I am a bachelor student at the second year of studies (Physics), but I'm an independent programmer since many more years.

Now, I have some data about an algorithm I've done and I would like to present the results on a research paper - I have a high level of understanding of the theory behind, and some background of theoretical computer science. Is it "reasonable" to write a paper with no titles at all (high school) and without the name of my university maybe? I don't know whether include it or not, since the topic is not related to what I study there.

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    Sure, why not? Nobody in theoretical computer science cares where you work, how old you are, or what color your hair is. But do run your paper past a local expert before submitting it anywhere. As in any other community, there are social norms that must be followed.
    – JeffE
    Mar 15, 2014 at 20:20
  • I will, thanks. And I had also this doubt, WHERE should I publish it then..? Mar 15, 2014 at 20:38
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    @Novalink: That's something your "local expert" should advise you on. We have no idea what the subject of your algorithm is, or how strong the paper is, so any recommendation you received here would be purely conjectural.
    – aeismail
    Mar 15, 2014 at 22:08
  • You are right, of course I will ask for improvements to someone more expert than me before publishing, thanks. Mar 15, 2014 at 23:02

3 Answers 3


You should definitely write it up. There are plenty of good reasons for doing so and no downside. Writing a paper is a good exercise for future paper and report writing, and while you are doing it you are likely to think of new ideas about your research. You will also have to search for similar work that might be suitable for references and you may find something useful there too.

You should also put the paper online somewhere so that it is preserved and available to others who may find it useful. If there is data and/or code that goes with the paper you can use figshare for example. It does not matter if there is not much response to your work, that is common when authors have no background and does not mean it is not good. Someone may pick up on it later when you don't expect it.

You might also want to try to publish in a peer-review journal if you think it is sufficiently original and useful. That might require you to write it up in a specific format such at LaTeX. Again that is all good experience. You will have a much better chance of acceptance in a journal if you can use your university affiliation but you will have to make it clear that you are an undergraduate there to avoid problems and it might be best to check with your tutor. If you search around you may find a suitable journal that is specifically set up to accept work from undergraduates. If you can get it accepted it would look good on your CV whatever you plan to do in the future.

The only circumstance that would make it unwise to publish your work would be if the algorithm is original and of high commercial value and/or patentable in which case you would have to follow a different route to protect your intellectual property. However that is a rare situation.

  • Thank You. Definitely You gave me some hints. One more thing then, I would like it to be published from the beginning (my aim is to gather feedback about my writing and my ideas mostly, and yes write some original literature), so which networks do you suggest for publishing, peer-reviewed or not? I have already a very good academic english and I write in LaTeX everything science-related (also all my lab reports). Mar 15, 2014 at 23:01
  • It depends what you write. Perhaps you should write it as a preprint and then seek advice on where to publish. Obviously you can search for undergraduate journals and there are plenty of Google hits, so that is one way to go. Mar 16, 2014 at 16:54

My academic advisor certainly seems to think that this would be possible! I have researched and written about several subjects that are outside my major, and though none have (Yet!) been published, none of my professors or advisors seem to think it strange that I might have knowledge and interests outside my major, nor do they doubt that I am capable of producing quality work in those areas.

However, you may wish to find a professor in CS, and ask them to read and critique your paper. You will benefit from their academic experience, and their input makes it more likely that you can succeed in publishing a paper in an area outside your major.

Edit: Seek your advisor's input on this. If you plan to sink a large number of hours into a project outside your main research focus, s/he may not be altogether happy about that. This caveat may not apply in your case, since you are still in the undergraduate phase, but may be more of an issue later.


yes. I've had experience with grant reviewers noting things like a modest publication history all in all if the paper is good, the work is sound and you meet the editors guidelines and format the paper correctly for the journal...it should and will be published. Be extra cautious to acknowledge everyone especially those who loaned you or allowed you resources. I've seen personalities "smirk" at non-traditional success. You will be under more scrutiny most likely but I'm the end the end good science will prevail.

  • Do you mean journal editors? The statement that you've had peer reviewers do so is troubling in most disciplines since the review process is single or double blind. Either way the focus should be the content not the prior credentials held.
    – virmaior
    Sep 8, 2014 at 13:23
  • @virmaior Every journal is different but most in my experience have an editor with ultimate authority who almost always follow the direction of the reviewers of your paper. When u submit a paper it gets routed to a few people (reviewers) who have published material related to your field and in that journal. they critique the manuscript and send their recommendation to the editor. The editors help you correct the format and proof the paper merely, usually.
    – rhill45
    Sep 8, 2014 at 14:36
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    yes, but you stated that your peer reviewers noted your modest publication history while looking at your paper ... which would be impossible when the blind review process is used.
    – virmaior
    Sep 8, 2014 at 14:39
  • @virmaior No, that would only be impossible if the review was double blind, which is not always the case. Sep 9, 2014 at 6:33

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