Monday, December 18, 2017, 10:56

Not surprisingly, I may suggest you to shorten the texts in the Introduction and Discussion. A good length for the Introduction is between one and two manuscript pages, and for the Discussion, it is three to five pages (Conclusions included). Even in high-quality articles, shorter texts are often better than long ones. At least I start to get tired after five pages of discussion, and ask what the important point is.

It is good to fit the length of the text to the size of the data. The smaller the data the shorter the text could be and vice versa. The same holds true as with the length of the Methods; you cannot raise the value of the research with the length of the text itself. In a reviewer’s eyes, instead, you can lower the value of the research with long stories of which meanings are not evident in the article.

Short writing needs much work, more than writing the long text originally. However, in many cases, condensing the text improves the article a lot. Here, I talk about deleting the whole sentences or themes, not about the sentence structure. 

To be able to shorten the text, you must think of what really is important and deserves publishing. In the Introduction and Discussion, think if you absolutely must write about the subject. Find a reason for each theme you are writing. If you do not have any reason, delete it. It certainly is not nice to press the delete-key and destroy the text that needed much of your work. However, many times, it is the best you can do.

In most cases, there are fewer words in the final than in the original version – although I usually suggest adding something new. The aims paragraph is usually the one I suggest to write longer. The usual case is that the final aims are a half longer or even double that they were in the first version, and the discussion is much shorter in the final than original version. I do not use the words in the original long version as the base of pricing.


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