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Thread: Scientific method

  1. #1 Scientific method 
    Forum Sophomore Cuntinuum's Avatar
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    Hey, I was curious how scientific method is supposed to take place. Say I got all my experiments and what not done for perpetual motion and want to submit a paper to some scientists that care. Would NSF accept this, do they do that, would I have to pay a fee? (It's not actually perpetual motion if you can't take dry sarcasm)

    I haven't got a clue man. I hope I know what I'm talking about. Thanks in advance.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Junior DivideByZero's Avatar
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    Yeah I want to know too!
    Who do you send your discoveries/theories to?

    How do you publish science papers, etc.?
    Anyone know?


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  4. #3 Re: Scientific method 
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuntinuum
    Hey, I was curious how scientific method is supposed to take place. Say I got all my experiments and what not done for perpetual motion and want to submit a paper to some scientists that care. Would NSF accept this, do they do that, would I have to pay a fee? (It's not actually perpetual motion if you can't take dry sarcasm)

    I haven't got a clue man. I hope I know what I'm talking about. Thanks in advance.
    Quote Originally Posted by DivideByZero
    Yeah I want to know too!
    Who do you send your discoveries/theories to?

    How do you publish science papers, etc.?
    Anyone know?

    You have to have a specific journal in mind. For instance, the ApJ (Astrophysical Journal) for astrophysics. You can only submit to one journal. Each journal has its own specifications. If that journal turns you down, then you are free to pursue other journals.

    There is a fee of course. Everyone has to pay this fee. It is not cheap. And color figures cost more to publish than black and white. Here is what I copied from the ApJ website:
    2007 Page Charges
    Type of Charge Charge
    Electronic manuscript $105 per page
    Each supplementary file for electronic edition only* $105 per file
    Paper manuscript $150 per page
    Color figure surcharge (for print edition) $100 per page
    Author alterations $6 per change
    It is best to submit your paper in LaTeX with encapsulated postscript figures (if you have figures that is), although many journals will reluctantly accept other formats such as Word. Most journals have specific templates you must use. For the ApJ, it is the aastex5.0 (or whichever the latest version is... I forget the number).

    There are specific grammar rules they strongly suggest you adhere to. Such as clarity, conciseness, and avoiding hyperbole etc.. Sometimes the rules are not so easy to understand. For instance, the ApJ prefers one to use the word "that" over the word "which."

    You must properly reference your references. Each type of reference has its own peculiar syntax.

    Your paper must have an abstract. This is a short summary of your research, and there is a 250 word limit for the ApJ.

    Anyway... there is a lot of little things to get out of the way before submission.


    Once submitted to a journal, you are assigned an editor. This editor finds a referee who is an expert in that particular field (they must be an expert or they couldn't do a proper job). The identity of the referee is kept secret from you (for various reasons). For example, if you were going to submit a paper which (here the ApJ would prefer I use "that") dealt with highly-ionized high velocity clouds (HVCs), well... there are only about a dozen or so that specialize in that, so one or more of that small group would be asked to referee your paper. The referee's job is to spot mistakes, state any concerns, suggest alternatives, etc. It is not easy.
    (A dirty little secret, is that it is usually not difficult to get a good idea who the referee is. There are not that many who are qualified in your area of research, and you pretty much know everyone in that area.)

    After a couple weeks to a month, you get the reply from the referee (via the editor). You must address each point the referee makes. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes not. Usually, it requires a bit of rewriting of the paper. Once this is done, you have to resubmit the paper to the journal along with a text file of the referee's report and your responses. A few weeks after this, either it is 1. accepted, 2. requires further "attention", or 3. is flat-out rejected. This process is called the "peer-review" process.

    If it is accepted, a few months later it will appear in the journal. Rest assured, if the referee didn't catch a mistake, and you didn't catch it, someone else will and you'll read about it in their future paper (usually it is a subtle thing embedded in their text).


    That, in a nutshell, is how it works.


    Cheers,
    william
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    If you haven't had any training on how to write a scientific paper, read several from the same subject area where you want to publish to get a handle on it, and definitely try and find someone that can help critique and edit for you. Once it's ready you send the draft to whatever journal you'd like to get it published in. They'll review it, and often will send it back with comments and suggestions. Sometimes they'll accept it after certain revisions have been made. Or, they'll just reject it. Especially if it's your first effort at publication, you'll probably have to try submitting to many different journals.

    Edit: ooh, william did a much better job than me. And posted all that faster then my little post! Good on ya, will.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  6. #5  
    Forum Junior DivideByZero's Avatar
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    Once you pay the fee, do you get your money back if you get rejected?

    Lets say I pay $150 to submit my paper.
    They peer-review and find lots of errors and just reject it.
    Do I get my $150 back?

    Are journals the most professional way to write public scientific papers?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Sometimes there is a submission fee. You will not get that back.

    Many journals waver any publishing fees if you can show you don't have the money to pay for it.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric

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  8. #7  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivideByZero
    Once you pay the fee, do you get your money back if you get rejected?

    Lets say I pay $150 to submit my paper.
    They peer-review and find lots of errors and just reject it.
    Do I get my $150 back?
    You don't have to pay if you are rejected (thank goodness).

    Scientists usually get funding for their projects through NSF and other such organizations. You have to submit a proposal for your project, stating the required funding, and detail your project so that others can approve/reject it. This is quite a competitive process as you can imagine. Everyone is competing with each other for the funds. These proposals are reviewed by the experts (basically in the same way the peer-review process works for publication), except there are more reviewers. You have to convince the "funders" that you are not wasting their money. And the ones that review it are most likely from the same group that will review the finished product (i.e., the paper).

    This (like the peer-review process for publication) is yet another way to insure quality research.

    Quote Originally Posted by DivideByZero
    Are journals the most professional way to write public scientific papers?
    In my opinion, yes. You can submit a paper to lanl.arXiv.org without review, however, peer-reviewed papers are a little more trustworthy because you know it has been questioned by other experts in that field. Non-peer-reviewed papers are hardly ever cited for this reason.

    Cheers,
    william
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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