Helping and Protecting new researchers
Young researchers, especially those preparing their PhD in our universities, are the future of our profession. They are called to replace us and take charge of all our teaching, research, journals and books publishing activities, etc.
Considering the decreasing level of science in general in Africa, and mathematics in particular, it is our duty to create a new generation that exceeds us by far.
Every new generation must produce a better one.
It is only through such a process that Africa can hope to catch up the worldwide leading group
Our entire policy within our foundation is geared towards this goal, alongside other initiatives.
In this context, we have seen, as editors of SPAS journals that many young people are left on their own in their first steps in the world of publication.
Several times, we saw papers co-signed by a supervisor and at the time of the review, we realized that the supervisor has simply put his name without any intervention on the paper,
in its scientific content or in its form, which constitutes a violation of the code of supervision.
We believe that the supervisors should, among other things, prepare the students for their first work and supervise them. In particular, they should
- give them general training on writing journal articles. An annual seminar on how to write a scientific mathematical article would be welcome. This training would include the use of keywords, AMS Subjects classification. Complete models of article organization (Introduction, Motivation and Presentation of Results, Exposure and Comments of Results, Evidence of Results, Applications and Simulations, Conclusion) could be made;
- give them an ethical training on scientific rigor, respect of intellectual property, value of quotations of results used, etc.
- train them on scientific databases such as MathSciNet, Zentralblatt, the digital objects identification (DOI), impact factors, etc.
- give them a relatively advanced course of Latex. As part of this course, the young reseachers take up entire articles from supervisors or short articles from Annals of probability or Annals of Statistics, for example.
When the young doctoral student has obtained his first results, he puts into practice the knowledge already learned under the supervision of the advisor, who takes this opportunity to:
- teach him rigor, teach him that such writing should take time, proofreading (why not about fifty times?)
- ask him to share his results within his research team;
- make him aware of archival sites like Arxiv (arxiv.org), Afrika Arxiv (arxivafrika.org), for example, to save and protect his results, and wait a few months to complete the work before the submission;
- make him understand that an article is submitted only when it has been added value, read and re-read several times, the language has been polished,
everything are checked several times, the paper should meet the standards of reputed journals.
After this step, it would be necessary to
- inform the young researcher about how journals work, the templates that may be required;
- teach him to correspond with publishers in a formal, polite and sober manner;
- help him know the steps of the publication procedure (waiting for the reviewer's report, preparing a revised version and answering to the report if necessary,
handling uncorrected proofs if the paper is accepted).
We propose that the document New researcher guide
produced by the IMS, be read with attention by the
young doctoral students under the authority of the supervisors.
In this respect, we want to help young researcherse to benefit from an environment of training that prepares their scientific career.
For this purpose, we implement the following policy.
(a) From now on, authors of papers published in our journals will be introduced before the Introductions
section (as some other journals do).
(b) PhD students' papers must be co-signed by a supervisor or recommended by the supervisor. The principle we apply is that no author who has not had the
proper training should begin any publication procedure.
(c) Supervisors should take responsibilities for allowing a student to enter the world of publication, either by signing the paper after verifying its
scientific level and editorial form, or by formally recommending it.
Presently, we reject a significant number of submission from PhD students. We hope that by implementing this policy, this catagory of authors will take all the
necessary steps and send ready-to-be-published papes under the guidance of supervisors.