Science Research Paper Tips: Acknowledgments Section
While including an acknowledgments section in your scientific research paper may not be strictly required, not doing so is a major faux pas. There are many positive reasons for including this section and nearly no reason not to. It takes minimal time and effort to include an acknowledgments section. Here are some of the reasons most scientific writers include acknowledgments in their papers:
- It’s good form.
- It’s extremely unlikely you received no support or assistance from your colleagues, students, instructors, or fellow researchers during the course of your research, and giving credit to these persons for their efforts in supporting you shows you can be honest, humble, and courteous.
- It’s good for networking.
- If you’ve made new contacts or strengthened current ones during your research and you acknowledge their assistance publicly, you’ve also done your contacts the favor of giving them some exposure in your paper. They’ll be more likely to help you again in the future, and to provide you with the same sort of exposure to expand your network. It can even help you make new contacts in the future, if colleagues familiar with those listed in your acknowledgments section seek you out.
When writing your acknowledgments section there are a number of considerations you should keep in mind.
- Many scientists consider it polite (and many journals have a requirement) to contact the person you wish to acknowledge and gain their written permission prior to their inclusion. Be specific about the assistance, support, or other help you received from those you’re acknowledging. This demonstrates that you’re not just dropping names, but that their specific aid was instrumental in your work.
- Double and triple check the spelling of names. It’s wise to do this at the same stage as requesting the person’s permission to include them. Don’t trust even other published instances of the person’s name; get the correct spelling and the name they wish to have used straight from the source.
- Likewise, inquire as to what title they wish you to use with their name. It may not be the one that they use casually, so it’s always in your best interest to check. Doing so also demonstrates that you’re considerate to your colleagues and their preferences, which is a good thing.
- Consult with the agency or agencies which may have funded your research to determine the exact wording they would prefer; many have very specific requirements.