A practical guide for Publicizing your research/technical paper
How do go about publicizing a technical paper or a research document apart from presenting it at a conference or publishing it in a journal or in a magazine? Below is a method you can pursue to publicize your paper/technical research on the web and in print.
Submitting a “technical release”
Companies send press releases to publications to inform readers about their products and services; and you can do the same with a technical release about your technical paper or research. If you have lab notes that you are willing put into an intelligible document, this could be a valuable technical resource to others in your science/technology community. Just keep in mind that the science and technology will come under the scrutiny of your peers.
You can target publications, technical blogs, and pertinent websites with an overview in the form of a technical release or detailed abstract discussing your document/research. Unlike soliciting a periodical to publish a paper, you can send your technical release to as many publications and internet sites as you choose.
When you submit a paper to a publication, the publisher or editor expects, and rightly so, exclusive publishing rights to your document. This doesn’t mean they’ll deny permission to you to publish or present the paper elsewhere, but the publication holds copyright to the document as printed. This is not a bad thing, just something of which you should be aware.
Publications are inundated with press materials from companies—much of the material they receive finds its way to the circular file along with the extra packet of soy-sauce that came with the recent order of Chinese take away. The idea is to deliver a release that highlights your research up front. For example: Reaching Absolute Zero. Give the editors something that piques their interest; but be sure that the title and the body of the release accurately represent your work.
Writing your technical release
Before you begin writing a technical release, think about what you would want to read, what would entice you to pursue reading this overview and request a copy of the author’s paper.
The release should be about the technology, not about the author. Yes, it’s a good idea to include one or two lines about yourself, but no more. If the editor evaluating your release wants more info, you’ll receive a call or an e-mail requesting additional information. Keep the release brief, include the salient points of your document, and include detailed contact information: phone, fax, and e-mail.You’ll have to include a brief paragraph, perhaps 50 words, preceding the release explaining the importance of this paper or research. You should write this after you’ve written the release, much the way an author writes the foreword in a book.
Your release should be written using proper grammatical conventions of the language in which the publication, website, or blog is written. If you’re not comfortable with the language, ask someone qualified in the language to go over your release and your paper. You want to be sure that the release and the paper accurately detail your research.
Sending your release
E-mail is the most convenient way to send a release—but hard-copy publications don’t always respond to e-mail queries. So, there are two methods of delivery you should use for hard-copy publications: one is to send an e-mail including your foreword and technical release, and make sure the subject line of the e-mail is made up of several carefully chosen words about your research. On the day that you e-mail the release, send a hard copy of the release in a hand-written addressed envelope. Hand-written addresses receive more attention than typed or labeled letters. If you’re sending your info to a blog, e-publication, or website, you needn’t bother sending hard copy—these folks live in an e-environment and would likely prefer electronic submissions.
If you work for a company, make sure that you secure in writing your company’s approval, from overlords to legal, with respect to your prose in its entirety and your plan.
Your release is in print and readers are requesting copies of your research
This is peer validation. Back on point: The most expedient way to deliver the document is to send it electronically—by e-mail. Include all the information that you promised in your release, and make sure that you state Copyrighted by… along with your name and affiliation or your company’s info—if you have a legal dept., it will give you necessary prose.
You must be certain that results or your experimental work are reproducible. If your results are unique and break new ground from current findings, announce it for what it is, a scientific/technology breakthrough. However, be sure not to make claims that cannot be substantiated—good science is readably recognizable, as is junk science.
Do not republish science for added exposure. The scientific community is made up of savvy people who are quick to recognize and acknowledge such behavior.
Be sure to give appropriate credit by way of citing references about papers, research, studies, and individuals whose works have contributed to your research. The method for citing references, directly after the prose or at the article’s end, is in your hands.
I do understand the prestige associated with being published in peer-reviewed journals. This, however, doesn’t always fit into ones schema. And if you release your paper as an independent publisher, it doesn’t mean that you will not be able to submit another version, perhaps even more detailed with additional/updated research, to a peer-reviewed journal or conference.
The point is that if you have science and technology worth presenting and you want it ‘out there,’ here’s an opportunity. Convincing hard-copy and electronic publishers to print your material, if you’re not well known, is a tough sell. But, if you believe in what you’ve done, promote it with that belief.
A final note: if, as an independent researcher, you are publishing technology that is unique, i.e., one of a kind, and you haven’t patented your technology, make sure that you protect your work by applying for a patent or speaking with a patent attorney prior to publishing.