Research writing and publication workshop

Front row, second from left: Nicholas Pak, Dr Yong and Rob with participants

A research writing and publication workshop was organised by the UTAR Library at Sungai Long Campus on 19 July 2018. During the workshop, talks were delivered to teach participants the best way of structuring papers when writing and the best journal to send it to.

Invited to deliver the talk was Elsevier Senior Publisher Chemistry Rob van Daalen. He studied analytical chemistry and is a publisher at Elsevier for nine years now. He is responsible for journals in Green Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, which includes journals such as Materials Today Sustainability, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science and Chemical Physics Letters. Meanwhile, another talk was delivered by Elsevier Research Solutions Sales Consultant for e-Platform and Content Nicholas Pak.

Also present at the talk were UTAR Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ir Dr Lee Sze Wei, Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science Deputy Dean for R&D and Postgraduate Programmes Assoc Prof Dr Yong Thian Khok, staff, researchers and students.

Prof Lee expressing his gratitude to the speakers

In his remark, Prof Lee expressed his gratitude to the speakers for sharing with the audience on how to successfully publish in a scientific journal, “As an academic staff or researchers, we always have the question in our mind on how to get our papers published. Publication is important to us because that is how our research performance is measured. I hope through today’s workshop, every one of you will have a better idea on how to publish your papers in a better and more effective way.”

Rob sharing about things to avoid when writing a journal article 

Rob began his talk by sharing the history of Elsevier in scientific publishing. “The Publishing House of Elzevir was first established in 1580 by Lowys (Louis) Elzevir at the University of Leiden in Holland. Following the tradition, Jacobus George Robbers established the modern Elsevier Company in 1880. Among those authors who published with Elsevier are Galileo, Erasmus, Descartes, Alexander Fleming and Julius Verne.”

“Among all the publication areas in UTAR, the medicine field was the strongest with the field-weighted citation impact of 8.90 but the numbers of publication from the year 2015 to 2018 was only 5%. It would be more reliable if you look at the numbers of publication and the field-weighted citation impact because both are equally important. Among the medicine areas, general medicine has the most field-weighted citation impact, 53.11. This explains the high field-weighted citation impact on both Medicine and the University,” said Rob.

During the talk, he also shared some guidelines on things to avoid when writing a journal article. He emphasised the importance of using correct grammar and language in writing a journal article. “It is the author’s responsibility to make sure his paper is in its best form when submitting for publication. Keep it simple; avoid jargon or complicated words and sentence construction.” He then continued, “A title must be interesting, concise and informative. Some journals encourage declarative titles, but descriptive titles remain the norm. Delete trivial phrases; titles that end with a question mark are seldom acceptable.”

Rob also shared the overview of the review process, things that editors and publishers look for and how to deal with referee comments. He also gave further explanation on publishing ethics, plagiarism, rights and permissions and duplicate publishing.

Nicholas Pak at the talk

Nicholas Pak taught the audience how to get their papers noticed and how to leverage on the tools that the researchers have. “UTAR is the Top 10 Universities in Malaysia that uses ScienceDirect. ScienceDirect is a full-text article journal database with over 15 million publications from over 3,800 journals and more than 37,000 books from Elsevier, our imprints and our societies,” said Nicholas Pak. He also encouraged the audience to create an account with ScienceDirect, “Once we start monitoring what you are reading, we will be able to use the machine language to pull out a list of recommended articles and send to your e-mail. In that case, you do not have to worry about searching for the information all the time. You will have the lists of the articles based on the keyword that you have previously searched for.”

According to Nicholas Pak, about 41% of all references used by Malaysian researchers are from Elsevier (ScienceDirect) journal. “Although only 17% of papers written by Malaysian researchers are published in Elsevier journal, they receive a double amount on their total citation due to the quality of the articles,” he said and continued, “We support you to read, write and get published. We also help you to get noticed so that your work becomes obvious to the others.”

He also talked about the benefits and the functions of share link when the researchers publish their papers through Elsevier. “Authors get 50 days of free access to both the HTML and PDF version of their own article. By sharing the link via their own social media accounts and e-mail, authors can generate extra interest in their article and the article becomes more visible, which has the potential to increase downloads and citations. Besides, it can also help the author to track their article,” said Nicholas Pak.

He also shared on how they can conduct Bibliometrics and Almetrics analysis, how they can use Mendeley to share their work and join international groups for collaboration, and how they can track their readership. The workshop then ended with an interactive Q&A session, followed by a souvenir presentation from Dr Yong to Rob.

Dr Yong (left) presenting a token of appreciation to Rob

Some of the audiences during the Q&A sessions


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