I developed new methods to measure characteristic values for globally critical issues. These new methods are described in detail in a patent application I filed last year. The patent application is hard to read even for scientists. I now want to publish the most important of these new methods in a series of shorter and (where possible) simpler papers. The main function is to "market" the science, such that it gets a lot of traction, creates cooperation and can be implemented ASAP. For one of these methods, the "harder to read" section (with some formulas) cannot be reduced to less than about 11 pages without becoming un-understandable. For many journals that is already too long. The option I have in mind is to include the entire "harder to read" section under "supplementary materials", only accessible online and to write a much shorter "main text" for the printed paper section. The advantage would be that the main text would be much easier to read, resulting in many more people actually reading it (my objective). The issue with this approach is that the reader would need to believe that what I say in the shorter "main text" is correct, since only reading the "supplementary materials" would explain it.

Is this the best approach? I would appreciate it to get recommendations on how to best do this.

Thanks for your help.

Hans B.

  • 2
    The supplementary material approach is pretty standard and makes sense to me. Feb 25 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


Your suggestion seems eminently sensible. There are a few journals that are willing to include important technical clarification and explanations in appendices, but the additional material tends to be limited to two or three pages. Online publication of supplementary material seems ideal.

You comment that one of your concerns is that

the reader would need to believe that what I say in the shorter "main text" is correct, since only reading the "supplementary materials" would explain

but I don't think that is quite correct. The reader only has to be persuaded that it is worth their while to read the supplementary material. I'm reminded of the the advice of Leslie Lamport (the creator of the LaTeX macro package) about giving a paper at a mathematics conference. To quote from point 1 of the linked text,

Don't give your paper; the audience can't take it. If someone can understand in thirty minutes what it took you weeks to develop, then you're in the wrong business.

Your aim in your journal paper should be to present your ideas in a sufficiently persuasive and compelling way that your reader will desperately want to read the supplementary material. It's a real challenge to write this way, but it can certainly be done.

  • Thanks for your recommendation. Leslie Lamport's text was worth printing!
    – Hans B.
    Mar 16 at 16:13

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