I am currently working on a project for my research internship. This basically consists in taking a few pre-existing concepts and pieces of technology and combining them into a new product/tool.

Apart from publishing results of testing the tool's effectiveness at solving the problem, would it be possible to publish a paper about its development? or does the fact that no new technology was created not make it novel research?

I work in the field of robotics applied to the human body. The device will help users maintain a proper posture.

I realize this might be opinion based, but I still feel that it's relevant.

  • 1
    Is there a new idea behind the new product/tool?
    – Nobody
    Sep 10, 2016 at 14:29
  • Perhaps you could expand the publishability of your work by also considering its applications. You may want to look for a collaborator who has specific expertise in a field of application. Note: I will let you fix your spelling mistake (it's -> its) to help you establish the habit of checking for that one. (It's a common mistake -- you are not alone in making it!) Sep 10, 2016 at 14:54
  • @scaaahu as far as I know, yes.
    – JS Lavertu
    Sep 10, 2016 at 15:00
  • 1
    @bitwise I edited the question to clarify.
    – JS Lavertu
    Sep 10, 2016 at 18:54
  • 2
    A paper about the development could be interesting! It probably does not fit in a research journal, but perhaps your mentor in the internship can suggest where to try publishing it.
    – GEdgar
    Sep 10, 2016 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


The general criteria for something being publishable is that it advances human knowledge in some way.

As you note, it is clear that a scientific publication can be made about the efficacy of your creation at its intended task.

Whether there is anything else beyond that, however, depends on whether the things that were learned during the development and integration process are interesting and generalizable in some way. Some possibilities:

  • Did you have to combine the existing elements in an unusual or unexpected manner?
  • Was there a process that you followed that will make it easier to design more things of the same type?
  • Was this an example of an emerging set of cross-field collaborations that in itself would be interesting to tell other practitioners about? (e.g., is "postural robotics" an area with a lot of potential that other roboticists would like to hear about?)

It might still be, however, that there are no other papers in this particular effort at the moment---and if so, that's OK too. Don't try to slice the salami any thinner than it should be.


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