03-12 engineering schematics

[Image above] Credit: ThisisEngineering RAEng, Unsplash

The most important job function of an industrial researcher is to make a better product. This objective drives all parts of the research process—basic research, to create new building blocks; applied science research, to convert the building blocks into a product; engineering research, to manufacture the product; and applications research, to demonstrate the capabilities.

A better product is defined by quality and performance, attributes which have at least two facets: uniqueness and dependability. Companies that provide unique capabilities and products have advantages over competitors because customers can only purchase the products from them, which allows for highly profitable pricing. Dependability applies to all stages of the manufacturing process and allows for less waste and lower costs during production, which is profitable for companies, and a product that performs well for longer time periods, which leaves end users satisfied.

While a company’s marketing group is charged with informing current and future customers about the new, better products, key information on quality and performance comes from company researchers who demonstrated these aspects in specific situations or applications. Researchers also help communicate product benefits through presenting at meetings and assisting with writing trade articles or white papers.

These methods are all good ways to promote better products and services, and they are ones that I have used many times in my career. I am proud to say that several of my white papers still grace the website of my first employer decades after I moved on in my career. However, these formats fall short with respect to distribution and information validation.

Regarding distribution, meeting presentations reach a small audience and only reach it once. Conference proceedings and trade articles are longer lived, but they may not be easily found and may exist behind paywalls that hinder access. White papers on corporate websites are difficult to find unless you already know about the company or are directed there through advertising. Other marketing channels such as press releases and advertising can create broader impact, but hiring professional publicity agents and getting the best placements can be very expensive.

Regarding validation, having outside experts validate a product enhances credibility of the work. Featuring testimonials in white papers and presenting at meetings are two ways to incorporate outside validation, but these formats run into the distribution limitations given above.

On the other hand, passing the test of peer review moves validation to a whole new level. Peer-reviewed publication means the work is judged to advance the science or engineering of ceramics with sound research methodology, and such publications typically have wide distribution networks—especially open-access journals.

ACerS’ open-access journal, International Journal of Ceramic Engineering & Science (IJCES), offers both information validation and distribution to help enhance company and researcher reputation. IJCES is a broad-scope journal for the technical ceramics and related products community. With the acceptance criteria stated below, converting your existing presentations and whitepapers into a manuscript is very simple and straightforward.

  • Does the work describe experimental methods and/or models with appropriate detail for reader comprehension? 
  • Does it provide sufficient evidence/data to support conclusions?
  • Are the references relevant and appropriately reflect the existing literature?
  • Are the results discussed in the context of the literature and their benefits to the field and/or to the global community?

The initial submission to IJCES is open format; no special document preparation is required. The articles in IJCES are indexed in both specialty indices and Google, making them easy to find. As an open-access journal, the articles are free to read and are downloadable by a global audience forever. The metrics support this benefit—many articles published in IJCES have been downloaded and read more than 1,000 times. Articles from authors working for manufacturers and national labs are particularly popular.

Additionally, with open access, authors retain copyright to their articles. Thus, articles can be distributed as the company chooses. The article and links can be emailed, placed on the website, and even printed for distribution at trade shows. There are no limitations.

While an article processing fee is charged for publishing in IJCES, the fee is less than the cost of a quarter-page ad in a typical trade magazine. Overall, the advertising and distribution cost of a well-written article could end up being $1 or less per confirmed reader for the highly downloaded articles. With perpetual presence in the literature, the ability to find and read the article serves to extend longevity and enhance return on the marketing investment.

In summary, industrial researchers, in addition to developing high-quality products, should consider creating marketing value for their companies by pursuing publication opportunities in peer-reviewed publications. Transforming conference presentations or white papers into submissions for peer review, particularly in a broad-scope open-access journal, involves some effort. But the benefits of globally distributed, validated information yield high return on the invested effort, reinforcing a company’s reputation and accelerating researchers’ career growth.

Learn more about IJCES at https://ceramics.org/publications-resources/journals/ijces. Read some of the open-access articles at this link, and submit your manuscript here!