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SPE 101

Writing SPE Technical Papers

The chief asset of SPE is the knowledge of its members, which is documented primarily in the technical papers
they write. SPE members derive tremendous benefits from papersboth from reading them and from writing them.
Authoring papers is a way to share knowledge with the industry and to gain public recognition for ones work.
Presenters of technical papers at conferences have the chance to share their findings with peers at an industry event
(possibly held in an interesting new place!). The networking benefits for authors at these SPE events often lead to
additional paths of study or learning.
To help potential authors write the best possible papers, SPE has posted a variety of tips on its website at www. Here you can find advice for writing a quality paper proposal and for formatting your paper in the
SPE way.
Whether you are contemplating getting started on your first SPE paper or have already presented several,
you can learn a lot from the experience of seasoned authors. With this in mind, TWA sat down with 2010 Ferguson
Medal winner Lujun Lou Ji, a senior research engineer at M-I Swaco. The Ferguson Medal recognizes significant
contributions to the permanent technical literature of the profession by an SPE member younger than 36.

What do you think separates What homework should or general technical discussion.
an excellent paper from an author do before On the other hand, papers written
an average one? beginning a paper? for colleagues and peers who are
already working in the same field of
First of all, excellent papers While planning a paper, it is a good study may touch more on technical
contain excellent information: new idea for authors to do a literature details, ranging from applications
ideas, methods, data, observation, review on the same or similar and improvements to detailed
analysis, etc. Secondly, all the topics in order to know more about formulae or experiment analysis.
information needs to be logically the history and the recent advances
organized so that it is easy for in the particular subject matter. What advice would you give
readers to understand. After all, the to a colleague who has never
purpose of a paper is to effectively Do you write a paper with a written a paper? Where is a
communicate with others. specific audience in mind, good place for them to start?
such as for colleagues,
When reading papers written researchers, the industry at Start with a literature review on
by other SPE members, what do large, etc.? How might this your topic of interest and others
you think is the most common change your approach? related to it. The multisociety
area for improvement? library at
Yes. Actually, papers for different is a good place to begin.
The majority of SPE papers are audiences are organized in quite
very good. Some may have different ways. For example, papers Some SPE members struggle
issues such as being overly long written for the industry at large may to come up with a good topic
or have language difficulties. need more introductory material for a paper. Do you have any

An excellent paper contains excellent information


tips to help a potential author Co-authors are as important as When should an author
determine whether or not the main authorthey contribute consider a poster
something they are working a lot to the paper and are also instead of a paper?
on is a worthwhile topic? responsible for its content in
the same manner as the author. When authors have enough
Good topics usually can be That said, an author usually data or results but do not
found by browsing the offerings has a little bit more workload have enough time to put them
at SPE events. Clues to popular than co-authors do, since she/ into a full paper, they should
and interesting topics lie in he usually handles the overall consider putting them into
calls for papers, in the keynote organization of the paper and is a poster. A poster briefly
and technical presentations responsible for including co- summarizes the analysis or
given,and through the networking authors contributions. Co-authors experimental method, outlines
experiences among members may write parts of the paper as the associated data, results,
at these meetings. This is one of well, and they also need to review etc. and draws conclusions
the great benefits of participating the entire paper, making sure based on these observations.
in SPE meetings. Reading SPE that all of the information that
papers and journal articles is they want to include is present Any final thoughts?
also very helpful in this regard. and clearly organized. Finally, the
paper must be understandable Language skills are also
How important are co-authors? for all the co-authors, the important. Weak language
How much difference is there first readers of the paper. skills can prevent readers
in the workload taken on from understanding the
by the author as compared What about posters? information in the paper. TWA
to his/her co-authors?

Interested in reading Jis medal-winning paper? Go to and look up

SPE paper 110845 A Novel Hydraulic Fracturing Model Fully Coupled with Geomechanics
and Reservoir Simulator. Watch for Part II of Writing SPE Technical Papers in the next
issue of TWA, where you will find more tips to help you write the best possible paper.

Vol. 7 // No. 2 // 2011 23