During my PhD studies I characterized certain device. I followed the theory outlined in several handbooks.

But then, I started obtaining weird results and had to do a lot of research of my own to understand them. It turns out that nearly everything in the handbooks is an approximation (often without saying so). It took me a lot of time to find various 1970-80s papers that describe some obscure effects that can arise in an experimental setup.

So I want to write something that summarizes those numerous effects. I haven't discovered anything, and my measurements are confidential, but I want others to be able to easily find explanation to their weird results.

What type of journal/magazine submission should I write? Or should I not write at all, and just leave it for others to educate themselves the hard way?

  • 1
    In science, most things are approximations. What is the length of the coastline of Maine?
    – Buffy
    Jan 15, 2023 at 20:29
  • 2
    @Buffy its coastline is impossible to properly determine, if you treat it like a fractal, but circa 5632 km if one uses a map. But I know it just because I've read a book about fractals. My life would be hard if I encountered a "coastline paradox" IRL and had to discover fractal maths all by myself.
    – user46147
    Jan 15, 2023 at 20:37
  • 1
    Why are your measurements confidential?
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 15, 2023 at 21:13
  • 3
    If you are looking for a journal to publish in, Reviews of Scientific Instruments might be appropriate.
    – Buzz
    Jan 16, 2023 at 2:07
  • 1
    If anyone does think of a suitable journal, I've got a couple of manuscripts of the form "there are no novel insights in this manuscript, but I think I can express some existing insights much more clearly than the people who originated them". Jan 16, 2023 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


You did not specify your discipline (though it sounds like something in physics or chemistry). My own disciplines span business and computer science, but the closest to what you seem to be describing might be published in what we call a "methods article" or a "methodological contribution". Such articles contribute to research methodology (such as measurements) without making a substantive scientific knowledge contribution. Most of our leading journals explicitly acknowledge this type of article (as long as it is clearly identified as such in the cover letter and introduction) since substantive knowledge depends on reliable methods in any field of knowledge. In most major disciplines, there are some journals entirely devoted to publishing such articles. You might find some appropriate journals in your own discipline by searching for something like "[your discipline] methodology journal".

Generally, a valuable (or publishable) methods article must show why the methodological insight makes a difference for researchers in the course of their regular substantive knowledge development. That is, it should point out meaningful (not trivial) errors that might be made when your insight is not taken into consideration. Then it should show practically how researchers can apply your improved method in their own work. Almost always, there should be an empirical example that demonstrates the application of the method on real data. Ideally, the example should run at least two methods: the commonly applied method (for which you demonstrate the serious problems) and then your new method (for which you demonstrate the meaningful improvement).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .