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Preparing JAIC Articles and Notes

JAIC's editors have gathered tips and notes to assist authors in preparing their articles, review articles, short communications, and technical notes. Some of these instructions were first published in the AIC News, AIC's member newsletter. These tips are shared below.

Taylor and Francis, JAIC's publisher, has a website devoted to helping authors turn research into publications.

Annual Meeting Pre-sessions on Scholarly Writing

JAIC editorial staff, together with the publisher's managing editor, have presented sessions on scholarly writing for annual meeting attendees in 2017 (Chicago) and 2018 (Houston). A writing pre-session is also planned for the 2019 meeting in New England.

Presenting in 2018 were Julio del Hoyo-Meléndez, JAIC's editor in chief and conservation scientist at National Museum in Krakow; George Cooper, Taylor & Francis/Routledge Managing Editor, Journals; Robin Hanson, JAIC Associate Editor and Textiles Conservator, Cleveland Museum of Art; and Bonnie Naugle, JAIC managing editor and AIC Communications Director. Topics included a journal overview, essential parts of an article, importance of an abstract, and turning a postprint into a peer-reviewed publication.

Short Articles in JAIC

Julio M. del Hoyo-Meléndez, Editor-in-Chief
Short communications are typically used by scientific journals as a way of rapidly disseminating very significant findings that are of broad interest to the research community. Since scientific research moves at such a fast pace and the work of researchers from different institutions might overlap, short communications offer the possibility of reporting first on a specific topic. Short communications provide a brief description of a very significant scientific development and usually do not include detailed background information or extensive presentations of results and discussion. The work reported must be technically rigorous, innovative, and unique. Although less frequent, short papers are found in the scientific, human, and social sciences literature where they introduce significant new results of small investigations or new creative models or methods. Short communications are often related to technical notes. The latter primarily deal with a technique or procedure, or may describe a significant modification made to existing equipment or a particular method.

As in any other discipline, short communications submitted to JAIC must meet the high standards required by the conservation field. For example, they can be used to report on a novel technique or method that exceptionally constitutes an important and stimulating contribution to modern conservation. These papers may also present new data that support a novel and exceptional conservation treatment. The characterization of an unusual material in a cultural heritage object or its unexpected aging behavior could also qualify as a substantial contribution for a short communication.

However, short communications should not be misinterpreted as a method for publishing preliminary results. They can be considered for publication only if the results are of outstanding interest and are particularly relevant for the conservation community. The most common problems found when reviewing a short communication include: lengthy manuscripts, too many irrelevant details, excessive references, and most importantly, lack of evident advancement of the field of conservation. It is essential that an author evaluate the content, structure, and impact of a submission before making a proposal for its consideration as either a technical note or short communication.

The structure of a short communication is similar to that of an original article. Submissions should include a short abstract, a brief introduction, a materials and methods section, and a brief results and discussion part. The submission should contain no more than 3000 words including abstract, captions, and references. In addition, the number of figures and tables altogether should be limited to 4, and no more than 10 references need be included. If necessary, exceptions can be made after an initial evaluation of a particular submission. Authors will be contacted if their paper does not conform to the proposed guidelines, and will be asked to summarize further or reclassify the submission as a full-length research paper. Please feel free to contact us if you believe that a very important and time-sensitive aspect of your research can be presented as a short article in JAIC.

—Published in AIC News, Vol. 40.6, November 2015, p. 10

Transitioning a Paper from a Specialty Group Postprint to JAIC

Robin Hanson, JAIC Associate Editor for Textiles

Publishing in a peer reviewed publication can be hard work, but also very rewarding. As JAIC associate editor for textiles, I’ll use the TSG postprints as my guide.

You’ve undertaken interesting research or completed a compelling treatment project. Because you have already done the work to prepare a specialty group postprint paper for publication, much of your basic work is complete. I’d suggest using a treatment or research paper in JAIC or Studies in Conservation that you found to be compelling as a guide to structure your paper. Make sure your introduction fully describes why you’ve done what you’ve done and how you got to the starting point of your project. Then outline, in detail, exactly what you did, how you did it, glitches along the way, and successes or failures. Craft your paper from the standpoint of someone who knows nothing about what you’ve done or why. Have you included everything that person needs to know to be able to replicate your project? If not, fill in those details.

Your conclusion might talk about next steps, further research that should be undertaken on this subject, how you’d do things differently, or what you’d tweak if you began this project today. Get a friend or colleague to read your paper. Someone with no knowledge of your work may serve as a good barometer. If they understand it all and have no questions, then you are probably ready to submit. If that person has questions or does not understand aspects of your paper, then augment or clarify those sections.

Make sure you credit those who came before and whose work you built on for your project. This can be done both in the acknowledgements section by calling out specific names, and in the body of your paper by citing the work of others in your text and including that citation in your references section. Even unpublished work should be included. Very few of us are actually reinventing the wheel, so credit those who have helped, influenced, or guided.

  • TSG postprints have a word and illustration count limit; however, those same limits need not be considered for JAIC. If compelling, even a very long paper would be considered for JAIC; it might simply be split into two parts as was the case with Susanne Gänsicke et al.’s 2003 article, Vol. 42 (2) on the Egyptian collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others.

I have heard from many authors that constructive comments from peer reviewers strengthened their submissions immeasurably. As an associate editor I work hard to choose appropriate peer reviewers who will, through their comments, raise unanswered questions, suggest reorganization of material to clarify, or offer additions that ultimately strengthen a paper.

The JAIC submission process is online, accomplished through our publisher, Taylor & Francis (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yjac20). If you click on the green button in the upper left “submit an article,” you will automatically be directed to the online submission process and Editorial Manager. You need to register, and the website walks you through how to submit your work. Do not worry about which category—original research paper, short communication, or technical note—your paper falls into. You will not have a paper rejected simply because you picked the wrong category. For specifics on style guide, visit AIC’s webpage: www.conservation-us.org/resources/our-publications/journal-(jaic)/style-guide. For details on how to format your paper, here’s a link to those specifics on Taylor & Francis’ website: www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?journalCode=yjac20&page=instructions.

All of us associate editors are willing to answer questions or help you get a paper JAIC-ready, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Published in AIC News, Vol. 43.4, May 2018, p. 15-16

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