Ladies and gentlemen My name is Colin Blackman and I am going to be talking to you in the next 50 minutes or so about publishing in the context of career development, and more specifically about the journal publishing process.
These are the main topics I’m going to talk about in the next 50 minutes: What is publishing? Building your “personal brand” Where to publish The journal review process How to guarantee your paper is published Do feel free to ask questions as we go along if anything is unclear But first, let me find out a little more about you. Please put up your hand is you are: A PhD student/ Post-doctoral student/ other? Have any of you had a paper published in a peer reviewed journal? How many of you are planning an academic career? In business? Or government? OK, so let me tell you a little bit about myself…
So I have an interdisciplinary background. My first degree was in Integrated Science Studies – a mixture of science and social science. And then I did a PhD at the Technology Policy Unit on the topic of food and agricultural policy, diet and nutrition in the UK. I was interested in journalism and so after university I got a job as Editor of Food Policy, and I received training as a copy editor and journalist. I also worked on Telecommunications Policy and officially became editor in 1983. I added more managerial responsibilities over the next few years but decided on a change of direction and joined a small consulting firm in Cambridge, working on science & technology policy issues, while continuing as editor of Telecoms Policy. I decided to go independent about 20 years ago, combining editorial work with consulting as an independent. In the late 1990s I started a new publishing company, Camford Publishing, and launched some new journals – principally info and foresight. After a few years I sold the titles to Emerald, continuing as editor but spending more and more time as a consultant. Now I mainly earn a living as a consultant specializing in economic and policy impacts of information and communications technologies for clients such as the European Commission. I continue as editor of info and also do editorial work for organizations like the World Bank.
Now, let’s turn to the main topics – first, what is publishing? Publishing comes from the latin word pūblicāre – meaning “to make public”. In other words, it’s about marketing – about marketing your work and yourself. That means you need to see publishing in journals or books or wherever as part of your overall; marketing and communications strategy And that is essentially about creating and building your own personal brand.
I don’t want to spend too much time on this topic but p ersonal branding is not just for celebrities or those in the corporate sector. As a researcher, creating and building your own personal brand can be a powerful tool for marketing yourself. Many researchers are uncomfortable with the idea of promoting themselves or their work. The general opinion seems to be “let your work do the talking”. However, no one will know about your work unless you tell them about it. As an early career researcher, it is absolutely essential to promote yourself. There is trend across the world in measuring the value of higher education and academic research in particular – ranking universities and departments according to the publication in important journals is one measure of impact. However, wider recognition by your peers is likely to be taken into account more in future. Universities are increasingly looking at the contribution of academics in terms of their public profile and the impact of their research beyond academia. Traditional methods of marketing your work include attending conferences and publishing in journals and books. These are still very important, but personal branding increasingly takes place on the internet. Here are some useful online tools for personal branding.
Today it is essential for all early career researchers to have an online profile. It is common for employers to Google applicants’ names before they even create a shortlist. Most universities will provide you with a profile page where you can list your contact details, research interests and publications. This can be very useful in ensuring that your work will appear high in Google results because university domains are favoured by Google ranking algorithms. Make the most of online repositories – maybe your university has one – or SSRN which will promote your work. You can use social media like Facebook or LinkedIn but you might want to consider separating your personal and professional persona. You might want to start a personal blog or contribute to someone else’s. You might want to invest in a personalized domain name and hosted website as a place to build your profile online. You might change universities or move into the corporate or public sectors during the course of your career; having a personal website will ensure that you have an online profile which is not tied down to a single organization. Beyond this - get involved – go beyond the usual of presenting your paper at a conference Build relationships with researchers in other institutions outside your field – in other fields, other countries. Not only is this good in marketing terms but it most likely will also enrich your research Organize a workshop or help with a conference Support a journal by reviewing books, maybe offer to be the book reviews editor, write conference reports, and eventually offer to referee papers. Make yourself useful to the editor - that’s a step to becoming a member of an editorial board.
Here’s an example of a fairly traditional approach.
And this is an example of a blog – Chris Marsden’s blog on net neutrality
Your electronic activity leaves a persistent footprint that is difficult to erase. Not only will you be Googling potential employers but they will Google you. And look at your Facebook page – so pictures of you partying 10 years ago might not be the image you want to convey to potential employers. A couple of years ago, a tweet by someone offered a job by Cisco shows how easy it is to ruin your career. He tweeted: &quot;Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” It wasn’t long before Tim Levad, a &quot;channel partner advocate&quot; for Cisco Alert, shared this open response: &quot;Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.” So be careful – in the online world you will be held accountable for your actions. So best to treat it as though it’s a postcard that you left lying around for anyone to read.
OK, so moving on... Does publishing still matter when effectively anyone can be a publisher? Just put your material online for all to see. Well, up to a point this is true but remember publishing is really just another word for marketing. Times are changing but it still matters to be published in places that are considered reputable by your peers and where people will go to. Also: It matters for career development in and outside the academy It may open new opportunities when people read your work – you may be asked to give a talk, provide consultancy and so on You may learn from the process of writing and being published, get feedback and improve your work. Being published still carries weight, and is good for your self esteem. So take abroad approach, consider publishing in different places – both the publications that are important for academic career development but also more popular magazines or newspapers.
So, where should you publish? Often the best candidates will be known to you as you will have read and cited papers from them, they will be discussed by your colleagues. But you may not be aware of everything and so you should as your colleagues, research databases and bibliographies. In the ICT policy field you have of course info, Telecommunications Policy, Communications et Strategies, Telematics and Informatics, and so on. You should look at quantitative measures of journals’ impacts but you should not let these entirely dictate your choices. Everyone wants to publish in top-ranking, high impact journals but research shows that it is a myth that top research centres only ever publish in the so called top journals. These measures favour older established journals and journals from single disciplines. So for a fast moving interdisciplinary filed like communications policy, no journals score particularly highly. So do consider new journals and niche journals which may provide a better and quicker service to authors. So through research, you may see that different journals emphasizes different criteria when it comes to defining quality. Try to understand to what extent does the journal favour: applications; originality of findings and approach; clarity and readability; rigour of research methodology; contribution to the body of knowledge, and so on. These criteria will vary from journal to journal but they will probably not be written down explicitly. Info, I would say, is more concerned with originality, clarity and readability, its international appeal, rather than methodology.
Now, before we turn to the journal review process, I want to give you a little exercise for the next few minutes. What I want you to do is find a partner, preferably someone who you’re not working together with on the same research project
So you’ve selected your journals and identified the topic of your paper. Now, let’s look at the journal review process. These are the main stages: Submitting a paper What is the editor looking for? The role of the referee/reviewer The editor’s decision
When preparing your manuscript do look at the journal’s guidelines for authors carefully. They can usually be found at the back of the journal or on the journal’s web pages. So here are info’s guidelines. They should describe the editorial scope of the journal, guidelines on length, the style the journal uses for references, and so on.
Before submitting your paper, test it with a colleague or friend. Ask them to assess your paper using five criteria: 1. Purpose: clearly stated on the first page? 2. Key points: logically flowing from point to point with signposting, such as subheadings, introductions and conclusions to sections? 3. Implications: clearly specified, with special attention to who the implications are for and what readers can do next? 4. Readability: jargon-free, familiar words, reasonably short sentences, easy to follow theme? 5. Appeal: Would they go back and read the article more thoroughly?
These days, most sizeable publishers will have an online submission system. Those that don’t will almost certainly expect manuscripts to be submitted this way in the future. Emerald, the publishers of info, require authors to submit via Manuscript Central’s Scholar One system. There are many advantages to online submission – clarity, transparency, speed, efficiency – but it does make the relationship between editors and authors less personal. So do consider contacting the editor before publication – by email or even with a phone call – to ask, for instance, would you be interested in a paper on this topic, or what is the current timeframe for publication, or whatever. It may not make your paper more likely to be published but it can do no harm. The Editor’s role is to decide whether a paper is worth reviewing, to filter out those papers that clearly do not meet the journal’s criteria – is it in line with the journal’s stated editorial coverage
The first thing the editor does is to assess whether the submitted paper falls within the journal’s editorial scope – it is surprising how often papers are submitted that are clearly outside the journal’s scope. A basic reading of the guidelines for authors would tell the author that it was not worth submitting. Sometimes of course a paper may be at the edge of editorial coverage and perhaps would be accepted if it was a particularly good paper. See next slide for examples of articles submitted that were outside the journal’s scope. The editor would then consider if the paper meets some basic quality and originality criteria – an experienced editor would be able to do this without reading a paper from beginning to end. is it readable, is the English broadly acceptable? Are there obvious gaps in the literature references? Has the journal published too many papers on similar or related topics recently? Are there obvious signs of plagiarism? On this last point we should note that the internet makes it possible to research and find information more easily than ever before. It also makes it easier to plagiarise other people. However, now editors and publishers have tools available to check whether papers contain copied material if plagiarism might be suspected.
Do take a few moments to consider the editor’s needs and what might not aggravate them. High on the list are careless authors. Here are some of the things that irritate editors: • Receiving an article which is not in tune with the editorial aims of the journal Receiving an article when the authors have clearly not read the notes for authors Articles that don’t cite relevant literature from the journal • Not hearing back from authors when revisions are requested • Finding out, after the article has gone through the review process, that it has been accepted elsewhere. The author ignored the clear instruction not to submit the paper to more than one journal at a time So, take a few moments to consider the needs of the editor. It might not guarantee acceptance but it will make life easier. And, it will make it more likely that your paper goes through the editorial process smoothly.
So Is it worth sending to a referee for further assessment? Referees are busy people who give their expertise for free and editors don’t like to waste their time with papers that are clearly not worth publishing. So here are a few articles submitted to info that were outside the journal’s scope and which were not sent to a referee.
One of the most important tasks for the editor is to choose reviewers. A good editor will take care to choose appropriate referees, those who understand the journal’s requirements and who know the field. The editor will look to the editorial board first for a reviewer but will invite someone from outside the editorial board if no-one suitable sits on the editorial board. It can be quite time consuming to find the right person – and often referees will not accept the invitation to review as they may be busy One, two or even three reviewers may be used. My usual policy is to invite one review, but to spend time ensuring it is a good review. A double blind refereeing system is important – so that the identity of author and referee are not known to each other. The referee is asked a number of questions either online or a refereeing form by email on whether the paper is appropriate for publication in the journal.
The exact questions will vary from journal to journal but will broadly cover the same ground, so: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication? Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored? Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts, or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate? Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper? Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper? Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.
So what are the kinds of things reviewer’s criticize in general terms, here are some examples The referee will give their comments to the editor and a recommendation...
... And th e editor will usually base their decision on the referee’s recommendation – although not always. The editor may decide to seek another view if they don’t agree with the reviewer’s assessment. The options open to the editor are to: Accept the paper as it stands Ask for minor revision Ask for major revision Ask the authors to resubmit Reject the paper As the author, you may agree and accept these criticisms and revise the paper accordingly – or explain why you are not able to do so. If you disagree then it may because the referee has misread the paper, but it may be just as well to redraft to avoid any future misreading. But perhaps you reject the criticism – here it is important not to be antagonistic. Explain why you disagree, perhaps ask for the paper to be refereed by an alternative reviewer. Most editors will want to give authors a fair hearing in these circumstances.
So taking all this into account, how can you guarantee your paper will be accepted and published. Well first, understand the main criteria – target the right journal and understand what the journal wants in terms quality. Then answer the “so what” questions: “what is this paper about and why does it matter?” Read the notes for authors Structure your paper clearly – eg Abstract, introduction, deeper context, methodology, findings and analysis, policy implications. Consider the audience . Avoid jargon – the shorthand or turn of phrase peculiar to your particular field – ask yourself if the intelligent layman would understand what you have written
Publishing and career development: how to get published - Colin Blackman
Publishing and career development: how to get published Colin Blackman Camford Associates Editor, info DIRSI International Workshop Research and Public Policy Impact on Telecommunications in Latin America Santiago, Chile, 16 May 2012CAMFORDASSOCIATES
Agenda for this session What is publishing? Building your “personal brand” Where to publish The journal review process How to guarantee your paper is publishedCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Colin Blackman: a portfolio career? Interdisciplinary first degree – science and social science, science & technology policy PhD in food and agricultural policy Publishing career in policy journals Consulting career with SQW and then independent Started Camford Publishing company Now combining editorial and consulting activitiesCAMFORDASSOCIATES
What is publishing? “to make public” In other words, it’s about marketing Publishing as part of marketing and communications strategy Your personal brandCAMFORDASSOCIATES
What is your personal brand? “Your reputation as a worker combined with a promise of your potential and impact on future employers” Your brand, or who you are, communicates value to potential (or current) employers in ways that make you stand out from the crowd Academic reputation is important Importance for career development in the wider world of workCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Building your personal brand An online presence Institution web page Social networking sites Blogging, website Get involved Build relationships with other institutions Organize a workshop or conference or help Support a journal – review books, book review editor, write conference reports, offer to refereeCAMFORDASSOCIATES
But be careful! •The persistent electronic footprint •Employers will Google you •You are accountable for your actions •Treat it like a postcardCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Does publishing still matter? Still necessary to publish in reputable places for: Career development Opening up new opportunities Learning Kudos etcCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Where to publish? Identifying and targeting journals Your research, colleagues, databases Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge Understand how different journals define quality Practical applications Originality Clarity and readability Methodology Contribution to the field Mix of features International appealCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Exercise: describe your research 1. Find a partner 2. Imagine you are writing a paper based on your current research or interest 3. Write down the answer to 2 questions: 1. What is this paper about? 2. Why does it matter? e Read what your partner has writtenCAMFORDASSOCIATES
The journal review process Submitting a paper What is the editor looking for? The role of the referee/reviewer The editor’s decisionCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Testing your paper Ask a colleague or friend to assess it: 1. Purpose: is it clearly stated on the first page? 2. Key points: logically flowing from point to point with signposting, such as subheadings, introductions and conclusions to sections? 3. Implications: clearly specified, with special attention to who the implications are for and what readers can do next? 4. Readability: jargon-free, familiar words, reasonably short sentences, easy to follow theme? 5. Appeal: Would they go back and read it more thoroughly?CAMFORDASSOCIATES
What is the editor looking for? The editor does a first filtering on relevance and quality Does the paper fall within the editorial scope of the journal? Does it pass a basic test of quality and originality Is it readable? Evidence that the author knows the relevant literature? Any signs of plagiarism? Is it worth sending to a reviewer/refereeCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Consider the editor Some things that irritate editors: Receiving an article which is not in tune with the editorial aims of the journal Receiving an article when the authors have clearly not read the notes for authors Articles that don’t cite relevant literature from their journal Not hearing back from authors when revisions are requested Finding out, after the article has gone through the review process, that it has been accepted elsewhere. The author ignored the clear instruction not to submit the paper to more than one journal at a timeCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Some articles outside info’s scope A Value-Based Approach on Willingness to Pay: The Case of An Online Audiovisual Heritage Service RESEARCH PRODUCTIVITY MODELLING ON INDIAN GENOME RESEARCH Implementation of BTOP Funding for Public Computing Centers: Perspectives from principal-agent theory Use of quality information for decision-making among livestock farmers: Role of Information and Communication TechnologyCAMFORDASSOCIATES
The refereeing process Choosing reviewers One, two or three referees? “Double-blind” refereeing Questions for the refereeCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Questions for referees Originality Relationship to literature Methodology Results Implications for research, practice and/or society Quality of CommunicationCAMFORDASSOCIATES
What do referees criticize? Research question unimportant Findings lack significance Poorly written Conclusion not justified Inappropriate methodology Errors in logic or analysis of data Unoriginal Boring Good but not right for this journalCAMFORDASSOCIATES
The editor’s decision Options for the editor: Accept the paper as it stands Ask for minor revision Ask for major revision Ask the authors to resubmit Reject the paper Author’s response Agree – revise accordingly and/or explain why not Disagree – if misreading, redraft; if reject criticism provide reasonsCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Summary: how to guarantee publication The main criteria: Target the right journal Understand what the journal wants in terms of quality Answering the “so what” questions: “What is this paper about?” and “Why does it matter?” Read the notes for authors Structure your paper clearly Consider your audienceCAMFORDASSOCIATES
Thank you firstname.lastname@example.org www.camfordassociates.comCAMFORDASSOCIATES
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