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  • Empower your writing process


    Authors. Caroline Salamin, Noémi Cobolet, Pascale Bouton, Raphaël Grolimund (Bibliothèque de l’EPFL)

    Document type. This document is not a scientific paper, but the course notes of a seminar for PhD students provided by the EPFL Library. This seminar is module 2.

    Version. This is v1.0.3 of the document, updated on June 14, 2016. The latest version of this document is available at

    Copyright. CC BY-NC-SA Bibliothèque de l’EPFL | This document is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License.

    Additional material. Two appendices are handed out at the end of the session: a general appendix ( containing examples and answers; and an appendix specific to the session, created by the participants. These appendices are not published online, but can be sent on demand (contact for more information).

    Acknowledgments. The authors would like to thank Himanshu Verma, who accepted to take part in the seminar as guest speaker and enrich it with his experience as a former PhD student at EPFL. His presentation is available on
    The authors also want to thank Vijay Kartik, a former participant, who contributed by fixing some minor errors.

    Abstract. This document is tailored for PhD Students interested in facilitating their writing process. We look at the strategies to improve the findability of your papers by taking advantage of the mechanisms provided by major scientific databases. We then show how to avoid pitfalls of collaborative writing (authorship, versioning and collaborative tools). We finally explain how to properly reuse other works in your publications. The in-class session also includes practical exercises in Authorea.

    Boost your paper findability

    Introduction: what are we talking about?

    This section will focus on the findability of scientific articles that are meant to be published in peer-reviewed journals.

    To be visible, your paper must be disseminated widely, easy to find and access, and frequently cited by other scholars. Concerning findability, there are 2 essential steps to take care of. First of all, it is of vital importance to understand the mechanisms of the main search engines and to keep them in mind to prepare your papers accordingly! Take time to explore the resources where your paper might be listed. To do so, you may check the articles published by journals in your domain and observe where and how they are indexed. When this is clear to you, build your title and abstract, and keywords with great care, following essential rules that we will look over.

    Search engines and relevance

    Authors need to be conscious of the indexing mechanisms of scientific search engines and bibliographic databases: then they will be able