Writing Papers

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Notes on writing papers. Mostly advice I've gotten from Ruofei and Dr. Varshney.


Important tasks not to forget

  • Check all the references
    • Any symbols in title or accents in names
    • Try to make doi formatting consistent. Either all have URLs or all are DOI:.
    • Try to make sure citations are sorted in \cite{..,..}.


You can make figures in Powerpoint. However, make sure you change the color scheme from the default so it isn't obvious it was made in Powerpoint and it does not look low-effort.

You can also use Google Slides.
Export as PDF rather than a raster PNG/JPEG image. This allows text to be rasterized on the client and images to be full-resolution.

You can use Ghostscript to embed fonts. It's better to embed fonts within each figure rather than in the whole PDF. Reference

gs -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=output.pdf input.pdf


You should make a 2-3 minute video explaining your project.
This can be done in Adobe Premiere.


Explain the motivation or derivation of an equation before showing it.


Always make a pass on Grammerly.

Common mistakes I make:

  • ‘on the other hand’ must follow ‘on one hand’. Otherwise, use ‘however’.
  • Don’t use ‘firstly’, ‘secondly’. Use ‘first’, ‘second’.
  • Spell out numbers 7 or lower.
  • Data is singular and plural. ‘later research’ and ‘recent work’ should use singular verbs.
  • List of adjectives need to be followed by a noun.
    • E.g. Existing juice research include: apple-based, orange-based, and pineapple-based juices.

Additional things:

  • Always use pural pronouns: e.g. "We did ...", "Our method ...", "Their technique ..."


  • Minor things:
    • Be consistent with spaces in cite lists.
    • Tilde keeps citations on the same line.
    • Avoid orphan lines (last line on another page) if possible.

Paper Layout

Most full papers have the following layout.


  • Brief introduction of the problem and motivation.
  • 1-2 sentences of your method and evaluation.
  • 1-2 sentences of your findings.


The main goal here is to present the problem and convince the reader that the problem is interesting, important, and yet-to-be-solved.

Related Works

Some authors put this section near the end but this is just a brief survey of the field.
Make sure to cite all the important papers in the field and some newer ones to show that the area is still relevant.
Try to also cite who you think will be reviewers. Do not criticize other works too specifically since they may be your reviewers.
I.e. Don't say "Li et al. does X but fails to consider Y."

At the end, you can add a paragraph about what advantage of your method has compared to existing works.