You are on page 1of 31

Faculty of Engineering

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Seminar presented at Dept. of Mech. Eng., UI (on 13th July 2011)

and at Faculty of Engineering, UNDIP (on 19th May 2015)

Writing a Journal Paper

S. H. Winoto
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Engineering, UNDIP
(formerly at FoE, National University of Singapore)
At the 13th Seminar National Tahunan Teknik Mesin (SNTTM13),
Universitas Indonesia (UI), Depok, Indonesia, 14 October, 2014

Part 1: WRITING A JOURNAL PAPER 19 May 2015 (AM)

1.1 Why Writing Journal Papers ?
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper
1.3 Submission
1.4 Review
1.5 Why Articles may be Rejected ?
1.6 Production
1.7 Publication
1.8 Beyond Publication

Part 2: CHOOSING A GOOD JOURNAL 19 May 2015 (PM)

2.1 A Brief Account on Publications
2.2 What makes a Good Journal
2.3 SCI (Science Citation Index)
2.4 Impact Factor
1.1 Why Writing Journal Papers ?
In academic/research environment, it is
necessary to write papers/articles resulting from
research work and to publish it in good journals
so to share the results with other researchers in
the same field for the advancement of the
To let the world know about your work, that is, to
lay claim of your work.
The culture of publish or perish.
Also, now it is an academic requirement for
master and doctoral students in most universities.
1.1 Why Writing Journal Papers ? (continued)
It is a common knowledge that Ph.D. students
must also publish the results of their research
work in good journals (the unwritten rule is at
least 3 papers based on their research work
While for Master students: 1 paper (?)
Even for Bachelor students in universities in
Indonesia (?)
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper

Start with the Introduction and continue in order

through each section of the paper to ensure
Some people prefer to start with the easiest
sections, such as Methods (which can be
Experimental, Computational or Theoretical) and
Results, followed by Discussion, Conclusion,
Introduction, References and Title, leaving the
Abstract last.
The main thing is to start writing and filling up the
blank screen or piece of paper.
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper (continued)

1. Consolidate all the information: Ensure that you have

everything needed to write efficiently, such as, all data,
references, tables and figures, etc.

2. Choose a good (a suitable) journal: for your manuscript

and write it according to the focus of the journal
examine some recent issues of the journal and its Impact
Factor (IF) How to choose a Good Journal
(today in the afternoon).
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper (continued)

3. Write quickly without editing: Since the aim is to put

something down quickly to keep the flow going, dont worry
about sentences, words, grammar and punctuation at this
stage, as long as the main points and ideas are captured.
Dont try to get it right the first time and dont edit as you go.
Otherwise you will get stuck and waste time. If you try to
write and edit at the same time, you will do neither well.
4. Write in your own voice: Expressing yourself in your own
way will help you to say what you mean more precisely. It
will be easier for the readers if they can hear your voice.
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper (continued)
5. Keep to the plan in your outline: Use the headings from
your outline to focus on what to write. If you find yourself
wandering from the point, stop and move on to the next topic.

6. Write in parts: Dont try to write the whole manuscript at

once, but treat each section as a mini essay and think about
the goal of that particular section and what you want to say.

7. Put the first draft aside for at least one day, to allow you to
be another person. Since it is difficult to proofread and edit
your own work, a day or more between the creation helps.
(This is true, I experienced it many times not only for
Technical Papers but also for preparing Welcoming
Messages or Speeches).
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper (continued)
8. Revise it a few times until not possible to improve it further.
Look at your work not as its author but as a stern critic.
Revise sentences and paragraphs with special attention to
clarity and brevity:
- Does each sentence make sense ?
- In the longer sentences, can you keep track of the subject ?
- Do the longer paragraphs follow a single idea, or can they
be broken into smaller paragraphs ?
For maximum readability, most sentences should be about
15-20 words. For a technical or scientific article, paragraphs
of about 150 words are considered optimal. Avoid using
unnecessary words.
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper (continued)
9. Be consistent: For a paper that has more than one author, the
writing may be shared. However, the style needs to be
consistent throughout. One of the authors must go through the
entire manuscript and make any necessary editorial changes
before sending it to the journal.

10. Article titles: Title must be concise, accurate, informative and

reflects what the paper is about. Titles are often used by search
engines and other information retrieval systems hence, should be
specific and should contain words that readers might be searching for.
- This will make it more likely that people will find and read your article.
The title must reflect the content of article; if it does not, readers will be
confused or disappointed. The title must also be comprehensible to the
general reader outside your field. Where possible avoid abbreviations,
formulae, and numbers. The following should also usually be avoided:
"Investigation of..."; "Study of..."; More about..."; "...revisited".
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper (continued)
11. Article abstracts: Abstract is what readers will use when they
are deciding whether to read your article. Hence, the abstract is
very important and must be readable and accurate a
complete description of the research work.
Usually in about 100-200 words, you have to summarize the
main objective and any hypothesis tested; the research
design and the reasons for adopting it; the methods and
procedures used, the main results, and the conclusions that
can be drawn, including their implications for further research or
Keywords are usually stated after the Abstract.
The best is to follow the instructions from the journal.
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper (continued)
12. Acknowledgement: if necessary or required.
13. List of symbols (Nomenclature): If the journal requires this,
the letters must be arranged in alphabetical order.
- Separate Greek letters from Latin letters.
- Greek letters must also be arranged according to Greek
alphabetical order.
- Be consistent in using either: capital letters first and then lower
case letters, or vice versa. (The same for Greek letters see
the Greek Alphabet).
The Greek Alphabet
Greek name Capital Lower case
1. Alpha
2. Beta
3. Gamma
4. Delta
5. Epsilon
6. Zeta
7. Eta
8. Theta
9. Iota
10. Kappa
11. Lambda
12. Mu
13. Nu
14. Xi
15. Omicron
16. Pi
17. Rho
18. Sigma
19. Tau
20. Upsilon
21. Phi
22. Chi
23. Psi
24. Omega
1.2 Preparing/Writing Draft Paper (continued)
14. References:
The style of writing the references in the Reference list and
citing the references in the text depend on the journal see
the journal's Instructions for Authors.
The references can be numbered in the Reference list and
cited by their numbers in square brackets in the text [1] or
The references can also be arranged in alphabetical order
according to the surname of the 1st author in the Reference
list and cited by the surname/s in curved brackets in the text
(Massey and Ward-Smith, 2006) or (Winoto et al., 2005)
1. F. M. White, Fluid Mechanics, McGraw-Hill, 5th Edition, 2003.
2. H. Mitsudharmadi, S.H. Winoto and D. A. Shah, Splitting and
merging of Grtler vortices, Physics of Fluids, 17, 124102,


Massey, B and Ward-Smith, J. (2006), Mechanics of Fluids,

Taylor & Francis, 8th Edition.

Winoto, S.H., Mitsudharmadi, H., and Shah, D.A., (2005),

Visualizing Grtler vortices, Journal of Visualization, 18, No.4,
315 - 322.
1.3 Submission
Can we submit the same manuscript to two or more different
journals at the same time ? ABSOLUTELY NO ! Not allowed
under any circumstance.
Please make sure you have provided:
The name of the corresponding author, with an email address,
full postal address, telephone and fax numbers.
All author data on a separate page to facilitate anonymous peer
An abstract if required.
Keywords if required.
List of symbols if required
A biographical paragraph if required.
An acknowledgement to the funding agency if required.
Numbered pages in sequence.
1.3 Submission (continued)
Please also ensure:
A spellcheck has been run on your article.
References are in the correct format for the journal. Please
consult the journal's Instructions for Authors.
All references mentioned in the Reference list are cited in the
text, and vice versa.
Permission has been obtained for use of copyrighted material
from other sources (including the Internet).
All tables, figures, and captions are separated from the body of
the text, that is, do not embed tables and figures in text.
Graphics are high-resolution, especially for colour graphics.
All figure captions have been provided.
All tables are present (including title, description, footnotes).
1.3 Submission (continued)
For many journals, submission of an article in a digital form (on-
line submission) is mandatory see the journal's Instructions
for Authors.
Cover letter: To submit your article to a journal, you need to
include a cover letter (see an example of this Letter). Some
journals will provide information about what to include in the
cover letter on their Instructions for Authors.
If the manuscript has been previously submitted to the journal,
state the manuscript ID of the previous submission.
Confirm that the manuscript has been submitted solely to the
journal and that it is not published, in press, or submitted
Confirm that all the research meets the ethical guidelines,
including adherence to the legal requirements of the study
1.4 Review (or Peer Review) Process
Peer review in academic journal publishing is the process by
which an author's research is considered and commented upon
by independent experts who work in the same field.
These reviewers then make a recommendation to a journal's
academic editor about whether the paper should be published in
the journal, either as it is or with further revision by the author.
Reviewers are not usually paid for this work but are motivated by
the opportunity to be involved in ensuring the high quality of
published articles in their field. They may also appreciate being
regarded as an expert or have a commitment to the society that
publishes the journal. As authors themselves, they have an
interest in making sure that the peer review system works.
1.4 Review (or Peer Review) Process (continued)

Benefits of peer review for authors:

Positive and constructive feedback from reviewers and editors
will help improve the quality of your work.
Research shows that the process not only improves the
language that authors use and the way that they present their
ideas, but may also alert them to statistical and scientific errors
in their research, inappropriate methodology, or accuracies in
referencing which they can then correct before publication.
Submitting work to an international journal for anonymous
refereeing by unknown peers is, in short, still one of the best
tests of scholarly credibility in the academic world.
1.4 Review (or Peer Review) Process (continued)
Types of peer review:
Single-blind review (also known as masked review):
where the reviewer's name is hidden from the author.
Double-blind review (also known as double-masked review):
where the reviewer's name is hidden from the author and the
author's name is hidden from the reviewer.
Open review:
Where no identities are concealed.
Post-publication review:
Where comments can be made by readers and reviewers after
the article has been published.
Different journals use different models of peer review.
1.4 Review (or Peer Review) Process (continued)

Concerns about peer review:

Authors, readers, editors, and publishers acknowledge that the
peer review system is not perfect.
Criticisms include the following: it takes a long time and causes
a delay in the publication process; some reviewers are
overburdened; it does not detect deliberate falsification of data;
it can be a barrier to innovatory ideas; reviewers are not always
accountable; there is a possibility of bias and prejudice; it is
open to abuse (for example: reviewers "stealing" ideas);
reviewers are human and can make mistakes; the process is
unreliable and does not always work; managing the system is
time-consuming and expensive.
1.4 Review (or Peer Review) Process (continued)
Whatever the policy of the journal, as an author you can expect certain
The process should not take too long. If your paper is going to be
rejected, it is only fair to let you know as soon as possible, so that you
can submit it to another journal.
You should be informed of the progress of your paper at each stage of the
process, and you should be given deadlines for revising or reviewing the
paper if necessary.
Feedback that you receive from referees should always be constructive,
justified and polite.
The process should be transparent. You should be given reasons why a
particular decision has been made.
Referees should not keep copies of your paper or use any part of it
without prior permission.
There should be a policy in place to deal with conflicts of interest.
Confidentiality and impartiality should be guaranteed.
The reviewing process should be open to audit. Editors should publish
statistics describing the journal's review process, the number of
manuscripts submitted, the acceptance rate, and average times to
1.5 Why Papers may be rejected
The article is not ready it is only a draft.
The article will not appeal to a wider, international audience.
The article is written in poor English (if English is not your first
language, seek help).
The manuscript is poorly prepared.
The article is too short or too long (check the article length as
specified in author guidelines). but too long is better
The article has been submitted to the wrong journal (hence, the
material will not be relevant to the readers check the aims and
scope of a journal before submitting to it).
Nothing new is reported or found.
The article is under-theorized.
The article missed some important or compulsory sections, such as
estimations of experimental uncertainties (for experimental work) or
mesh independence test (for computational work), etc.
It is not properly a journal article and would be better suited to
another form of publication.
What to do if your Paper is rejected

Do nothing for a few days calm down

Its not worth to discuss with the Editor about the
Reviewers since it wont alter the decision and could do
you harm.
If asked to make heavy/large amendments: consider
whether it is worth it.
Use the Reviewers comments to alter your paper and
submit to another journal.
If you do submit elsewhere, take care to alter your paper
to the new style of that journal.
1.6 Production
How to find out what stage my manuscript is at?
If it has not yet been accepted, please contact the editorial office
of the journal, or use the tracking facility provided by any
electronic submission system you have used. If it has been
accepted, contact the production editor.
Checking proofs: (usually has to be done within 48 hours)
After the manuscript has finally been accepted, the proofs will be
sent to you. Please check your proofs carefully. It is the
responsibility of the corresponding author to check these against
the manuscript and approve or amend them. A second proof is
not normally provided.
The journal is not responsible for uncorrected errors, even if
introduced during the production process. Once your
corrections have been added to the article, it will be
considered ready for publication.
1.7 Publication

The journal usually ask you whether you want hard copies of
your published paper (called off prints) for which you have
to pay. (But now, distributing off prints is no longer
But the most troublesome is if you discovered error/s in
your published papers.
1.8 Beyond Publication
After your article has been published, the frequently asked
Questions can be:
As an author, what rights do I have to use my article?
Can I translate my article into another language?
How do I get the reprints? (see Section 1.7 is this
necessary ?)

However, more importantly is to promote your article, for

example through Reading list, Department or personal
website, Library recommendation, Conferences, etc., that
is, to make your article more accessible and more visible
to optimize citations.
Thank you for your attention !

tion is a technique employed to open minds, so that they may go from coc
nce to thoughtful uncertainty, Igor Kusysyzn