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Publishing in the Sciences

Key steps and resources for publishing research articles in Science areas.


Who gets to be an author? Decisions of who deserves authorship on an journal article differ depending on journals/publishers, disciplines, and even individual research groups. Generally, however, authors should make a substantial intellectual contribution to the article. Some journals require the contributions of each author to be explicitly stated.

Who gets to be the first or last author? The first and last author positions are often considered to be the most important, but, again, this differs depending on discipline. In many scientific disciplines, the principle investigator is the last author, and the graduate student or postdoc who did most of the work is the first author. 

Who is the corresponding author? The corresponding author is the point-of-contact for the journal editor and readers who have questions about the manuscript. Usually, but not always, the last author is also the corresponding author.

 Further reading:

Manuscript and citation style

Publishers and journals has their own requirements for manuscript and citation style. You may find these requirements on the journal's Instructions to Authors page, and you can follow examples of articles published in the journal. However, the required manuscript style may be different from the style of the published article in a journal.

Browse a list of general style guides for different science disciplines.

To help you format your manuscript and bibliography quickly and easily, you can use a citation management software. For information, visit this Manage Citations with Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote guide. 

A couple of general style guide/manual are listed below.

Re-use materials from other publications? - Get permission

If you need to re-use materials such as diagrams, figures, tables, or data from previous publications (including your own and others' work) in a review article, your dissertation, or the introduction part of your research article, it is likely that you will need permissions from the publisher, who is the copyright holder.

  • To request permission to re-use objects (figures, diagrams or table) 

Most publishers provide easy ways to request permission if you are re-using objects for non-commercial purpose. For example, as shown in the images below, the American Chemical Society (ACS) has a Rights & Permissions link for each article. The link takes you to the RightsLink tool from the Copyright Clearance Center, where you can confirm the purpose of re-use and get directions on how to give credit to the original work. If there is no easy Rights and Permission link available from the publication, look at the Author's Rights or FAQs page or contact the journal for permissions.

ACS Reuse

  • To request permission to re-use data

Copyright does not apply to facts, data, or ideas (see U-M Library's Copyright Office page for details). Therefore, if you have permission to use data from the original authors, you may re-plot the data in a new figure and use them in your article without asking for permission from the publisher. Even publishers like ACS clearly state this in their FAQs (see item #19 on the ACS FAQ page).

  • Always cite the original work properly

Scientific Writing Resources

Scientific writing poses special challenges to authors because authors need to explain complicated observations or reasoning in a simple and direct way. You may seek for help from the Sweetland Writing Center. Also, your writing skills will improve with practice and publication experience. Here are a few helpful resources.