Guide to Getting Published in Journals

  • Why publish in journals?
  • Identifying potential journals
  • Creating a journal comparison spreadsheet
  • Aims & Scope
  • Editorial Board
  • How different journals approach peer review
  • Different open access models
  • Interpreting traditional metrics like the Impact Factor
  • Alternative metrics
  • Ethics and malpractice statements
  • Recognising and avoiding predatory journals
  • Instructions for authors
  • Submitting your paper


What is a journal? And why is important to publish your work in one? Finding the right journal for your work can make a big difference to the way it is received, so the process of selecting a journal can be an important one.

There are several key benefits to publishing research in journals:


  • Publishing in journals can give your work visibility among other researchers in your field, outside of your immediate circle of contacts and colleagues.
  • Journals can makes your work more discoverable, as they are already being read by circles of interested readers.
  • Journals often have sophisticated distribution networks, placing work into libraries, organisations and institutes, and through letterboxes of readers around the world.


  • Journal publication helps to preserve your work in the permanent records of research in the field.
  • Adding your work to this record involves you in the active research community for a topic, helping to expand your professional network, increasing potential for collaboration and interaction with peers.
  • Publishing your work through visible sources helps others to learn. By adding your experiences to the literature of the field, it helps to build the corpus of knowledge in your subject area.


  • The peer review process helps improve the presentation and communication of research. The feedback can help you to frame your arguments in the most effective ways, and may even present valuable new insights into your own work. In addition, the peer review process can also help you reach peers and senior members of the research community by having journal editors, editorial boards and reviewers read your work.


  • Selecting the appropriate journals can help add information to the public discussion of contemporary topics, beyond academic circles.
  • You may be required by funding agencies to publish your work in certain journals, as open access, or meeting other criteria stipulated in your grant award.
  • As well as the publication itself, particular journals may help you to engage with audiences, and meet requirements to achieve or provide certain impact metrics, evidence of engagement and interaction with your work.


  • Publishing in particular journals can be an essential component to advance your career, by meeting necessary assessment criteria and output performance targets.


  • And last but by no means least, publishing your work can prevent waste and increase efficiencies, by enabling others to build on your achievements or avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts.

As you can see, your choice of journal can make a significant difference to the impact your paper may have. With much to consider, choosing the right journal for your research is both important and difficult.

The different modules will dig further into the ideas presented here, helping you identify the journals that will maximise the potential in your paper, reach the most appropriate audiences, and enhance your career.

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What is the benefit from publishing a working paper in a journal in terms of citations? Evidence from economics

  • Open access
  • Published: 26 March 2021
  • volume  126 ,  pages 4701–4714 ( 2021 )

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  • Klaus Wohlrabe   ORCID: 1 &
  • Constantin Bürgi 2  

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Many papers in economics that are published in peer reviewed journals are initially released in widely circulated working paper series. This raises the question about the benefit of publishing in a peer-reviewed journal in terms of citations. Specifically, we address the question: to what extent does the stamp of approval obtained by publishing in a peer-reviewed journal lead to more subsequent citations for papers that are already available in working paper series? Our data set comprises about 28,000 working papers from four major working paper series in economics. Using panel data methods, we show that the publication in a peer reviewed journal results in around twice the number of yearly citations relative to working papers that never get published in a journal. Our results hold in several robustness checks.

Avoid common mistakes on your manuscript.


One of the most important metrics to assess the importance of a research article, its impact or value is its citation count. The citation count across articles is in turn used in rankings of academic journals, authors, departments, universities or as an input for tenure and promotion decisions (e.g. Segalla ( 2008 ) or Seiler and Wohlrabe ( 2012 )). Due to this, the expected citation count is one of the factors that determines researchers’ decisions of how to disseminate their research, be it as a published article or not. Footnote 1

Traditionally, publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal has been an effective way to get one’s work cited. For example, it increases the outreach of the article, makes it available online (for a fee or free as open access), and it provides a stamp of approval by peers. However, many of these benefits can readily be obtained by omitting the peer review process and publishing a paper in a working paper series or as a preprint. Indeed, there are many working papers that received a substantial number of citations even if they never successfully completed the peer review process to become journal articles.

In addition, the literature has identified several limitations of the peer review process that do not apply to working papers. Bornmann ( 2011 ) provides an excellent description. For example, Laband and Piette ( 1994 ), Hodgson and Rothman ( 1999 ) and Ductor and Visser ( 2020 ) suggest that the editor and his or her relationship to the authors can have a large impact on the chances of a paper getting published in a high tier journal. In addition, working papers are available without delay while the time from submission to publication in peer-reviewed journals can take up to multiple years and has increased over time (e.g. Ellison ( 2002 )). The almost immediate availability of working papers allows a timelier discourse of the findings and potentially more citations. Footnote 2

While there are some shortcomings in the peer review process that is required to publish in a journal, this process also has some key advantages that can impact the number of citations a paper gets. As there is no formal peer review before preprints or working papers become available online, they can potentially include errors, key omissions, flaws or caveats. The peer review process thus acts as a quality control of research papers and can foster trust in the science system. Additional potential benefits include reaching a new and potentially wider audience and an improved readability due to a more standardized formatting.

Because there are both factors which suggest that working papers should get more citations (e.g. timeliness) and factors which suggest that journal articles should get more citations (e.g. potential flaws in working papers), it is not obvious whether publishing in a journal increases the citation count. If publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal has little or no impact on the citations a paper receives, this would put into question some of the motivations for publishing an article as well as the importance of working papers relative to published articles.

In order to measure the impact of publishing in a journal, we first denote the collection of benefits that could lead to additional citations the stamp of approval effect from publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. This name is chosen, as at least the editor and the peer reviewers need to give their approval for publication. We then choose to measure this benefit in terms of citations by comparing working paper articles that have been published either in a peer reviewed journal or not. Our data set comprises about 28,000 papers published in four major economics working paper series. The bibliometric data builds upon the RePEc website (Research Papers in Economics, ) and the citation data were retrieved from CitEc, which is closely related to RePEc. Footnote 3 We estimate the stamp of approval effect on the yearly citation count.

We focus on the potential increase in citations due to publishing in a journal article but there are additional benefits like prestige or tenure and promotion which can be important reasons to go through the publishing process as well. However, as citations tend to play a role for these benefits as well, our findings can have some relevance for those benefits as well. Specifically, our results suggest that the stamp of approval effect leads to a doubling in the number of yearly citations for journal articles and hence it makes sense to attribute a higher value to journal publications than working papers.

This paper also complements the literature on the value of preprints and working papers. Specifically, it has been shown extensively that journal articles which are available as preprints and working papers (and open access) as well are cited more often (e.g. Sarabipour et al. ( 2019 ), Fraser et al. ( 2020 ), Fu and Hughey ( 2019 ), or Wohlrabe and Bürgi (forthcoming)). We show here that the reverse is true also and hence the stamp of approval is important as well.

The remainder of the paper is structured as follows: the next section describes the data used followed by the panel regressions. The following section offers robustness checks, and the final section concludes.

We build upon the data set of Baumann and Wohlrabe ( 2020a ) who also provide more background information. The four working paper series considered stand out with respect to prestige and influence in the field of economics. They belong to the most cited and downloaded working paper series on RePEc. Footnote 4 The four series are published by networks of economists. Submitting papers to the series is only allowed to members of the corresponding networks and joining the network is only possible by invitation. Once an author is a member of the specific network he or she is free to submit any working paper. With this procedure, the networks want to assure a specific level of quality of the submitted papers as invitations are only issued to established or promising researchers.

The original data set comprises 28,877 working papers from between 2000 and 2012. For our analysis we exclude those working papers that have been published as a chapter in a book (1120). This leaves us with 27,757 papers. The majority of papers has been published in the NBER working paper series (10,364), closely followed by CEPR (6699) and IZA (6904). The least number of papers were issued in the CESifo series (3790). In Table 1 , we show how many papers of each series have been published in a refereed journal. In total and for each series this share is approximately 50%. These numbers differ a little bit from the estimates provided by Baumann and Wohlrabe ( 2020a ) who report a share of about 66% based on a random sample. In the robustness section we address this issue in more detail.

Our citation data comes from CitEc ( ). This website provides the citation data for the RePEc network. Footnote 5 Each working paper and journal article has a unique identifier. We used this identifier to extract citations on a yearly basis for working papers and the journal articles separately. However, as the working paper citations contain the journal citations and vice versa, it is not possible to obtain accurate citation counts for the two versions separately. Due to this restriction, we use the maximum citations per year from either version as the citation count for our dependent variable. Footnote 6 As Baumann and Wohlrabe ( 2020a ) have shown, many papers have been published in several working paper series simultaneously. CitEc also consolidates citations across versions, i.e. it assigns citations received by one working paper version also to the other versions. Due to time delays in the consolidation process at CitEc, the citation numbers are not always identical across series. We therefore take always the maximum citation count across working papers.

In Table 1 we provide the descriptive statistics for the citation data. Besides the full sample, we also distinguish whether an article has been published in a journal or not. The average citation count across all working papers is 43. This number is higher for papers in the NBER series (61) and smaller for the IZA (25) and CESifo series (21). The citation distribution is quite dispersed as the standard deviation exceeds the mean considerably. This is also confirmed in the left graph of Fig. 1 . The most cited paper published in a journal is the one by Melitz ( 2003 ) which appeared both in the NBER and the CEPR working paper series. The article by Pesaran ( 2004 ) is the most cited paper (904) that never appeared in a journal. It was published both in the IZA and the CESifo working paper series. When comparing articles in our two subgroups, we see a clear difference between the citation counts. Articles published in a journal received 70 citations on average whereas the average citation counts for unpublished papers only amounts to 15. In the lower panel of Table 1 , we report the p-value of a two-sided non-parametric Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test. The null hypothesis of an equal median of citations is clearly rejected both for the full sample and the four series. Footnote 7 The results reported in Table 1 are supported by the kernel estimates of the citation distribution depicted in the left graph of Fig. 1 . Footnote 8 They show that most of the papers with 10 or fewer citations have not been published in a journal. Additionally, journal articles in our sample exhibit more mass compared to the control group across almost the entire citation distribution.

figure 1

Kernel estimates for citations distributions

The comparisons so far might be biased as the publication date of working papers ranges from 2000 to 2012. So, more recent papers had less time to accumulate citations. Therefore, we repeat the analysis using a constant citation window of nine years starting in the publication year of the working paper. As Table 1 and Fig. 1 show that the results stay qualitatively the same, papers that are eventually published in a journal gather more citations. As expected, the citation counts are smaller due to the smaller citation window.

These simple mean comparisons leave out many of the factors which might drive citation counts of papers and do not necessarily reflect a precise estimate. See Bornmann and Daniel ( 2008 ) and Tahamtan and Bornmann ( 2019 ) for a literature overview. We address these issues in the next section.

Methodology and main results


In order to test the hypothesis that a journal publication leads to more citations, we first create a dummy variable that takes a value of 0 if the paper was only available as a working paper in a specific year and 1 otherwise (i.e. if it was published in a journal). Because this dummy takes value 1 in all years for papers that become journal articles in the first year, the stamp of approval effect cannot be separated from paper fixed effects and we exclude them from our analysis. This holds for 1878 articles. Baumann and Wohlrabe ( 2020b ) report more on the differences between the publication dates of working papers and the corresponding journal articles.

Due to the panel nature of our data set, we omit the controls used in the literature as they are either captured by the paper fixed effects (e.g. the number of authors, the working paper series or the number of working papers) or captured by time fixed effects (e.g. age of the papers). Footnote 9 In addition, the panel structure with fixed effects also controls for many unobservable characteristics specific to a paper that do not change over time and can influence the outcomes. For example, only the better papers might eventually be published in a journal and this quality difference is captured by paper fixed effects (FE). Footnote 10 In a first step we run a pooled regression and a random effects (RE) specification. The likelihood ratio test clearly rejects the pooled model in favor of the RE model ( p -value = 0.000). Similarly, the Hausman test rejects the RE model in favor of the FE model ( p -value = 0.000). We then estimate the following equation as our main specification:

where citpy are the citations per year for each article and journal is a dummy that takes value one for the years in which the journal article is available. \(\nu _i\) are the paper fixed effects and \(\mu _t\) the time fixed effects. These include also dummy variables representing each year in our data sets. This captures general citations trends. Negative binomial panel regressions with fixed effects would be natural choice for count data. However, these are not feasible (e.g. see Wooldridge ( 1999 )). Due to this limitation, we use Poisson regressions with both time and paper fixed effects instead. We run the regression both across all papers and for each working paper series individually and cluster the standard errors at the paper level. We report incident rate ratios (the exponential of the coefficients) and the effect is multiplicative. This means for example that an incident rate ratio of 2 implies a doubling of the number of yearly citations and 1 means no change in citations.

Main results

Table 2 reports the estimates both for the full sample and for each working paper series separately. The coefficient of the journal dummy is large and highly significant across all regressions. The estimates imply that the stamp of approval effect of publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal results in more than a doubling of the yearly citation count relative to only making the article available as a working paper. This effect is not only statistically significant but also substantial in its size. Looking at the working paper series, the journal effect is larger for the CESifo and IZA working papers. For these, the publication in a journal leads to an increase in citations by a factor of around 2.5 while it is a touch smaller for NBER and CEPR working papers with an increase in citations by a factor of 2.3.

Initial robustness checks

A working paper might appear in multiple working paper series. This might cause the paper to reach a wider audience before becoming a journal article and hence the benefit from publishing it becomes smaller. To test this, we restrict our sample to papers that have been released only in one working paper series. The result in column 1 of Table 3 show that papers that are only in one working paper series indeed benefit more from being published. We can look at this argument also from a different perspective. Being released in only one working paper series and then either published in a journal or not might be an unfair comparison. The article finally published in a journal has an additional outlet and therefore a higher visibility. In order to account for that issue, we restrict our sample to articles published in a journal with only one working paper and compare them to articles available in two working paper series but not in a journal. Column 2 of Table 3 shows that the effect becomes a touch smaller but remains highly significant. In column 3 we report the outcome of a comparison between articles that appeared in two working paper series and in a journal with those that appeared in three working paper series but not in a journal. Again, publishing in a journal leads to a significantly higher citation count.

An additional concern is the issue of the time lag between working paper and journal publication. It could be the case that papers that take longer to get published in a journal have a large change in quality. For example, they might go through more review rounds and have more substantial revisions during the submission process. As a consequence, they might receive a larger benefit from publishing. As already noted, papers with identical publication years in both outlets are excluded by construction hence we took only those papers where the time lag is one year. This limits the revisions possible and hence the potential quality change of the paper. In the fourth column of Table 3 we show that the journal effect is larger for the papers which only had limited time for quality changes. This suggests that the (unobserved) quality change is not the main driver of our results.

figure 2

Development for cumulative citation count for a matched sample. This figure shows the cumulative citations relative to the first year of the paper on the vertical axis for 151 matched papers that have at least 20 cumulative citations in the first three years. The blue line are papers that have been published in a journal in the third year and the red line are the matched papers that were not published. The years are on the horizontal axis

Our next robustness check concerns a potential endogeneity issue. Specifically, one could imagine that only better papers get published and worse papers remain working papers. An editor could see that a working paper has already accumulated a substantial number of citations and might have a positive bias towards these papers. This could cause our coefficients to capture the paper quality rather than the stamp of approval effect. In order to test this, we reduce our sample to papers that cumulatively received at least 20 citations in the first three years and in addition only keep published papers that were published in the third year of becoming available as working paper. These papers are then matched to similar working papers that have never appeared in a journal. Therefore, they have been issued in the same year and in the same working paper series. Furthermore, the cumulative citation ratio between two papers must have been between 0.9 and 1.1. Based on these conditions we were able to match 151 published papers. For each of the first seven years, we calculate the cumulative citations relative to the first year and average this number across the two groups. Figure 2 shows the resulting line for the published articles in blue and the line for the working papers in red plus the 90% confidence intervals. While both the published and unpublished papers have similar citations in the first three years, the published articles receive more citations once they get published. This suggests that there is indeed a stamp of approval effect, as the papers in both groups should have a similar quality based on the citations received in the first three years, but published papers receive more citations in later years.

Additional robustness checks

Accounting for non-tracked articles.

So far, we assumed that we were able to find all published articles corresponding to working papers. However, Baumann and Wohlrabe ( 2020a ) showed that the actual share of working papers in our sample which are finally published in a journal is about 66% using a random sub-sample (instead of the 50% we found). In this section, we want to make sure that our results are not driven by our potential inability to track all published papers. In order to test this, we repeat the regression in Table 2 but treat a random 30%, 20%, 10%, 5% and 1% of the published papers as if they had zero citations in every year. Specifically, we run a simulation with 1000 repetitions for each threshold where we randomly assign zero citations to the specified share of published articles. This simulation is equivalent to adding a similar percentage of the least cited unpublished working papers randomly to the published journals. Replacing 10% of the citations with zeros is equivalent to not having found around 1400 journal publications. Replacing the citations with zeros are also a clear worst-case scenario, as it is likely that at least some of the published articles we could not find have more than zero citations.

As Table 4 shows, all simulations have a positive and significant coefficient and the coefficient becomes smaller the more journal articles are changed to have 0 citations. The mean coefficient of the 1000 simulations is also reasonably close to the highest and lowest coefficient in the simulation, even if the difference is several standard errors. With 30% missed articles, the stamp of approval effect is smaller but still corresponds to a 75% increase in citations for articles that are published in a journal relative to the ones that remain working papers.

Skewness of the citation distribution

It is well-known that the citation distribution is skewed (e.g. see Seiler and Wohlrabe ( 2014 )). Our sample includes several papers that have very large numbers of citations which could potentially drive our results. Also, there is a number of papers that have never been cited, which could also impact our results. In order to check whether the papers with many citations drive our results, we repeat the regressions in Table 2 column 1 but exclude papers that have at least 1000, 500 and 100 citations from our sample. The results are presented in the first three columns of Table 5 .

Compared with the results where we did not exclude these papers, the impact of publishing a paper are broadly unchanged or there is a larger stamp of approval effect. This result is also robust to omitting the papers with zero citations as shown in column (4) and to omitting papers with both 0 citations in addition to the ones with at least 100 citations shown in the last column in Table 5 .

Further robustness checks

Finally, we consider two additional issues. First, our data has more observations for older papers than for newer ones as our sample stops in 2020 for all papers. This could potentially influence our results as this causes older papers to have a higher weight in the panel. In order to assess the impact of this, we repeat the regressions but only include the first nine years for each paper (a 9-year citation window). The results for this regression are shown in the first column of Table 6 . While the coefficient declines to a 90% increase, it is still highly significant.

Second and as mentioned in the methodology section, we have multiple sources for citations. CitEc reports citations for the working paper and for the journal article separately, even if both citation numbers contain citations for either. So far, we used the maximum of the two numbers as the journal citations in the analysis. In column 2 of Table 6 we report the regression result for the smaller of the two numbers. The coefficient and the significance are virtually unchanged when compared to the ones obtained in Table 2 .

This paper showed that the yearly citation count of working papers which are subsequently published in a journal more than doubles relative to unpublished working papers. This increase in citations is substantial, controlling for a number of observable and unobservable variables that are time or paper specific in a panel regression. There is thus a substantial stamp of approval effect when publishing in journals.

While we were able to identify what we call the stamp of approval effect, we were not able to identify what component of publishing an article causes this effect. There are many possible channels, which could cause this increase in citations. For example, the peer review process that approves and improves the paper or the additional outreach of a journal could both be potential causes that increase the citation count and we found evidence for both of these channels. This paper also focused on citations only. There are other potential benefits beyond citations to both the researcher and the field as a whole, which we did not address here.

See Spiewanowski and Talavera ( 2021 ) for a recent study of publication behaviour for UK-based economists.

Brown and Zimmermann ( 2017 ) provide a detailed discussion on this issue. Sarabipour et al. ( 2019 ) outline the value of preprints for early stage researchers.

An comprehensive overview provides Zimmermann ( 2013 ). RePEc data has been used in bibliometric analysis by Rath and Wohlrabe ( 2016 ), García-Suaza et al. ( 2020 ) or Wohlrabe and Gralka ( 2020 ), among others.

Citations: ; Downloads: .

We thank Jose Manuel Barrueco for help with the citation data. The citations were retrieved in February 2020.

Instead of the maximum, we also ran the estimations the minimum and our results remained qualitatively the same as shown in Table 6 .

We obtain the same results in case of two-sided t -test.

In order to increase readability, we capped the citations at 200.

This setup also controls for more sophisticated age structures as in Anauati et al. ( 2016 ) and is broadly in line with the structure in Fraser et al. ( 2020 ) or Fu and Hughey ( 2019 ).

Obviously, unobservable characteristics that change over time are not captured by the paper and time fixed effect like for example a quality change between the working paper and the published paper. We address this issue in “ Initial robustness checks ” section.

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Wohlrabe, K., Bürgi, C. What is the benefit from publishing a working paper in a journal in terms of citations? Evidence from economics. Scientometrics 126 , 4701–4714 (2021).

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Received : 15 June 2020

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Published : 26 March 2021

Issue Date : June 2021


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A research journal can be a very useful supplement to your research work . There are no hard and fast rules to using one but its versatility is its strength. In this article, we outline some practical ways to make full use of a research journal. But first, an important point about maintaining a research journal…

By you, for you

Note that you, and only you, will be writing and reading your research journal. This can be quite liberating ! So often when we are planning, conducting or writing up research , we are thinking about how it will be received:

Who is going to read it and what are they going to think about it? How will they assess this work? What, in turn, will they think about me? 

Instead, a research journal is an entirely private space for you to just be yourself, to make notes on the things you find useful, to brainstorm ideas and to check in with yourself about how you feel as you undertake this research. 

Benefits of maintaining a research journal

For starters, your research journal can double up as a planner, where you can make note of important dates and milestones for your research project. 

b. Thought-starter

You can use your research journal to sketch out rough ideas and directions that you might like to take for your research. If you are more visually inclined, you could also use your research journal as a sketchbook for drawing out your thoughts and plans, or as a platform for practices such as mindmapping and storyboarding.

c. Annotated bibliography

At times, your research journal may look more like an annotated bibliography , including detailed notes on texts that you have read or plan to read, or lectures/talks that may be useful to your work.

d. Note of accomplishments

You could even use it as a place for making note of your small wins and to record significant breakthroughs and accomplishments. 

d. Space for reflection

Most importantly, your research journal can provide an important tool for reflecting on your work, for instance, to think about…

What is going well? What is not going well and why? What steps can you take next?

For example, if you are researching highly sensitive issues and working directly with other human participants, you may be confronted with many challenging, emotional moments that could be best chronicled and made sense of by recording in your research journal. 

In this sense, a research journal might also play an important role as a personal diary , offering you space to reflect on your feelings and work through the more personal and emotional components of doing research .

Practical reasons for keeping a research journal

Apart from its ‘basic, everyday’ uses, there are some pragmatic reasons why you may wish to regularly maintain a journal.

a. Maintaining the writing habit

Due to lengthy research periods, teaching or other personal commitments, researchers easily and often fall out of the habit of writing . By keeping a research journal – whether digital or a physical notebook – you can maintain a consistent habit of writing .

b. Facilitating a breakthrough

Research journals can help facilitate highly effective and powerful research breakthroughs! The act of actively reflecting on and writing about an issue you are stuck on can help you work past the block . Or, if you are not entirely sure about the findings from your data, use your journal as an informal, non-judgmental space to write out your thoughts, ask yourself new questions or consider alternative ideas. Working freely in a safe space where you know you will not be assessed can help you to consider and formulate unexpected, new perspectives and creative solutions .

c. Recording your progress

Finally, keeping a research journal is an excellent way to maintain a record of your progress that can be preserved for posterity. It can help to remind you that you are doing important work and achieving something, even in the moments that have you feeling stuck. It can also be really useful to look back on your journal through the course of your research, to track how your ideas have evolved and developed. 

So, open up a blank document or choose a new notebook, and start journalling!

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Preparing Research Articles

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Preparing Research Articles

1 The Importance of Journal Articles

  • Published: March 2008
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This introductory chapter explains how and why journal articles are generally according greater prestige and merit within the scientific community, relative to other forms of disseminating research findings through venues such as books, book chapters, weblogs, and presenting papers at professional conferences. Published journal articles typically have gone through a rigorous screening process known as blind peer review, whereby independent experts provide the author with critical commentary and suggestions to improve their final paper, prior to publication. Most print journals are now widely accessible over the internet and are relatively easy for others to access. Articles submitted to journals usually appear in print sooner than books or book chapters, and continue to be accorded greater influence in promotion and tenure decisions within academia than alterative means of distributing information. Articles published in peer reviewed journals are likely to remain a very important means of distributing research findings for the foreseeable future.

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benefits of reading research papers

7 Benefits of reading research papers regularly

benefits of reading research papers

Understanding the benefits of reading research papers and developing a regular reading habit is an advantage, irrespective of the profession you’re in, but especially so if you’re an academic. However, this is often easier said than done given the many tasks and professional commitments researchers need to juggle every day. The constant rush to meet deadlines while balancing personal responsibilities often means researchers deprioritize research reading. Additionally, many researchers, regardless of where they are in their career, find it challenging to keep up with the overwhelming volume of literature being produced; consequently they end up reading selective journals or giving articles a cursory run through. This can prove counterproductive.  

Table of Contents

Key benefits of reading research papers  

It is critical for researchers to develop a habit of reading research papers from the very beginning of their careers. Take a look at the benefits of reading research articles regularly.  

1. Enhances knowledge and fuels scientific curiosity

Research reading is an integral part of research. By embracing a rigorous approach to reading research papers, academics can add to their existing knowledge and improve their overall understanding of a subject. Research reading also helps scholars understand previous studies on their subject and identify questions that remain unanswered. It also fuels a sense of scientific curiosity, encouraging researchers to delve into or even question ideas that contradict your line of thought. This can prove useful for researchers trying to identify an interesting and novel research topic.  

2.Encourages inter-disciplinary opportunities

By cultivating an active research reading habit, researchers can also gain insights into the latest scientific tools and techniques being used in their own and related fields. One of the other major benefits of reading research papers is that it exposes academics to potential opportunities and developments across disciplines, which could spark ideas for their own research and open the door for multiple fruitful inter-disciplinary collaborations.  

3. Builds on scientific innovations

Scientific knowledge is constantly evolving and growing. There is a constant cycle of learning and unlearning that takes place based on emerging technologies and new processes. In fact, a study of scholarly literature over time forms an archive of scientific innovations, including developing methodologies, evolving processes, and cutting-edge technologies. A sustained habit of reading scientific literature helps researchers learn from and build on past work.  

How to identify gaps in the research

4. Creates a rich repository of relevant references

Research reading is imperative for researchers, and one of the key benefits of research reading is being able to create a library of data. Using keywords to find relevant research papers, critically reading and analyzing the data, and saving the most useful articles to your reference library can prove invaluable for researchers. Instead of starting from scratch, having a rich library of potential references gives those conducting research or writing a manuscript a head-start – one of the benefits of reading scholarly articles and papers that usually goes unrecognized .

5. Develops critical thinking

Another key benefit of reading research papers is that it helps you develop critical thinking abilities by creating and strengthening synaptic connections between your brain’s nerve cells and strengthening neural pathways that already exist. 1 This significantly enhances your ability to retain and use important information and helps you in your own research.

6.Teaches you how to identify credible information

Given the sheer quantum of information available in the public domain, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish information that comes from reliable and credible sources. An important benefit of reading research papers is that you will, over time, be able to discern between what is reliable and what is not. This ensures you read and engage with trusted scientific articles, which can then form the basis of your own work and further strengthen your profile as a researcher.  

7. Builds professional relationships and stronger networks

The last but one of the most important benefits of reading research papers is that it allows you to build professional connections with like-minded peers and colleagues. Connect with and actively discuss ideas with authors of ground-breaking research, which will help you enrich the existing knowledge but also allow for an exchange of new ideas and opportunities in the field.  

We hope the points above reiterate the importance and benefits of reading research paper s as a habit. Reading research papers on different scientific topics gives you a deeper appreciation of the work of peers, helps build wider perspectives, allows you to see things in new light, and gives you the confidence to think outside the box. So while research reading may seem daunting, it’s an integral part of the research process and cannot be ignored. Happy reading!  

  • Fernyhough E. How reading changes your brain. The Brave Writer, Medium, January 8, 2021. [Accessed on November 12, 2022] Available on,neural%20pathways%20that%20already%20exist

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Why You Should Journal During Your Research Journey


Written by  J es Gonzalez

You’re already defining a research problem, reviewing the literature, formulating hypotheses, preparing a research design, and collecting, analyzing, and interpreting your data. That's not to mention all the steps that come after conducting your research, including drafting your paper, having your paper edited by a professional , revising your paper, having your paper proofread , finalizing your paper, choosing a target journal, and submitting your paper .

Why add journaling to the list of steps? Will your half-baked thoughts even be useful to you as you are writing your research papers or journal articles later?

Actually, they very well could! If you're asking why you should journal during your research journey, in this post we outline the main benefits of journaling as an academic writer. But first, you might be asking yourself …

What Is a Research Journal?

A research journal is a space for you to record any thoughts that pop into your head during your research journey. Like any journal, it should be a judgment-free zone for your eyes only; as such, you shouldn't have to worry about perfecting the writing within it.

Instead, you should feel free to write whatever you like about your research, including notes on the topic, analyses of the research, personal observations, and doodles. Most research journals aim to reflect on the research process, seek a deeper understanding of the topic at hand, and keep a record of the research journey for later review. 

With these noble aims in mind, you might be asking yourself why you should journal. What are the main benefits of keeping a research journal? Below, we have outlined three ways journaling can benefit any academic writer. Take a look!

1. Sort Your Thoughts

Seeing your thoughts recorded during your research journey in real time will allow you to see what you were thinking and when you were thinking it, which could become invaluable information upon later review. You could record your thoughts when you are drafting your paper, when you are revising your first draft, or even later.

Journaling could also result in further reading, observations, notetaking, and thinking. It may even help you make connections between themes you hadn't seen before visualizing them in written form.

In addition, journaling will aid in your data collection, your data analysis, and your reflection on all of your research steps. Finally, it will give you the practice you need to structure and communicate your research findings. Notably, this will all occur in a low-pressure environment, which is good practice for any academic writer!

2. Record Your Data Points

Writing notes about your observations as they occur during a literature review, interview, data analysis, etc., may allow you to record data points even before you recognize them as such. A journal will also allow you to record opinions and half-baked ideas about whatever pops into your head about your research at whatever time, and you will be able to review these thoughts later.

You can also include responses to research or interviews that may be deemed inappropriate if they were written in your research paper, such as emotional responses. Though these musings may not be mentioned in your final research report, they could still be interesting to note during your research, and they could end up enhancing your understanding and/or interpretations of past research or findings.

3. Break Your Writer's Block

Keeping a research journal will help you get into the practice of writing and continuing to write in a no‑pressure situation, which is especially helpful for beginner researchers or those who are out of practice.

In addition, if writing is rewriting (as they say), your scribbly journal text might be what you need to break that writer's block once you sit down to draft that dreaded research paper. In fact, a research journal may be the much-needed first step in your research journey, moving you toward publishing and away from the dreaded perishing your academic friends may have warned you about (read Publish or Perish ). Though your scrawled jottings may be just that for now, with a bit of work, they just may turn into your next big project!

Researching, with the many steps that make up the arduous journey, is tough enough as it is. Instead of asking why you should journal, ask why shouldn't you take advantage of as many useful tools at your disposal as possible?

A research journal could be just what you need to ease your burden. Sort your thoughts, record your data points, and break your writer's block with this handy tool! In doing so, you may be able to lighten your workload and thus make the process of formulating that first draft a little bit easier.

After you have done that, make the editing process a breeze with Scribendi. We will help you take the first draft of your research paper from good to great so that you can take on the rest of the research journey with the peace of mind you need.

About the Author

Jes is a magician and a mechanic; that is to say, she creates pieces of writing from thin air to share as a writer, and she cleans up the rust and grease of other pieces of writing as an editor. She knows that there 's  always something valuable to be pulled out of a blank page or something shiny to be uncovered in one that needs a little polishing. When Jes isn 't  conjuring or maintaining sentences, she 's  devouring them, always hungry for more words.

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benefits of research paper journal


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Q: What are the advantages of writing a research paper?

I want to know about the advantages of writing a research paper and the skills required for the same.

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Asked by Manchun kumar on 23 Jul, 2018

Publication of research articles is as important as carrying out the research; dissemination of findings being as critical as the actual finding. The ability to write good research papers makes the publication process simpler allowing for appropriate dissemination of the work in a timely manner. Publications are also critical for obtaining grant funds and for career progression for most academicians.

Research paper writing can be challenging for some and easy for others. It is all about bringing the research findings in a manner that can be easily understood and accepted by the target audience. Good comprehension and writing skills will go a long way in bringing out the best highlights and take-home message of a study. 

Related reading:

  • 5 Tips to improve your research article and make it reader-friendly
  • The complete guide to writing a brilliant research paper

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Answered by Editage Insights on 25 Jul, 2018

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Writing for Publication 101: Why the Abstract Is So Important

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JoAnn Grif Alspach; Writing for Publication 101: Why the Abstract Is So Important. Crit Care Nurse 1 August 2017; 37 (4): 12–15. doi:

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For all biomedical journals, an abstract is a succinct yet comprehensive synopsis of the contents of a prospective or published paper. 1   Despite their crucial importance, abstracts may be prepared hastily at the time a paper is submitted without clear regard for the potential consequences. This editorial will examine the abstract from many dimensions to highlight its intended purposes, importance in publication, and effective construction.

Journal article abstracts serve several purposes: summarization, description, sorting, and indexing. Abstracts are designed to highlight key points from major sections of the paper and to explain what the paper includes. Effective abstracts provide sufficient details to expedite classifying the paper as relevant (or not) to readers’ clinical work or research interests. Online biomedical databases use abstracts to index articles and facilitate retrieval of the abstracts. 2   In 2016, the PubMed database indexed 23 531 948 citations, 3   so locating any single paper in that pile reflects the monumental challenge of effective abstraction.

  • Importance of an Abstract

Abstracts have been compared to movie trailers because they offer previews with highlights that help viewers decide whether they wish to see the entire work. 4   Although that simile is strained (abstracts require spoiler alerts because they give away the ending), abstracts are pivotal in many publication decisions made by different audiences.

Journal editors are busy professionals who read hundreds of abstracts annually to screen papers for preliminary consideration. Although some editors contend that “[a] bad abstract won’t by itself cause journal editors to reject a scholarly article, but it does incline them toward an initial negative answer,” 5   unless it is a slow day in the editorial office, I would anticipate the latter rather than the former response. Just as a well prepared abstract can heighten an editor’s interest to read the complete paper, a poorly prepared abstract can precipitate immediate disinterest in doing so or expending journal resources in peer review. A poor-quality abstract rarely summarizes a high-quality manuscript.

When a new manuscript is submitted to a journal, the editor invites prospective reviewers with expertise in the topic area to appraise the paper. The only part of the manuscript that these reviewers see is the abstract. 6   A poor-quality abstract will likely dissuade the best experts from investing time and effort to review and improve the paper, thereby defaulting invitations to reviewers lower on the list and extending the time required for completion of peer review.

When manuscripts enter peer review, assigned reviewers will form their initial impressions about the paper from reading the abstract. As with editors, reviewers may not recommend rejection of a paper solely because of a weak abstract, but that negative first impression may color expectations and adversely affect appraisal of the paper.

An incomplete or poor-quality abstract may cause database indexers to make indexing errors or omissions that relegate the paper to literature search obscurity.

The abstract is typically the first and often only part of a published article that prospective readers interested in the topic can readily access with a database search. An incomplete or unclear abstract can discourage readers from adding that paper to their reading list. For a majority of potential readers, “the paper does not exist beyond its abstract.” 6 (p172)

Researchers attempting to locate relevant sources for studies, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses will quickly disregard poor-quality abstracts because they lack time to check full copies of those papers.

At every juncture along the publication continuum, abstract quality is a major determinant in the life and legacy of a paper. Preparing a high-quality abstract that will entice interested readers to examine your complete paper requires the author to simultaneously avoid common weaknesses in published journal abstracts and recognize the attributes of an effective abstract.

Any health care professional who searches the biomedical literature has likely encountered many of the weaknesses commonly found in published journal article abstracts ( Table 1 ) and experienced the frustration that accompanies that wasted effort. As consumers of abstracts, then, critical care nurses can appreciate the value of a well-constructed abstract.

  • How to Prepare an Effective Abstract

Constructing an effective article abstract involves 4 activities: recognizing the essential attributes of any abstract, following the journal’s instructions for submitting abstracts, distinguishing between types of abstracts, and tailoring abstracts to specific types of articles. The most important directive is following the journal’s instructions; however, because those are journal specific, I will cover the other 3 activities here.

Essential Elements

Abstracts for journal articles can differ in content, form, length, and other features, but also share certain features in common. Table 2 lists the essential elements of any journal article abstract.

Types of Abstracts

There are 2 general types of journal article abstracts: unstructured and structured. Unstructured abstracts summarize the contents of a paper in a narrative paragraph. Since the late 1980s, 10   most biomedical journals—especially those that publish research and quality improvement (QI) reports—have adopted the structured abstract, which specifies distinct, labeled sections (eg, Background, Methods, Results, Discussion) for rapid comprehension 11   and consistency in abstract content. 9   Not all journal papers (eg, editorials, general review articles, case studies) fit that model, however, so journals may use both types of abstracts and modify content according to the type of paper.

Tailoring Abstracts to Type of Article

Professional journals publish various types of papers, including reviews, case reports, QI reports, research reports, and others (eg, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, editorials). Because the content considered appropriate varies with each type of article, the abstracts for each can be modified accordingly. Here are some examples of this tailoring for 4 types of articles.

Review papers

In its simplest form, a narrative review summarizes, synthesizes, critiques, and analyzes current literature related to a specific topic to derive evidence-based implications for patient care. For Critical Care Nurse , a review paper might focus on management of a patient with chest trauma or best practices for supporting early mobility. In order for readers to judge the validity and objectivity of reviews, it is helpful if authors describe how and where they selected articles, the quality of those reports, and the implications of their findings. Abstracts for review papers may be modified from the sections suggested for the considerably more rigorous systematic review 12   to include the following aspects:

Introduction: relevance of topic, review objective

Methods: article selection criteria, databases searched, key terms, dates searched

Results: number and type of articles located (flowchart to illustrate total vs final article count, reasons for not selecting), notable features of studies, patient demographics, main outcomes

Synthesis, analysis, discussion: summary of relative differences in effectiveness of outcomes, quality of studies, gaps in literature

Implications: summary conclusion with implications for practice

Other sources suggest slightly different inclusions for narrative report abstracts; for example, IMRAD 13   (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion) and Background, Aims, Sources (databases, keywords, timeframe), Content, Implications. 14  

Case Reports

Case reports describe a specific patient’s medical problems and clinical management for educational and/or scientific purposes. The CARE Guidelines were developed as an international standard for presenting clinical cases to improve the accuracy, transparency, and usefulness of these reports. 15   The 2013 CARE Checklist relates that the case report abstract may be structured or unstructured as long as 4 elements are included 16   :

Introduction. What is unique about this case? Why is it important?

Clinical findings. What are the patient’s chief complaints and the most important clinical (signs, symptoms, laboratory, imaging) findings?

Most important diagnoses, medical interventions, and patient outcomes.

Conclusions. What are the most important takeaway lessons from this case?

QI reports describe efforts by health care professionals to improve the quality, safety, and value of care delivered to patients and families. The revised Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE) Guidelines were developed to provide a framework for reporting new findings about how to improve health care. 17   SQUIRE’s guidance relative to abstracts directs authors to summarize all key information from each section of the text using the abstract format of the intended publication. For Critical Care Nurse , a QI report abstract would include the following sections 2   :

Background, including relevance of issue to readers

Local problem, including project purpose, objectives


Results, data that demonstrate impact of interventions

Conclusions with recommendations

Research Reports

Some prestigious medical journals instruct authors to use a fairly lengthy list of abstract subsections for research reports, including the following 8   :


Main outcomes and measures

Conclusions and relevance

Other highly regarded journals simply direct authors to provide an abstract of not more than 250 words that consists of 4 paragraphs: Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. 18   Below are some helpful suggestions to assist authors with each section.

Background. This should be the shortest abstract section; it should briefly describe what is already known about the subject area of the study and what is not known, the latter being the current study focus. 6   This section highlights clinical relevance, establishes rationale for the study, and clarifies study objectives/questions.

Methods. This section describes how the study was conducted, including study design, duration, sampling technique, sample size and subgroup size(s), nature of treatments or interventions administered, data collection tools, primary outcome measure and how it was determined, and data analysis. 6  

Results. This is often considered the most important section of the abstract because anyone reading an abstract does so primarily to determine the findings. The greatest amount of space should therefore be allocated for the Results to afford as much detail and precision as the maximum word count allows, 6   including sample size, subgroup size(s), and dropout rates. Provide actual quantitative results for all main outcomes, important negative outcomes, and, if possible, the most important secondary outcomes, each with its respective statistical significance value. 6   Include numerical results and their statistical support (eg, means, standard deviations, P values, relative risks, effect sizes, confidence intervals, odds ratios). 9  

Conclusion(s). Principal conclusions directly derived from the study results. 18   Must be based solely on the data generated by the current study and typically limited to primary and very important secondary outcomes. Salient unanticipated findings and practical application of findings may be mentioned. 6  

Limitations. Some journals require and many studies warrant full discussion of study limitations located under its own heading.

Journal article abstracts will retain their pivotal role in the location and dissemination of new health care science and practice findings, so health care professionals who contribute to this literature need to be skilled in composing abstracts that are descriptive, informative, yet succinct. As communication media advance to penetrate biomedical literature, the entire critical care team needs to anticipate that those forms of communication will redesign the abstract into graphical, video, readable (for laypersons), and tweetable formats that are just beginning to emerge. 19   Before venturing into tomorrow’s abstract designs, however, we need to first ensure that we have mastered the fundamentals of preparing a good abstract regardless of its medium. I hope that this overview on preparing abstracts facilitates your publishing endeavors.

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JoAnn Grif Alspach

JoAnn Grif Alspach

Common weaknesses of abstracts in published journal articles 4 , 6  

Common weaknesses of abstracts in published journal articles4,6

Essential elements of an abstract in a journal article 6 – 9  

Essential elements of an abstract in a journal article6–9


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Research Article

Researchers working from home: Benefits and challenges

Roles Conceptualization, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Software, Validation, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

* E-mail: [email protected]

Affiliation Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary

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Roles Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Resources, Validation, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

Affiliations Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary, Doctoral School of Psychology, ELTE Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary

Roles Conceptualization, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Department of Sociology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Roles Conceptualization, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Validation, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

  • Balazs Aczel, 
  • Marton Kovacs, 
  • Tanja van der Lippe, 
  • Barnabas Szaszi


  • Published: March 25, 2021
  • Peer Review
  • Reader Comments

Table 1

The flexibility allowed by the mobilization of technology disintegrated the traditional work-life boundary for most professionals. Whether working from home is the key or impediment to academics’ efficiency and work-life balance became a daunting question for both scientists and their employers. The recent pandemic brought into focus the merits and challenges of working from home on a level of personal experience. Using a convenient sampling, we surveyed 704 academics while working from home and found that the pandemic lockdown decreased the work efficiency for almost half of the researchers but around a quarter of them were more efficient during this time compared to the time before. Based on the gathered personal experience, 70% of the researchers think that in the future they would be similarly or more efficient than before if they could spend more of their work-time at home. They indicated that in the office they are better at sharing thoughts with colleagues, keeping in touch with their team, and collecting data, whereas at home they are better at working on their manuscript, reading the literature, and analyzing their data. Taking well-being also into account, 66% of them would find it ideal to work more from home in the future than they did before the lockdown. These results draw attention to how working from home is becoming a major element of researchers’ life and that we have to learn more about its influencer factors and coping tactics in order to optimize its arrangements.

Citation: Aczel B, Kovacs M, van der Lippe T, Szaszi B (2021) Researchers working from home: Benefits and challenges. PLoS ONE 16(3): e0249127.

Editor: Johnson Chun-Sing Cheung, The University of Hong Kong, HONG KONG

Received: September 24, 2020; Accepted: March 11, 2021; Published: March 25, 2021

Copyright: © 2021 Aczel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All research materials, the collected raw and processed anonymous data, just as well the code for data management and statistical analyses are publicly shared on the OSF page of the project: OSF: .

Funding: TVL's contribution is part of the research program Sustainable Cooperation – Roadmaps to Resilient Societies (SCOOP). She is grateful to the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) for their support in the context of its 2017 Gravitation Program (grant number 024.003.025).

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fleeing from the Great Plague that reached Cambridge in 1665, Newton retreated to his countryside home where he continued working for the next year and a half. During this time, he developed his theories on calculus, optics, and the law of gravitation—fundamentally changing the path of science for centuries. Newton himself described this period as the most productive time of his life [ 1 ]. Is working from home indeed the key to efficiency for scientists also in modern times? A solution for working without disturbance by colleagues and being able to manage a work-life balance? What personal and professional factors influence the relation between productivity and working from home? These are the main questions that the present paper aims to tackle. The Covid-19 pandemic provides a unique opportunity to analyze the implications of working from home in great detail.

Working away from the traditional office is increasingly an option in today’s world. The phenomenon has been studied under numerous, partially overlapping terms, such as telecommuting, telework, virtual office, remote work, location independent working, home office. In this paper, we will use ‘working from home’ (WFH), a term that typically covers working from any location other than the dedicated area provided by the employer.

The practice of WFH and its effect on job efficiency and well-being are reasonably well explored outside of academia [ 2 , 3 ]. Internet access and the increase of personal IT infrastructure made WFH a growing trend throughout the last decades [ 4 ]. In 2015, over 12% of EU workers [ 5 ] and near one-quarter of US employees [ 6 ] worked at least partly from home. A recent survey conducted among 27,500 millennials and Gen Z-s indicated that their majority would like to work remotely more frequently [ 7 ]. The literature suggests that people working from home need flexibility for different reasons. Home-working is a typical solution for those who need to look after dependent children [ 8 ] but many employees just seek a better work-life balance [ 7 ] and the comfort of an alternative work environment [ 9 ].

Non-academic areas report work-efficiency benefits for WFH but they also show some downsides of this arrangement. A good example is the broad-scale experiment in which call center employees were randomly assigned to work from home or in the office for nine months [ 10 ]. A 13% work performance increase was found in the working from home group. These workers also reported improved work satisfaction. Still, after the experiment, 50% of them preferred to go back to the office mainly because of feeling isolated at home.

Home-working has several straightforward positive aspects, such as not having to commute, easier management of household responsibilities [ 11 ] and family demands [ 12 ], along with increased autonomy over time use [ 13 , 14 ], and fewer interruptions [ 15 , 16 ]. Personal comfort is often listed as an advantage of the home environment [e.g., 15 ], though setting up a home office comes with physical and infrastructural demands [ 17 ]. People working from home consistently report greater job motivation and satisfaction [ 4 , 11 , 18 , 19 ] which is probably due to the greater work-related control and work-life flexibility [ 20 ]. A longitudinal nationally representative sample of 30,000 households in the UK revealed that homeworking is positively related with leisure time satisfaction [ 21 ], suggesting that people working from home can allocate more time for leisure activities.

Often-mentioned negative aspects of WFH include being disconnected from co-workers, experiencing isolation due to the physical and social distance to team members [ 22 , 23 ]. Also, home-working employees reported more difficulties with switching off and they worked beyond their formal working hours [ 4 ]. Working from home is especially difficult for those with small children [ 24 ], but intrusion from other family members, neighbours, and friends were also found to be major challenges of WFH [e.g., 17 ]. Moreover, being away from the office may also create a lack of visibility and increases teleworkers’ fear that being out of sight limits opportunities for promotion, rewards, and positive performance reviews [ 25 ].

Importantly, increased freedom imposes higher demands on workers to control not just the environment, but themselves too. WFH comes with the need to develop work-life boundary control tactics [ 26 ] and to be skilled at self-discipline, self-motivation, and good time management [ 27 ]. Increased flexibility can easily lead to multitasking and work-family role blurring [ 28 ]. Table 1 provides non-comprehensive lists of mostly positive and mostly negative consequences of WFH, based on the literature reviewed here.


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Compared to the private sector, our knowledge is scarce about how academics experience working from home. Researchers in higher education institutes work in very similar arrangements. Typically, they are expected to personally attend their workplace, if not for teaching or supervision, then for meetings or to confer with colleagues. In the remaining worktime, they work in their lab or, if allowed, they may choose to do some of their tasks remotely. Along with the benefits on productivity when working from home, academics have already experienced some of its drawbacks at the start of the popularity of personal computers. As Snizek observed in the ‘80s, “(f)aculty who work long hours at home using their microcomputers indicate feelings of isolation and often lament the loss of collegial feedback and reinforcement” [page 622, 29 ].

Until now, the academics whose WFH experience had been given attention were mostly those participating in online distance education [e.g., 30 , 31 ]. They experienced increased autonomy, flexibility in workday schedule, the elimination of unwanted distractions [ 32 ], along with high levels of work productivity and satisfaction [ 33 ], but they also observed inadequate communication and the lack of opportunities for skill development [ 34 ]. The Covid-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to study the WFH experience of a greater spectrum of academics, since at one point most of them had to do all their work from home.

We have only fragmented knowledge about the moderators of WFH success. We know that control over time is limited by the domestic tasks one has while working from home. The view that women’s work is more influenced by family obligations than men’s is consistently shown in the literature [e.g., 35 – 37 ]. Sullivan and Lewis [ 38 ] argued that women who work from home are able to fulfil their domestic role better and manage their family duties more to their satisfaction, but that comes at the expense of higher perceived work–family conflict [see also 39 ]. Not surprisingly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, female scientists suffered a greater disruption than men in their academic productivity and time spent on research, most likely due to demands of childcare [ 40 , 41 ].

In summary, until recently, the effect of WFH on academics’ life and productivity received limited attention. However, during the recent pandemic lockdown, scientists, on an unprecedented scale, had to find solutions to continue their research from home. The situation unavoidably brought into focus the merits and challenges of WFH on a level of personal experience. Institutions were compelled to support WFH arrangements by adequate regulations, services, and infrastructure. Some researchers and institutions might have found benefits in the new arrangements and may wish to continue WFH in some form; for others WFH brought disproportionately larger challenges. The present study aims to facilitate the systematic exploration and support of researchers’ efficiency and work-life balance when working from home.

Materials and methods

Our study procedure and analysis plan were preregistered at (all deviations from the plan are listed in S1 File ). The survey included questions on research work efficiency, work-life balance, demographics, professional and personal background information. The study protocol has been approved by the Institutional Review Board from Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary (approval number: 2020/131). The Transparency Report of the study, the complete text of the questionnaire items and the instructions are shared at our OSF repository: .

As the objective of this study was to gain insight about researchers’ experience of WFH, we aimed to increase the size and diversity of our sample rather than ascertaining the representativeness of our sample. Therefore, we distributed our online survey link among researchers in professional newsletters, university mailing lists, on social media, and by sending group-emails to authors (additional details about sampling are in S1 File ). As a result of the nature of our sampling strategy, it is not known how many researchers have seen our participation request. Additionally, we did not collect the country of residence of the respondents. Responses analyzed in this study were collected between 2020-04-24 and 2020-07-13. Overall, 858 individuals started the survey and 154 were excluded because they did not continue the survey beyond the first question. As a result, 704 respondents were included in the analysis.

We sent the questionnaire individually to each of the respondents through the Qualtrics Mailer service. Written informed consent and access to the preregistration of the research was provided to every respondent before starting the survey. Then, respondents who agreed to participate in the study could fill out the questionnaire. To encourage participation, we offered that upon completion they can enter a lottery to win a 100 USD voucher.

This is a general description of the survey items. The full survey with the display logic and exact phrasing of the items is transported from Qualtrics and uploaded to the projects’ OSF page: .

Efficiency of research work.

The respondents were asked to compare the efficiency of their research work during the lockdown to their work before the lockdown. They were also asked to use their present and previous experience to indicate whether working more from home in the future would change the efficiency of their research work compared to the time before the lockdown. For both questions, they could choose among three options: “less efficient”; “more efficient”, and “similarly efficient”.

Comparing working from home to working in the office.

Participants were asked to compare working from home to working from the office. For this question they could indicate their preference on a 7-point dimension (1: At home; 7: In the office), along 15 efficiency or well-being related aspects of research work (e.g., working on the manuscript, maintaining work-life balance). These aspects were collected in a pilot study conducted with 55 researchers who were asked to indicate in free text responses the areas in which their work benefits/suffers when working from home. More details of the pilot study are provided in S1 File .

Actual and ideal time spent working from home.

To study the actual and ideal time spent working from home, researcher were asked to indicate on a 0–100% scale (1) what percentage of their work time they spent working from home before the pandemic and (2) how much would be ideal for them working from home in the future concerning both research efficiency and work-life balance.

Feasibility of working more from home.

With simple Yes/No options, we asked the respondents to indicate whether they think that working more from home would be feasible considering all their other duties (education, administration, etc.) and the given circumstances at home (infrastructure, level of disturbance).

Background information.

Background questions were asked by providing preset lists concerning their academic position (e.g., full professor), area of research (e.g., social sciences), type of workplace (e.g., purely research institute), gender, age group, living situation (e.g., single-parent with non-adult child(ren)), and the age and the number of their children.

The respondents were also asked to select one of the offered options to indicate: whether or not they worked more from home during the coronavirus lockdown than before; whether it is possible for them to collect data remotely; whether they have education duties at work; if their research requires intensive team-work; whether their home office is fully equipped; whether their partner was also working from home during the pandemic; how far their office is from home; whether they had to do home-schooling during the pandemic; whether there was someone else looking after their child(ren) during their work from home in lockdown. When the question did not apply to them, they could select the ‘NA’ option as well.

Data preprocessing and analyses

All the data preprocessing and analyses were conducted in R [ 42 ], with the use of the tidyverse packages [ 43 ]. Before the analysis of the survey responses, we read all the free-text comments to ascertain that they do not contain personal information and they are in line with the respondent’s answers. We found that for 5 items the respondents’ comments contradicted their survey choices (e.g., whether they have children), therefore, we excluded the responses of the corresponding items from further analyses (see S1 File ). Following the preregistration, we only conducted descriptive statistics of the survey results.

Background information

The summary of the key demographic information of the 704 complete responses is presented in Table 2 . A full summary of all the collected background information of the respondents are available in S1 File .


Efficiency of research work

The results showed that 94% (n = 662) of the surveyed researchers worked more from home during the COVID-19 lockdown compared to the time before. Of these researchers, 47% found that due to working more from home their research became, in general, less efficient, 23% found it more efficient, and 30% found no difference compared to working before the lockdown. Within this database, we also explored the effect of the lockdown on the efficiency of people living with children (n = 290). Here, we found that 58% of them experienced that due to working more from home their research became, in general, less efficient, 20% found it more efficient, and 22% found no difference compared to working before the lockdown. Of those researchers who live with children, we found that 71% of the 21 single parents and 57% of the 269 partnered parents found working less efficient when working from home compared to the time before the lockdown.

When asking about how working more from home would affect the efficiency of their research after the lockdown, of those who have not already been working from home full time (n = 684), 29% assumed that it could make their research, in general, less efficient, 29% said that it would be more efficient, and 41% assumed no difference compared to the time before the lockdown ( Fig 1 ).


Focusing on the efficiency of the subgroup of people who live with children (n = 295), we found that for 32% their research work would be less efficient, for 30% it would be no different, and for 38% it would be more efficient to work from home after the lockdown, compared to the time before the lockdown.

Comparing working from home to working in the office

When comparing working from home to working in the office in general, people found that they can better achieve certain aspects of the research in one place than the other. They indicated that in the office they are better at sharing thoughts with colleagues, keeping in touch with their team, and collecting data, whereas at home they are better at working on their manuscript, reading the literature, and analyzing their data ( Fig 2 ).


The bars represent response averages of the given aspects.

Actual and ideal time spent working from home

We also asked the researchers how much of their work time they spent working from home in the past, and how much it would be ideal for them to work from home in the future concerning both research efficiency and well-being. Fig 3 shows the distribution of percentages of time working from home in the past and in an ideal future. Comparing these values for each researcher, we found that 66% of them want to work more from home in the future than they did before the lockdown, whereas 16% of them want to work less from home, and 18% of them want to spend the same percentage of their work time at home in the future as before. (These latter calculations were not preregistered).


Feasibility of working more from home

Taken all their other duties (education, administration, etc.) and provided circumstances at home (infrastructure, level of disturbance), of researchers who would like to work more from home in the future (n = 461), 86% think that it would be possible to do so. Even among those who have teaching duties at work (n = 376), 84% think that more working from home would be ideal and possible.

Researchers’ work and life have radically changed in recent times. The flexibility allowed by the mobilization of technology and the continuous access to the internet disintegrated the traditional work-life boundary. Where, when, and how we work depends more and more on our own arrangements. The recent pandemic only highlighted an already existing task: researchers’ worklife has to be redefined. The key challenge in a new work-life model is to find strategies to balance the demands of work and personal life. As a first step, the present paper explored how working from home affects researchers’ efficiency and well-being.

Our results showed that while the pandemic-related lockdown decreased the work efficiency for almost half of the researchers (47%), around a quarter (23%) of them experienced that they were more efficient during this time compared to the time before. Based on personal experience, 70% of the researchers think that after the lockdown they would be similarly (41%) or more efficient (29%) than before if they could spend more of their work-time at home. The remaining 30% thought that after the lockdown their work efficiency would decrease if they worked from home, which is noticeably lower than the 47% who claimed the same for the lockdown period. From these values we speculate that some of the obstacles of their work efficiency were specific to the pandemic lockdown. Such obstacles could have been the need to learn new methods to teach online [ 44 ] or the trouble adapting to the new lifestyle [ 45 ]. Furthermore, we found that working from the office and working from home support different aspects of research. Not surprisingly, activities that involve colleagues or team members are better bound to the office, but tasks that need focused attention, such as working on the manuscript or analyzing the data are better achieved from home.

A central motivation of our study was to explore what proportion of their worktime researchers would find ideal to work from home, concerning both research efficiency and work-life balance. Two thirds of the researchers indicated that it would be better to work more from home in the future. It seemed that sharing work somewhat equally between the two venues is the most preferred arrangement. A great majority (86%) of those who would like to work more from home in the future, think that it would be possible to do so. As a conclusion, both the work and non-work life of researchers would take benefits should more WFH be allowed and neither workplace duties, nor their domestic circumstances are limits of such a change. That researchers have a preference to work more from home, might be due to the fact that they are more and more pressured by their work. Finishing manuscripts, and reading literature is easier to find time for when working from home.

A main message of the results of our present survey is that although almost half of the respondents reported reduced work efficiency during the lockdown, the majority of them would prefer the current remote work setting to some extent in the future. It is important to stress, however, that working from home is not equally advantageous for researchers. Several external and personal factors must play a role in researchers’ work efficiency and work-life balance. In this analysis, we concentrated only on family status, but further dedicated studies will be required to gain a deeper understanding of the complex interaction of professional, institutional, personal, and domestic factors in this matter. While our study could only initiate the exploration of academics’ WFH benefits and challenges, we can already discuss a few relevant aspects regarding the work-life interface.

Our data show that researchers who live with dependent children can exploit the advantages of working from home less than those who do not have childcare duties, irrespective of the pandemic lockdown. Looking after children is clearly a main source of people’s task overload and, as a result, work-family conflict [ 46 , 47 ]. As an implication, employers should pay special respect to employees’ childcare situations when defining work arrangements. It should be clear, however, that other caring responsibilities should also be respected such as looking after elderly or disabled relatives [ 48 ]. Furthermore, to avoid equating non-work life with family-life, a broader diversity of life circumstances, such as those who live alone, should be taken into consideration [ 49 ].

It seems likely that after the pandemic significantly more work will be supplied from home [ 50 ]. The more of the researchers’ work will be done from home in the future, the greater the challenge will grow to integrate their work and non-work life. The extensive research on work-life conflict, should help us examine the issue and to develop coping strategies applicable for academics’ life. The Boundary Theory [ 26 , 51 , 52 ] proved to be a useful framework to understand the work-home interface. According to this theory, individuals utilize different tactics to create and maintain an ideal level of work-home segmentation. These boundaries often serve as “mental fences” to simplify the environment into domains, such as work or home, to help us attend our roles, such as being an employee or a parent. These boundaries are more or less permeable, depending on how much the individual attending one role can be influenced by another role. Individuals differ in the degree to which they prefer and are able to segment their roles, but each boundary crossing requires a cognitive “leap” between these categories [ 53 ]. The source of conflict is the demands of the different roles and responsibilities competing for one’s physical and mental resources. Working from home can easily blur the boundary between work and non-work domains. The conflict caused by the intrusion of the home world to one’s work time, just as well the intrusion of work tasks to one’s personal life are definite sources of weakened ability to concentrate on one’s tasks [ 54 ], exhaustion [ 55 ], and negative job satisfaction [ 56 ].

What can researchers do to mitigate this challenge? Various tactics have been identified for controlling one’s borders between work and non-work. One can separate the two domains by temporal, physical, behavioral, and communicative segmentation [ 26 ]. Professionals often have preferences and self-developed tactics for boundary management. People who prefer tighter boundary management apply strong segmentation between work and home [ 57 , 58 ]. For instance, they don’t do domestic tasks in worktime (temporal segmentation), close their door when working from home (physical segmentation), don’t read work emails at weekends (behavioral segmentation), or negotiate strict boundary rules with family members (communicative segmentation). People on the other on one side of the segmentation-integration continuum, might not mind, or cannot avoid, ad-hoc boundary-crossings and integrate the two domains by letting private space and time be mixed with their work.

Researchers, just like other workers, need to develop new arrangements and skills to cope with the disintegration of the traditional work-life boundaries. To know how research and education institutes could best support this change would require a comprehensive exploration of the factors in researchers’ WFH life. There is probably no one-size-fits-all approach to promote employees’ efficiency and well-being. Life circumstances often limit how much control people can have over their work-life boundaries when working from home [ 59 ]. Our results strongly indicate that some can boost work efficiency and wellbeing when working from home, others need external solutions, such as the office, to provide boundaries between their life domains. Until we gain comprehensive insight about the topic, individuals are probably the best judges of their own situation and of what arrangements may be beneficial for them in different times [ 60 ]. The more autonomy the employers provide to researchers in distributing their work between the office and home (while not lowering their expectations), the more they let them optimize this arrangement to their circumstances.

Our study has several limitations: to investigate how factors such as research domain, seniority, or geographic location contribute to WFH efficiency and well-being would have needed a much greater sample. Moreover, the country of residence of the respondents was not collected in our survey and this factor could potentially alter the perception of WFH due to differing social and infrastructural factors. Whereas the world-wide lockdown has provided a general experience to WFH to academics, the special circumstances just as well biased their judgment of the arrangement. With this exploratory research, we could only scratch the surface of the topic, the reader can probably generate a number of testable hypotheses that would be relevant to the topic but we could not analyze in this exploration.

Newton working in lockdown became the idealized image of the home-working scientist. Unquestionably, he was a genius, but his success probably needed a fortunate work-life boundary. Should he had noisy neighbours, or taunting domestic duties, he might have achieved much less while working from home. With this paper, we aim to draw attention to how WFH is becoming a major element of researchers’ life and that we have to be prepared for this change. We hope that personal experience or the topic’s relevance to the future of science will invite researchers to continue this work.

Supporting information


We would like to thank Szonja Horvath, Matyas Sarudi, and Zsuzsa Szekely for their help with reviewing the free text responses.

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What’s All This About Journaling?

One of the more effective acts of self-care is also, happily, one of the cheapest.

benefits of research paper journal

By Hayley Phelan

It was my ex-husband who got me journaling again. Our marriage was falling apart, and, on the advice of his friend, he had started to do “morning pages,” a daily journaling practice from the seminal self-help book “The Artist’s Way.”

Though I had kept a diary throughout my teen years and early 20s, somewhere along the way I’d fallen out of the habit. At 29, though, I was deeply unhappy and looking for answers wherever — anywhere — I could find them.

Once the domain of teenage girls and the literati, journaling has become a hallmark of the so-called self-care movement , right up there with meditation. And for good reason: Scientific studies have shown it to be essentially a panacea for modern life. There are the obvious benefits, like a boost in mindfulness, memory and communication skills. But studies have also found that writing in a journal can lead to better sleep, a stronger immune system , more self-confidence and a higher I.Q .

Research out of New Zealand suggests that the practice may even help wounds heal faster . How is this possible? James W. Pennebaker, a social psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin who is considered the pioneer of writing therapy, said there isn’t one answer. “It’s a whole cascade of things that occur,” he said.

Labeling emotions and acknowledging traumatic events — both natural outcomes of journaling — have a known positive effect on people, Dr. Pennebaker said, and are often incorporated into traditional talk therapy.

At the same time, writing is fundamentally an organizational system. Keeping a journal, according to Dr. Pennebaker, helps to organize an event in our mind, and make sense of trauma. When we do that, our working memory improves, since our brains are freed from the enormously taxing job of processing that experience, and we sleep better.

This in turn improves our immune system and our moods; we go to work feeling refreshed, perform better and socialize more. “There’s no single magic moment,” Dr. Pennebaker said. “But we know it works.”

I didn’t know any of this when I started journaling again two years ago. I was in a place where I would have tried anything to feel better; if someone had told me that a daily practice of morning somersaults helped her get through a difficult time, you better believe I would have started rolling.

But, as it was, I dug up an old notebook, flipped to the third page (the first felt too exposed) and started writing. That entry begins as follows: “First ‘morning pages.’ It’s not that I can’t think of anything to write. The question is, where to begin?”

So what do I write about?

This is often the first question a budding journal writer might ask him or herself. In some ways, though, it’s the most misguided — one thing journaling has taught me is that the mind is a surprising place, and you often don’t know what it may be hiding until you start knocking around in there.

In other words: Writing in your journal is the only way to find out what you should be writing about.

But when I was just getting started, the first place I went looking for guidance was the book that had inspired my ex-husband: “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron. Ms. Cameron describes the morning pages as “three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness,” done as soon as one wakes. They are “not meant to be art . Or even writing .” They need not be smart, or funny, or particularly deep — in fact, it’s better if they’re not.

Ms. Cameron encourages practitioners to think of them as “brain drain,” a way to expel “all that angry, petty, whiny stuff” that “eddies through our subconscious and muddies our days.” After years working as a writer and journalist, making my living trying to sound smart on the page, this was a huge relief.

“I’d like to say here that morning pages differ from conventional journaling, in which we set a topic and pursue it,” Ms. Cameron said when I spoke with her recently for this article. “In morning pages, we do not set a topic. It is as though we have A.D.D.: jumping from topic to topic, gathering insights and directions from many quarters.”

On the other hand, Dr. Pennebaker’s research has found that journaling about traumatic or disturbing experiences specifically has the most measurable impact on our overall well-being.

In his landmark 1988 study, outlined in his book “ Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotion ,” students were randomly assigned to write about either traumatic experiences or superficial topics for four days in a row. Six weeks after the writing sessions, those that had delved into traumatic experiences reported more positive moods and fewer illnesses than those writing about everyday experiences.

How often must I write, and when?

Dr. Pennebaker’s research has found that even a one-time 15-to-30-minute session of focused journal writing can be beneficial. In fact, he said he is not “a big fan of journaling every day.”

“One of the interesting problems of writing too much, especially if you’re going through a difficult a time, is that writing becomes more like rumination and that’s the last thing in the world you need,” he said. “My recommendation is to think of expressive writing as a life course correction. As opposed to something you have commit to doing every day for the rest of your life.”

If you’re distressed about something, Dr. Pennebaker advises, set aside three to four days to write for 15 to 20 minutes a day about it. If you don’t find a benefit from it, he says, “stop doing it. Go jogging. See a therapist. Go to a bar. Go to church.”

What tools should I use?

Dr. Pennebaker is also not a purist when it comes to tools. Techies can take heart in knowing that, contrary to the romantic ideal, typing out journal entries on a laptop or even on a phone can yield effects that are just as positive, particularly if it’s more comfortable and convenient for you. The point is simply to get started.

“Try doing it different ways,” Dr. Pennebaker said. “Some people like writing with their nondominant hand. Others find talking to a tape recorder works too. Experiment.”

Over the years, I have switched up my process here and there, even embarking on an overly ambitious plan involving color-coded pens. The one I’ve come back to again and again, however, is closest to what Ms. Cameron advocates: I write three to five pages every morning by hand.

For her, the timing and frequency is essential to a beneficial practice. “Jungians tell us we have about a 45-minute window before our ego’s defenses are in place in the morning,” she said. “Writing promptly upon awakening, we utilize the authenticity available to us in that time frame.

Will it change my life?

Journaling may sound hokey to some. But it can be one of the most useful and cost-effective tools we have to forge a better, more emotionally and mentally healthy life. As Dr. Pennebaker said of his research: “I’m not a granola-crunching kind of guy. I got into journaling because I’m interested in what makes people tick.”

Ms. Cameron’s book, on the other hand, is steeped in the kind of earnest spirituality that New Age skeptics will no doubt bristle at. Yet one of the quotations that has stuck with me the most is straightforward and practical: “It is very difficult to complain about a situation morning after morning, month after month, without being moved to constructive action.”

When I started journaling, I felt stuck. I was nearing 30, facing the personal reckoning that always comes with such milestones. I was unhappily married and dissatisfied with my career. Worst of all, I had no idea what would, theoretically, make me happy. I didn’t know what I wanted.

Then journaling provided me with an important outlet for the debilitating anxiety that had come to paralyze me at odd hours each day. And besides, I enjoyed it. It was fun to wake up every morning and spew a hurried black scrawl all over those straight blue lines.

Still, I remained unconvinced by Ms. Cameron’s grander claims about how journaling could change one’s life. And yet, today, as I write this, just two years later, my life has completely changed: I split from my partner of 10 years; began a new, fulfilling relationship; enrolled in an M.F.A. program; rekindled my freelance writing career; and am planning a move to Los Angeles.

I don’t know how journaling helped me make these changes. Perhaps, as Dr. Pennebaker may suggest, it simply allowed me to purge some of my anxiety, leading to a better night’s sleep and more energy to accomplish the task. Or maybe, as Ms. Cameron would say, it put me in contact with my very own spiritual guide. Certainly, I got to know the dusty corners of my brain better, and, when I did, my true desires became harder to ignore.

In the end, though, I’m not sure I care how it worked. The point is, for me, it did. And, if nothing else, I now have a written record of the more notable — and, in retrospect, often hilarious — ups and downs along the way.

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Benefits of Publication of Scientific Papers in Journals

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Scientific Paper; One of the main responsibilities for a student is as an iron stock for the nation and state. The role of students as iron stock is not as popular as other roles, namely as an agent of social control and an agent of change that we usually hear when leaders of campus organizations give speeches in new student orientation activities or introductions to new student campus life .

So, what is iron stock? In essence, the role of students as iron stock means that students are responsible for the regeneration of intellectual cadres who will lead this large ship called Indonesia.

This is because students are prepared to occupy important and strategic positions in this country when they finish their education in the executive, legislative and judiciary institutions.

As well as being a driving force for NGOs to voice the hoarse voices of civil society that are not accommodated by government agencies.

Therefore, students have a moral responsibility to master the field of science they are learning, to then implement it into social and state life.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the world of student affairs is synonymous with the world of writing. The reason is, by writing students are trained in their ability to convey their ideas in accordance with scientific principles that are systematic, objective and empirical.

There are various types of writing that can be written, such as essays, opinions, scientific articles, scientific papers to theses. There are 5 big benefits that you will get when publishing scientific articles to journals.

1. Deepen understanding of the lecture material

When writing scientific articles related to your field of study, you are required to read lots of references. These references can come from various sources, ranging from books, journals, scientific publications, state documents, online articles to daily news. It is common knowledge that reading a lot is the key to gaining knowledge.

There is an adage that says “books are a window to the world”. Books here are certainly not limited to books in physical form, but substantively, namely the knowledge obtained from the contents of the book.

2. Preparatory exercises for the Final Project

The final project is a mandatory requirement for students. Such a thesis is a mandatory requirement for anyone who wants to graduate from a bachelor’s level and earn a bachelor’s degree. However, thesis is often a frightening specter for students, especially those in the final semester.

There are various things that cause this, ranging from feeling lazy to start to the many revisions that cause a delayed graduation, or not knowing how to start thesis writing.

Practicing writing scientific articles is one effective way of dealing with this. This is because, when writing scientific articles you will directly practice the research methods learned in the classroom.

3. Portfolio

After you know the benefits of writing scientific articles, then what are the benefits of publishing them in journals? So friends, the main benefit of publishing your scientific articles in journals is recognition.

When your article has successfully passed a series of selections that have been made by reviewers and editors, one thing that is certain is that you have received recognition that your article has been written by following predetermined rules and meeting the established standards.

By publishing it in a journal, it means that your scientific articles have also been immortalized in written form, aka you already have a portfolio related to your scientific field. This portfolio is useful for those of you who intend to apply for jobs at think tanks after college.

Your portfolio will also be useful when you are appointed as a speaker at seminars and discussion forums. This portfolio is proof that you really master certain things, and therefore, you have more capacity than other people to talk about these things.

4. An important requirement to be an Academic or a Lecturer

For those of you who want to continue your career in the academic field, either as a lecturer or at other academic levels, publishing scientific articles in accredited journals is a mandatory requirement.

State universities  require the publication of at least one scientific article in a journal for anyone who wants to become a lecturer there.

In addition, there is also a regulation that requires academics to publish scientific articles if they wish to receive state allowances.

Therefore, learning to write scientific articles and publish them in journals since you are still in S1 is a very good asset for those of you who want to have a career as an academic.

Without having scientific publications in journals, it will be very difficult for you to have a career in this field.

5. The path to becoming a Professor

Getting the title of professor is the highest achievement for anyone taking part in the academic world. The reason is, professors are the highest lecturer rank in universities. Other names are professor and professor. Getting the title of professor is a symbol that you have really mastered and made a meaningful contribution in a certain scientific field.

Because it is very prestigious, it is not easy to win this title. One of the main requirements is that there must be publication of scientific articles in reputable international journals.

One of the main benchmarks for an international journal that is considered reputable is that it has been indexed by Scopus or Thomson.

Publishing scientific articles in reputable international journals is not easy, because in addition to having good analytical skills, researchers are also required to create research topics and content that are truly beneficial to society. The writers must also have the ability to write and convey arguments in English well.

There, mate! Those are the 5 benefits of publishing scientific articles in journals for students that you should know. Apart from going through journals, actually you can also publish your scientific articles by attending scientific conferences, both at national and international level.

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David B. Feldman Ph.D.

The Power of Journaling

Can journaling help us cope during troubled times.

Posted September 20, 2020 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan

Jessica Delp/Unsplash

The six months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic have been harrowing ones, to say the least. Against the backdrop of the disease and the economic impact it has brought, the world has witnessed ongoing racial injustice, natural disasters, and widespread wildfires, among other painful events.

For many people, it has been hard to stay emotionally afloat. Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published guidelines regarding how to cope, with suggestions running the gamut from engaging in leisure activities and taking media breaks to getting sufficient sleep and eating right. This article adds one additional idea to that list: journaling.

There’s a one-in-two chance you’ve kept a journal. Perhaps you needed an outlet for your thoughts, or maybe you were recording your experiences to revisit later in life. According to surveys , about half of us have written in a journal at some point in our lives, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in 6 people are active journalers right now. The number may be even higher for kids, with a 2014 survey showing that 21 percent of children and young people write in a diary at least once a month.

But considering the current need for additional coping practices, maybe more of us should.

Over the past couple of decades, dozens of studies have shown that certain journaling practices can positively impact a variety of outcomes, including happiness , goal attainment , and even some aspects of physical health . This research is often challenging to locate, given that the word “journaling” is not often used by investigators. Instead, they may label their interventions with names like “setting implementation intentions” or “engaging in expressive writing.”

Some of the effects of journaling are well-known. Most of us know, for instance, that keeping a gratitude journal can improve mood, an idea that first gained traction in a seminal paper published in 2003 by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology .

Although versions of this practice differ slightly, the basic idea is to write down a few good things that occur every day for anywhere from 2 to 10 weeks. They can be big things like “I just got a new job” or small things we might normally overlook, like “The flowers in the back yard were blooming today.” Given the turmoil in our world, it’s easy to overlook the little things that fill us with gratitude, instead focusing exclusively on the many negatives around us. Journaling may be a way of “hacking into” the brain, helping us be more mindful of the positive.

But the effects of journaling can also be more dramatic. In a 2013 study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine , researchers found that a certain kind of journaling—sometimes known as expressive writing—may help in healing physical wounds, at least small ones. Investigators asked healthy adults ages 64 to 97 to journal for 20 minutes a day, three days in a row. But not everybody used the same journaling practice: Half were encouraged to write about things that upset them, honestly discussing their thoughts and feelings about those events. The other half wrote about a much dryer topic: how they manage time during the day.

Two weeks later, all participants had a tiny biopsy performed on their arms, creating a small wound. Researchers then tracked how that wound healed by taking a picture every day. By day 11, a full 76 percent of the group who wrote the more genuine journal about upsetting life events had healed, compared to just 42 percent of those that wrote about time management .

Something important to notice about this research is that not all journaling is equal. There’s little evidence that simply spilling our minds out onto a blank page does any good. In the study just mentioned, all the participants kept journals, but the effects were different depending on the particular journaling practices they employed. In other words, what we write about and how we write about it seem to matter.

So, if you’re considering a writing practice, how should you begin? Like many things in life, it’s a personal choice, and it depends on what you feel would be the most helpful. However, a good place to start might be with a gratitude journal. Although writing about what we’re thankful for may not bring about dramatic changes in our lives, research consistently shows that it helps. Nobody’s pretending that keeping a journal will magically solve the many problems in our world. But during these troubling times, every little bit counts.

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David B. Feldman Ph.D.

David B. Feldman, Ph.D. , is a professor in the department of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University.

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Ruth e. patterson.

1 Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

2 Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

Gail A. Laughlin

Dorothy d. sears.

3 Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of California, La Jolla, California, USA

Andrea Z. LaCroix

Catherine marinac.

4 Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

Linda C. Gallo

5 Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

Sheri J. Hartman

Loki natarajan, carolyn m. senger, maría elena martínez, adriana villaseñor.

Ruth E. Patterson, PhD, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA, 3855 Health Sciences Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, (858) 534-2563, ude.dscu@nosrettaper

Gail A. Laughlin, PhD, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA, (858) 822-2416, ude.dscu@nilhgualg

Dorothy D. Sears, PhD, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of California, La Jolla, California, USA, (858) 534-8898, ude.dscu@sraesd

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA, (858) 822-0627, ude.dscu@xiorcala

Catherine Marinac, BA, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA, ude.dscu.da@caniramrc

Linda C. Gallo, PhD, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA, (619) 594-4833, ude.usds.secneics@ollagc

Sheri J. Hartman, PhD, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA, ude.dscu@namtrahjs , (858) 534-9235

Loki Natarajan, PhD, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA, (858) 822-4763, ude.dscu@najaratanl

Carolyn M. Senger, MD, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA, ude.dscu@regnesc

María Elena Martínez, PhD, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA, (858) 822-3638, ude.dscu@zenitram8e

Adriana Villaseñor, PhD, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA, (858) 822-6827, ude.dscu@ronesalliv1a


Periods of voluntary abstinence from food and drink (i.e., intermittent fasting) has been practiced since earliest antiquity by peoples around the globe. Books on ethnology and religion describe a remarkable variety of fasting forms and practices. 1 Renewed interest in fasting regimens is evidenced by a plethora of popular press publications and diet recommendations. For example, in 2013, Mosley and Spencer published a best-selling book titled “The Fast Diet,” which touts the benefits of restricting energy intake severely for two days a week while eating normally the rest of the week. 2 Dozens of books promote various fasting dietary patterns and the web offers hundreds of fasting-related sites. However, scientific evidence for the health benefits of intermittent fasting in humans is often extrapolated from animal studies, based on observational data on religious fasting (particularly Ramadan), or derived from experimental studies with modest sample sizes.

The overall objective of this paper is to provide an overview of intermittent fasting regimens ( Table 1 ) and summarize the evidence on the health benefits of intermittent fasting with a focus on human intervention studies. Because much of the data on intermittent fasting is from research in animal models, we briefly summarize key rodent studies and reviews. Health outcomes of interest are changes in weight and metabolic parameters associated with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. We also present an overview of the major mechanisms hypothesized to link fasting regimens with human health: (1) circadian biology, (2) the gastrointestinal microbiota, and (3) modifiable lifestyle behaviors such as diet, activity, and sleep. Finally, we present conclusions regarding the evidence-base for intermittent fasting as an intervention for improving human health and propose a research agenda.

Types of intermittent fasting regimens that are hypothesized to impact health outcomes

This paper provides a uniquely broad synthesis of the scientific evidence linking intermittent fasting with human health and a framework for future research on this topic.

As noted above, we present a brief background of this considerable literature on intermittent fasting in animal models to provide context to the translational research that has been completed in humans. For human studies, we focus on findings from interventions that examined alternate day fasting, modified fasting regimens, and time-restricted feeding ( Table 1 ). A Medline search in PubMed was performed using the terms “intermittent fasting”, “fasting”, “time-restricted feeding” and “food timing”. In addition, we culled relevant papers from the reference list of research papers as well as reviews of fasting regimens. 3 , 4 Inclusion criteria for human studies were: (1) randomized controlled trials and nonrandomized trials, (2) adult male or female participants, and (3) endpoints of changes in body weight or biomarkers of risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer. This is not a formal review or a meta-analysis: these studies cannot be combined because they are markedly dissimilar with regards to the intervention, the comparison group (or lack thereof), sample composition, study design, and intervention duration. Intermittent fasting performed as a religious practice (e.g., Ramadan) is reviewed separately and with less detail because these eating patterns are not motivated by health reasons and have generally been studied using observational study designs.


This summary emphasizes findings from intervention trials ( Table 2 ) that provide evidence for evaluating the influence of intermittent fasting on human health.

Human intervention studies testing the impacts of intermittent fasting regimens on weight and metabolic biomarkers associated with risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Abbreviations: ↓ denotes a statistically significant decrease (p<0.05); ↑ denotes a statistically significant increase (p<0.05); NS = not statistically significant (p≥0.05); BDNF = brain-derived neurotrophic factor; CRP = C-reactive protein; F = female; HbA1C = hemoglobin A1C; LDL; low-density lipoproteins; HDL = high-density lipoproteins; M = male; TG = triacylglycerides; TNF-α = tumor necrosis factor alpha.

Alternate Day Fasting

Alternate day fasting involves “fasting days” in which no energy-containing foods or beverages are consumed alternating with days where foods and beverages are consumed ad libitum. In 2007, Varady and Hellerstein reviewed alternate day fasting studies in animals and concluded that this fasting regimen was as effective as simple caloric restriction in decreasing fasting insulin and glucose concentrations. 3 Alternate day fasting in animals also reduced total plasma cholesterol and triglyceride (TG) concentrations, and had beneficial effects on cancer risk factors such as cell proliferation.

To our knowledge, three intervention studies have explored the metabolic effects of alternate day fasting ( Table 2 ). 5 – 7 Sample sizes were modest and ranged from 8 to 30 normal weight adults. No information was provided about physical activity levels of these participants. Two of three studies reported significant weight loss, although we question the clinical relevance of weight loss in a 1-day study. 7 In the 22 day study of alternate date fasting, participants experienced a mean of 2.5% weight loss (p<0.001). 6 All studies found a significant decrease in at least one glucoregulatory marker. One study examined lipids with mixed results: improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and TGs, but increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. One of two studies found significant improvements in inflammatory markers.

Although limited, these data suggest that alternate day fasting regimens can result in modest weight loss. These data also show some positive impacts on metabolic parameters, even though these studies enrolled normal-weight adults who were unlikely to show substantial improvements in metabolic risk factors. However, Heilbronn et al 6 noted that self-reported hunger on fasting days was considerable and did not decrease over time, suggesting that alternate day fasting may not be a feasible public health intervention.

Modified Fasting Regimens

Modified fasting regimens generally allow for the consumption of 20–25% of energy needs on regularly scheduled “fasting” days. In these studies, the term fasting describes periods of severely limited energy intake rather than no energy intake. This regimen is the basis for the popular 5:2 diet, which involves energy restriction for 2 non-consecutive days a week and usual eating the other 5 days. 2

Varady et al has investigated the impacts of modified alternate-day fasting in mice. In a trial comparing 85% energy restriction on alternate fasting days to ad libitum chow, the energy restricted condition resulted in decreased visceral fat, leptin and resistin and increases in adiponectin. 8 Similar studies conducted by this research group also found that these fasting regimens in mice appear to reduce adipocyte size, cell proliferation, and levels of insulin-like growth factor-1. 9 – 11

As shown in Table 2 , we identified 8 trials of modified fasting in humans 12 – 19 Study sample sizes ranged from 10 to 107 adults, all of whom were overweight or obese. The duration of these fasting interventions ranged from 8 weeks to six months. Of the 8 studies, only 1 instituted weekly exercise goals. 12 Overall, six of eight studies (75%) reported statistically significant weight loss, which ranged from 3.2% in comparison to a control group 16 over a 12 week period to 8.0% in a one-arm trial over an 8 week period. 13 Two of five studies found significant decreases in fasting insulin, but none found reductions in fasting glucose. Three of the eight studies found significant improvements in lipids. Two of five studies found significant improvements in inflammatory markers including c-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), adiponectin, leptin, and brain-derived neutrotophic factor (BDNF). Half of these studies assessed some aspect of mood or other behavioral side effects in response to the fasting regimen. 13 , 15 , 18 , 19 In general, these studies reported that a small number (generally < 15%) of participants reported negative side effects, such as feeling cold, irritable, low energy, or hungry. However, there were mean improvements in mood including reductions in tension, anger and fatigue and increases in self-confidence and positive mood.

Three of the eight trials summarized above compared modified fasting regimens to simple energy restriction. 12 , 15 , 18 As shown in Table 2 , the weight loss regimens were either 1200–1500 kcals 12 or 25% energy restriction per day. 15 , 18 One of these studies instituted weekly exercise goals. 12 In only one case did the fasting regimen result in significantly more weight loss than a standard weight loss diet (4.1%). 12 In two of these studies, there was significantly reduced insulin concentrations compared with energy restriction, but no other differences in biomarker concentrations. The 12-week, controlled weight loss trial found that modified fasting regimen combined with an exercise protocol produced significantly superior weight loss results (6.5%) compared to fasting alone (3.2%) or exercise alone (1.1%). 16

A number of reviews have compared the results of fasting regimens with continuous or daily energy restriction. 20 – 21 The most recent of these reviews (2014) found that intermittent fasting regimens demonstrated 3–8% reductions in body weight after 3–24 weeks in comparison to energy restriction, which demonstrated 4–14% reductions in weight after 6–24 weeks. 21 The authors also reported that these two weight loss strategies yielded comparable reductions in visceral fat mass, fasting insulin, and insulin resistance and no meaningful reductions in fasting glucose concentrations.

Results from these intervention trials of modified fasting regimens suggest that these eating patterns result in weight loss, with modest and mixed effects on glucoregulatory markers, lipids and inflammatory markers. However, there is little evidence to suggest that modified alternate day fasting produces superior weight loss or metabolic changes in comparison to standard energy restriction regimens.

Time-Restricted Feeding

Rothschild et al recently reviewed the animal literature on time-restricted feeding. Twelve studies were identified with daily fasting intervals ranging from 12 to 20 hours, in numerous mouse models, with variability in coordination with light/dark phases and composition of chow. 4 In spite of the heterogeneity of these studies, the authors concluded that in mice, time-restricted feeding was associated with reductions in body weight, total cholesterol, TGs, glucose, insulin, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and TNF-α; as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity. It is notable that these health outcomes occurred despite variable effects of intermittent fasting on weight loss.

Research in animals highlights the potential importance of synchronizing intermittent fasting regimens with daily circadian rhythms. Animals given unlimited access to a high-fat diet (HFD) eat frequently throughout the night and the day, disrupting their normal nocturnal feeding cycle. These ad libitum HFD-fed mice develop obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. However, it was unclear whether these diseases result from the high-fat diets, disruption of circadian rhythms, or both. Compared to ad libitum feeding, mice whose feeding was restricted to normal nocturnal eating times consumed equivalent energy but were protected from obesity, hyperinsulinemia, hepatic steatosis, and inflammation. 22

We were only able to identify two trials in humans that investigated the impacts of time-restricted feeding interventions that extend the duration of nighttime fasting. Neither trial prescribed or measured physical activity. Both of these cross-over studies found significant reductions in weight. In the study among 29 normal weight men (two weeks per study condition), a prescribed nighttime fasting interval of ≥11 hours resulted in a significant weight change difference between the intervention (−0.4 kg) and control (+0.6 kg) conditions, which translates into 1.3% weight loss. 23 No biomarkers were assessed. Another cross-over study compared the effect of consuming one afternoon meal per day for 8 weeks and reported 4.1% weight loss in comparison to an isocaloric diet consumed as three meals per day. 24 , 25 One meal per day was also associated with reductions in fasting glucose, and improvements in LDL- and HDL-cholesterol. While self-reported hunger was higher in the morning for those consuming 1 meal per day, this fasting regimen was considered acceptable because there were no mean changes in tension, depression, anger, vigor, fatigue, or confusion.

While clearly limited, results from these studies of time-restricted feeding are consistent with research in animals indicating that incorporation of regular fasting intervals and eating in accordance with normal daily circadian rhythms (i.e., daytime hours in humans) may be important for maintaining optimal metabolic function.


Many religions incorporate fasting for both spiritual and physical benefits. However, published research on these fasting regimens is almost entirely observational. Therefore we provide only an overview of these fasting regimens.

Ramadan Fasting

One of the five pillars of Islam is that healthy adult Muslims must fast from dawn to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. In addition, fluid intake, cigarette smoking, and medications are forbidden. Depending on the season and the geographical location of the country, day fasting can vary from 11 to 22 hours. Islamic fasting during Ramadan does not require energy restriction; however, as intake of food and fluid becomes less frequent, changes in body weight may occur.

In 2012 meta-analysis of 35 studies examined weight change during Ramadan. Across these studies, participant age ranged from 18 to 58; just over half (52%) were conducted in males and females, 34% were in males only and 11% were in females only. 26 The authors of this review found statistically significant weight loss in 21 (62%) of these studies. 26 When pooled, the studies in this meta-analysis showed a 1.24 kg weight reduction (95% CI −1.60, −0.88 kg) over the month of Ramadan fasting. Across 16 follow-up studies, mean weight regain was 0.72 kg (95% CI 0.32, 1.13 kg) in the 2 weeks following Ramadan.

A 2013 meta-analysis of 30 cohort studies including healthy young men and women examined whether Ramadan fasting altered biomarkers in addition to weight. 27 The primary finding of this meta-analysis was that after Ramadan fasting, low-density lipoprotein and fasting blood glucose levels were decreased in both sex groups and also in the entire group compared to levels prior to Ramadan. 27 In females only, HDL cholesterol levels were significantly increased. In males, there was a significant decrease in weight, total cholesterol, and TGs. Some studies have reported that Ramadan fasts are associated with significantly lower concentrations of inflammatory markers such as CRP, IL-6, and TNF-α. 28 , 29

Ramadan is the most common form of time-restricted feeding and results in transitory weight loss, with mixed evidence for improvements in metabolic markers. However, this feeding pattern is in biologic opposition to human circadian rhythms (see below) and therefore unlikely to be pursued as a desirable weight loss intervention.

Other Religious Fasts

A study of 448 patients from hospitals in Utah found that Church of the Latter Day Saints followers who reported routine fasting (29%) exhibited significantly lower weight and lower fasting glucose as well as lower prevalence of diabetes (OR 0.41; 95% CI 0.17, 0.99) and coronary stenosis (0.42, 95% CI 0.21, 0.84). 30 Seventh-day Adventists emphasize a healthy diet and lifestyle as important expressions of their faith and live approximately 7.3 years longer than other white adults. This increase in life expectancy has been primarily attributed to healthful lifestyles including not smoking, eating a plant based diet, and regular exercise. 31 Seventh-day Adventists often consume their last of two daily meals in the afternoon, which results in a long nighttime fasting period that may be biologically important. While it is unknown what proportion of Seventh-day Adventists adhere to a 2 meals per day pattern, this meal pattern is typically chronic, and sometimes lifelong, which would allow sufficient time to achieve stable changes in physiology. 25 However, the relation of reduced meal frequency and prolonged nightly fasting with health among Adventists has not been studied. 32


Figure 1 illustrates how factors hypothesized to link intermittent fasting with health outcomes are related. Briefly, intermittent fasting regimens are hypothesized to influence metabolic regulation via effects on (1) circadian biology, (2) the gastrointestinal microbiota, and (3) modifiable lifestyle behaviors. Negative perturbations in these systems can produce a hostile metabolic milieu, which predisposes individuals to the development of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. See recent review by Longo and Mattson for a detailed review of the molecular mechanisms potentially linking fasting with health outcomes. 33

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Association of intermittent fasting with intestinal microbiota, circadian clock, and other lifestyle factors hypothesized to result in metabolic regulation and downstream impacts on obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), cancer, and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Circadian Biology

Intermittent fasting regimens that limit food consumption to daytime may leverage circadian biology to improve metabolic health. Organisms evolved to restrict their activity to the night or day by developing an endogenous circadian clock to ensure that physiological processes are performed at the optimal times. 34 Time of day plays a major role in the integration of metabolism and energetics as well as physiologic indices such as hormonal secretion patterns, physical coordination, and sleep ( Figure 2 ). 35 In mammals, the master biologic clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus and is entrained to light and dark stimuli. Similar clock oscillators have been found in peripheral tissues such as the liver; with feeding as the dominant timing cue (i.e., zeitgeber). It is hypothesized that desynchronization between the SCN master clock and peripheral circadian clocks disrupts energy balance 36 and leads to increased risk of chronic diseases. 37 It is hypothesized that some fasting regimens and time-restricted feeding impose a diurnal rhythm in food intake, resulting in improved oscillations in circadian clock gene expression that reprogram molecular mechanisms of energy metabolism and body weight regulation. 22 We refer interested readers to detailed reviews on the mechanisms underlying circadian biology. 34 – 39

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Object name is nihms663671f2.jpg

The human circadian rhythm regulates eating, sleeping, hormones, physiologic processes, and coordinates metabolism and energetics

The evidence that nutrient signals and meal-timing are circadian synchronizers is based largely on animal research. 38 , 39 However, in humans there is a large and robust literature indicating that shift work disrupts circadian rhythms and is associated with increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (particularly breast cancer). 40 – 44 Similarly, data from trials and prospective cohorts support the hypothesis that consuming the majority of the day’s energys earlier in the day is associated with lower weight and improved health. 45 – 49

Gastrointestinal (Gut) Microbiota

Many functions of the gastrointestinal tract exhibit robust circadian or sleep-wake rhythms. For example, gastric emptying and blood flow are greater during the daytime than at night and metabolic responses to a glucose load are slower in the evening than in the morning. 50 Therefore, it is plausible that a chronically disturbed circadian profile may affect gastrointestinal function and impair metabolism and health. 51

Intermittent fasting may directly influence the gut microbiota, which is the complex, diverse, and vast microbial community that resides in the intestinal tract. Studies suggest that changes in composition and metabolic function of the gut microbiota in obese individuals may enable an “obese microbiota” to harvest more energy from the diet than a “lean microbiota” and thereby influence net energy absorption, expenditure, and storage. 52 – 54 In addition, obesity-related changes in gut microbiota can alter gut permeability and bacterial translocation to promote systemic inflammation 55 , a hallmark of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Finally, it is notable that a recent study has linked jet lag in mice and humans to abberrant microbiota diurnal fluctuations and dysbiosis that leads to glucose intolerance and obesity. 56

Modifiable Lifestyle Behaviors

Energy intake.

Metabolic unit studies of alternate and modified day fasting have documented decreased energy consumption. However, studies of fasting regimens in free-living adults are dependent on self-reported energy intake, which correlates poorly with objective markers of energy intake. 57 Weight change offers an indirect assessment of the impact of intermittent fasting on energy intake and as shown in Table 2 , statistically significant weight reduction was observed in 85% of intermittent fasting trials. Most fasting regimens reduce the total number of hours available for eating and thereby may reduce overall energy intake and risk of obesity. In addition, research in shift and night workers has demonstrated alterations in appetite-regulating hormones (leptin, ghrelin, xenin) that may lead to increases in total energy intake. 58 – 60

Energy Expenditure

Animal studies indicate that the circadian clock regulates locomotion. Mice on a time-restricted, isocaloric feeding regimen have shown improved muscle coordination and increased activity and energy expenditure toward the end of the feeding period. 22 However, data in humans is sparse or non-existent as to whether intermittent fasting regimens impact energy expenditure among free living adults.

Numerous observational studies have reported that nighttime eating is associated with reduced sleep duration and poor sleep quality, 61 , 62 which can lead to insulin resistance and increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. 63 – 68 Specifically, eating meals at abnormal circadian times (i.e., late at night) is hypothesized to lead to circadian desynchronization 69 and subsequent disruption of normal sleep patterns. To our knowledge no studies have directly examined associations between intermittent fasting and sleep in free-living adults.


It is well known that in humans, even a single fasting interval (e.g., overnight) can reduce basal concentrations of metabolic biomarkers associated with chronic disease such as insulin and glucose. For example, patients are required to fast for 8–12 hours before blood draws to achieve steady-state fasting levels for many metabolic substrates. Therefore the important clinical and scientific question is whether adoption of a regular intermittent fasting regimen is a feasible and sustainable population-based strategy for promoting metabolic health. In addition, research is needed to test whether these regimens can complement or replace energy restriction and if so, whether they support long-term weight management. Below, we briefly summarize the major conclusions that can be drawn based on the current evidence.

  • Studies in rodents and other nocturnal mammals support the hypothesis that intermittent fasting and restricting the availability of chow to the normal nighttime feeding cycle improves metabolic profiles and reduces the risk of obesity, obesity-related conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
  • In healthy, normal weight, overweight, or obese adults, there is little evidence that intermittent fasting regimens are harmful physically or mentally (i.e., in terms of mood).
  • It appears that almost any intermittent fasting regimen can result in some weight loss. Among the 13 intervention trials included in this review, 11 (84.6%) reported statistically significant weight loss ranging from 1.3% in a cross-over trial with a 2 week intervention 23 to 8.0% in a 1-arm trial of 8 weeks duration. 13
  • Based on only 3 studies, alternate day fasting appears to results in weight loss as well as reductions in glucose and insulin concentrations. However, this pattern may not be practical because of intense hunger on fasting days.
  • Modified alternate day fasting regimens result in reduced weight, ranging from 3.2% in comparison to a control group 16 over a 12 week period to 8.0% in a one-arm trial over an 8 week period. 13 There was limited and mixed evidence for reductions in insulin concentrations, improvements in lipids or reductions in inflammatory factors.
  • Research to date has not demonstrated that alternate day fasting regimens produce superior weight loss in comparison to standard, continuous calorie restriction weight loss plans.
  • There are limited data from human studies to support the robust rodent data regarding the positive impacts of time-restricted feeding (i.e., eating patterns aligned with normal circadian rhythms) on weight or metabolic health.
  • There are considerable observational data on various forms of religious fasting, most of which suggests that these regimes result in transitory weight loss with mixed impacts on other biomarkers.
  • Data are lacking regarding the impacts of intermittent fasting on other health behaviors such as diet, sleep, and physical activity.
  • There are little or no published data linking intermittent fasting regimens with clinical outcomes such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or other chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

A Research Agenda on Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting regimens attempt to translate the positive effects of fasting regimens in rodents and other mammals into a practical eating pattern for reducing the risk of chronic disease in humans. Below we give suggestions for a future research agenda investigating intermittent fasting and metabolic health.

Modified fasting regimens appear to promote weight loss and may improve metabolic health. However, there are insufficient data to determine the optimal fasting regimen, including the length of the fasting interval, the number of “fasting” days per week, degree of energy restriction needed on fasting days, and recommendations for dietary behavior on non-fasting days.

Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that eating patterns that reduce or eliminate nighttime eating and prolong nightly fasting intervals could result in sustained improvements in human health. While this hypothesis has not been tested in humans, support from animal research is striking and data from human time-restricted feeding studies are suggestive. Prolonged nightly fasting may be a simple, feasible, and potentially effective disease prevention strategy at the population level.

Large-scale randomized trials of intermittent fasting regimens in free-living adults are needed and should last for at least a year to see if behavioral and metabolic changes are sustainable and whether they have long term effects on biomarkers of aging and longevity. Future studies should incorporate objective measures of energy intake, sleep, and energy expenditure; assess numerous markers of disease risk; and enroll diverse populations who disproportionately suffer from obesity and related health maladies.

Current recommendations for weight loss frequently include advice to eat regular meals to avoid becoming hungry. Some guidelines also advise the consumption of regular snacks throughout the day. However, it is not clear that periods of fasting (i.e., hunger) necessarily lead to periods of over-eating. This overview suggests that intermittent fasting regimens may be a promising approach to lose weight and improve metabolic health for people who can tolerate intervals of not eating, or eating very little, for certain hours of the day or days of the week. If proven to be efficacious, these eating regimens may offer promising nonpharmacologic approaches to improving health at the population level with multiple public health benefits.


Funding Disclosure:

This work was supported (in part) by the National Cancer Institute Centers for Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (grant no. 1U54CA155435-01) and the National Cancer Institute, Comprehensive Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity grants (U54CA132384 and U54CA132379). Dr. Hartman is supported by grant 1K07CA181323 from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Ms. Marinac is a recipient of a NCI-sponsored Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (1F31CA183125-01A1). Dr. Villaseñor is supported by Diversity Research Supplement from the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) training program, as part of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) (3U54CA155435-02S2).

Publisher's Disclaimer: This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final citable form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no relevant interests to declare.

5 Benefits of Journaling for Mental Health

Benefits of Journaling

In fact, studies show that time spent journaling about our deepest thoughts and feelings can even reduce the number of sick days we take off work (Sohal, Singh, Dhillon & Gill, 2022).

Research suggests that journaling can help us accept rather than judge our mental experiences, resulting in fewer negative emotions in response to stressors (Ford, Lam, John, & Mauss, 2018; Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005).

This article explores the numerous benefits of journaling and introduces guidance and techniques to support clients as they attempt to express how they feel and think.

Before you start reading, we thought you might like to download our three Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF) for free . These science-based exercises will equip you and those you work with, with tools to manage stress better and find a healthier balance in your life.

This Article Contains:

Why is journaling good for you, 5 surprising benefits of journaling, how to journal for optimal mental health, getting started – journaling prompts, resources from, a take-home message.

Journaling is a widely used non-pharmacological tool for coaching and counseling and the treatment of mental illness. Two forms of journaling are particularly commonplace in psychotherapy (Sohal et al., 2022):

  • Expressive writing Typically performed over three or four sessions to access the client’s innermost feelings and thoughts; focusing on the emotional experience than events, people, or objects.
  • Gratitude journaling Involving a focus on the positive aspects of life through capturing situations, events, and interactions for which we are grateful.

Keeping a record of personal thoughts and feelings is particularly helpful in supporting mental health by (, 2021):

  • Reducing anxiety
  • Breaking away from a nonstop cycle of obsessive thinking and brooding
  • Improving the awareness and perception of events
  • Regulating emotions
  • Encouraging awareness
  • Boosting physical health

The positive effects of journaling can even be felt when not performed daily – helping the individual better understand their needs and boosting their wellbeing (Tartakovsky, 2022).

Research on Journaling

Studies show that by capturing our thoughts and feelings on paper, “participants often reveal a considerable range and depth of emotional trauma” (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005, p. 339).

Indeed, while the experience of writing can be upsetting, clients report they find it valuable and meaningful and, ultimately, a valuable part of the acceptance process.

In fact, based on client self-reports, research suggests a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits from expressive writing (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005):

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved lung and liver function
  • Less time spent in hospital
  • Better moods
  • Improved psychological wellbeing
  • Fewer depressive and avoidance symptoms
  • Reduced stress-related visits to the doctor
  • Less work absenteeism
  • Less time out of work following job loss
  • Higher student grade averages

Not only that, but research into gratitude journaling suggests that “study participants who regularly drew their attention to aspects of their lives that made them feel blessed increased their positivity” (Fredrickson, 2010, p. 187). However, a caveat exists. Recording what makes us feel grateful every day can become monotonous, even zapping positivity. A few days a week may be sufficient.

The Psychology Behind Journaling

“Research has consistently linked the habitual tendency to accept one’s mental experiences with greater psychological health” (Ford et al., 2018, p. 2). Study findings suggest that accepting our feelings is linked to better psychological health and positive therapeutic outcomes, including improved moods and reduced anxiety.

And this is where journaling can help. It can promote acceptance–and mindful acceptance in particular–which is a valuable and effective way of getting unstuck, freeing ourselves to move forward (Forsyth & Eifert, 2016).

While the exact mechanisms involved in journaling that confer physical and mental health benefits are not clear, the following psychological processes may be involved, to a greater or lesser degree (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005):

  • Emotional catharsis An emotional release of unconscious conflicts through venting negative feelings.
  • Increased cognitive processing Time spent creating coherent narratives of what has happened.
  • Repeated exposure Increased and prolonged exposure to stressful events may lead to a reduction in harmful thoughts and feelings.
  • Emotional inhibition Actively inhibiting negative emotions takes a considerable effort, further stressing the body and mind. Confronting them may support cognitive integration and further understanding.

For each suggestion, there is supporting and contradictory evidence. The benefits of journaling seem apparent, yet the mechanisms beneath are yet to be fully understood (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005; Tartakovsky, 2022).

Journaling benefits

Easy to implement and get started, it can benefit clients experiencing different mental health issues (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005; Ford et al., 2018):

Journaling for Anxiety

Journaling has proven popular and effective for treating clients experiencing anxiety, possibly because of an improved acceptance of negative emotions and a more helpful emotional response to stress (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005; Ford et al., 2018).

One meta-review of research studies suggests that journaling may be a more effective treatment for anxiety in women than men (yet both groups have a positive effect) and that doing so for longer than 30 days may maximize mental wellbeing benefits (Sohal et al., 2022).

Journaling for Depression

Research suggests that expressive writing and gratitude journaling can reduce symptoms of depression, providing an effective intervention for clients receiving treatment in therapy.

As with anxiety, such interventions also appeared more effective when lasting longer than 30 days. While benefits may not be as great as for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), journaling still appears to be a valuable intervention (Sohal et al., 2022).

Journaling for Stress Management

Journaling can support coping and reduce the impact of stressful events – potentially avoiding burnout and chronic anxiety. Studies link writing privately about stressful events and capturing thoughts and emotions on paper with decreased mental distress.

When journaling for stress management , processing our emotions in written form may even increase the likelihood that we reach out for social support. This, in turn, leads to emotional healing and improved resilience to stress (, 2021).

Journaling for Reflection

When stressed or consumed by negative thoughts, it’s difficult to view our situation objectively. Writing in a journal can help us create the space and distance needed to reflect on what has happened, where we are, and what is ahead.

Journaling may create sufficient cognitive defusion –looking at thoughts rather than being in them–to create the separation needed to accept our feelings and commit to the changes we need to make (Tartakovsky, 2022).

Journaling for Recovery

Research suggests that journaling, particularly expressive writing, can help those experiencing or recovering from the emotional trauma associated with PTSD (Sohal et al., 2022).

Another innovative approach combined journaling with visualization and appeared to offer lasting support to war veterans (Mims, 2015).

Other findings confirm journaling as a valuable and effective intervention for recovery from addiction.

A 2022 paper highlighted the ability of journaling to support the recovery of women in residential treatment for substance use disorders. Results showed that the intervention “helped participants to recognize what was positive about recovery, to achieve meaningful short-term goals, and to experience a sense of optimism and pride in their accomplishments” (Krentzman, Hoeppner, Hoeppner, & Barnett, 2022, p. 1).

6 Ways to process your feelings in writing – Therapy in a Nutshell

Despite the clear benefits of journaling for easing distress, we are often less willing to capture how we feel on paper when we are struggling the most.

After all, it’s not always pleasant. We are revisiting thoughts and emotions that we may have been avoiding. In fact, we may feel sad, upset, guilty, or anxious immediately after time spent writing. And yet, in the long term, journaling offers us better psychological and physical health (Newman, 2020).

The following guidelines should ease the first-timer into the process and make it less daunting (Newman, 2020;, 2021; Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005):

Guidance for mental health practitioners working with clients:

  • Expressive writing can be set as homework, between, or immediately before or after sessions.
  • Encourage the client to find somewhere quiet and peaceful, away from distractions.
  • Set a goal of writing three or four times a week – potentially on consecutive days.
  • Carve out 30 minutes–even during a busy day–with 20 for writing and 10 for reflection and composing.
  • Let the client choose what they want to write about, for example, a stressful or traumatic event.
  • Do not impose a structure on their writing – encourage them to choose their own format.
  • Clarify that what the client writes is private; it will only be read if they choose to share.
  • Do not judge what they capture and choose to offer up for discussion – and keep feedback to a minimum.

benefits of research paper journal

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Guidance for the client:

  • Pick the time of day that suits you best to write in the journal; setting a regular time is helpful but accept that it may be necessary to be flexible.
  • Start by expressing your feelings, allowing yourself time to name each one. Then move on to observing your thoughts and any patterns of thinking that might characterize you.
  • Start small. Begin by writing for only a few minutes on a subject of your choice – perhaps the day’s events or something that has been troubling you.
  • Create and express what you want from life and how you feel. There are no rules, and there is no wrong way of doing this.
  • Do not worry about spelling and punctuation – no one is here to judge you.
  • Choose a medium that suits you. Use a journal app , write on paper, use a computer, or record your spoken thoughts.
  • Accept that, at times, you may feel upset as you write. And that’s ok. Take a break if you need to. While this process will not fix all your problems, it will help you learn more about yourself.

We should explain to the client that expressive writing can sometimes lead to short-term distress despite the long-term benefits. Clients should be encouraged to stop writing if they find no benefits or the practice is too distressing (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005).

Tips for Journaling

“For the next four days, I would like you to write down how you feel and think about your most traumatic experience or a significant emotional issue that has profoundly impacted you.

If you can, try to let go, capturing your deepest emotions and thoughts, including how you relate to those closest to you, your past, present, and future, and how you have been and would like to be. Feel free to carry one topic across multiple days or, if you prefer, choose a new one for each.

Your writing will remain confidential, so please do not worry about spelling, grammar, or style. You are not being judged so try to write honestly and openly.”

Specific and individual prompts can be helpful for clients if they are new to journaling or are struggling to get started. Begin by answering one or more of the following questions (Tartakovsky, 2022; Newman, 2020):

  • How do the changes in your life make you feel? And how are you handling changes at work, at home, and in relationships?
  • What are you most anxious or uncertain about? Where is that coming from, and how are you coping?
  • What three things are you most grateful for today, or what three good things have happened to you today?
  • What are your favorite memories from your own or your children’s lives?
  • Name something you fear and why?
  • What do you enjoy doing and why?
  • How would you describe yourself from the perspective of someone close to you?
  • What would your very best day look like and why?
  • How would a difficult situation be handled if you were being your very best self?
  • If you woke up tomorrow having everything you truly wanted, what would it look like?

We have many journaling resources available for therapists providing support to clients wanting to address mental health issues.

Gratitude often plays a large part in journaling. Why not download our free gratitude pack and try out the powerful tools contained within, including:

  • Experiencing Awe Feelings of awe can arise in response to experiences that appear vast (including landscapes, such as the sea, mountains, and night sky) and can profoundly impact our gratitude. Ask the client to recall a time when they experienced awe and to write about their experience in detail.
  • Fostering admiration in couples Maintaining fondness and respect in a relationship can help support the love within a couple. This exercise encourages positivity within the relationship and helps form a strong emotional bond.

Other free resources include:

  • Gratitude Journal Use this worksheet Gratitude Journal as a prompt to help clients capture those aspects of their lives for which they are most grateful.
  • Self Esteem Journal for Adults Use this sheet to note down meaningful daily activities and reflect on them to enhance client self-knowledge.
  • Self-Love Journal These ten self-love prompts encourage emotional expression, mood boosting, and de-stressing within the client.

More extensive versions of the following tools are available with a subscription to the Positive Psychology Toolkit© , but they are described briefly below:

  • Journaling Through Grief in 40 Days Losing someone special from our lives is one of the most distressing human experiences. Journaling through grief allows the individual to step back and reflect on what they have been going through from multiple perspectives.

The 40 days of journaling also provide a lasting record of their journey for later reflection.

  • Strength journaling Personal strengths can be reinforced and developed through attending to them and exploring the ways in which one has used them in real, everyday life.

Use the seven days of prompts to write about what has gone well and the strengths that may have played a role in the successful outcome.

If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others manage stress without spending hours on research and session prep, this collection contains 17 validated stress management tools for practitioners . Use them to help others identify signs of burnout and create more balance in their lives.

Journaling as an intervention has many benefits, supporting physical and mental wellbeing, resilience, and greater emotional awareness and understanding.

To begin with, clients may be uncertain regarding revisiting difficult emotions or situations. And yet, with support and confirmation that their innermost thoughts and feelings remain private, they will grow more confident in capturing their deepest thoughts and better able to manage their anxiety and stressful situations.

Journaling encourages space from negative or self-critical thinking, allowing the client to see that what they think and feel is not who they are but something they are experiencing.

Journaling allows the client to see that what they think and feel is not who they are but something they are experiencing. It provides a space where a client can view their negative or self-critical thinking as just that – thoughts.

With practice, journaling can help process emotions–even ones that have been avoided or held back–and lead to a better understanding of how to proceed.

If your clients are not already doing so, task them with capturing how they think and feel in written form through either expressive writing or gratitude journaling. The client does not need to spend a great deal of time on it every day; even twenty minutes, three to four times a week, will have a positive and lasting effect.

Encourage them to reflect on what they have written later on, becoming better at understanding that difficult feelings will pass, and it is not the situation or specific stressors that cause us difficulty but our perception of them.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF) for free .

  • Baikie, K., & Wilhelm, K. (2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment , 11(5), 338-346.
  • Ford, B. Q., Lam, P., John, O. P., & Mauss, I. B. (2018). The psychological health benefits of accepting negative emotions and thoughts: Laboratory, diary, and longitudinal evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 115(6), 1075-1092.
  • Forsyth, J. P., & Eifert, G. H. (2016). The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias & Worry Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy . Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
  • Fredrickson, B. (2010). Positivity: Groundbreaking research reveals how to release your inner optimist and thrive . Richmond: Oneworld.
  • Krentzman, A. R., Hoeppner, B. B., Hoeppner, S. S., & Barnett, N. P. (2022). Development, feasibility, acceptability, and impact of a positive psychology journaling intervention to support addiction recovery. The Journal of Positive Psychology , 1-19.
  • Mims, R. (2015). Military veteran use of visual journaling during recovery. Journal of Poetry Therapy , 28(2), 99-111.
  • Newman, K. (2020). How journaling can help you in hard times . Retrieved September 2, 2022, from
  • Sohal, M., Singh, P., Dhillon, B. S., & Gill, H. S. (2022). Efficacy of journaling in the management of mental illness: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Family Medicine and Community Health , 10(1).
  • Tartakovsky, M. (2022, February 22). 15 benefits of journaling and tips for getting started . Retrieved September 2, 2022, from
  • (2021). How journaling can help ease anxiety and encourage healing . Retrieved September 2, 2022, from

benefits of research paper journal

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Article feedback

What our readers think.

Kimberly Soucie

What to put in a journal entry. I just stare at the blank page..nothing comes to mind. Not sure how this helps anything.

Julia Poernbacher

Hi Kimberly,

You don’t have to start journaling all by yourself! This is why there are many prompts and examples out there that can help you get started. To get inspired, feel free to check out the following blog articles that we wrote to give you a head start: – “ Writing Therapy: How to Write and Journal Therapeutically ” – “ Journaling for Mindfulness: 44 Prompts, Examples & Exercises ” – “ Self-Esteem Journals, Prompts, PDFs, and Ideas ”

I hope this helps!

Kind regards, Julia | Community Manager

Eli Richardson

It’s great that you elaborate on how journaling could benefit our mental health since it reduces anxiety. Recently, I’ve been busy with my job, and I barely go out with my friends, so I think I’m trapped in a bubble I’ve built, and I want to break it free. I think that keeping a journal could help me become more aware of what’s going on in my life, as you mentioned, so I’ll buy one later today.

Caroline Rou

I am glad that this article could inspire you to try journaling! I’m sorry to hear that you feel trapped, but we really stand by the mental benefits and feel it can be such a great de-stressor when we feel overwhelmed.

I wish you luck on your journaling journey!

Kind regards, -Caroline | Community Manager


These are some of the benefits that I have experienced myself. I started journaling with no expectations, but it turned out to be really great step toward my self-care journey. That day I decided to share the knowledge with other people as well. I created a blog named Your Mental Health Pal where I share mental health-related topics.


Thanks for a great well put together article. I’ve been journaling for 34 years which began while I was depressed on bed rest due to a high risk pregnancy. The act of journaling has been quite therapeutic for me to the degree that I now teach others how to do it. I’ve also created a collection of journals to share with others.

T. Lavon Lawrence

Your hard work in putting together this informative piece is very much appreciated. THANK YOU!


This is great. Thank you so much.

Ted Johnson,pahrump, nevada

My life is too big for me and shrinking at the same time! Its the rollercoaster ride that I waited in line for so long to ride that when I realized that I couldn’t see when or how it would end I had no choice but to get on it anyway! I am 64, and my father died 6 years ago and told me I could see him one time for 5 minutes and that was it! He never spoke and I just left and said I hope you feel better. Since then my wife had an affair and divorced me, and now I take care of my 88 year old mom who is dying of c.o.p.d. and has not left the house in a year! My brother lives 4 blocks away and hasn’t come over in the 2 1/2 years he has lived here. I live in a small town that has no interests in things that make life a place of wonder and passion! Its like a graveyard where the dead still walk around but never speak but they are comfortable not thinking, just walking. Besides that, my relatives don’t like me for whatever reasons and every day brings a sunrise and sunset, alone. Thanks for letting me throw up into the starless void. Did I tell you that my friends all wanted me to do standup comedy! True story! Mel Blanc’ who did the voices for bugs bunny and most of those character’s has written on his grave stone” thats all folks!”


Ted from what you have written I hear loneliness despite there being people around. I wonder if there may be a community you may connect with locally? Or start one? Best wishes as you continue to explore


Thank you for sharing Ted. I love your witty humor as a way to cope but life does sound stressful and a tad lonely. Are there fun activities or meet-up groups you can go to? Like a hiking group, a fitbit/walking challenge group? writing seminar? or better yet standup comedy (they do have amateur night). I think connecting outside your immediate circle would be good to being in some light and laughter….. just a thought….


Can I get some help with my feelings I need a journal online that guesses my feelings.

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  • 06 November 2023

How big is science’s fake-paper problem?

  • Richard Van Noorden

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

You have full access to this article via your institution.

A person reviews and edits a paper using a red pen, with a tablet in the background.

Software will help publishers to detect fake articles produced by paper mills. Credit: Getty

The scientific literature is polluted with fake manuscripts churned out by paper mills — businesses that sell bogus work and authorships to researchers who need journal publications for their CVs. But just how large is this paper-mill problem?

An unpublished analysis shared with Nature suggests that over the past two decades, more than 400,000 research articles have been published that show strong textual similarities to known studies produced by paper mills. Around 70,000 of these were published last year alone (see ‘The paper-mill problem’). The analysis estimates that 1.5–2% of all scientific papers published in 2022 closely resemble paper-mill works. Among biology and medicine papers, the rate rises to 3%.

The paper-mill problem: Chart showing percentage of articles with close similarity to paper-products from 2000 to 2022.

Source: Adam Day, unpublished estimates

Without individual investigations, it is impossible to know whether all of these papers are in fact products of paper mills. But the proportion — a few per cent — is a reasonable conservative estimate, says Adam Day, director of scholarly data-services company Clear Skies in London, who conducted the analysis using machine-learning software he developed called the Papermill Alarm . In September, a cross-publisher initiative called the STM Integrity Hub, which aims to help publishers combat fraudulent science, licensed a version of Day’s software for its set of tools to detect potentially fabricated manuscripts.

benefits of research paper journal

AI intensifies fight against ‘paper mills’ that churn out fake research

Paper-mill studies are produced in large batches at speed, and they often follow specific templates, with the occasional word or image swapped. Day set his software to analyse the titles and abstracts of more than 48 million papers published since 2000, as listed in OpenAlex, a giant open index of research papers that launched last year , and to flag manuscripts with text that very closely matched known paper-mill works. These include both retracted articles and suspected paper-mill products spotted by research-integrity sleuths such as Elisabeth Bik , in California, and David Bimler (also known by the pseudonym Smut Clyde) , in New Zealand.

Bimler says that Day’s “stylistic-similarity approach is the best we have at the moment” for estimating the prevalence of paper-mill studies, but he and others caution that it might inadvertently catch genuine papers that paper mills have copied, or cases in which authors have fitted real data into a template-style article. Day, however, says that he tried to keep false positives “close to zero” by validating the findings against test sets of papers that were known to be genuine, or fake. “There had to be a big signal for a paper to be flagged,” he says.

Day also examined a smaller subset of 2.85 million works published in 2022 for which a subject area was recorded in the OpenAlex database. Around 2.2% of these resembled paper-mill studies, but the rate varied depending on the subject (see ‘Subject breakdown’).

Subject breakdown: Charts showing scientific disciplines with the highest proportion of paper-mill articles.

According to Bik, Day’s estimate, “although staggeringly high, is not impossible”. But she says that it’s not possible to evaluate Day’s work without seeing full details of his methods and examples — a concern echoed by cancer researcher and integrity sleuth Jennifer Byrne , at the University of Sydney in Australia. “Sadly, I find these estimates to be plausible,” Byrne adds.

Day, who regularly blogs about his work, says he aims to release more information at a later date, but adds that his desire to prevent competitors reverse-engineering his software, or fraudsters working around it, limits what he shares publicly. Sensitive information is shared privately with fraud investigators, he says.

benefits of research paper journal

Paper-mill detector put to the test in push to stamp out fake science

Overall, he sees his estimate as a lower bound, because it will miss paper mills that avoid known templates. The analysis indicates that paper mills aren’t spread evenly across journals, but instead cluster at particular titles. Day says that he won’t reveal publicly which publishers seem to be most badly affected, because he thinks it could be harmful to do so.

A June 2022 report by the Committee on Publication Ethics , based in Eastleigh, UK, said that for most journals, 2% of submitted papers are likely to have come from paper mills, and the figure could be higher than 40% for some. The report was based on private data submitted by six publishers, and it didn’t say how the estimates were made or what proportion of paper-mill manuscripts went on to be published.

Spotting paper mills

In the past few years, publishers have stepped up their efforts to combat paper mills, says Joris Van Rossum, director of research integrity at STM who led development of the STM Integrity Hub, with a focus on tools (including Day’s software) to help detect fraudulent submitted manuscripts. They now have multiple ways to screen for them. Bik, Byrne and others have pointed out many red flags, and the STM Integrity Hub has said that it now has more than 70 signals .

Text that follows a common template is only one sign. Others include suspicious e-mail addresses that don’t correspond to any of a paper’s authors; e-mail addresses from hospitals in China (because the issue is known to be so prevalent there); identical charts that claim to represent different experiments; telltale turns of phrase that indicate efforts to avoid plagiarism detection ; citations of other paper-mill studies; and duplicate submissions across journals. Day and those involved in the STM Integrity Hub will not reveal all of the signals that they use, to avoid alerting fraudsters.

benefits of research paper journal

‘Tortured phrases’ give away fabricated research papers

In May, Bernhard Sabel, a neuropsychologist at Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany, posted a preprint suggesting that any paper with an author who was affiliated with a hospital and gave a non-academic e-mail address should be flagged as a possible paper-mill publication. Sabel estimated that 20–30% of papers in medicine and neuroscience in 2020 were possible paper-mill products, but dropped this to 11% in a revised preprint in October. He also acknowledged that his method would flag false positives, which many researchers criticized .

Whatever the scale of the problem, it seems clear that it has overwhelmed publishers’ systems. The world’s largest database of retractions, compiled by the website Retraction Watch, records fewer than 3,000 retractions related to paper-mill activity, out of a total of 44,000. That is an undercount, says the site’s co-founder Ivan Oransky, because database maintainers are still entering thousands of retractions, and some publishers avoid the term ‘paper mill’ in retraction notices.

Those retraction numbers are “only a small fraction of the lowest estimates we have for the scale of the problem at this stage”, says Day. “Paper-mill producers must feel pretty safe.”

Nature 623 , 466-467 (2023)


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The best AI tools for writing a research paper

man studying in cafe on laptop

Research papers may be the most dreaded of academic assignments, even before you hit the Master’s or PhD level, never mind your post-grad career. Thankfully there are now a number of generative AI tools that can speed up research writing, and we’ve gathered some of the better ones into a handy list.

While you’ll see some familiar names on here, it’s worth reminding everyone that in an academic environment, AI can potentially be a minefield. Some uses of it are considered cheating or otherwise unethical, especially if you plagiarize content. When that worry is eliminated, you still need to doublecheck the style, grammar, facts, and/or sources of any AI output.


Grammarly for Chrome

Grammarly’s main purpose is of course correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation. But it can also recommend changes to the tone or formality of your language, and most importantly for research papers, there’s a beta citation generator. That feature supports APA, MLA, and Chicago styles, so as a student at least, you should be covered.

Note that while there’s a free version of Grammarly, you’ll need to upgrade to a Premium plan to get things like full-sentence rewrites, formatting help, and plagiarism detection. The upgraded version can even help with English fluency if that’s a second language and you’re not used to cultural conventions. Premium further bumps up the number of AI prompts you can use from 100 per month to 1,000.


This tool focuses exclusively on paper discovery. On top of enabling manual searches and a personal library, though, it can also recommend related papers and authors, and update you on the latest material connected to your research. If you like, you can collaborate with others, or check out a visual map of a paper’s links.

The best part is that ResearchRabbit is entirely supported by donations, so if you’re a struggling grad student, there’s no need to pay for the convenience. Go ahead and save your cash for food, rent, and student loans.


Scholarcy promises to do the hard part with a lot of outside source material — summarize it so you get the gist. The tool is said to work with books and papers alike, and extract vital information such as findings, limitations, and data analyses. The result is a flashcard, but with links to sources, and the ability to choose what appears. If you need the tables from scientific papers, for instance, you can force Scholarcy to include them.

An extension for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge supports open repositories like arXiv and biorXiv. In fact you can use this for free, though you’re limited to small- to medium-sized documents, and you’ll need to sign up for a subscription if you want to save summaries to your Scholarcy Library. A subscription also gets you sharing, annotation, and export options, as well as the ability to import from Dropbox, Google Drive, or custom RSS feeds.


While Scite might in some ways serve same purpose as ResearchRabbit — hunting down papers — it goes a lot further. You can ask it general knowledge questions and get answers with cited sources, or doublecheck the sources for claims you’ve read elsewhere, such as ChatGPT . When searching for material, you can apply numerous filters including authorship, institutional affiliation, or how many citations mention, support, or contrast a particular paper.

You can even check how often your own material is being cited, or get aggregate insights and notifications based on your collections. It’s serious stuff, and once your trial period expires, you’ll need to pay $144 per year or $20 per month unless you’re lucky enough to fall under a university or corporate plan.


If Scite can be considered a step up from ResearchRabbit, the same might be said about Trinka versus Grammarly. Trinka is specifically aimed at fixing academic and technical writing, including style, grammar, and jargon issues. It’s based on the APA and AMA style guides, and it always aims for a formal tone. 

There’s a host of additional features here, including paraphrasing, citation and plagiarism checking, and analysis to find an ideal journal to publish in. Plug-ins are available for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Microsoft Word. A Safari plug-in is promised sometime in the future.

If all you want is small-scale help with grammar, paraphrasing, and plagiarism, there’s a free version of Trinka which supports Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan, however, if you want to lift usage caps and take advantage of Word integration.


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