Please Write Significant “Significant Points” Points

As most of you know (if you have submitted a paper to JGR recently), the submission process asks the author to provide up to three “significant points” about the manuscript. These are limited to 80 characters each, including spaces. That’s actually very hard to write.

My unscientific, anecdote-based survey of these is that most authors write pretty good “points” about their manuscript, but quite a few papers are submitted with, well, less than stellar wording of these science nuggets. Some people only fill in one or two of the lines, some are worded so cryptically that they are unintelligible, and others use so many acronyms and abbreviations that that you have to read the paper to figure out its meaning.

I understand that it is hard to write these “significant points” nuggets, but I encourage you to spend time on this part of the manuscript. First of all, I, and the rest of the editors, read them to help us decide about potential reviewers. Far more importantly, though, these nuggets appear on the JGR website as the key findings of the paper. They are, after the title and author list, the first impression that readers have of your paper.

So, please treat these significant points as an integral, necessary, and critical part of the manuscript. Please don’t just hack them out at the time of submission, but make them part of the paper-writing process. I suggest that you do it when you finalize the Conclusions and Abstract sections of the paper. These are sections that I usually outline first but write last. I encourage you to try to do the same with the “significant points” bullets: get the basic blurbs down at the very beginning of the writing process, but go back and hone the text at the very end once the rest of the paper is already drafted.

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7 thoughts on “Please Write Significant “Significant Points” Points

  1. Have you considered a slight increase in character length? 80 is pretty hard to limit to, which is likely why many come out unintelligible.

    • Excellent point and something that I will look into. I have no idea who imposed the 80-character limit or if there would be any pushback from anyone about increasing the length. It’s nice to have one-line bullet points but I agree it is sometimes hard to make them understandable.

  2. Pingback: Paper Titles | Notes from the JGR-Space Physics Editor-in-Chief

  3. Pingback: Tweet-Length Key Points | Notes from the JGR-Space Physics Editor-in-Chief

  4. I don’t know whether I am in the “good key points” or “cryptic / bad key points” category, but I agree that composing key points as an integral part of the paper is a very helpful way to focus the abstract, intro, and conclusions. As a side comment, I would like to extend my compliments to the JGR Editor-in-Chief for hosting such a useful resource (i.e., this “Notes” page).

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