Writing a manuscript in a precise manner is a quite difficult task for a researcher. However after completion of the work, while submitting a manuscript to a journal, the writer should make sure that he/she meets the required word count. Succinctly writing a manuscript is a vital skill for all authors to learn. But if one wants to explain much about the research then it should be tricky. Sometimes it can be a difficult task to reduce the word count of a paper if one is ever needed. In reducing the manuscript’s word count, some points should be taken into consideration like decreasing redundancy, removing filler phrases, choosing efficient phrasing and verbs, avoiding extraneous words, etc. Abbreviations and acronyms can be used to further reduce the word count in a research paper.
There are some points given below for concise writing:
Unnecessary space elimination:
Extra spaces can be deleted from the manuscript to reduce the word count. Extra spaces can be percentage signs, numbers, operators, symbols like Greek letters, and fractions within numerical ranges that may lead to inflation in word count. E.g.:
- 4 out of 7 can be written as 4/7, i.e. 3 words only
- 45% can be written as 45%, i.e. one word
Eliminating repetition of unit:
When more than one quantitative value is detailed then the unit should be used only once. Like 5 kg vs 8 kg can be written as 5 vs 8 kg. Another example we may consider is collected samples at 2 hr, 5 hr, 7 hr, 10 hr, and 12 hr. This can be written as a collected sample at 2, 5, 7, 10, and 12 hr.
Word transition elimination:
While writing the research paper for many transitional phrases there should be fewer words substituted like “in addition” can be substituted as “additionally” or “furthermore”. “As a consequence” will be “consequently”, “thus” or “therefore”. More specifically can be written as specifically. On the other hand, will be additional or further depending on the meaning of the sentence.
Manuscript preparation is not only about getting correct language and using proper grammar but also the way of formatting the manuscript in such a manner that various sections should be checked clearly, following subject-specific conventions related to word count, symbols, terminologies, etc.
Always one should keep in mind the requirements of a journal and write it clearly and concisely before formatting the manuscript. Another factor is that using appropriate words for long phrases can also help to reduce the word count of the research paper.
However, there can be few exceptional cases. At times, few research papers’ word limits exceeded the journal they were submitting to. This might be due to many significant findings that they have observed during the study, and deleting certain portions might prove to be a deterrent to the researcher. In such cases, a researcher can directly contact the editorial office of the journal to extend the word count limit for the research article by stating the reason why it is worth publishing and if there are any breakthrough researches done in the paper that need to be stated in the first place.
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