When you’re finally ready to submit your manuscript for publication, it’s an exciting and satisfying time! You worked hard to get the research completed and put it all together in an academic manuscript ready to be accepted by a publishing journal. But many companies today are requiring more than just your article - they want you to send supplementary materials with it!
These materials help to showcase you as an expert authority on the topic you are submitting for publishing. Sometimes supplementary documents are an option, while other times, they are necessary to add to your manuscript before an editor will look at your work. There are benefits to submitting supplementary materials when you send your manuscript to a publisher that make it a good choice, even though it’s a little extra work.
What Are Supplementary Materials?
Scholarly journals allow authors to include supplementary materials that help to reinforce the knowledge inside the submitted manuscript. There are different types of supplements that are considered to be best, or better, for disseminating certain information or showing it in a particular form. The type of supplementary material chosen depends on factors such as the discipline of the journal and its scope, the propensity of the journal to be able to share more than the minimum material in its publication, and the aims for the publishing company.
When you are deciding which supplementary material to submit with your manuscript, consider these choices:
● Thoroughly detailed methodology instructions to guide other researchers to replicate your work. The basics are always included in your manuscript, but if your goal is to ensure others can repeat your work, you need full transparency and a step-by-step process, which can be considered a supplementary material.
● Tables to include raw data, data sets, and databases that were discussed in the research manuscript. The actual data itself would be supplementary, as well as any additional tables that support the outcome of your research but aren’t integral to the comprehension of the paper.
● Any figures that you compiled that were left out once the allotted number of charts, graphs, and images were met. With limited space for publishing purposes, it’s not always possible to include all relevant figures. Any extras, or any figures that were deemed too colorful or complex for publication, can be included as a supplement to your manuscript.
● Multimedia files such as videos, movies, or other visuals and audio files that demonstrate the research in action. In some instances, it’s more applicable to be able to see or hear what happened than to read it. If you are publishing to an electronic journal, your publisher may allow you to link to these visual or audio representations.
● Case studies that were observed and studied in your paper to help you to come up with your outcome. These specific examples should be vaguely mentioned in your manuscript and then more thoroughly addressed, although any sensitive information should be redacted.
● Any surveys, forms, and other data collecting sources you used in obtaining information for your research. Inputting these as supplementary material lets the readers have a better understanding of the participants’ responses.
While these are some of the supplementary materials allowed, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Check with your publishing company should you have questions about whether something you want to include would be acceptable.
The Benefits of Including Supplements With Your Manuscript
Whether your publisher requires supplementary materials or you’re considering sending them, you should know the benefits involved in including this extra work. It truly is a worthwhile practice, especially once you gain confidence in preparing the additional materials. Adding extra information to assert your authority and clarify the research in your paper can maximize the impact of your work because:
● They allow further research to seamlessly transition from your current information when you provide detailed methodology, datasets, and results so other researchers can replicate your work
● The extra information clarifies otherwise confusing content in your paper
● Adding more material makes your paper easier to find, since anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the journal might get to your paper through backlinking of the supplementary information
● Plagiarism detectors now have your supplementary materials as well as your article to sift through and limit plagiarism opportunities
The supplementary material request might seem like extra work at first, but understanding the benefits helps you to understand that this process is advantageous to the researcher and the reader.