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Publishing in Academic Journals


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Lecture by Professor Simon Haslett at the University of Wales Student Research Conference, Cardiff, on Friday 13th May 2011. Simon Haslett is Professor of Physical Geography and Dean of the School of …

Lecture by Professor Simon Haslett at the University of Wales Student Research Conference, Cardiff, on Friday 13th May 2011. Simon Haslett is Professor of Physical Geography and Dean of the School of STEM at the University of Wales.

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  • 1. Publishing in Academic Journals:
    A Rough Guide
    Professor Simon Haslett
    Dean, School of STEM
    Presentation at the University of Wales
    Student Research Conference, Cardiff
    Friday 13thMay 2011
  • 2. A bit about the facilitator
    Since 1990 Simon has published:
    Over 130 academic articles, mostly peer-reviewed journal articles.
    Over 50 articles in the popular press (newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc).
    Over 50 conference papers.
    Seven edited books (three as sole editor).
    Two sole authored books.
    Served as editor on four academic peer-reviewed journals and professional magazines (e.g. for learned society).
  • 3. Submitting for Publication
    The academic writing process.
    Making your name known.
    Who is your audience?
    Types of publications?
    Choosing a journal to submit to.
    Preparing your manuscript.
    What not to do.
    Possible outcomes.
    Dealing with and overcoming rejection.
    Responding to reviewers comments.
    Proof stage.
  • 4. The Academic Writing Process
    Inventing and research
    Peer review process
    Proof stage and publication
    (modified from Ganobcsik-Williams, 2009)
    Draw up a plan and discuss with a colleague – what issues come to mind?
  • 5. Making your name known
    Collaborate with your supervisor (or a colleague)
    Become active in your academic community
    Present at conferences
    Journal editors actively look out for good papers
    Prepare effective conference posters
    Network: talk to journal editors (who are other academics)
    Write working papers
    Practice in writing academic papers
    Useful feedback
    Does not count as prior publication if revised
    Create your own website
  • 6. Audience
    Local, national, international?
    Researchers, practitioners, teachers, general public?
    Type of Publication
    Journal article (watch out for special issues)
    Magazine article
    Review article
    Book review – good way of starting
    Research note (short report or work in progress)
    Working paper – mainly for conferences
    Book or chapter in book (often through invitation)
  • 7. Choosing the Right Journal
    Research the journals in your field
    Library and websites
    Conference stands
    Talk to peers
    Familiarise yourself with aims and scope of journals
    Choose the most suitable journal(s) for your article
    Good to have a fall back or two
    Should it be an Open Access journal?
    Type of journal (pro’s and con’s)
    Multidisciplinary (often for a general subject readership)
    Niche (need to be hot on specifics)
    Do you
    Write an article for a specific journal? (I prefer this from the start)
    Find a journal for your article? (if I haven’t chosen a journal yet)
  • 8. Assessing the Best Journal for Your Article
    What is the readership and usage?
    Prestige in your field
    Who is the editor and who are on the editorial board?
    Who is likely to review your paper – can you suggest reviewers? Is
    Who publishes in the journal?
    Is it published by a major publisher or association?
    Is it peer reviewed
    How long will this take?
    Is it on the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) Citation Database?
    How often is it cited?
    Is it available online and in print?
  • 9. Writing for Your Chosen Journal
    Check the aims and scope
    Look at previous papers to get a feel for what is accepted – has it got a history in a topic area?
    Contact the editor – maybe?
    What does my research contribute to the field?
    Make your research relevant to the wider world; you need to be explicit about its widest context.
    Ask a colleague to read paper prior to submission – maybe? Except where English needs to be checked/improved.
  • 10. Preparing the Manuscript
    Read the guidelines carefully – many submit through an online gateway now.
    Comply with minimum and maximum limits
    Expand any acronyms
    Especially if the audience is international or interdisciplinary
    Write an abstract that conveys the content, results and main conclusions (add keywords)
    Check spelling and grammar
    Double spaced and single sided (usually required).
  • 11. Manuscript Preparation Cont’d.
    Ensure references cited in text appear in bibliography – and vice versa
    Not too many self-references if reviewed anonymously (add them after review)
    Figures, tables and photographs
    Check they are ALL present
    Resolution and file type is important e.g. TIFFs
    Observe conventions e.g. maps should have scale bars and north arrow
    Place in a separate file
    Make sure they are all numbered and referred to
    Consider/suggest how they will appear in the journal
    Ensure you have the correct copyright clearance
    Some journals now accept audio and video clips
  • 12. What not to do
    Don’t try to boil down your whole PhD/Masters thesis into one article
    Don’t put the article on your website first
    Don’t send your article to more than one journal at once
    Don’t plagiarise, including self-plagiarism
    Don’t repeat the same article with just small changes
    Don’t wait for a decision before you start your next article.
  • 13. Possible outcomes
    Accept as submitted – very rare
    Accept with minor revisions
    Accept with major revisions – with or without second peer-review stage.
    Higher Education Quarterly receives c. 90 papers/year and accepts 30%, but 30% of those are never resubmitted after revision.
    Reject – common
    Studies in Higher Education rejects 350 of the 400 papers it receives every year!
  • 14. Why articles are rejected
    Professor David Phillips (University of Oxford), Editor of Oxford Review of Education, offered the following ten reasons:
    Article not ready, only a draft
    Article is parochial
    Poor English
    Manuscript is poorly prepared
    Too short or too long
    Article is submitted to the wrong journal
    Nothing new is stated or found
    Under theorised
    Under contextualised
    Not a proper journal article
  • 15. Overcoming rejection
    Rejection can be a positive result - it is sometimes better than major revision.
    Prestigious journals only accept 20% of submissions
    Very few papers are accepted without revision
    Mentoring function of editorial boards
    feedback from best in field
    Act on comments
    Try again
  • 16. Responding to Comments
    Go through the reviewers comments and number each action expected of you.
    Make a list of all actions, combining similar points – can you address them? If yes, how?
    Revise the manuscript and resubmit with a covering letter explicitly outlining how you dealt with the reviewers comments.
    If you couldn’t make a requested change, or disagree with the reviewer(s), then say so and justify why – the editor will make the final decision.
    Make a decision to declare, or not, if you are submitting a rejected paper to a new journal – sometimes it helps?
  • 17. Proof stage
    You will usually be emailed a pdf of the proofs of your paper.
    Check them very carefully.
    Identify errors, not usually possible to make significant changes, but no harm in asking if you think it’s important.
    Select your type of reprint – usually pdf.
    When published circulate to everyone who you think may be interested – don’t be shy.
  • 18. What’s your next move?
    What might be your next step on the road to writing and getting published? For example:
    Will you collaborate or go it alone?
    Do you have any publishing priorities?
    Do you need further support or advice?
    Following the lecture, draw up a personal action plan with targets and a timescale for achieving them; what will you do if you don’t meet them (feel free to post on the blog)?
  • 19. Bibliography & Resources
    HEA-ICS, 2007. Writing for Publication. [accessed 28th June 2010].
    Taylor and Francis Ltd, 2004. Getting published in academic publications: Tips to Help you Publish Successfully. At [accessed 28th June 2010].
    Vitae, 2010. Publishing your research. [accessed 28th June 2010].