Membuat paper ilmiah mulai dari sini

Originally from Chris Wiggins on Nature’s Blod  “How  to Write a Paper (one possible answer)”

a student recently asked me how to write a paper. here’s an algorithm i’d suggest, with plenty of room for an individual to deviate.

  1. punchline(s)
  2. nickname
  3. *figures
  4. *references
  5. outline
  6. abstract
  7. (w) intro and outtro
  8. (w) middle
  9. show definite coauthors
  10. show possible coauthors
  11. acknowledgements
  12. title
  13. code
  14. submit and post
  • punchline(s)

readers, reviewers, and you in 5 years are going to want to have some pithy way of remembering that paper. what is the “main result”? what did you learn? if answering this takes a long time, maybe you don’t understand the subject well yet, or maybe it’s really 2 papers.

  • nickname

most of the projects i work on have a nickname for the project. sometimes it’s just the name of the cvs/svn/github repository. it helps you and your collaborators define a bite-size quantum of research.

  • figures

decide what figures are necessary to illustrate the punchline. decide which are going in the mansucript and which in supplementary material. the * indicates that this is how people read the paper — they’ll skim the figures and references first

  • references

decide who you should cite to support the argument and set the background/context. see above for *. someone i know once said to me that the first thing she or he reads in a paper is the references to see if she or he is cited. i’m still not sure if she or he was serious.

  • outline

next write an outline. seriously you need to do this. don’t just sit down and start writing stuff.

  • abstract

now you are allowed to write the abstract

  • (w) intro

now write the beginning of the paper. the (w) indicates that htis is the part of the alogirhtm most people think of when they think of “writing a paper”

  • (w) outtro

now write the conclusions, what you showed, what you’d like to do in subsequent papers, where to find the source code.

  • (w) middle

now write the rest

  • show definite coauthors

if you haven’t already, make sure you show to people who are going to be coauthors

  • show possible coauthors

if you haven’t already, show it to people who may or may not want to be coauthors. be generous

  • acknowledgements

think about everyone who helped you and funded you. be generous. also people from the above section who elected not to be coauthors should be acknowledged

  • title
  • code

if your work is computational (including modeling and statistical work), upload all code + data to a neutral, 3rd party site (e.g.,,, ). For more on this see this blog post orthis talk or this roundtable.

  • submit & post to

I’m not sure which is supposed to come first, but it seems reasonable to me that one submit to the journal and, as soon as possible thereafter, post to, with a note saying “submitted for publication” in the comment field.

edit: added two reproducibility steps; these two are really more about how to submit than how to write, but good for the species, so i added


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