Category Archives: Article writing

How Paper Posters Evolved into Interactive Digital Presentations


Whether you love or dread them, conference presentations are a crucial part of any research-oriented career. Sharing and exchanging findings and information with others in your field is important. It helps to stay up to date on the latest developments, network with fellow professionals, and identify potential collaborators or new directions for your own research. Presentation methods continue to evolve as technology offers new ways to make research more exciting and accessible. Digital interactive poster presentations are the latest innovation sweeping the conference circuit.

From Paper to Digital

Visual accompaniment to presentations is a time-honored way to enhance or add depth to the research results being shown to an audience. In the past, students or young researchers who presented academic and scientific work created paper posters that featured the highlights of their work. With the advent of technology, e-posters began to grow in popularity in the 1990s. Also known as “digital posters”, these come in a variety of formats. Some may include stand-alone single elements such as a video, chart, photo, game, slideshow, while some may include a combination of several videos, charts, etc.

E-posters, as their name implies, are hosted online rather than in physical space. Their integration into conference poster sessions has highlighted the advantages of digital over traditional paper posters, including:

  • E-posters may be interactive and facilitate learning without the presenter nearby
  • These posters can present a great deal of information in a condensed format. Unlike paper posters, they don’t look crowded and messy
  • Addition of video, voice, slideshows, and photos provides a more interactive and enhanced experience for the audience
  • E-posters widen the audience as they are available online to anyone, not only to conference attendees
  • As they are available online, digital posters also facilitate discussions or “communities of interest” around the presented work
  • E-poster sessions mitigate the busyness of live poster sessions, allowing participants to learn more from sessions they attend

With these numerous factors in favor of digital posters, it’s no wonder that they have become the norm over the past decade in many academic disciplines.

From E- or Digital Posters to Digital Interactive Poster Presentations

During the 14th Meeting of the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2001, a new type of digital poster presentation was made, named digital interactive poster presentation. First proposed by De Simone et al. (2001), the digital interactive poster presentation, or DIPP, aimed to make poster sessions even more effective in communicating important data and discoveries by using an interactive format. The DIPP lets presenters project their posters on a screen or wall and give a brief, 3-5 minute presentation while highlighting important figures and charts. The popularity that the concept of DIPP had received at this very first session has grown ever since.

DIPPs are actually just soft copy or pdf versions of traditional posters that will be projected in the session followed. However, there are some advantages of DIPP over traditional posters. It allows the presenter to magnify or emphasize the portions of the presentation they find most interesting or relevant. It also provides opportunities for interaction between the presenters and audience in ways that traditional posters often do not. Traditional posters might end up in a trash can following a presentation. On the other hand, DIPPs can be preserved online, and later obtained in pen-drives if allowed.

Interactive Features of DIPPs

When a DIPP is created for viewing online or display on a screen or wall, the presenter can add different features to make it easier for the audience to interact more with the material and presentation. Hyperlinks and email addresses are one easy way to share contact information with interested audience members. For those of you who are more tech-savvy, you can include a QR code on your DIPP. That way, people who have a specific app installed on their smartphones or tablets can scan the QR code. It would direct them automatically to a website or receive contact information or text. Some people also include links that allow viewers to directly send their comments and feedback on the poster or presentation. With these new innovative presenting methods, scientific and scholarly community will be able to reach a much larger audience. This will, in turn, lead science and research to flourish.

Publisher Refrains from Charging Extra for Archived Papers

accessing archived research papers

The business of academic publishing is controversially inaccessible to its target audience; the academic community. Specifically, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis have been on the news regularly, due to disputes with universities in this regard. In recent disagreements, South Korean Universities cited the higher subscription rates that Elsevier charged. It also mentioned Elsevier’s misleading package deals of little-read journals. Meanwhile, librarians from UK/Irish institutions, and representatives of Research Libraries UK and beyond, urged Taylor & Francis to drop subscription charges. Overall, collaborative academic movements to improve accessibility to academic research journals could revolutionize the existing model of the publishing industry.

Flipping the Existing Business Model of Academic Publishing

 Elsevier’s business model, at $1000/year to access one journal title, alongside annual fee increase of 5%, faces rising academic resistance. A German consortium, Projekt DEAL, repeatedly attempted to negotiate better pricing with Elsevier, for improved open access. This spurred boycotts and similar negotiations across universities in Finland, Peru, and Taiwan. In a similar move, the Finnish library consortium also led the #NoDealNoReview boycott. As a cumulative result, a consortium of South Korean Universities, reached a new deal with Elsevier to access its database ScienceDirect.

Following on from the South Korean Universities, the Finnish Consortium (FinElib) similarly joined Elsevier to outline a three-year agreement. The agreement would provide Finnish academic organizations access to Elsevier’s extensive research collection. The agreement further allows Finnish researchers to publish their articles at a discounted rate in Elsevier’s journals. These articles have open access to the researchers. The agreement termed the Science Direct Freedom Collection, collectively allow Finnish Universities subscription access to ~1,850 journals on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect. Universities intend to seek more concessions, in similar negotiations, in the future. In addition, existing pirate open-access platforms such as Sci-Hub have also added pressure to change the traditional publishing model.

Publishers Reverse the Decision on Additional Charges for Archived Materials

Meanwhile, in the UK, academics have forced Taylor & Francis to retreat from increasing charges for accessing archived journals. This decision was in effect after more than 110 universities signed a letter of protest. The publishers initially intended to introduce a “moving paywall” that included a 20-year span of papers, in the “front file”. Essentially, these publications would move forward with time, causing additional costs to access these papers as a separate package. Head librarians of the UK and Irish institutions opposed the new policy, as it would increase administration activities alongside substantial costs. The letter of protest alluded the move would create confusion and annoyance while diminishing archival coverage considered ‘opportunistic’.

Improving Partnerships in Academic Publishing

In response to the backlash, Taylor & Francis issued a statement that the new policy would not be implemented. Historic access was reinstated as part of the main subscription, alongside an apology for concerns generated by the new policy. Following the statement, library directors greeted the development and appreciated easy access to scholarly publications for University students and staff. Negotiations between Irish Universities and their next deal with Taylor & Francis are ongoing. Increasingly, the academic institutions are challenging academic publishers to implement a more accessible publishing model, while diminishing excess costs. Perhaps revolutionary change can be progressively achieved to replace the traditional academic publishing model after all.

Importance of Ethics Committees in Scholarly Research

Ethics committees review research proposals involving human participants and their data to ensure that they agree with local and international ethical guidelines. They also monitor studies once they begin and—if necessary—may take part in follow-up actions after the end of the research. Their main responsibility is to protect the subjects involved in the study and also consider the possible risks to the community and the environment. Ethics committees have the authority to approve, reject, modify, or stop studies that do not conform to the accepted standards.

Role of Ethics Committees

Most journals do not publish any results unless they have been approved by an ethics committee and they may withdraw published articles that exhibit any ethical problems. Recently, a study published in the journal Disability and Society was retracted after the human research ethics committee at the University of Waikato in New Zealand expressed concerns over the publishing methods used in the study.

The paper described the case of a girl who was born with a brain injury and was treated with hormones to keep her small, making it easier for her parents to take care of her. The procedure—known as the Ashley treatment—is rather controversial but seems to be on the rise. Although the Disability and Society study only analyzed a particular case (without actually involving any clinical subjects), the report was apparently inaccurate. The girl’s family finally decided to file a complaint against it.

In a similar case, the European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery retracted another manuscript about a heart surgery technique after discovering that the researchers did not have ethics approval to perform the procedure on 130 patients. It turned out that the Iranian Cardiac Surgical Society had already asked the authors to stop using the method back in 2004, six years before the study was complete. In the retraction notice, the editor-in-chief also advised other surgeons to refrain from using this technique.

Greater Transparency in Ethics Committees

It is clear that poor regulation can cause severe harm to patients, as demonstrated in the case of Paolo Macchiarini, where a series of irregularities surrounding his recruitment and research activities at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm served as a platform for his unacceptable behavior. Thus, independent and reliable committees are essential to ensure high ethical standards in the scientific community.

In a study published recently in the British Medical Journal, a group of scientists have called for more transparency in the processes followed by the ethics committee. According to the researchers, any documentation related to the ethical approval of clinical trials should be freely available, allowing ethical decisions to be publicly reviewed and discussed. They believe that this could help researchers to minimize participant harms and maintain public trust.

Members of an Ethics Committee

Most research ethics committees include both individuals with scientific or medical expertise and non-scientists. The reason is that some risks, particularly those related to social, legal, or cultural considerations, may be more easily identified by non-scientific members, whereas the procedures and scientific validity of the study design must be evaluated by experts in the field. Ideally, gender balance and social diversity should also be reflected in the committee’s composition. Moreover, the membership should be designed in such a way as to minimize conflicts of interest in the decision-making process.

Good Team Work is Essential

There are several situations where researchers and ethics committees must work together. These include

  • Identifying and weighing up the risks and benefits of a study (considering human subjects, animals, the community, and the environment).
  • Recognizing any financial or personal interests that may affect the research.
  • Evaluating the recruitment process and any incentives that will be given to the participants.
  • Assessing the procedures and methods used to ask for participants’ informed consent.
  • Ensuring that all the research activities are recorded properly and reported in a responsible, honest, and objective way.
  • Guaranteeing fairness, confidentiality, and privacy for all the subjects involved in the study—or at least full transparency about data-sharing in cases where absolute confidentiality is not possible.

If the research also includes medical interventions, scientists and ethics committees must make sure that adequate care and treatment will be provided.

How Do Online Manuscript Submission Systems Work?


Many publishers now use electronic manuscript submission and peer-review systems to manage their publications and it is important for authors to get familiar with these as it could save them valuable time and help them communicate better with editors and referees.

Most of the programs available work in a similar way—be it ScholarOne, used by SAGE and some of the journals published by the Nature Publishing Group, Editorial Manager, used by Springer, Wiley, or PLOS, or Elsevier’s new Evise®. All these systems have been designed to make the publishing process more efficient and readily accessible to authors and reviewers from all over the world.

Fast, Easy, and Convenient

There are many advantages associated with online submission systems. In general, they ensure a more rapid and convenient publication while saving authors, editors, and publishers time and money. Authors can submit their manuscripts electronically at any time and from any part of the world. Similarly, suitable referees can be contacted easily by e-mail. Access to the system (for both authors and referees) is controlled by login and user privileges. The electronically conducted peer-review process allows for faster and easier communication between authors and referees.

Role of Editors in Security of the System

However, recent issues, such as the discovery of peer-review rings, have exposed some weaknesses in modern publishing systems. In several cases, unethical scholars have exploited features of the automated process to cheat editors into accepting manuscripts, often by doing their own reviews. In the end, it is the responsibility of the journals and their editorial teams to invite suitable referees for their papers. If the selection process is done in a proper way, by carefully checking the e-mail addresses, affiliations, and expertise of potential reviewers, such problems can be minimized.

In the past, other issues including poor password management and lax password protection were also discussed. In 2012, an Elsevier journal retracted several papers after an unknown person accessed an editor’s account and assigned the manuscripts to fake peer reviewers. Fortunately, many of these security problems have been corrected and the benefits of electronic manuscript submission systems now overweigh the drawbacks.

Six Simple Steps to Online Submission

The online submission process is usually quite straightforward—and the software provided by most publishers is self-explanatory—so submitting a paper to a journal only requires a few simple steps:

  • Preparing your manuscript: To start with, make sure that your paper is ready for submission. Most journals have specific formatting and length requirements, so check the author guidelines on the publisher’s site for more information. Some journals even have templates for the different types of publications, which you can download.
  • Registration and/or login: The first time you use an online system, you must register for an account. You will need your login information each time you return to the site.
  • Entering manuscript information: When submitting your paper, you must provide some basic information, such as title, authors, affiliations, abstract, cover letter, suggested and/or opposed reviewers (in some cases), conflicts of interest, keywords, etc. At this stage, you must also inform the editor of any related manuscripts submitted or in press at other journals.
  • Uploading your manuscript to the system: Now it is time to upload the text and figure files of your paper. The manuscript will normally be converted to PDF for your review and approval.
  • Providing additional information: Normally, you can also upload supporting information (images, movie files, or text) to the journal’s database. In most cases, you will also be prompted to submit a completed copyright form provided by the publisher.
  • Reviewing and submitting your paper: Finally, you must carefully review the converted PDF file to make sure that all the equations, tables, and special characters are shown properly. Once approved and submitted, the converted file will be viewed by editors and referees.

Writing a Cover Letter for Journal Submission

One of the most neglected aspects of journal submission is the cover letter. Although it may seem like a formality, the cover letter is actually an important part of the submission process. The cover letter is your chance to tell the editor about your manuscript, why it is important, and how it fits into the scope of their journal. Overall, the letter should grab the editor’s attention. This letter should not be written hurriedly, because the quality of the cover letter can make or break your chances of publication. The cover letter should follow a fairly standard format.

Format of a Cover Letter

The first thing you need to do is check your target journal’s author instructions for the cover letter requirements. Sometimes, the journals will request that certain phrases or statements be included in the cover letter. If this is the case, then make sure that your letter contains all of the required information and statements mentioned in the instructions. Before writing the letter, here are a few key things to remember with regard to the format of the letter.

  • The letter should be written on a letterhead, and it should be limited to about one or one and a half pages long. All the proper letter heading materials should be included (the date and the address of the recipient should be at the top left, under the letterhead).
  • It should address the editor by name, if this is known.
  • The body of the letter should include four short paragraphs.
  • The first paragraph should introduce the author while stating that the author is submitting a manuscript for review. This section should include the title of the manuscript and the journal name.
  • The second paragraph should cover the focus of the manuscript. This should include about 4-5 sentences that describe the focus of the study, the hypothesis, the approach, and the methodology.
  • The third paragraph should be about 2-3 sentences and should describe the key findings and how these contribute to the field. It should also describe the scope of the manuscript to the journal based on the details of the manuscript. If you have any other important details that might make your manuscript stand out and encourage the editor to send it for review then do not forget to mention those details in this paragraph.
  • The final paragraph should always thank the editor for considering the manuscript for publication.

Points to Remember

In addition, there are certain key phrases that need to be included, and some of these are even required by most journals. It should be mentioned that the written manuscript is original and no part of it has been published before, nor is any part of it under consideration for publication at any another journal. The authors might also need to declare any conflicts of interest.

Related: Drafting your cover letter for manuscript submission? Check out this post now for additional points to consider submitting your manuscript!

Finally, some journals require that you submit a list of potential reviewers in the cover letter and also allow you to mention any researchers who should not review your manuscript. All of these added statements are a very important part of the cover letter, especially if they are required by the journal, and contribute to the editors overall view of your manuscript submission. Do not forget to proofread your cover letter several times. The text should be revised for clarity and succinctness. Points or sentences that stray from the focus should be removed and all the sentences should be directly related to the purpose, the main results, and the most important findings and conclusions.

In addition, all basic grammar and construction issues should be corrected during the revision. If you need help with the revision, you can include your cover letter with your manuscript when seeking for a professional proofreading service. If you are still unsure of where to start with your cover letter, there several templates available that can help. We have listed some of these below:…/JGIM+Cover+letter+templates.doc

Coherence: How Writing Clearly Facilitates Manuscript Acceptance


Coherence is an essential quality for good academic writing. In academic writing, the flow of ideas from one sentence to the next should be smooth and logical. Without cohesion, the reader will not understand the main points that you are trying to make. It also hampers readability. Cohesion necessarily precedes coherence. There is a difference between the two terms: cohesion is achieved when sentences are connected at the sentence level, whereas as coherence is achieved when ideas are connected. In addition, cohesion focuses on the grammar and style of your paper.

What is Coherence?

Coherence also means “clarity of expression” and it is created when correct vocabulary and grammar are used. After all, the goal of writing is to benefit the readers. Without both coherence and cohesion, the readers may detect choppiness in the text and feel as if there are gaps in the ideas presented. Needless to say, texts without coherence are difficult to read and understand. It defeats the whole purpose of writing, which is to relay ideas in a clear and efficient manner. There are strategies that you can use to ensure coherence and cohesion in academic writing.

Examples of Cohesive and Non-Cohesive Paragraphs

Paragraph coherence and cohesion results in paragraph unity. To ensure that your paragraphs have unity, there are two things to keep in mind: it must have a single topic (found in the topic sentence) and sentences provide more detail than the topic sentence, while maintaining the focus on the idea presented. The paragraph below shows a lack of unity:

Non-cohesive sample: Dogs are canines that people domesticated a long time ago. Wolves are predecessors of dogs and they help people in a variety of ways. There are various reasons for owning a dog, and the most important is companionship.

Cohesive sample: Dogs are canines that people domesticated a long time ago, primarily for practical reasons. Even though dogs descended from wolves, they are tame and can be kept in households. Since they are tame, people have various reasons for owning a dog, such as companionship.

Notice that the ideas in the non-cohesive sample are not arranged logically. The sentences are not connected by transitions and give the readers new ideas that are not found in the topic sentence. Thus, the paragraph is hard to read, leaving readers confused about the topic. On the other hand, the cohesive sample has ideas arranged logically. All ideas in this sample flow from the topic sentence. In addition, they give more details about the topic while maintaining their focus on the topic sentence.

Establishing Coherence

It is important to focus on coherence when writing at the sentence level. However, cohesion smoothens the flow of writing and should be established. There are various ways to ensure coherent writing:

  • Write sentences that flow by varying the lengths and structures, the use of correct punctuation, and broadening your word choices
  • Use simple transitions, such as “in addition, additionally, furthermore, therefore, thus, on the contrary, by the same token, at the same time, in other words, etc.”
  • Repeat your keywords but be careful of excessive repetition
  • Repeat sentence structures, which is used as a rhetorical technique rather than cohesion to highlight parallelism between sentences
  • Ensure thematic consistency
  • Start every sentence or paragraph with information that hints at the content of the next sentence

Academic writing is improved by coherence and cohesion. Without coherence and cohesion, readers will become confused and eventually disinterested in the article.  Your ideas then become lost and the primary objective of writing is not achieved.

Tips and Strategies

There are six ways for creating coherence, which you will find useful while polishing your manuscript. Creating coherence is not as difficult as it seems, but you will need the right tools and strategies to achieve it.

  • Lexis creates cohesion using synonyms, hyponyms, and superordinates. The use of lexical chains creates variety in writing and avoids monotony.
  • Reference creates cohesion by using possessive pronouns (e.g. your, their, etc.), pronouns (e.g. she, me, etc.), and determiners (e.g. those, these, etc.).
  • Substitution, which is the use of a different word in place of a previously mentioned word (e.g. “I bought a designer bag today. She did the same.”)
  • Ellipsis is the removal or omission of words because their meaning is implied through context (e.g. “He goes to yoga classes in the afternoon. I hope I can too.”)
  • Cohesive nouns are also called umbrella nouns because they summarize many words in one.
  • Conjunctions include words that list ideas (e.g. first, next, then, lastly, etc.)


Academic writing should be concise, coherent, and cohesive. Maintaining these three qualities involves using a number of strategies to impart ideas to the reader. After all, that is the whole point of any type of writing.

How to Write a Successful Scientific Manuscript

Scientific Manuscript

Writing a scientific manuscript is an endeavor that challenges the best minds, yet it is very rewarding once the body of work comes to fruition. Researchers carefully draft manuscripts allowing them to share their original ideas and new discoveries with the scientific community as well as to the general population. A significant amount of time and effort is spent during the investigative stages conducting the required research before it is released into the public domain. Therefore, the manuscript drafted to present this research must be thorough, logically presented, and factual. Scientific manuscripts must adhere to a specific language and format to communicate the results to the scientific community whilst adhering to ethical guidelines. When completed the final written product will allow colleagues to debate and reflect on the newly minted work embedded in the manuscript.


Scientific manuscripts are organized in a logical format, which fits specific criteria as determined by the scientific community. This methodology has been standardized in journals which communicate information to those in the field being discussed. Since the researcher has a storyline he or she is trying to transmit, it must be clear and upfront on the exact question and or problem that his research answers. Readers of the manuscript will be energized to review this work when its content is spelled out early in the paper. A well-written manuscript has the following components included: a clear title, abstract, introductory paragraph, methods and materials section, discussion of results, conclusion and a list of references. Each component of a journal article should follow a logical sequence, which members of the science community have become accustomed.

Structural Contents

Title or Heading

Titles are extremely important. A crisp detailed title is the first element an audience notices when encountering your manuscript. The significance of a title cannot be overstated in that it introduces your reader to the subject matter you intend to discuss in the next thousand or more words. A poorly formatted title could dissuade a potential reader from delving into your manuscript further. In addition, your paper is indexed in a certain manner, which search engine algorithms will track. To rise to the top of the search index, keywords should be emphasized. Thinking of the right title could determine the size of your audience and the eventual success of your work.


Abstracts are abbreviated versions of your manuscript. Contained within the abstract’s structure should be the major premise of your research and the questions you seek to answer. Also included in the context of the abstract is a brief summary of the methods taken to achieve your goals along with a short version of the results. The abstract may be the only part of the paper read, therefore, it should be considered a concise version of your complete manuscript.


The Introduction amplifies certain aspects of the abstract. Within the body of the introduction, the rationale for the research is revealed. Background material is supplied indicating why the research performed is important along with the direction the research took. A brief summary (in a few sentences) discussing the technical aspects of the experimental approach utilized to reach the article’s stated conclusions is included here. Written well the introduction will influence readers to delve further into the body of the paper.

Methodology and Materials

In this section, the technical aspects of the research are described extensively. Clarity in this part of the manuscript is mandatory. Fellow researchers will glean from this section the methods and materials you utilized either to validate your work, reproduce it, and/or develop the concepts further. Detailed protocols are presented here, similar to a road map, explaining the experiments performed, agents or technologies used, and any biology involved. Statistical analysis and tests should be presented here. Do not approximate anything in this part of the manuscript. Suspicion may be cast in your direction questioning the validity of the research if too many approximations are detected.

Discussion of Results

This part of the manuscript may be considered its core. Elaboration on data generated, utilizing tables and graphs, communicating the essence of the research and the outcomes they generate. Once the results are given a lengthy discussion, it should follow by including the interpretation of data, implications of these findings, and potential future research to follow. Ambiguous findings and current controversies in this type of research should be analyzed and examined in this section.


This is the endpoint in the manuscript. Conclusions are written in a concise manner utilizing words not numbers. Information conveyed in this section should only be taken from the research performed. Do not place your references here. Full and complete interpretation of your findings in this part of the manuscript is imperative. Clarity of thought is also essential because misinterpretation of the results is always a possibility. Comparisons to similar work in your field may be discussed here. Absolutely avoid interpretation of your results that cannot be justified by the work performed.


Every journal has submission requirements. Journal guidelines should be followed for proper authentication of references. There exist several formats for reference creation. Familiarize yourself with them. In addition, the sequence of references listed should be in the order in which they appear in the research paper. A number, usually in parenthesis, follows the sentence where they are noted.

Production of a scientific manuscript is a necessity to introduce your research to a wide audience. The complexity of the research and the results generated must be written in a manner that is clear and concise, follows the current journal formats, and is verifiable. The guidelines embedded in this paper will help the researcher place his work in the best light possible. Never write anything that cannot be justified by the research performed. With these simple rules in mind, your scientific manuscript will be a success.

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