Welcome to the international (English-speaking) blog of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. Our blog invites views on research, education, student life, and other societal themes connected to our computer science fields. The intention is to build a forum as an open window for readers from inside and outside computer science. If you have any good ideas or articles to share on this blog, please feel free to contact us: cs-blog [ät] cs.helsinki.fi.

Lessons Learnt from My First Journal Publication

by Kumaripaba Athukorala

Recently I got my first, first authored journal article accepted to the Journal of Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST for short). I thought of sharing what I learnt from the journal article writing process while my experience is still fresh.

Some of the lessons might be specific to the JASIST journal. However, I generalized the details so that this article is useful to anyone.

Select the right journal

The first step of any scientific publication process is deciding where to publish. The good news is that we do not have to put any extra effort on that. As we review literature, we eventually realize where all the best articles are published. I found that all the articles that are highly relevant to my topic have been published in the JASIST journal. Then I checked its impact factor. Impact factor is a good indicator of the quality of a journal. Many universities in Finland refer to the julkaisufoorumi (AKA JUFO) to find the quality of the forum. For example, JASIST journal is categorized in JUFO level 3 (highest level).

Set a deadline

It is a good idea to make a proper schedule. If we are targeting a special issue of a journal there will be a manuscript submission deadline (most probably). However, many journals do not have any deadline. For example JASIST does not have a deadline. Yet the journals have a particular number of issues per year with which we can get an idea of when the article will be published and which issue should we target.

I also contacted several experienced colleagues to learn about how long in general it takes to get the first round of reviews from a journal. According to many it takes approximately a year for the whole process. However, one of the researchers who have published in the JASIST journal told me that it has a pretty fast reviewing process and he received his first round of reviews within two months.  I also posted in twitter asking more information from other researchers who have published in JASIST. I received a lot of very useful comments in twitter. I suggest twitter as a good medium to gather such information from more experienced researchers out there.

If the journal has no deadline, we should set a deadline our self.  I learnt this in the hard way. We kept on coming up with more additions and at some point I noticed that we have spent over a month on just making minor changes.  That is when I realized that we must set a hard deadline and stick with that. It is a good idea to enforce this deadline on the coauthors.

Thoroughly check the formatting guidelines

It is very important to adhere to the formatting guidelines provided by the journal. Some journals allow submitting the first version in any format and if the article gets accepted they provide the template. And then some journals might provide both latex and word templates. However, JASIST does not have a latex template, but allow submitting latex files.  Fortunately, I got many useful formatting tips through twitter.

It is also crucial to check whether there is a limit on the page/word count.  One big mistake I made was paying less attention to the word limit. I noticed the 8000-word limit just when we decided to finally submit the manuscript. At that time we had around 19000 words. We spent nearly one more week on cutting down words and submitted the manuscript with 15000 words. But then the editor desk rejected the manuscript, fortunately giving us another opportunity to resubmit with less words.  We had to spend another week on further reducing the words. It was not an easy process but at the end we made it to nearly 9000 words and the editor accepted it for reviewing. The bright side of having such a restriction on word count is that I learnt how to write to the point (not to be verbose). Though painful, it was indeed a very useful writing exercise for me :)

Get feedback from colleagues

I also found it useful to get feedback from other colleagues in the field. When the first version of the manuscript was ready, I asked few colleagues who were not aware of this particular research to read it. Their feedback was like the pre-reviews and helped me to improve the readability of the manuscript greatly.

Well, after the first round of reviews  in general we get an idea of the future of the manuscript: will it make it or not? We received the first reviews about one and half months after submission. That was a pretty fast review process compared to many other journals and conferences. At first it was a major revision but we were positive because reviews were addressable. Then about two weeks after submitting the first revision, we received the second round of reviews. This time it was a minor revision.  I was over the moon to see that all the reviewers were very positive. Few hours after I submitted the second revision, we received the acceptance notice from the editor. We are very impressed with the fast review process of the JASIST journal. But every journal is not the same.

I hope my experience help other young researchers out there, struggling with the first journal article.  Good luck to everyone!!

Lisää kommentti

Tämä kysymys esitetään kirjautumattomille käyttäjille, jotta lomakkeen automatisoitu käyttö voitaisiin estää.
3 + 2 =
Ratkaise tämä pieni laskutehtävä ja anna vastaus. Esim. 1+3, anna 4.


Another story

Indeed, not every journal is the same! Let me recount the story of my first journal article. It is a theoretical paper that might be best classified as mathematical statistics.

2014-03-14: We submit the paper to a respected JUFO 2 journal. The next day, the editor decides that the manuscript does not fit well enough to the scope of the journal.

2014-04-02: After 18 days, we manage to submit to a different JUFO 2 journal. We have our hopes up because the journal has published an earlier paper on the same topic some years earlier.

2014-08-12: More than four months pass. We then get a rejection from the journal. The two reviewers think our results unimportant. From the comments, we infer that they did not understand certain basic results of the paper.

Rereading the manuscript after a long break, I discover that our main proof is wrong. The reviewers had not noticed the problem. After a month and a half, the proof is fixed and we are ready for another round.

2014-09-26: We submit to a JUFO 2 journal. The editor rejects the paper after eight days, saying that we should publish in a more prestigious journal where we might reach a wider audience.

2014-10-08: We submit to a very prestigious JUFO 3 journal (one suggested by the previous editor). The editor rejects the paper after 2 days, because (according to him) the field has been extensively studied.

2014-10-10: We submit to a JUFO 2 journal.

2014-03-30: After 5 months and 20 days, we get a decision: the editor requests a major revision (with no promise of acceptance after that). The two reviewers’ comments are extensive and show that they have actually read the paper.

2015-06-26: After almost three months, we submit the revised version. We have added a new section, made numerous tweaks to the paper and argued both in the paper and in our response why the paper is important.

2015-08-12: The paper is accepted! I’m proud of the final result and happy to have it finally accepted somewhere.

Some statistics:

Time from the first submission to the final acceptance decision:
1 year, 4 months, 29 days.

Time the manuscript spent being submitted to various journals:
361 days (70% of the total).

Number of rejections:

The CS Blog Task Force

Paba is a PhD student in Ubiquitous Interaction Group (UIx group) at
HIIT, CS Department of UH. Her research focus is on developing
interaction models to predict user interests and information-needs in
exploratory search.


Aaron is doing his PhD in the NODES group at the CS department. His research focuses on mobile computing and energy efficient design for multi-interfaced mobile devices.


Ella is a PhD student in the Nodes group. She is interested in e.g. distributed algorithms, real-life data mining, clouds and ubiquitous computing.


Giulio is a Professor at the CS department. His area is Human-Computer Interaction. For more information, please find his homepage here


Tomi is a Professor at the CS department. His area is Software Engineering. For more information, please check


31.08.2015 - 15:10

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki has a tradition of annual summer trip for all the staff members. This year, the TKTL staff members are invited to take a boat trip on J. L. Runeberg and spent a beautiful day in Porvoo.

For the memory, we share a set of photos contributed by Arto Wikla and Frans Ojala:

10.08.2015 - 12:00

by Kumaripaba Athukorala

Recently I got my first, first authored journal article accepted to the Journal of Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST for short). I thought of sharing what I learnt from the journal article writing process while my experience is still fresh.

Some of the lessons might be specific to the JASIST journal. However, I generalized the details so that this article is useful to anyone.

30.12.2014 - 13:34

By Teemu Roos

After conferring with senior professors P. Myllymäki and J. Paakki, we get some perspectives into the main issues at (or with) the department over the years. The discussions are based on the CS department Strategy Seminar of 2014.

02.12.2014 - 17:13

by Leena Salmela

Since 2009 when I came to work at the department I have been involved with the Glanville fritillary genome project. In this blog post I will tell about my experiences in the project.

05.11.2014 - 00:56

Lauri Suomalainen

On October 27th, Juhani, Lirim, Ashwin and I set forth to 3rd OpenStackFin User Group meetup. The event is a get-together for Openstack enthusiasts and experts in Finland. Its main goal is to gather like-minded people to share insights and experiences about OpenStack. The event was held in the evening at the restaurant Kaarle XII. Ashwin and I were first time aboard, while both Juhani and Lirim have attended the previous two meetups. So far the meetups have been organized once every six months. We arrived to the scene around four o’clock and there were already a few dozen people gathered to enjoy food, snacks and beverages.

21.10.2014 - 13:50

Interaction Lab is initiated and founded by Ubiquitous Interaction research group in 2014 for providing a space where novel interaction in between human, computer, and the physical environment can be developed and experimented.

28.09.2014 - 17:51

by Anna Kantosalo

Computational creativity is a new and hot topic in computer science. This year I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in the International Conference for Computational Creativity (ICCC) at the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana and present my first academic paper for the Discovery Research Group. The great community and fascinating topics of the conference made me want to share the highlights of my first conference experience with all of you!

07.09.2014 - 22:22

by Juhani Toivonen and Lirim Osmani

The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) is a federation of research organisations that provide computational resources and services to European researchers and their partners around the world. It consists of National Grid Initiatives, one of which is in Finland (http://fgi.csc.fi) and is managed by an organisation called EGI.eu.

09.04.2014 - 12:53

by Sini, local member of the international branch in the department well-being group

24.01.2014 - 22:05

By Carolina Lindqvist

20.12.2013 - 13:51

On Monday the 16th of December 2013, NODES research group organized the traditional NODES/KOPS-glögi before the Christmas holiday. (Glögi translates to 'mulled wine', and is a popular red spicy drink enjoyed around Christmas time.)

10.12.2013 - 14:35
By: Ella Peltonen and Tiina Niklander
07.11.2013 - 18:59

by Antti-Pekka Tuovinen

16.10.2013 - 22:04

by Kalle Viiri


12.09.2013 - 01:41

by Aino Sipari

Our Kumpula club buddy program is recruiting new buddies!

29.08.2013 - 15:34

Have you ever been worried about you mobile phone's or tablet's energy consumption? Do you need to charge your device every night, perhaps even in the middle of the day? It is generally known that large screens and continuous network connections eat our phones' battery faster than we really want. Our goal in the Carat project is to survey and analyze what else could be going bad in our phones' matters.

01.07.2013 - 12:39

The national yearly Computer Science event (Tietojenkäsittelytieteen päivät) is the main event of the Finnish Society for Computer Science (TKTS). The society hands out two awards every year, the best MSc thesis of the year, and the best PhD thesis, which is awarded by The Finnish Information Processing Association, FIPA (TTL in Finnish). This year the PhD thesis award was granted to Jouni Siren from our department, for his thesis "Compressed Full-Text Indexes for Highly Repetitive Collections". Congratulations, Jouni!

04.06.2013 - 15:03

Interview with Tiina Niklander

Question 1: What's your role in the union? Please introduce yourself and if possible, the current status at department.

I am a university instructor at the department. In addition to giving courses and guiding thesis a lot of my work at the department is related to guiding study planning of Networking and Services students. I also coordinate the international master's studies at the whole department.

I have been one of the shop stewards at the university for several years.  

08.05.2013 - 23:32

In early March, the Department of Computer Science and Innofactor organized a week-long Windows Azure CodeCamp for students. The course was held 1-11.3.2013, during which the students were asked to produce small-scale applications utilizing the Windows Azure platform - Microsoft's cloud computing platform for building, deploying and managing applications and services, like Amazon's AWS or the Google App Engine.

05.04.2013 - 14:15

Dear readers, this is the second interview of our TKTL group leader series. The goal is to provide an open forum for group leaders to present their latest research development, activities in teaching, project work opportunities, and general comments about our department. This time, we interviewed Prof. Giulio Jaccuci, who is leading the Ubiquitous Interaction (UiX) group.

31.01.2013 - 15:04

Prof. Jussi Kangasharju started a blog to chronicle his sabbatical year - first 5 months in Korea, then 5 months in the Bay Area in the US. He comments, "It is partly intended to show people in our department that going abroad is not a scary thing." We repost here his latest blog entry about the winter experience in Korea. For further interesting stories, check out his blog.

18.12.2012 - 14:56

Sasu Tarkoma

This has been a busy year for the networking and services specialization line and the NODES research community at the Department.  We have made the headlines from rooftop greenhouses to energy-optimising mobile apps and squeeze-based smartphones.  We should not forget the best paper awards and other mentions either. We did well in the university research assessment exercise as well. We have also strengthened the industry connections and the recent Internet of Things (IoT) research program is one example of this.

18.12.2012 - 14:42

At the end of November 2012, the department of computer science threw its Christmas party in "Berghyddan", an old building in the area where Helsinki was originally founded.

24.10.2012 - 16:13

In this month's NODES Pizza Seminar, postdoctoral researcher Suzan Bayhan from HIIT gave a presentation about "Energy Efficiency in Cognitive Radio Networks". In brief, a cognitive radio node is capable of changing its communication frequency in order to better take advantage of underutilized parts of the radio spectrum.

24.09.2012 - 18:04

On September 17th, the well-being group and the department invited our international staff for a casual coffee break for the start of the new semester.

20.06.2012 - 11:03

On a beautiful summer day, our department invited staff members to the idyllic located villages of Billnäs and Fiskars, which is about 80 km west of Helsinki, famous for their long tradition of iron works.

14.03.2012 - 20:13

by Jussi Kangasharju

(Instead of a literal translation, I've chosen to translate the meaning of the title. As the most astute of you may have already noticed, the title is not in English, but in fact in Italian and recapitulates the words of Italian Coast Guard Captain De Falco when "encouraging" Captain Schettino, the captain of the sinking cruise ship Costa Concordia, to go back on board the ship to coordinate the rescue. The intended meaning is: "Stop whining and start doing your job!")

This article is mainly me venting my frustration, since over the past year or so, I've noticed that the laziness and general lack of effort have reached completely unexplored peaks. Although this article is only my personal opinion, in the discussions with many other teachers in the department, I've heard very similar experiences on their part as well.

08.03.2012 - 12:28

by Ella Peltonen

This year the Department's Strategy seminar was organized from 1st to 2nd March 2012 in Hotel Haikko Manor near the city of Porvoo. Beautiful Haikko is known for a place of fabulous summer weddings, but it seems to be also a practical conference centre and a nice small spa. And so our two strategy days contained both working and relaxation.

08.03.2012 - 12:25

by Jussi Kangasharju

For two years, my group has conducted research on data center cooling optimizations, and as part of that work, we have had computers out on the roof terrace of Exactum for over 2 years, in all sorts of enclosures. For a full recap of our research, please see Mikko's excellent blog (which also discusses washing of keyboards in a dishwasher).

14.02.2012 - 15:13

Dear readers, the interview series of TKTL group leaders is making its debut today! The goal of the series is to provide an open forum for research group leaders to present their latest research developments, activities in teaching, project work opportunities, and general comments about our department.

02.01.2012 - 17:34

by Esther Galbrun

13.12.2011 - 17:52

by Oskar Gross

Autumn school on Computational Creativity was held in Porvoo from 7th till 11th of November. It is interesting to note that it was a landmark in the field of computational creativity, as it was apparently the first "school" dedicated on this topic. Moreover, the lectures were given by the leading researchers in the respective field.

09.11.2011 - 15:54

In autumn 2010 a Finnish course was organized in Kumpula for the staff of the Computer Science Department. After one year, we are interested in how the attendees feel about the course and if there is a demand for organizing such a course again.

Here are the comments from some of last years attendees:

"Overall I found the Finnish course very useful. Unfortunately I am spending just one year here in Finland, so I did not have a lot of time to study and practice what I learnt :)

17.10.2011 - 11:20

by Stefan Schönauer

Throughout my career the question of how to improve the internal communication and collaboration has been a topic at every institution I worked for. Here I present some of my thoughts on the topic, which are based on personal experience and discussions with several people.

26.09.2011 - 12:14

The new university year has just begun. It is an exciting time for our fresh Master's students as well as senior ones, both aiming at obtaining their MSc degree from the CS department. To provide an insight into the international part of the Master's students, we start from the recruitment statistics of new students, and then share with you five fascinating stories.

05.09.2011 - 14:36

by Laura Langohr

Last October I headed to Ljubljana, Slovenia, for half a year's research visit. Sitting in the airplane I remembered colleagues and friends back in Helsinki wondering about my plan to take a Slovene course. Even though I would stay only six months I wanted to learn some Slovene, a language only 2 million people speak.

15.08.2011 - 11:23

By Liang Wang

In the early morning on April 26, Prof. Kangasharju, Tiina and I started our journey from Helsinki to Petrozavodsk. The whole journey was quite pleasant thanks to the sunny weather. After 12 hours, we reached our destination – Petrozavodsk, a quiet and lovely small town in western Russia. Even though it was not our first visit there, it was the first time we visited Petrozovadsk in spring. Everything looked so fresh and full of vigor compared with my memory of last winter.

27.07.2011 - 12:14

We consulted a few staff members and students what they expect from this blog.

Syndicate content