How to Edit a Scientific Manuscript or Research Paper?
A scientific manuscript is written in different style and length depending upon the author, the journal instructions and the topic. So it is hard to generalise a format or style for research papers. However, there are some general guidelines that will help you publish a successful scientific manuscript in journals. When editing your own manuscript, follow these tips for making your paper effective so that it is not rejected by the publisher.
Follow instructions to authors
This is the first thing any journal editor would notice. Strictly adhere to the instructions from the journal. Many manuscript authors tend to overlook the instructions, especially the word count. Authors who have English as a second language (ESL) have difficulty in writing short sentences. A good manuscript editor should look at the length of the manuscript. Editors should also review for the style, tone, and the English version - British or American .
Edit the manuscript for proper structure and organisation
The audience for the research paper - the science community - is used to reading manuscripts in a certain format and style that follows a logical order. When editing your manuscript or your peer’s , review the manuscript to check whether it follows the following order: i) a clear title, ii) abstract, iii) introductory paragraph, iv) methods and materials v) discussion of results, vi) conclusion, vii) a list of references
There are different manuscript editing levels As a manuscript editor, I will try to explain how to write or edit the above-mentioned sections so that your paper comes out to the reader as a well written research work that is able to communicate the findings clearly
Get the title right
Can a title of manuscript affect the chances of publishing a paper? Yes. And not only that, getting the right title is important for online databases to index your paper correctly so that it appears in searches and your paper is cited by many other authors. So, not only is a title, as a first hook to reader important but also a right title sustains the readers by conveying what is inside the manuscript. Most importantly, have 2-3 keywords of your manuscript placed in the title.
Abstract but simple
Most of the times, your abstract is the only section people read to decide whether to dig in further or not. So what makes an abstract look good and complete? Explain in brief and simple language the core theme of your research, the methods used, results and the conclusion. Abstract should summarise your entire paper and should pull the interested reader to explore further. When you get an abstract right, half the job is done. Here is a simple but effective abstract writing tip
Writing the introduction section
Do not repeat the abstract in the introduction; most people do and risk the chance of losing the audience. Start by explaining why this research and advantages over other methods if any. Briefly cover the background of the technical aspects in the research.
Materials and methods
This is the section where technical validation starts. If you are reviewing the manuscript as an editor or as an author, ensure the technical aspects are written loud and clear, for this decides the fate of the manuscript and for further evaluation . Discuss in details the experiment, methods, protocols, agents, tools, technology, etc.
Discuss the results
This is the section where your communication skills are tested. Done right, even a mediocre work can look great with strong articulation supported by data. Elaborate on your numbers in the tables and figures and interpret the data using the right term. This forms the basis for further research and for other researchers to build upon your work and in turn the manuscript gets cited multiple times.
Do not use ambiguous language here. Manuscript editors can ensure the Conclusion section is built on the previous discussions and interprets the findings in a convincing way. Clarity is very important here but not at the cost of data. Align with what you have said before and do not present any numbers or tables inside conclusion. Finish by stating the next steps or other manuscript or work to compare.
This section should not be a problem for most authors. Manuscript editors can ensure if the author follows the correct style as instructed by the journal. Also ensure the paper has at least a certain number of References cited.
If you do not have time to edit or need a professional manuscript editing services, here is how to identify the best manuscript editing services online