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Writing and Publishing Scientific Papers

Gábor L. Lövei

Part III. Publishing the paper

A Final Note

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1As I wrote at the beginning of this book, this is about the form, not the substance of science. Be aware that nothing will help you, neither this book nor any other, if you do not have substance. Also, do not go into science for fame, money, or power. Most former, or currently active, scientists are not famous, rich or influential either. Be a scientist because of the joy and satisfaction of doing science — there is no other worthwhile reward. Success, money, or fame will either elude you, or will prove ephemeral and hollow. By the time you discover that this is indeed so, it will be too late: you will have spent your life doing something that you did not really like.

2I bid you farewell with the words by Ferenc Karinthy, a Hungarian writer from the early 20th century, famous in his country for a witty book, This Is How You Write (Karinthy, 1912) satirising his contemporary colleagues:

The new recruits are practicing target shooting, under the instruction of a corporal. It is not going very well. The angry corporal is cursing the recruits, then snatches the rifle from the hands of one, after he had missed the target again.

- Oh, you fools—shouts he—only if you could shoot straight! Give me that rifle! Look!
He aims with confidence, and pulls the trigger. The shot misses the target. He is dumbfounded for a minute. Then he morosely turns to one of the recruits:
 - This is how you shoot!
He aims again. Misses. Turns to another one:
 - And this is how you shoot!
On it goes. Finally, the ninth shot hits the target. He proudly puffs out his chest:
 - And this is how I shoot!

The ninth shot is still to come. The hands of the corporal are shaking, but he can see the target just a little more clearly.

3Remember — it is often easy, and sometimes educational, to see and point out others’ errors. Sooner or later, you also must start “shooting”. I wish you strength, perseverance, and good luck in your career as a publishing scientist.


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