References & Article Types

Reference managers (or reference formatting software such as BibTeX for LaTeX documents) make it easy to organize and format citations. They can also assist with managing libraries containing citations, PDFs, and image files by organizing important documents by subject and allowing you to search your library using keywords. Add and organize any papers that are relevant to your research as you read them. This will help you remember to appropriately cite articles that you have read.

Some widely used reference management and formatting software applications are:

  • BibTeX
  • EndNote
  • Mendeley
  • Papers
  • RefWords
  • Zotero
  • ReadCube

Types of journal articles

It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the different types of articles published by journals. Although it may appear there are a large number of types of articles published due to the wide variety of names they are published under, most articles published are one of the following types; Original Research, Review Articles, Short reports or Letters, Case Studies, Methodologies.

Original Research:

This is the most common type of journal manuscript used to publish full reports of data from research. It may be called an Original Article, Research Article, Research, or just Article, depending on the journal. The Original Research format is suitable for many different fields and different types of studies. It includes a full Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections.

Short reports or Letters:

These papers communicate brief reports of data from original research that editors believe will be interesting to many researchers, and that will likely stimulate further research in that  field. As they are relatively short, the format is useful for scientists and other scholarly researchers with results that are time sensitive (for example, those in highly competitive or quickly-changing disciplines). This format often has strict length limits, so some experimental details may not be published until the author writes a full Original Research manuscript. These papers are also sometimes called Brief communications.

Review Articles:

We mentioned review articles earlier in this tutorial. Many researchers often begin their background work by reading these articles. Journal Editors typically invite leading researchers to write these articles to survey, catalog, and summarize a field’s current state. As these articles present a fundamental background to current research, many authors cite them when publishing their own work. 

Case Studies:

These articles report specific instances of interesting phenomena. Case Studies help make other researchers aware of the possibility that a specific phenomenon might occur. Common in medicine, they report the occurrence of previously unknown or emerging pathologies.

Methodologies or Methods:

These articles present a new experimental method, test or procedure. The method described may either be completely new, or may offer a better version of an existing method. The article should describe a demonstrable advance on what is currently available.

Next: Titles, Abstracts & Keywords

For further support

We hope that with this tutorial you have a clearer idea of how the publication process works and feel confident in responding to editor and reviewers. Good luck with publishing your work!

If you feel that you would like some further support with writing your paper and understanding the peer review process, Springer Nature offer some services which may be of help.

  • Nature Research Editing Service offers high quality  English language and scientific editing. During language editing, Editors will improve the English in your manuscript to ensure the meaning is clear and identify problems that require your review. With Scientific Editing experienced development editors will improve the scientific presentation of your research in your manuscript and cover letter, if supplied. They will also provide you with a report containing feedback on the most important issues identified during the edit, as well as journal recommendations.
  • Our affiliates American Journal Experts also provide English language editing* as well as other author services that may support you in preparing your manuscript.
  • We provide both online and face-to-face training for researchers on all aspects of the manuscript writing process.

* Please note, using an editing service is neither a requirement nor a guarantee of acceptance for publication.