如何写好学术论文?

Since the last submission was rejected, I studied how to write English papers. The details are summarized as follows.


Several Suggestions for writing academic papers

  1. Don’t wait: Just write

    • Your idea -> Write paper -> Do research(Forces us to be clear, focused)
    • Do not be intimidated
    • When you research the related work before doing research, you can start to write a survey (3 pages), you can urge yourself to carefully investigate the related papers. In case you are doing experiments, you find that this idea has been done by others.
    • In the process of doing the experiment, you can continually modify the previous three pages. In this process, the paper has gradually formed (5—6 pages). Then add a chart of the experimental results.
  2. Identify your key idea

    • Ask yourself why, not how.

    • A re-usable insight, useful to the reader(one clear, sharp idea)

    • You want to infect the mind of your reader with your idea, like a virus.
    • Papers are far more durable than programs.
  3. Tell one story(Your narrative flow)

    1. Do not assume that the reader wants to read your paper. You have to convince the reader to keep reading at every paragraph.
    2. Before switching sections, always have the last paragraph of the previous one introduce it. More importantly, explain why the next section is needed.
    3. Do not say “Here are some guarantees from our algorithm”. Introduce and justify its existence first.
    • Here is a problem
    • It’s an interesting problem
    • It’s an unsolved problem
    • Here is my idea
    • My idea works(details , data)
    • Here’s how my idea compares to other people’s approaches
  4. Nail your contributions to the mast

    • Write the list of contributions(The major contributions of this paper are summarized as follows:)
      • Do not leave the reader to guess what your contributions are!
      • The list of contributions drives the entire paper: the paper substantiates the claims you have made
      • Reader thinks “gosh, if they can really deliver this, that’s be exciting; I’d better read on”
      • A brief description of each point in one or two sentences.
  5. Related work: later

    • The most important thing in the whole paper is my own point of view, put in front.
    • Fallacy: To make my work look good, I have to make other people’s work look bad.
  6. Put your readers first

    • Remember: Explain it as if you were speaking to someone using a whiteboard

    • Conveying the intuition is primary, not secondary

      • Introduce the problem
      • Your idea
      • Using EXAMPLES and only then present the general case
      • Do not recapitulate your personal journey of discovery. This route may be soaked with your blood, but that is not interesting to the reader.
      • Instead, choose the most direct route to the idea.
    • Once your reader has the intuition, she can follow the details (but not vice versa)

    • Even if she skips the details, she still takes away something valuable

  7. Listen to your readers

    • Getting help

      • Each reader can only read your paper for the first time once! So use them carefully
      • Explain carefully what you want (“I got lost here” is much more important than “Jarva is mis-spelt”.)
      • Treat every review like gold dust Be (truly) grateful for criticism as well as praise
      • Read every criticism as a positive suggestion for something you could explain more clearly
      • DO NOT respond

        “you stupid person, I meant X”

    • INSTEAD: fix the paper so that X is apparent even to the stupidest reader.

    • Thank them warmly. They have given up their time for you.

  8. Language and Style

    • Submit by the deadline

    • Keep to the length restrictions

    • Always use a spell checker

    • Give strong visual structure to your paper using

      • Figures and their captions are the first thing the reader will see!
      • Make them self-contained, with extremely concise and clear captions, saying what they mean and their conclusion.
    • Find out how to draw pictures, and use them

    • Use the active voice(Use “we” as the subject)

    • Use simple, direct language

  9. Finish the paper 2 weeks before actual deadline

    • Add colourized TODO notes (different colour for each author) in the document using \newcommand. This way you can easily remove them to generate a draft for submission.
  10. When there’s a paper you like, take literally notes, and try to understand why you liked reading it!

Paper Structure

  • Framing research problems (conference paper)

    • Title (1000 readers)
    • Abstract (4 sentences, 100 readers)
      • Do you have a clear problem statement in the abstract?
      • Can you write a research statement for your paper in a single sentence?
      • The “one thing” is stated in the first two lines of the abstract..…(two sentences)
    • Introduction (1 page, 100 readers)
      • Describe the problem
        • Use an example to introduce the problem
        • Transform the sentence pattern and have a simple description of the problem, not a straightforward description.
        • “To the best of our knowledge, balabala……”
      • State your contributions
    • My idea(model) (2 pages, 10 readers)
    • The details(experiments) (4 pages, 3 readers)
    • Related work (1-2 pages, 10 readers)
    • Conclusions and further work (0.5 pages)
      • Good papers leave the reader with one solution to solving a specific problem; great papers leave the reader with new ideas for their own problems.
      • Don’t leave it up to your reader, always ask yourself “what have I learned” and make that explicit.

Ideal process

  1. Write a rough 2-4 sentence abstract first (what, why, how)
  2. Write the Model description next. This is easy, it’s the idea you’re trying out.
  3. Then write the Experimental section (ie get the results). Add your results tables, create your graphs.
  4. Then write the Discussion & Conclusion sections (what did we learn from this?)
  5. Finally write the Introduction (expand #1 by framing the research question, and introducing relevant background work)
  6. Write the Abstract last.

References

Simon Peyton Jones’s 7 simple suggestions

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