Supplementary material: An important academic tool in the publishing industry
The purpose of submitting supplementary material with the research paper is to make it findable in the research community. Nowadays, many top-rated journals specifically ask for supplementary material from the authors to review their work. The guidelines on preparing supplementary material can be found on the journal’s website. Supplementary material contains additional details regarding the experiments that are not printed in the main article due to word limit or other constraints.
Why authors should add supplementary material with the manuscript?
- It helps readers find the research paper
- It strengthens impact of the author’s work
- Readers and funders find direct links to data
- It increases the chances of citation
- It provides useful information related to research
- It complements/supports the research findings
- It provides additional research information to readers
Supplementary information can be included in the form of experimental details, images, tables, and figures. Sometimes author also includes a video clip or audio as supplementary information, as the printed version of the manuscript disallows such formats. Supporting material is used to validate the results and helps other researchers access additional information about the research paper. Submitting the supplementary material online increases the content value and makes it easier to access.
Submission guidelines for supplementary material:
- Add a new section for the table of contents
- Proper name should be provided to each type of supplementary material such as tables, figure, audio, data, and equations
- Create a title for every table
- Include data and tables in an editable format
- Number the figures and each page separately
- Add graphics in vector format
- Include a text summary to describe contents of the file
- Explain the procedure in detail
How should authors prepare the supplementary material?
As discussed earlier, supplementary information is the additional/extended version of the research methodology that is not included in the printed version of the manuscript. Such type of information needs to be presented in a suitable format conforming to the formatting style of the main paper. As supplementary material is available online, authors can upload files that are easy to download. Authors can check the instruction page to find about:
- File size.
- Method to write description
- Methodology to access and replicate the research.
- Represent data set and database
Title: The title should not be more than two lines. It should contain details for indexing and should not include any numbers, acronyms, or abbreviations.
Tables/Graphs: Tables and graphs are included where the main trends related to the research are discussed. Additional data and a title should be provided to each table for differentiation.
Clips: Clips and audio files containing information regarding the procedures, responses, and methodology can be directly uploaded online. The readers can easily access the supporting evidence online. The clips can also contain dialects or meaning of complex scientific and technical terminologies.
Code and applications: The code and applications used by the author for data analysis allow scientists to replicate research and benefit the research community.
Case study: Including a case study in the supplementary material helps authors represent a crucial part of their research. Authors can describe their research goals in terms of long-term impact.
Questionnaires: The tools used by the author to gather and analyze relevant research data are mentioned here. It could be anything ranging from surveys, questionnaires, quiz, questions to forms. It allows the readers to gain a perspective and understand research impact.