How to write for international journals (title and abstract guide)

Early-stage researchers have the challenge of getting their papers accepted and published by well-established international journals. The major reason for this challenge is their ability and experience to understand what the editors of these top-tier journals look in a research paper. 

To avoid rejections and too much editing work of your research paper it is important to understand and write it according to the journal’s requirements. It is not an easy task. Kyle Vogan, in his speech at Career Expo 2015, has shared some insights that are helpful for students to understand how to write for international journals. Kyle Vogan is a senior editor at Nature Genetics, a famous and established international journal. 

He focused on carefully crafting the titles and abstracts of the research paper to get it accepted for publishing. He emphasized using titles and abstracts in such a way that the reader has enough confidence to believe that the paper has the actual data to support the claims made in it. These signposts should have information on study design, experimental evidence, sample size, and main conclusion as well. 

So, if you don’t want to cry in desperation “please someone write my research paper for me!”, we advise you to read carefully the text below. Here is a brief overview of his speech that will help you understand better how title and abstract should look in a research paper written for an international journal. 

Titles Should Be Simple and Specific: 

According to Vogan, titles should follow the DEF rule. DEF is an acronym of declarative, engaging, and focused. The title should also be able to encapsulate your paper novelty and simply understandable on its first reading. 

A declarative title means that it should make a statement about something that can be an object, an action verb, or a subject. A title is engaging if it is not overly technical. The focused title is short and specific. 

Here are a few other things that he emphasized to keep in mind for writing a topic of your research paper. 

  • You should write in an active verb rather than a passive verb. 
  • No need to use the words that do not add to the story of the paper such as investigation, on this, study, etc. 
  • Deliver your message in the title specifically. 
  • Avoid jargon and acronyms when possible that will make the title too specific. 
  • No need to be overly assertive in your titles. For example, you may claim a cause and effect relationship while data shows only a correlation. 
  • Titles should present outcomes and conclusions rather than teasing the reader. Titles with question marks usually get rejected. 

These are the simple rules but do not become too obsessive with them. Every good title may not tick every box according to Kyle Vogan. It is normally a trade-off between DEF as some titles may be declarative and focused only and not engaging and it may be the opposite case for other titles. 

To the Point Abstracts: 

An abstract should be to the point according to Kyle Vogan. He shared a simple method for writing an abstract. This method starts with a general statement to give the reader an idea of context. It follows the problem statement and the main results. The abstract should end with a summary and the value it adds to the previous research. 

He recommended to include keywords in the abstract and avoid too many details, abbreviations, and acronyms. 

We hope this guide will help you to start your article well and get your dream journal publication.