Making a Firm Decision: “Traditional vs. Open Access Journals”

We all know that making good choices in terms of academics and scientific career is the key to success. Research writing and publications compliment the career of a scientist or an academician. Moreover, publications in reputed (high impact factor) and peer-reviewed journals produces global recognition to their contribution towards the scientific community.

Selecting an appropriate journal to publish your invaluable contribution is the major step in disseminating your research findings. The research ought to be published in the right journal for reaching the target audience with desired impact. However, many researchers struggle to make the right choice while selecting a journal as they get confused between Open access and Traditional Journals. The decision also becomes difficult while considering the journal’s performance (range and impact on audience), cost of publication (Submission charges and Article processing charges) and duration of publication process.

Traditional Journal vs. Open Access Journals: Based on the different factors

Traditional Journals

Traditional journals are those which generally do not levy any fee on authors or contributors for scientific publication. These journals are funded by subscriptions and advertisements and hence, the readers are charged for accessing or downloading any content in the journal.

The comparison between the traditional and open access journals suggests that the traditional journals possess higher reputation as they are not new to the experts in the field and association with reputed institutions and medical centres. However, higher reputation does not mean that it will reach broader audience. Because of high subscription charges for the readers, the content remains exclusive for specific mass and this is also the reason for not receiving desired number of citations after the introduction of Open Access journals.

The traditional journal charges per page for the printed versions which may vary based on the number of colour figures. However, for read only service the readers need to subscribe to the journal with subscription charges ranging from $100 per individual to $50,000 for institutions.

The traditional journal generally takes around 4-6 months for the quality checking and peer review process. The delay in the process is because of the number of articles received and their pending physical printings and distributions.

Open Access

“Open Access” is the idea and practice that created a movement which enabled the journals to provide complete barrier-free and cost-free access to the readers. Providing free access means that the readers can read, download, copy (with prior acknowledgement), share and print the online information available in form of articles.

Based on the different factors for making the appropriate choice, open access is changing the landscape of the research industry and has returned scholarly publishing to its original purpose of “spreading knowledge without any barrier”.

Publishing in open access journals provides greater visibility as it reaches broader audience without any fee. However, as no publication is without any fee, the author is responsible to pay the Submission charges and Article processing charges. Generally, the fees range between $50-$5000 based on the impact and reputation of the journals.

Most of the researchers opt for open access as they may not be popular in their field as, open access circulates the articles to a wider audience using different platforms to reach different researchers in the field worldwide. That is why, most of the traditional journals have now adopted the “Open Access Policy” either completely (full open access) or partially (hybrid open access).

Scientific publication represents the reputation of the researcher and hence the faster you publish the greater is the competitive edge they receive over other competitors. Most importantly, the researcher who gets published first receives the credit for the idea and the manuscript. Open access journals significantly reduce the time of publication with rapid peer review process. However, some researchers doubt the quality of the process and also consider this process as fake.

Role of ManuscriptEdit in helping you to make the correct choice

You might have now understood the pros and cons of each type of journals, but you still might not be completely sure about your choice.

The selection of the journal (whether open access or traditional) should be based on one’s requirement and hence, ManuscriptEdit provides a “Journal Selection Report” service which is prepared by considering the quality, scope and novelty of the manuscript. However, the author can also share their recommendations on the basis of different criteria such as the impact factor, reputation, indexing and cost which needs to be covered. We understand the effort that has been put to produce a quality research paper and hence, we guide the authors to make the right selection for getting the article published in desired journal.

How to publish your paper in a journal

As academicians, we strive for high-quality research that will advance science. As we write up our findings, we aim to present our hypothetical approach and applied consequences via our paper. Then we submit our paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Yes, this is the toughest part of the research. The job of writing a scientific research paper is quite competitive; there could be several reasons behind a rejection. Hence it’s important to understand the vital element of publication before journal submission.

The output of such efforts can be maximized by adhering to the following guidelines:

1. Have a specific target journal in mind

When you start writing about your study, it is wise to keep a specific target journal in mind. Search for journals that you think will be suitable for publishing your paper.  After identifying a journal, you must organize your paper as per the journal guidelines to decrease the chances of rejection.

2. Start your paper early in your research phase

You need to start writing from the early stages of your research or doctoral study. A proactive outlook will decrease the chance of rejection. Re-reading is needed in the research arena because it helps identify the most common flaws in the manuscript, which might otherwise be overlooked. It is also advisable to share your manuscripts with colleagues or other researchers to request their feedback, thus avoiding many errors.

3. Organize your paper as per the journal guidelines

After getting feedback from you your co-workers, revise your paper according to the aim and scope of the journals in your target research area. That will improve the chances of acceptance.

4. Develop an impressive title and abstract

The title and abstract are extremely important parts of a manuscript. Basically, the title should encapsulate the theme of the paper. The abstract should be a summary of the article within a specific word count.

5. Take the services of a professional editing firm

It is advisable to have a professional editing firm copy-edit your manuscript. An article submitted to a peer-reviewed journal will be analyzed critically by the editorial board, especially the references, main text, tables, and figures before it is selected for peer review. Running the manuscript through available software might help, but that can never replace the efforts of an expert and experienced editor in your chosen research field.

6. Include a cover letter along with the manuscript

A cover letter outlines the theme of the paper, presents the innovative aspect of the paper, and communicates the significance of the manuscript to the target journal. Therefore, it is mandatory to submit a cover letter along with the manuscript for publication.

7. Report reviewer comments carefully

Editors and editors-in-chief often ask researchers to “revise or resubmit” based on the comments provided by the reviewers. These revisions may necessitate major or minor changes in the manuscript. Therefore, it is important to address the comments received from the reviewers and avoid critical omissions. It is also crucial that you meet the given deadline for submitting the revised paper.

Given the ever-growing number of manuscripts submitted for publication, the procedure of presenting a manuscript in the best possible form and to have it accepted by a journal can be a formidable task because high-impact journals accept less than 10 percent of the articles submitted.

Therefore, the guidelines mentioned here could go a long way toward having your paper accepted and published by an esteemed journal. These recommendations require proper planning and careful implementation. Following the instructions could help researchers and other scholars improve the chances of getting their work published, and that is the key to having a productive and gratifying academic career.

Is it necessary to publish papers to obtain your PhD?

Publishing paper would be cherry on pie to build an academic career. Publication is a prerequisite for obtaining your PhD. A well-known phrase “Publish or perish” justifies this statement. Although it sounds dulcet, you need to take utmost care at every single step. If you are wondering, how to achieve your goal, here are a couple of points to ease your muddle.

Research

The first step to achieve your goal should focus on deep research about various papers, journals, publishers. This will help you to pick up the appropriate decision. The lack of research may end up selecting an inappropriate journal which may throw you in the backward direction of your goal. Hence, it is advisable to do thorough research before jumping into a conclusion.

Quality over Quantity

It is said, “Quality takes time but reduces the quantity”. You should spend time developing significant research agendas rather than spending more time scrambling to publish whatever you can get. For example, 1 research paper with novel findings and own interpretation can scoot over 10 review papers. So, don’t rush up on writing more papers as there is no guarantee that writing 10 papers would award you with your degree.

Face your fear

As a beginner, it is obvious to be anxious about the result. However, keep in mind that, “Failure always leads to greater achievements”. Keep yourself calm and composed and don’t force yourself to implant negative thinks.  These negative thinking will divert you to take the decision of writing it with a co-author. I am not against this statement but this decision might affect you in a later state.

 Be ready

No one in this world is perfect so don’t let your ego come in between achieving your goal. You should be confident enough about your research paper. It is better if you could make it proofread by someone to pick up the flaws prior to submission. Several companies are there which provide such services thereby helping you completing the research error-free.

Manage your emotions  

It is quite necessary to manage the time from the beginning with great patience as you had to research all the details minutely within the stipulated time. You can also seek the help of your guide to review it and suggest you with certain actions.

Conclusion

Obtaining PhD through publication is not only an option available for doctoral candidates. In order to achieve your goal, you must work hard and present strong research with novel findings. The candidate who easily accepts the flaws and decodes it further in their work will go a long way.

AI and scientific literature work in sync

When scholars choose a topic to work on their research, they need more sources or materials to review literature and add more value to their findings. According to Canadian science publishing’s article from last year, 2.5 million research papers are published annually while another unidentified source suggests that new researches are published around the world; approximately 1 million each year! Which is equal to one every 30 seconds. With the overload of new papers in each field and more growing every year it is practically impossible for scholars to keep with the information that is put out in each paper. Christian Berger’s team from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, found a staggering number of papers on the subject; more than 10,000 in the same subject. Fortunately, the team had the support of an AI system, a writing investigation tool called Iris.ai.

Iris.ai is an AI, a tool developed for scholars to make writing research papers easier. It is a Berlin-based company that claims to save 90% of time with 85% precision of data matching, has more than 70 m open access papers. Iris.ai is programmed to learn about the topic provided and perform an elaborate frequency analysis over the text. Then it read the words for which it needs to find results and additional material that could be helpful for the paper. It uses a 500-word description of the researcher’s issue, or the link of their paper and the AI restores a guide to thousands of coordinating reports. As the website suggests, it is a scientific writing assistant.

According to Berger, it was “a quick and nevertheless precise overview of what should be relevant to a certain research question”. Iris.ai is one among many of the new AI-based tools offering targeted results of the knowledge landscape. One such tool is called Semantic Scholar, produced by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle, Washington, and Microsoft Academic.

Although every instrument is different from each other and gives different output, they all provide researchers with a different look at the scientific literature than conventional tools such as PubMed and Google Scholar. Semantic Scholar is a browser-based search tool that mimics the engines like Google and it is free. But it is more informative than Google Scholar in terms of specific results required by researchers. Doug Raymond, Semantic Scholar’s general manager, says that one million individuals utilize their service every month. It uses natural language processing or NLP to extract data while building connections to determine if the information is relevant and reputable or not.

Artificial intelligence is saving a lot of time and making it easier and quicker to automate some procedures. In the academic publishing industry, the Al-based innovations are being produced and implemented to help both authors and publishers for peer reviews, searching published content, detecting plagiarism, and identifying data fabrication. AI could be costly, but it can accelerate a researchers’ access to new fields. More and more such AI tools are being developed to cater to various requisites of writing a paper, such as filtering topics for relevance, keyword search, etc.

Experts who need more assistance for their specific concerns might consider free Al­ tool such as Microsoft Academic or Semantic Scholar. While AI is easing so many burdens and saving time for a researcher, let’s not forget that it is still machine intelligence and may require human intervention here and there to make a paper more presentable and precise.

Scientific advancement in Iran in the modern era

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), usually known as the Iran deal or Iran nuclear deal, is a nuclear concurrence signed between Iran and a group of five international superpowers in July 2015. Following this concord, the fortunes of science and research in Iran has become a much-contested topic among the academia.

The agreement put severe limitations on Iran’s nuclear program. According to the terms, Iran has assured that it will decrease its stock of uranium by 98% and maintain its uranium enrichment at 3.67, which is below the enrichment level required for creating a bomb. In exchange, the U.S., the European Union, and the United Nations have agreed to lift almost all economic sanctions on Iran. This has given new flight to the aspirations of Iranian scientists and they are optimistic that the scientific field will be benefitted in many ways. Researchers all over the country are hopeful that after the lifting of sanctions, the opportunities for scientific advancement will increase.

Long ago, Iran was a vital scientific hub at a time when there was lack of cultural advancement in Europe. Persian researchers extensively contributed to astronomy, philosophy, and mathematics. But after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the scientific field changed drastically because of political turbulence. Many intellectuals left the country for a better future. During this time, because of Iran’s growing development toward nuclear weapons, the United States imposed stringent sanctions. In 2002, a secret nuclear facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak came to light. After these revelations, the U.N. Security Council tried to negotiate with Iran regarding the suspension of its uranium enrichment activities but woefully did not succeed. As a result, the U.N. Security Council implemented economic sanctions on Iran, which paralyzed Iran’s economy.

The sanctions were implemented to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. But they damaged the atmosphere for the scientific community. Because of political conflicts, Iran was forbidden to buy equipment from abroad, subscribe to international science journals, and import fossils. Many Iranian researchers found it taxing to get published in international journals because publishers were afraid to go against the sanctions. Besides, due to economic sanctions, the government stopped investing in science.

Despite these obstacles, science in Iran continued to progress.  To reduce dependence on imports, Iranian researchers developed indigenous equipment (such as seismic sensors to detect earthquakes) and even went to the extent of buying the tools from the black market. According to reports, Iranian scientists publish approximately 30,000 international scientific papers every year. And the unique feature of Iran’s science is that that both men and women participate in equal measure. In fact, nearly 70% of university graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are women—a higher percentage than in any other country.

Despite the sanctions and political turbulence, science in Iran has flourished in the last three decades. It has developed incredibly in fields such as seismology and stem cell research. After the lifting of sanctions, Iranian academics are expecting a robust era in the field of scientific knowledge because they will now have access to international collaborations. Besides, the Iranian government is promoting plans to attract Iranian intellectuals working abroad to return to their country by increasing science funding and providing academic freedom. Although the political imbroglio demonstrated that science and international relations are intertwined, the worst seems to be over for scientists in Iran.

Advantages of sharing your work

research sharing

To make your work stand out and enable it to reach large audience, you must be willing to share your research and your findings. This will help your research receive more attention in the fraternity and prompt new thoughts and advancements in the particular field of research. Read on to discover the best methods for sharing your work at each stage of production.

In the pre-submission stage

The proverb with preprints is “whenever, wherever”! You are allowed to share your preprints on any platform, whenever you want. Once your article is published, you are required to link the preprint to the formal publication by means of the article’s digital object identifier (DOI). Such links will enable your readers to access, cite, and utilize the best variant of your work. However, preprints should not be added to or upgraded in any way to make it a substitute for the previous forms of your articles.

After acceptance

Regarding accepted manuscripts, the golden rule is that you can share your research openly after the journals’ embargo time frame. You can quickly store your acknowledged manuscript copy in your establishment’s storehouse for inward use and then sit tight for the ban time frame to elapse before everybody can access it. In this process of sharing, you need to provide a link to the formal production through the DOI. Furthermore, the paper you share should bear a CC-BY-NC-ND permit.

At last, as with preprints, the paper must not be added to or upgraded in any capacity to make it a substitute for the distributed journal article.

After Publication

The approaches for sharing published journal articles (PJAs) differ for membership and open access articles, so you must ensure that the method is in keeping with the kind of article you are distributing.

If your article is a membership article, you can share the article or the links to the article through email, social media, own blog/website for non-commercial and internal purposes. The more links there are to your article from significant sources, more readers you’ll draw in and the higher it will show up in internet search results. In case your article is distributed open access, anybody can peruse your article. The reuse permit you select will decide how others can reuse your article and where you can post it.

Research Writer’s Block: What is it and how to overcome?

It is very common in the research fraternity to hear discussions going on about the inability to put down their ideas and thoughts on paper. After the completion of their research work when researchers plan to put down their findings in pen and paper they realize that their hands are paralyzed and thoughts do not come to their mind. Most researchers do not know that such a condition is common and is known as writer’s block.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is more of a mental block that the writers experience. There are also some psychological researches that suggest that there is no such thing. But the fact that almost all researchers experience this cannot be denied. One of the main causes of writer’s block is anxiety and this problem can be aggravated if the researcher is not familiar with English, as this is the language that is generally used the world over.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

There are some common strategies followed by experienced researchers to overcome this mental block and complete their research writing within time.

Social Writing: It is a very good idea to join a support or writing group to stay motivated till the end. Social writing reduces the root cause of writer’s block – anxiety, which in turn stimulates writing. Writing while sitting in a group, discussing about the progress, sharing writing goals and achievements helps to understand writing better and increase the flow of creativity. Social writing generates realistic goal-setting and dedicated writing time. With social writing, the need for help or instruction may not be required.

Block Some Time of the Day Exclusively for Writing: Reserve some time of the day for writing, so that you write everyday and avoid the writer’s block setting in again. Morning is considered the best part of the day for writing, the mind is fresh and at its creative best. So, try to write in the morning before checking your email or surf the net to avoid any kind of distraction. The key idea is to write daily, even if it is for 15 minutes then gradually increase the time of writing.

Draft: First write down anything that comes to your mind, without worrying about the grammar and correctness of the sentence. First, jot down your ideas and the content that you want to include in your research paper and then refine it to convert it into your final copy.

So, we can say that the writer’s block is only the creation of the mind, which can be avoided by keeping calm, focused and consistent. All other things will fall into place if the brain is tricked to believe that the writing will be over within time and it will be up to the mark, without any data being missed.

Formatting tables, graphs, and other visuals in your research paper

The format in which you present your research data is very important because it helps you communicate your data to your reader and editors in the best possible way. Although there are many formats in which tables, graphs, and other figures can be presented, you need to choose the best format for your category of data, provided it is within the prescribed guidelines of the journal you are targeting for publication. Before reviewing a paper, many journal editors and reviewers first glance at the layout of the manuscript in terms of its text, tables, figures, and illustrations. Therefore, to make your presentation effective while presenting a large amount of information, a suitable distribution between text, tables, and figures comes handy.

How to use

Sometimes using too much text can get tiresome and confusing, making the reader lose interest or miss data. So encapsulating the information into visual representations can help summarize your analysis. Centralizing the important findings will help readers get the outline without reading the whole manuscript. However, excessive use of visuals can hinder the flow of text and make the whole presentation abrupt. To achieve the highest impact, a proportionate combination of text and visuals always pays off.

Understanding the message

The intension of using a chart, graph, or table is for one of four primary reasons. One illustration might be intended to show a relationship, while another wants to show the composition of a dataset. A third visual could be plotting distribution of data, while a fourth could be comparing various data points. Therefore, you need to understand the objective of the visual before choosing the format; one format may justify one goal but might not fit another.

A relationship is the correlation and connection between the variables of the data presented, like the value of a particular share today versus the value over the year.

A composition is the set of all variables present in the manuscript to make a conclusion, like the total sale of your product, sale online, sale in retail, and direct sales.

A distribution is a representation of all the correlated and non-related data to determine the connection and pattern if any, and the interaction between the variables.

A comparison is the process of finding out the similarities and differences between sets of variables.

Best format for you

Graphics are best for putting your point forward while tables work fine for providing a structure to numerical information. Different formats that work best for various situations are:

  • A bar chart or bar graph shows correlation between distinct categories. One axis shows the particular categories being compared, and the other axis depicts a calculated value. Some bar graphs show bars bunched together in groups of more than one, showing the values of multiple measured variables.
  • Pie charts are generally applied to represent the rate and proportionality of information, and the rate of percentage depicted by every category is marked next to the corresponding portion of the full pie.
  • Line graphs can be used for more than one variable to show the change over time simultaneously.
  • Scatter plots and line graphs are alike, as both use horizontal axes and vertical axes to plot data information points. Scatter plots are used to show the degree to which one variable is affected by another variable, or the connection between them.

Understanding the Structure and Purpose of Systematic Reviews

Defining systematic review:

A systematic review is a well-planned literature review that basically answers a focused research problem, with pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Steps involved in systematic review:

The first step involved in drafting a systematic review is identification of the REAL research problem. For this you need to search for valid literatures dealing with your subject area and locate the research gaps in those studies. This will assist you in devising an appropriate research question. In general, researchers use the PICO framework to define the question scope. Its anatomic parts are as follows:

P-Problem/Population

I-Intervention

C-Comparison, and

O-Outcome

The second step involves setting the inclusion and exclusion criteria that will further determine which studies are you going to include in the systematic review. Here are few parameters that are taken into consideration while zeroing down on a relevant study:

– Population

– Study design

– Type of intervention

– Grouping

– Outcomes of the study, and so on.

Thirdly, you need to carry out the real work of spotting out those inclusive studies by taking help of databases, such as online libraries, online searches, and so on. Then simply insert this retrieved information into a reference manager, such as EndNote, Cite This For Me, Reference Generator, and so on.

The next approach will be to extract data from these studies by using a tool, software or excel sheet. This will assist the researcher in evaluating the study bias if any. For this, you can use a risk of bias tool, such as Cochrane tool, for assessment of potential study or sample bias.

Finally, the results have to be presented along with the methodology section, which includes the criteria of selection, strategies, and so on. A meta-analysis is done, if necessary. Future recommendations can also be cited in this section, regarding any change in the policy or clinical/non-clinical practice.

In this blog, we have tried to summarize the complete process of writing a systematic review in a uncomplicated manner, and along with this, we have also tried to explain the quality elements included in each step of systematic review.

How Social Media Can Act as an Effective Promotional Tool for your Research?

Web-based social media or social networking platforms have redesigned the collective sharing of thoughts by means of online sites, groups, and networks. It is an open access medium for the researchers, authors, and scientists to connect with the world and advance their work. It has now effectively turned into a marketing platform that offers benefits to researchers as well as their intended research group.

Social media platforms can offer a significantly more prominent reach compared to a seminars or conference. The most ideal approach for research promotion on social media is to ensure knowledge upgradation of the target audience regarding the subject area you deal with. Researchers can demonstrate how their research or experiment is being performed. This can include anything like audio and video recordings or updates on how a specific research work is making headway.

In addition to this, a researcher needs to be active on social platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Slideshare, Google+, and so on. Being a dynamic participant in these sites will enable you to promote your research adequately.  As a researcher, you can advance your research by making short recordings that are important for presenting figures or any relevant findings in a live form. A kindred researcher will always get attracted toward any such interactive recordings. There are various software that can assist you in developing a good video. After you have prepared your recording, you can then share it social networking sites that will surely draw millions of eyes towards your research.

Blogging bridges the distinction between the present real world and scholarly community. Researchers can blog about their focused research area topics or talk about the subtle elements of a research after it has been completed and published. Blogging is a controlled approach to grandstand your scientific skills and logical abilities to the academic groups. It is easy to share a tweet about your published article, but a more detailed synopsis of your work can be listed on your blog.

Citation Management Tools can store and manage references to academic works that you have been reading. Some of them likewise have the additional feature of being social networking destinations like Mendeley and CiteULike.

The ideas for marketing or promotion of scientific contents mentioned above are only a couple of the numerous ways you can advance your research on social media platform. If the promotion is strategized and carried forward in a well-planned manner, it will surely gain you accolades from the scholarly community.