Things to know about journal articles in academic and scientific publication: Insights for a researcher

Things to know about journal articles in academic and scientific publication: Insights for a researcher
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Things to know about journal articles in academic and scientific publication: Insights for a researcher

Research is central to scholarly publication, playing a pivotal role in the dissemination of scientific knowledge and research data essential for the advancement and progress of science. Research publication has been the primary system of communication for the scholarly community. The reliability of research publication hinges on the persistence of researchers engaged in the scrutiny of academic and scientific research. Such caution and scrutiny in production of scientific information and data are to present reliable information and scientific data that can be used by other professionals, which can create a higher rate of possible research collaborations to speed up scientific discovery and innovation.

Another role of research publication is to create an organic ground or system for researchers through universal access that operates as a learning ecosystem for researchers as well as a virtual library for the perpetual sharing and exchange of knowledge and data. The success of this idea depends upon the consistent rate of publication that is possible through a reliable model of publication, which led to journal articles becoming the most suitable unit of data sharing in a scholarly context.

Journal article

A journal article, in the context of scholarly publishing, refers to an academic written draft that contains information and research data related to science and scholarly discipline. In technical terms, “A journal article is a short copy or text in the form of a formal document containing valuable information related to science and  academic discipline, constructed to suit a periodical publication mode such as a Journal or “Journal articles are shorter than books and written on specific topics related to research.”These articles are compiled to form a journal. Journal articles primarily focus on research and are written by experts for other professionals and are peer-reviewed for scholarly publication purposes. When a journal editor receives a submitted draft, he/she decides if the article is suitable for publishing, based on the draft meeting the academic standards and criteria, the draft is processed for a quality assurance test by a group of experts called peer reviewers. After the draft is thoroughly examined and evaluated in a peer-review process, the draft is then made ready for publication in a scholarly journal as a journal article.

How do you differentiate a journal article from a normal article?

1. Credentials: Journal articles are written by experts with a credible academic background in science or an academic discipline such as a PhD degree or similar qualification, whereas a normal article does not necessarily require an author with a credible academic background in science.
2. Scholarly: Journal articles are written for scholarly purposes with the intent of disseminating scientific knowledge and data for the advancement of science and research. Journal articles are constructive in the form of an analysis, written after scrutiny and supported by scientific evidence, whereas normal articles are not written for scholarly purposes but written with the objective of communicating a story to the general populace and not professionals in particular.
3. Verified: Journal articles are verified sources of information that are examined and evaluated by experts from the same field, ensuring that the content has scientific value and conforms to the journal rules and guidelines as well as aligning with the scope of the journal targeting the scientific community. On the contrary, normal articles are not verified by experts and are published based on the fact that they are well written and convey an effective message to readers.
4. Constructive and detailed: Journal articles are written with extreme detail and caution—constructive and analytical in nature involving methodology—with the purpose of targeting a community of qualified readers, providing detailed explanation on a specific topic. Journal articles are normally lengthy and one article can take up to 8 pages, whereas a non-scholarly article is usually informal in nature and structure and is generally usually short comparatively.
5. Academic format: A journal article is constructed following a typical academic format of including abstract, introduction, review of literature, methodology, objective, findings, reference and bibliography, whereas a normal article does not conform to any academic or professional format and guidelines to structure the write-up.

Citation for journal article

Citation is a reference guide to a previous case, quoting or providing sources from other scientific research works published previously in comparison or support for an argument. It is a way to measure the value and relative importance of a scientific draft with the purpose of validating the information presented in the article having scientific value and accuracy. Citations are a fundamental principle in scholarly writing so as to avoid plagiarism and copyright violation. While using information or data from a source outside your own, it is a publishing rule to provide proper references and citations by quoting the author, page, or book from the information extracted so that the source can be deduced for verification. In scholarly writing, citation is the only acceptable norm and condition for the reuse of intellectual property that does not belong to you. And there are various citation styles a researcher or author is required to follow based on the journal requirements. Common citation styles in academic publishing are the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), the American Psychological Association (APA), and Modern Language Association (MLA) style.

Journal article in APA

When an author includes information from an outside source other than his own, the author is required to add an index citation to describe the source. The index citation includes three pieces of information: the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number. The first page of the journal article will usually have all the information you need, for example “ The majority of research studies support the hypothesis of the beneficial effect of dietary iron interventions on the balance of iron in iron-depleted female athletes” (Alaunyte, Stojceska, & Plunkett, 2015, p. 6). The information is a direct quote from another journal article where the citation appears in parenthesis at the end of the quoted information. The part of the index citation is the author’s last name—the author’s last name can usually be found near the title of the article. Next is the publication year, which is often located at the top of an article, near the title or sometimes along the bottom of the page in academic journal articles. Finally, the page number is the location in the article where the information or the quoted text is located. Authors can also integrate sources into their writing using signal phrases. For example, Alaunty, Stojeska, and Plunkett (2015) determined that iron supplements can have a positive effect on female athletes who experience low iron (p. 6). This citation is paraphrased from the article using signal phrases to introduce the outside information with the publication date and parenthesis right after. Lastly, the page number for the information is included in parenthesis at the end. Each of the sources will also be included in references at the end of the paper. Every source cited in the body of the paper should also be included in the list of references. The list of references is a dedicated page providing the full citation of each source with enough information for a reader to deduce the actual source of information. All the information needed by readers should be ideally found in the first page of the article.

Basic components of proper citation in APA

1. Pay attention to all punctuation, spacing, and formatting shown in the citation examples.

2. The first part of the citation is the author’s last name, followed by their first name and at time their middle initials. The authors are usually listed near the title of a journal article.

3. The year of publication in parenthesis is often located at the very top of the page near the title or at the bottom.

4. The title of the article is written in sentence-style capitalization. This means only the first letter of the title and the subtitle are capitalized along with any proper nouns, and the remaining words in the title are not capitalized.

5. The title of the journal should be written in italics using title-style capitalization, so all significant words are capitalized, for example, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(38), 1-7 . doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-099-2. This is found near the top or bottom of the page.

6. The volume and issue numbers are found near the journal title or date of publication. The volume number is listed first in italics, while the issue number is not in italics. It is in parenthesis right after the volume. The page numbers are found in the article. Be sure to use the page numbers from the PDF version.

7. Finally, the DOI (digital object identifier), for example, doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-099-2. The DOI is a unique number assigned to an article, found along with the journal title, volume and issue number found at the top or bottom of the page.

Journal article in MLA

MLA is a citation style and format used in journal articles published for academic purposes. When an author includes information from an outside source, the author must first add index citations to note the source of the information deduced. The index citation includes two pieces of information: the author’s last name and the page number for the information. For example, “Children of incarcerated parents currently experiencing homelessness have elevated risk for symptoms of internalizing problems, such as anxiety, fear, and depressed mood” (Casey et al. 501). The citation appears in parenthesis at the end of the sentence after the closing quotation mark and before the period. The first part of the index citation is the author’s last name, found near the title of the article. For an author group of more than two, only the first authors name is mentioned, followed by “et al” which is Latin for “and others.”Then provide the page number on which the information or quote is found.

Each of the sources found in the body of the paper should also be included in the list of references or works cited at the end of the paper. The list of works cited provides the full citation for each source with enough information for readers to deduce. All of the information needed from the cited sources should be found in the first page of the article and on the entry as well as the database of the article. This is usually where one finds the links to the PDF file of the article from the library.

 Basic citation components of MLA

1. Pay attention to all punctuation marks, spacing, and formatting shown in the citation examples. Example: Casey, Erin C, et al. “Parental Incarceration as a Risk Factor for Children in Homeless Families.” Family Relation, vol. 64, no. 4, September 2015, pp. 490-504. Wiley Online Library. doi: 10.1111/fare. 12155.

2. The first part of the citation is the author’s last name, followed by the first name. For an article with three authors, mention the first author’s name followed by “et al” and a period. The first author’s name is to be given as last name, first name, or middle initial.

3. The title of the article should follow the title-style capitalization. Capitalize all words except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions.

4. The title of the journal should be in italics in title-styled capitalization followed by a comma. Find the title of the journal near the top or bottom of the article.

5. The volume and issue numbers are found near the journal title, or the date of publication. The issue number can also be found in the database entry. Type vol. followed by a comma, then “no.” the issue number and another comma.

6. The publication date should be followed by a comma, providing the month and year. It is located near the journal title, volume, and issue number.

7. The page numbers are found from the database entry or found from the numbering in the PDF version of the article and numbering is followed by a period. Write the name of the database from where you found the article; this is sometimes printed on the article, but always found in the database page.

8. DOI can be found in the database page or in the article near the volume, issue, and date.

Index citation will direct the reader to the full citation listed in your works cited.

Journal article in CMS

1. Insert a numeric endnote marker whenever citing a source. Make sure to use Arabic numerals and not roman numerals.

2. Indicate the source in an endnote at the end of your paper. Endnotes must include citation details in a certain order with specific formatting; for example, “In the mid-nineties, corporations began associating their brands with musical artists within their advertisements as a form of “lifestyle branding.” 1. Naomi Klein, No logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (Toronto, ON: Vintage Canada, 2000), 45.” The quotation demonstrated starts with the endnote number, then includes the author’s first and last name, followed by a comma, the title of the resource in italics, the publication information in parenthesis, followed by a comma, and lastly page number.

3. Write your paper adding new information and inserting endnote markers where one needs them. At the same time, also cite the details of the sources with corresponding endnotes at the end of the paper.

4. After the writing is completed, you need to add a bibliography that lists each source used in the body of the paper. There are differences between an endnote and a bibliography entry. For example, “1. Naomi Klein, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (Toronto, ON: Vintage Canada, 2000), 45, compared to “Klein, Naomi. No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. Toronto, ON: Vintage Canada, 2000.”

As seen, the note numbers are excluded in the bibliography, and author’s last name is mentioned first, followed by first name in the context of a bibliography. The author’s name has different punctuation marks, the title of the resource in the bibliography ends with a period, etc. Ensure the accuracy of the citation.

What is a journal article review?

A journal article review is a critical and constructive evaluation of literature in a particular field of study through summary, classification, analysis, and comparison. If the journal article is a scientific review article that uses database searches to portray the research, then in such cases the technical term for an article review is a type of professional custom writing that demands high standards of writing and in-depth presentation of an argument.  The main goals of a journal article review are to summarize the entire content and make clear the meaning and understanding of the topic through the involvement of summarization, classification, analysis, critiques, and comparison. The analysis, evaluation, and comparison require the reviewer to use theories, ideas, and research relevant to the subject area. It is also worth noting that a review does not introduce new information but is rather a constructive presentation of response to another writer’s work.

A journal article review will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an article. This is done to ensure if the content is analytical and coherent, has logical flow, and is accurate, so as to demonstrate the article’s value and significance. A research article review is different from a journal article review, in the way that it evaluates the research methods used and holds that information into retrospect, analysis, and critique. Scientific article review involves anything in the realm of science. Often, scientific articles include more information on the background that one can use to analyze the article in a more comprehensive manner.

Formatting an article review

The formatting of an article review should always adhere to the citation style of the journal. Once the format, the length of the review, emphasis on a specific theme, or central idea, or the inclusion of any background information pertinent to the article are finalized, the writing of the literary review can proceed.

Before writing the review, the assignment should have a proper outline that follows an academic pattern of prewriting, writing feedback, revising, editing, or the use of article review templates to organize thoughts and ideas in a more coherent way. An outline can typically help in allowing to frame the introduction that mentions the article and the thesis for the review, followed by a detailed summary of the main points by highlighting the positive aspects, facts and evidence that were presented in the article, and making critiques about the contradictory aspects and by identifying the gaps and disparities in the text, and bringing out unanswered questions. Identifying shortcomings in an article will help in mapping the outline of the article accordingly, allowing to provide a purpose that will determine the introduction, body, and conclusion. It is important to divide the coherent views and thoughts into various sections with proper headings to define them, so as to elaborate and distinguish the meaning between the different views. The article must contain a pre-title page, where a list is created to include the type and title of the article being reviewed, name of authors who contributed, authors’ affiliations, positions, department, institutes, city, state, country, ID, as well as authors’ correspondence details, address, phone number, etc. It is noteworthy that the running head, which is the title of the paper in less than 40 characters, should only be in APA format. The summary page, which can be optional depending upon your instructor, should have a maximum of 800 words, and it should be written in simple and non-technical language, not repeating information or references from the article. It is crucial to provide relevant background of the author, explain the purpose of the work, summarize the results of the research, and describe the methods used to carry out the research. The title page should contain the title, and the various sections of the title page should include introduction, body, clear headings and sub-headings, works cited or reference pages, followed by tables and figures.

Summarize the article by revisiting what the author has written about, highlighting relevant facts and findings in the article, as well as including the author’s conclusion in this section.

Critique the article

Critiquing the article refers to presenting the strengths and weaknesses found in the article. In addition, highlight the knowledge of the author that has contributed to the field, including the gaps and contradictions in the article. Pick a standpoint of either to support or not the author’s assertion, but support your arguments with facts and relevant theories that are pertinent to the field of knowledge and study.

Conclusion

Conclusion should be formed through revisiting the keypoints, highlighting the accuracy, validity, relevance, and results of the article review, providing a clear potential scope on the future of the research and its usefulness.

The aforementioned details will help in assisting researchers about the publication process and provides detail information on how to adhere to various academic citation standards in publication.

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