Let's consider a paper that uses many different techniques to solve a practical problem. The techniques that the paper uses have all already been published by others. This paper only modifies or customizes these techniques a bit to fit the particular question that the paper is solving.

The techniques used are from different disciplines. So the paper is more or less similar to an integration of these techniques. These different techniques were proposed or published for a general purpose with no specified applications before. Now this paper integrates them together and solves a rather specific and practical problem.

I understand that this kind of very-specific-problem-solver application paper will get cited less often than those algorithm papers that may be applicable to many applications. However, let us leave the impact factor issue aside first.

Is this integration and application valued by the peers? Is this paper valuable enough to get published? (not considering its impact first)


4 Answers 4


In my opinion, yes.

You paper will prove that those techniques are useful and usable by using them to solve a practical problem. I consider it a contribution to human kind, thus valuable to get published.

Whether or not it will be accepted by journal/conference is another issue. You should try. Please send it to be peer-reviewed.

  • I am currently facing a dilemma, where I am not sure whether I should devise new technique (algorithm) for my problem or just borrow already-existed algorithm. If I just borrow, I will have some time for other improvements or more features. But if I try to figure out new algorithm, I will have no time for others. Sep 29, 2013 at 6:38
  • @perfectionm1ng This sounds another question. I would do both if time permits if I were you. Time constraint is an external factor. I did not put it into consideration when answering this question.
    – Nobody
    Sep 29, 2013 at 7:03
  • Thanks, for my case, the time constraint is the biggest concern here. That is also why I have to choose one. Sep 29, 2013 at 7:05
  • 1
    @perfectionm1ng You could do the second paper for the new new technique (algorithm).
    – Nobody
    Sep 29, 2013 at 7:17
  • 1
    ...or you could include both techniques in a single, better paper, instead of optimizing the number of bullets in your CV.
    – JeffE
    Sep 29, 2013 at 22:23

I wouldn't have any doubts about this. It is the essence of applied science, where theoretical techniques get to be tested through their application on practical problems. And as you write, it is usually found that some modification and customization is required, or even, that some techniques actually don't work with some sub-class of problems, or that some techniques are better suited to some sub-class compared to others. Further, a paper that compares the application of different techniques on the same problem, is even more valuable.

  • ... and therefore it should go to a journal where the application is a suitable topic. Sep 29, 2013 at 12:31
  • @cbeleites Very true. The existence of such journals is tangible proof that the matter matters. Sep 29, 2013 at 12:56

Regarding the way you described your work, it certainly worth writing it up and submitting it as an article to a journal. However, there are several factors that can add more value to your work as follows:

  1. If the problem you have solved is an important problem and has been addressed by well known experts in the literature and if you write a very nice introduction to your paper and explaining the importance of the problem.

  2. If the way you use these techniques explores more applications and benefits of them. In this way, it is like you have invented a brand new technique.

  3. If the way you use these techniques from different disciplines shows interconnections of these disciplines and suggest more interrelationship for further investigations.

I am sure that if you explain carefully all the above points in your paper and highlight the advantages of your approach to the problem, it won't be difficult to publish your result.



Such publication will not only be helpful to the community whose focus is on the particular problem under investigation in your paper, but, will also be instrumental in spreading the knowledge of the techniques you employed from other fields.

In order to improve the technical quality of your manuscript, I would even suggest that you elaborate on the techniques used. Often analysis techniques originate from complex mathematical treatises. Applied research employing such techniques help in making the techniques popular and useful for practical applications.

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