacing and a ragged right-hand edge (as here). ------------------------ 5 . --------------------------------------Posters Poster papers were initially introduced to ensure that people could still have their work presented at conferences when there was insufficient space for it on the main programme.

Before you can say it. thinking. This script format lays out a set of descriptive instructions in a special language about what is to be seen on the screen and heard on the sound track. you need statistical facts and possibly psychological background before you can think about what is relevant. you need authentic detail embedded in the scenes. To write an episode of ER or any other hospital drama.1 Research can be undertaken in any of several well-proven ways. If you want to appreciate the research that might precede writing a screenplay. Let us outline this process by stages. Research enables you to say with conviction how many Americans die annually from smoking-related diseases. If your story concerns airline pilots. This idea then needs to be developed through some kind of outline or treatment and then be scripted in a format appropriate to the medium concerned. In fact. Sometimes it is in the middle. you need to know it. let alone make an assertion about the topic. Consider a public service announcement (PSA) on smoking. and questioning. you have to describe medical procedures and use meaningful dialogue between characters who are doctors. and ends with devising a creative visual idea. To write a scene that involves cockpit talk. To make a story more believable. Although you have general ideas about the effects of smoking on health. you do not have facts and figures. Some of these stages may change places in the sequence depending on the nature of the writing job: • Background research and investigation • Developing a creative concept • Pitching or verbal presentation • Concept outline • Treatment • First draft • Revision • Final draft Background Research and Investigation Part of the process of scriptwriting often involves background research or investigation of the subject matter before you define the objective or outline the content. dialogue has to be credible and realistic. We can break the scriptwriting process down into well-recognized stages. Sometimes it is at the beginning of the creative thinking process. Even entertainment concepts require research. Experience tells you when you need to get information. analyzing. An imaginary story is often set in a time period or has a background. read about William Goldman’s research before writing his original screenplay Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. So research is gathering information that enables you to be authoritative and specific about the subject. you need to know how they talk and what their world is like.The Stages of Script Development Scriptwriting is a process. Research could be necessary to define the target audience. they are so well-recognized that the stages have names that are also reflected in the contractual agreements that sometimes govern professional writing of this kind. You can consult 6 . It begins with gathering information. If you are devising a PSA about battered women.

If you are working on a documentary project. All of these images have to be found. or search the internet. Choosing such a project means doing research. There are people called picture researchers who make a living doing this particular kind of research. has an electronic index card system that allows you to do it all on computer. Students will often propose short projects and pick documentaries about big topics such as AIDS or drug addiction. You can film locations of some Civil War battlefields. All of these requirements lead to research. engravings. Some scripting software. which has a huge collection of photos that are in the public domain.encyclopedias. you have to find them. Researching a project for visual media is different from term paper research because you not only need a factual background. engravings. 7 . including the Library of Congress. if you have to travel to research a location or visit a library. Location research is critical to this kind of project. and sometimes money. sell it online. background information about your topic is necessary to construct a meaningful narrative and to write a voiceover commentary. and even deliver it online in one of the picture file formats such as TIFF or JPEG. Everyone finds a particular style or method that works for him or her. Technology changes the way we have to think about media. but you can interview historians who are knowledgeable about the Civil War. and they help you to find the right sequence for ideas. visit a library.2 You cannot interview Civil War veterans. Suppose your script is historical. Every scene in the script must be represented by an image. A number of picture libraries sell the use of pictures from their collections. Index cards are very effective because they enable you to shuffle and reorder the material. Before you can order a copy of an image or the text of particular statistics. artifacts. You can shoot existing images such as photos. It also simplifies the task of searching a collection for the image you want. Research for scriptwriting is not much different. picture libraries and photo agencies will become prime users of the web because they can show their product online. You need to make statements about diet in the voice-over that are true and authoritative. such as Movie Magic Screenwriter (see the DVD). Finding the right picture is a specialized task. statistics. A student of mine wanted to make a video about stress and how to combat it in college life. A good example would be the Civil War documentary by Ken Burns.3 This will be particularly relevant to production of web sites and CD-ROM and DVD programs for which most writers should be preparing themselves. but it is the way of the future because commercial users of pictures are now able to buy pictures as digitized files ready to download onto their computers and manipulate in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You have probably used a library catalog for a research paper. Clearly. Obviously. The cost of digitizing a photo library is high. To do so. The emergence of the World Wide Web has made research easier both for getting information and finding images. One of the issues was healthy diet and exercise. and locations. and paintings. you also need images—old photos. you need definitions of stress. Most people find that their knowledge is very general and that the archive of available images is limited. and reliable information. research takes time.

“If you drink and drive. That is more than eight times the number of American casualties in the whole Vietnam War. you might look at government statistics. Our attitudes shift based on our knowledge and awareness.4 The Vietnam War statistic is a fixed historical fact that you would need to find. You might want to compare it to another figure such as how many people die in automobile accidents or how many Americans died in the war in Vietnam. surveys. If your production has a commercial purpose. you have to pick the brains of a cardiologist. This is particularly true if the content is technical. Making a statement like that is effective because it puts the statistics in perspective for the audience. death could be the chaser. your client usually guides you to many of the contacts you need. At a later stage. It makes the audience think. In order to write about the client’s product.5 Do you want to be one of them?” Being able to say. and target audience. pacemakers for example. you may need to read manuals and brochures and interview people in the company who are knowledgeable about the product. you might have to research background information in order to devise your content.” Investigation and research overlaps with journalism. A statement that makes the audience realize that smoking kills more people every year than all those who died in Vietnam will have lasting impact. “Roughly forty-eight percent of all traffic deaths in the United States are caused by alcohol” is a stronger statement than some generality about the dangers of drunk driving. These are published annually in reference works that are available in public libraries. You need a fact to reinforce a good punch line. the lingering deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from all sorts of smoking-related diseases is acceptable. or SMEs. communication problem. At what stage do you do your research? Some kind of research and investigation is usually necessary to get going and to stimulate your thinking. You might see a specific need for expert knowledge at this point. such as. you may need to do audience research. For the PSA on smoking. it is about finding pictures 8 . you know you want to make a dramatic statement about how many people die each year from smoking-related diseases in America. Research could also come later in response to your need to know about specific things in order to make accurate statements. It would be extremely effective to say. The populace would not accept American war casualties of that order every year without huge political consequences.Another example of research is collecting background information about a product or a process for a corporate program. These people are sometimes known as subject matter experts. If you are writing about a medical product. Yet for some reason. In a corporate context. Then when you have defined your objective. it is quite possible that questionnaires. so it logically precedes everything else. The difference is that research for visual writing is not just about verifying facts. This means you have to know how to get to the right people and how to formulate the right questions. To get information about smoking-related deaths or drunk driving deaths. “Four hundred twenty thousand Americans died last year from smoking-related diseases. You have to learn enough about the subject to be able to make decisions about what is relevant or interesting to the designated target audience. or focus groups would be called for.

and getting visual information from which you can construct a script. you need to find subject matter experts. The producer. directors. For documentaries and corporate programs. camera angles. If they speak with authority. Now it has to work in every scene with little or nothing left to chance for actors. you might want to use them directly on camera as part of your program. you need to First Draft Script The name of this document is fairly self-explanatory. It is the idea of the program formulated as a blueprint for production. or persuade or entertain an audience. and audio to a production team. and anyone involved with production. Until now the program idea has existed incompletely as a promise of things to come. the client. Knowing facts or background information does not tell you how to construct a script. Since these interviews are often once-only opportunities. or you need to interview someone who represents a certain class of people. The layout of the page serves the special job of communicating action. Sometimes. people who have extraordinary knowledge based on a lifetime of research or direct personal experience. This is the crossover from prose writing to scriptwriting in which all the special conventions of camera and scene description are used. The first draft script is the initial attempt to transpose the content of the treatment into a screenplay or script format appropriate to the medium. you need the point of view of the man in the street. Interviewing People are another source of information. Some people are experts in their field. and the director get their first chance to read a total account for every scene from beginning to end. The same kind of information could be the basis for an article by a journalist or a book by an author. 9 .