Writing Scientific Papers in English

1. General Instructures and Advices

1.1. Scientific Attitude

  • theroetic investigation
  • experiments
  • numerical testing or simulation

1.2. Logics

  • logic presentation
  • good language flow
  • good structure and clarity of paper
  • know our readers who want to
    • know the result of the paper to determine to read on, put result in abstract
    • know intuitively the key ideas behind this paper, how it is derived, what are the significance and impications

1.3. Difference Between Writing Papers in English and Chinese

  • cultural
    • confidence vs. modesty
    • responsibility of delivery(how much the readers can understand you)
  • language
    • direct translation offen do not work
    • you can not write a good cientific paper by direct translation!!!
  • present facts, theroies, proofs, experiments, testing objectively
    • we do not want to put our own feeling or our emotions into text
    • avoid unnecessary political, religious and emotional comments
    • avoid bias and discrimination related to race, gender, age and etc.
    • sensitive to the comments possibly explained as against the current social ethnics and convention such as those in life and medical science

2. Main Contents of A Scientific Paper

2.1. Title

  • best representation of the paper: contributions and unique features
  • generally not a sentence(do not use verb in title)
  • importance of right word order
  • no waste of words
    • do not use study on sth. or investigation on sth.
    • Because every scientific paper is a study or investigation on sth.

2.2. Abstract

  • summary in a few hundred words
  • very important to attract readers

2.3. Introduction

  • motivation and problem descriptions
    • what motivates us to do the research
    • what is the problem we are discussing
  • academic and/or industrial impact
  • literature review
    • show SOTA
    • cite reference available to general public
    • avoid offecsive remarks
      • comment the existing work objectively and politely
    • use the most recent results
    • do not cite too many “home-made” references
  • summary of major contributions of the paper
  • organization of the paper(optional)

2.4. Problem Descriptions or Formulation

  • system configuration, environment, etc.
  • definitions of all notation for variables, symbols, etc.
  • mathematical models and formulations

2.5. Methodology

Let the contribution stand out, make the readers understand what are the contribution of the paper

  • main ideas to solve the problem
  • theorems and proofs
  • the descriptions of the approach or algorithm
  • performance analysis
  • unique features of method

2.6. Results of Applications, Experiment or Testing

  • description of the practical or experiment system
  • description of the data and the associated system
  • description of the computer system
  • presentation of the results: tables, figures, etc.
  • application and benefits

2.7. Conclusions

  • not the repeat of abstract, summarize of our findings
  • concluding remarks

2.8. Acknowledgment

  • acknowledge the funding agencies
  • thank individuals sincerely and objectively

2.9. Reference

  • list reference in apropriate format
  • have recent reference if possible
  • give complete information
  • list appropriate numbers of references
  • do not list anything that is not refered to
  • do not list too many home made references

3. Procedure to Submit A Paper

  • submit abstract(only required by some conference)
  • submit entire manuscript
  • modify based on reviewers’ comments(possibly serveral rounds)
  • submit final electronic copy
  • proof reading
    • return promptly

4. Advices in English Presentations

  • A large number of papers from Chinese authors are rejected simply because the papers are not well written.
  • A strong basis for rejecting a paper: the paper is poorly written; there are many spelling and grammatical errors, I have to guess what the authors mean, and therefore it is difficult to judge the contribution of the paper
  • Avoid direct translation
  • Write simple sentences with present tense
  • use spelling check to make sure that all words spelled correctly
  • use grammar check to find out inconsistency
  • pay particular attention to the spellings of the names in references
  • professionalisim in writing
    • consistency in format: font size, space, paragraph, etc.
    • consistency in punctuations
    • consistency in equations
    • consistency in references
  • balance in using mathematical symbols and equations(only serve as SHORTHAND)

5. Review Process and Response

5.1. Review Style and Example

  • anonymous peer review system
  • frank, brutal, sarcastic, or even occasionally wrong criticisms
  • request for revision or rejection, not equal to discrimination, personal attack or losing face

5.2. Responses to Reviewers

  • examine carefully all the comments made by the reviewers and by the Associate Editor
  • differentiate those comments that must be fully addressed from those that are desirable to be addressed
  • try to fully address the former and discuss the latter within your capability
  • respond to EACH and EVERY point raised by the reviewer/referee
  • if possible, respond side by side with the original points raised
  • if you must disagree with the reviewer on some point, do it professionally with no rancor or sarcasm
  • A cover letter to the corresponding editor that you have responded to each of the references in detail and that your revised paper now merits reconsideration and re-review
  • separate and detailed point-by-point response to every one of the referee’s comments and show HOW YOU REVISE THE TEXT
  • a long list of explanations to the reviewers but no reivsion on the text is not acceptable
  • never argue eith reviewers and editors, out first goal is gettting paper published rather than making enemies
  • know when to give up for a particular paper worthwhile for no more efforts