For the Research category

My Google Scholar Stats up to Today

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I found it interesting to view my own Google Scholar page, just to see how am I performing as a relatively new academician and researcher. As one who just joined the faculty in mid 2008, I think I need to improve more. Thank God I have several publications in 2012 and 2013. I’m also fortunate to already have a paper published this year, 2014. I hope I can work harder and smarter to improve my citations and h-index. Presently I only have 8 citations and my h-index is only 2.


The reason I post the snap shot above is for me to compare my future stats with this one. I just hope to see some positive progress. InsyaAllah.

New citations to my articles – #1 in 2014

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Earlier today, while checking my emails via my wife’s Samsung Galaxy S3 phone (due to my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 motherboard faulty), something caught my attention right away. It was this email from Google Scholar Alerts. I clicked the email and saw a new article published in Applied Catalysis A: General. What surprised me further is that the title of the paper is about Glycerol conversion to olefin… which was the topic I worked for my Ph.D. It is good to see somebody else is pursuing this research area.


From this, I would like to see:

1. More researcher pursuing this specific area.

2. To see more of my articles cited by others.

To see/read my journal papers/conference papers/google scholar, please click here. Here is my Scival Expert.

Finally, the PhD battle is over

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phd-sessionThe announcement/notice at Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah (SPS) UTM on the day of my Ph.D viva

After roughly 4 years, I successfully completed defending my doctorate study. Alhamdulillah. Praise be only to Allah. It has been such a challenging and tough experience, discipline demanding which at finally end up with a happy ending. Thanks to everybody who have been supporting and helping me.

I wished I can immediately update and announce this wonderful news to the world (I mean my blog). Unfortunately I was quite hectic with work. I guess now, that I am already an active lecturer, I lost the luxury of time and freedom. I am now subjected and answerable to several bosses and superiors. They can give me task, assignments and anything, you name it – I must do it.

My PhD journey was not as fast as I have expected. I targeted to complete my PhD within 3 years. However, many things happen. It took me 4 years and 4 months. Below, I would like to share my PhD timeline.

My PhD timeline

1/7/2009 – My PhD commenced.

30/3/2010 – Presented my 1st stage PhD examination. I did it in my 2nd semester.

August 2011 – IEM professional interview @ IEM Head quarters, Petaling Jaya.

October 2011 – Passed IEM professional interview which means I’m a member of IEM and could get the IR title from BEM.

November 2011 – I was awarded the IR title from BEM.

November 2011 – IChemE Chartered Engineer interview at Daya Bumi, Kuala Lumpur.

January 2012 – Passed the interview and become member of IChemE and awarded Chartered Engineer title from Engineering Council of UK.

January 2012 – My first book chapter under Wiley Publication was published.

May-June 2012 – Research attachment in Newcastle University, UK to work on my thermodynamic modelling.

July 2012 – My first ISI paper was published in Chemical Engineering Journal. Very please and happy. Alhamdulillah.

January 2013 – My contribution in the Industrial Engineering Term was published, Wiley as well.

March 2013 – My second ISI paper was published in Biomass Bioenergy journal.

August 2013 – Submitted my PhD draft to Sekolah Pengajian Siswazah (SPS)

November 2013 – Successfully defended my Ph.D thesis. Alhamdulillah.

December 2013 – Completed all corrections.

January 2014 – Settling all the bureaucracy for my graduation. Completed thesis hard cover.

phd-viva-defenceJust after the Ph.D viva session. Alhamdulillah, happy faces can be seen. From left, Dr. Abbas (Assist. Chairman), Prof. Dr. Taufik Yap – UPM (External Examiner), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ramli Mat – UTM (Internal Examiner), myself, Prof. Dr. Rozainee – UTM (Chairman), Prof. Dr. Nor Aishah (My Supervisor), Prof. Dr. Salasiah – UTM (Internal Examiner). Rough time and date: 11.40 am, 12th Nov 2013.

If you read everything in the timeline, you’ll noticed that there were several activities that were not at all related to my Ph.D. However, they were related to my career and I have to do it. Bottom line is I managed to managed everything despite various obstacles and challenges along the way. I study in UTM which is also the place I stay. I have a family with 4 kids to entertain. It is indeed super tough to stay focus. However, my supervisor constantly urged and motivated me to write journal papers. I believe that helped a lot. At the end, I just compiled all the content of the papers in thesis form, aligned the flow a little bit and submitted the thesis. My supporting wife was always by my side to discuss research and non-research related stuff.

There were times I was not in my comfort zone. When I was asked to do thermodynamics and reaction kinetics, I was lost in no where land. I don’t know what to do and where to start. I was not sure of what I was doing. I can simply give up. However, I tried and tried to seek for the light. Fortunately, along the way, there were always helpful people that were generous to give a helping hand. Finally I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Alhamdulillah. Well, if you are a graduate student like I was before and are presently lost in your research, don’t give up. Stay focus. Remember the purpose of why you are doing your masters or Ph.D. Pray hard. Work hard. Organize your work. You’ll get it. You’ll finish it. You’ll win the battle.

If somebody asked me, how you did it? How you complete your Ph.D… here’s my answer… in no particular order.

  • Organize your work.
  • List them down.
  • Stay focus to complete them (the tasks/goals).
  • Be persistent.
  • Be discipline (I allocated about 2 hours per day in the early morning to do my writing).
  • Do what your supervisor asked to do.
  • Always be in solution mode – think creatively to solve any problem.
  • Pray hard and asked for God’s help and guidance.
  • Tawakkal

10 Tips for Writing an Academic/Technical Journal

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For those who have not published, writing an academic or technical journal maybe tedious and a hassle. Getting it accepted is another fearful chapter. But, if you have the write planning, mindset, strategy, coach and guideline, you can write and publish successfully.

Following is 10 tips of how to write an academic journal so that it will be easier for you to publish it in reputable journal. The tips are from Rowena Murray, a professor in education and director of research at the University of the West of Scotland.

biomassbioenergyjournal1) Have a strategy, make a plan

Why do you want to write for journals? What is your purpose? Are you writing for research assessment? Or to make a difference? Are you writing to have an impact factor or to have an impact? Do you want to develop a profile in a specific area? Will this determine which journals you write for? Have you taken their impact factors into account?

Have you researched other researchers in your field – where have they published recently? Which group or conversation can you see yourself joining? Some people write the paper first and then look for a ‘home’ for it, but since everything in your article – content, focus, structure, style – will be shaped for a specific journal, save yourself time by deciding on your target journal and work out how to write in a way that suits that journal.

Having a writing strategy means making sure you have both external drivers – such as scoring points in research assessment or climbing the promotion ladder – and internal drivers – which means working out why writing for academic journals matters to you. This will help you maintain the motivation you’ll need to write and publish over the long term. Since the time between submission and publication can be up to two years (though in some fields it’s much less) you need to be clear about your motivation.

2) Analyse writing in journals in your field

Take a couple of journals in your field that you will target now or soon. Scan all the abstracts over the past few issues. Analyse them: look closely at all first and last sentences. The first sentence (usually) gives the rationale for the research, and the last asserts a ‘contribution to knowledge’. But the word ‘contribution’ may not be there – it’s associated with the doctorate. So which words are used? What constitutes new knowledge in this journal at this time? How can you construct a similar form of contribution from the work you did? What two sentences will you write to start and end your abstract for that journal?

Scan other sections of the articles: how are they structured? What are the components of the argument? Highlight all the topic sentences – the first sentences of every paragraph – to show the stages in the argument. Can you see an emerging taxonomy of writing genres in this journal? Can you define the different types of paper, different structures and decide which one will work best in your paper? Select two types of paper: one that’s the type of paper you can use as a model for yours, and one that you can cite in your paper, thereby joining the research conversation that is ongoing in that journal.

3) Do an outline and just write

Which type of writer are you: do you always do an outline before you write, or do you just dive in and start writing? Or do you do a bit of both? Both outlining and just writing are useful, and it is therefore a good idea to use both. However, make your outline very detailed: outline the main sections and calibrate these with your target journal.

What types of headings are normally used there? How long are the sections usually? Set word limits for your sections, sub-sections and, if need be, for sub-sub-sections. This involves deciding about content that you want to include, so it may take time, and feedback would help at this stage.

When you sit down to write, what exactly are you doing:using writing to develop your ideas or writing to document your work? Are you using your outline as an agenda for writing sections of your article? Define your writing task by thinking about verbs – they define purpose: to summarise, overview, critique, define, introduce, conclude etc.

4) Get feedback from start to finish

Even at the earliest stages, discuss your idea for a paper with four or five people, get feedback on your draft abstract. It will only take them a couple of minutes to read it and respond. Do multiple revisions before you submit your article to the journal.

5) Set specific writing goals and sub-goals

Making your writing goals specific means defining the content, verb and word length for the section. This means not having a writing goal like, ‘I plan to have this article written by the end of the year’ but ‘My next writing goal is to summarise and critique twelve articles for the literature review section in 800 words on Tuesday between 9am and 10.30’. Some people see this as too mechanical for academic writing, but it is a way of forcing yourself to make decisions about content, sequence and proportion for your article.

6) Write with others

While most people see writing as a solitary activity, communal writing – writing with others who are writing – can help to develop confidence, fluency and focus. It can help you develop the discipline of regular writing. Doing your academic writing in groups or at writing retreats are ways of working on your own writing, but – if you unplug from email, internet and all other devices – also developing the concentration needed for regular, high-level academic writing.

At some point – ideally at regular intervals – you can get a lot more done if you just focus on writing. If this seems like common sense, it isn’t common practice. Most people do several things at once, but this won’t always work for regular journal article writing. At some point, it pays to privilege writing over all other tasks, for a defined period, such as 90 minutes, which is long enough to get something done on your paper, but not so long that it’s impossible to find the time.

7) Do a warm up before you write

While you are deciding what you want to write about, an initial warm up that works is to write for five minutes, in sentences, in answer to the question: ‘What writing for publication have you done [or the closest thing to it], and what do you want to do in the long, medium and short term?’

Once you have started writing your article, use a variation on this question as a warm up – what writing for this project have you done, and what do you want to do in the long, medium and short term? Top tip: end each session of writing with a ‘writing instruction’ for yourself to use in your next session, for example, ‘on Monday from 9 to 10am, I will draft the conclusion section in 500 words’.

As discussed, if there are no numbers, there are no goals. Goals that work need to be specific, and you need to monitor the extent to which you achieve them. This is how you learn to set realistic targets.

8) Analyse reviewers’ feedback on your submission

What exactly are they asking you to do? Work out whether they want you to add or cut something. How much? Where? Write out a list of revision actions. When you resubmit your article include this in your report to the journal, specifying how you have responded to the reviewers’ feedback. If your article was rejected, it is still useful to analyse feedback, work out why and revise it for somewhere else.

Most feedback will help you improve your paper and, perhaps, your journal article writing, but sometimes it may seem overheated, personalised or even vindictive. Some of it may even seem unprofessional. Discuss reviewers’ feedback – see what others think of it. You may find that other people – even eminent researchers – still get rejections and negative reviews; any non-rejection is a cause for celebration. Revise and resubmit as soon as you can.

9) Be persistent, thick-skinned and resilient

These are qualities that you may develop over time – or you may already have them. It may be easier to develop them in discussion with others who are writing for journals.

10) Take care of yourself

Writing for academic journals is highly competitive. It can be extremely stressful. Even making time to write can be stressful. And there are health risks in sitting for long periods, so try not to sit writing for more than an hour at a time. Finally, be sure to celebrate thoroughly when your article is accepted. Remind yourself that writing for academic journals is what you want to do – that your writing will make a difference in some way.

These points are taken from the 3rd edition of Writing for Academic Journals.

Rowena Murray is professor in education and director of research at the University of the West of Scotland – follow it on Twitter @UniWestScotland

Is Cyanobacterium the Answer for the REAL Renewable Energy?

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After lunch just now, I read the latest buzz via and I stumbled upon a news that attracts my attention. Since I’m involve in the renewable energy research area, I found the title quite catchy and I could not resist reading it… The title of the article:

Mass. Company making diesel with sun, water, CO2

Is this really the answer for the renewable energy dilemma? Joule Unlimited, the company that developed organism called cyanobacterium claims that the fuel produced is almost like diesel and ethanol. They make the fuel from natural resources such as sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. The most interesting thing is that they say, with the emergence of this new technology, they can eliminate the middle man!!! Who is the middle man?

The answer is “biomass”.

For further reading, click here.

Image credited to

Welcome to the new Zaki Yamani Zakaria Page

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After being temporary idle, I have decided to make my site active. I want to provide fresh updates on my activities as well as subjects associated with my career and chemical engineering field.

I welcome any suggestions or comments for improvement of my official page.

As for now, I’m in my 4th semester of my Ph.D and I’m scheduled to complete my studies at the end of 2nd quarter 2012.


Egypt: Nanotechnology Comes to AUC

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This article details research being carried out at the Yousef Jameel Science and Technology Research Center (YJSTRC) at The American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt, in the nanoscience and other technology-oriented fields. AUC says their new research includes “…the development of novel diagnostic tests for sensitive detection of the hepatitis C virus; detection of cancer biomarkers, as well as creating a new generation of nanodevices that include smart bricks with tiny sensors, which can analyze building safety and warn of fires and earthquakes.” The AUC is using a variety of nanoparticles, including gold and nanocrystals, to develop unique diagnostic tests for detection of the hepatitis C virus. Sherif Sedky, a physics professor and associate director of YJSTRC, added that they “…are also working on developing energy harvesters that could convert wasted energy into a useful one, which could then be used to charge devices implemented inside the human body, as well as developing miniaturized antennas and high precision motion systems that are suitable for space applications.” The projects are funded by grants from YJSTRC and the Arab Science Technology Foundation in the United Arab Emirates. The article can be viewed online at the link below.

Why Performance Management Matters

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Upstream oil and gas exploration and production is a skill-based industry made up of highly trained individuals, and its use of advanced technologies and computerization is unmatched. Yet there is pressing demand in the upstream, as in other industries, to move away from point solutions and over-reliance on spreadsheets.
This need is exacerbated for the upstream by increasing volatility in supply, demand and prices; the need to tap into difficult-to-access reserves; and the need to increase recovery from existing wells.

It’s news then, but not entirely surprising, that oil and gas professionals are increasingly drawn to the idea of performance management based on a common business-intelligence platform.

“What we’ve seen,” says Paul Hoy, industry director, IBM Cognos Software, “is that the petroleum industry, like a number of others, is in a state of transition, moving from automation of day-to-day transactions to the strategic use of information as a means for driving optimized business operations.”

Performance-management applications include business intelligence (BI), which can be said to describe a decision-support system that relies on historical, current and predictive views of business operations based on data gathered from disparate sources. In production-driven industries, performance-management applications—by integrating on-site process monitoring, operations decision-making, and business functions—allow better decision making based on a single version of the truth.

“IBM Cognos is used today by petroleum companies for performance management,” Hoy says, “to control costs, improve customer service, maximize productivity and manage all elements of their upstream operations.”

IBM Cognos makes it easier for the oil and gas industry to benefit from performance management by providing tools, including a pre-defined industry-based data model. Such tools ease implementation and furnish industry-specific applications. Companies tend to engage with the system based on the need to solve a specific problem, then, based on its benefits and flexibility, deploy it in other uses throughout the organization.

CLICK HERE to access this alert to learn uses, methods, and benefits of performance management and business intelligence based on a common platform, especially as applied to upstream oil and gas.

Clean up time

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Day 8 (9/7/09) – Thursday

Not much research work today, but the research group cleaned up the lab. The lab is getting better and nicer. We threw away all the junks and other old stuffs.

Later in the afternoon, visited a home stay for Prof. Jahanmiri with Zura and Iman (his ex-student). The house is located in Taman Harmoni 1.

Then, had a meeting about Sustainable PG in BMD.

Broken quartz tube…


Day 6 (7/7/09) – Tuesday

We run the experiment using a used/old quartz reactor in a small tube furnace. Temperature was set to be at 30o Celsius. GC-TCD was already running fine, in standby mode to be injected with the gaseous from the  glycerol reaction. We saw the viscous liquid moving slowly – flow rate of 60 ml/min using a syringe pump. The system seems to be not efficient or something else is wrong because the glycerol is not 100% converted to gaseous form. We can see the liquid coming out at the exit of the furnace inside the reactor. The tube was not directly connected to the GC inlet but instead to a beaker containing water, so that we can see the gaseous escape – bubble of course.

After seeing the fluid, we decided to stop the experiment. We switched off the power supply and allowed the temperature to cool down. I then try to disconnect the rubber tube from the quartz reactor. Suddenly, I can feel that the quartz reactor is very loose. I immediately know that the quartz tube has already broken into 2 pieces.

Check other furnaces. 3 big furnaces but only 1 is functioning. We are going to run an experiment tomorrow using a stainless steel reactor and the bigger furnace. We already set up the experiment for tomorrow. Good luck Zaki, Mahadhir and Huda…

Other activities of thee day:

– Attended briefing for new post graduate students at N29.
– Contacted RMC to check on the LO status of the purchased of my digital syringe pump. Still not settle yet because problem RMC – CICT.
– Discussed with supplier about the quartz tube that we want. I sketched the design of the quartz tube and emailed to the supplier. Later the same day, we discussed with the supplier on what we want.
– Complete reading elsevier abstract summary journal and identified important journals for me.
– Emailed my co-supervisor.

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