Best Practices for Beginners: Getting Published - From Inspiration to Publication
ACRL New Members Discussion Group, “The Publication Process: Getting Published in LIS Journals.”
Saturday, July 11, 2009, ALA Annual Conference, Chicago, IL
Lisa Carlucci Thomas Karen Sobel
Digital Collections Librarian Reference & Instruction Don’t worry if you were rejected for publication
Yale University Librarian
during library school. It’s a whole other world
email@example.com Univ. of Colorado—Denver
once you have your MLS.
Ask a more experienced colleague if they’d be
interested in collaborating on a project. This is
a great way to gain experience and guidance.
It’s much easier to incorporate research into
your daily work duties than to separate them
Preparing for that very first publication can prove nerve-
wracking for even the coolest & calmest of librarians.
out. What could you learn while you’re teaching,
Planning well from the very beginning helps maximize your digitizing, cataloging, etc.?
chance of success (and you will find success)! Many of the most successful research topics
Try following the six steps outlined in this handout. Feel aren’t the most innovative. Instead, they’re prac-
free to contact Lisa or Karen with questions or thoughts. tical, and they’re presented in a lot of detail.
And thanks for attending our presentation!
2 Inception 3 Investigation
Have a particular journal in mind. Get to know Data is good! Big minds in the LIS field have
the categories of information that it includes in been calling for more data-driven research in the
most articles, as well as the structure of its arti- past few years.
cles. Bear this in mind as you gather your data As you develop your research strategy, ask
(and even more later, as you begin to write). yourself how you can help your colleagues and
Start applying for institutional review board patrons by gathering this data. Making it useful
approval now if you’ll be gathering data on hu- for everyone will help gain support from your
man subjects! Typically you cannot gain ap- colleagues…and it’s a good idea anyway.
proval if you’ve already started. You can get in Remember that patrons (and colleagues) are
a lot of trouble if you publish data that was gath- usually glad to help if your research seems useful
ered without approval. – but they’re often over-taxed with surveys com-
ing from many different sources in their lives.
Try to keep survey times and numbers of instru-
ments to a minimum.
4 Inquiry 5 Publication
Pilot test any instruments you’re using. If an editor says that he or she is tentatively
If you find that an instrument isn’t working well, interested in publishing your work, this is a very
don’t hesitate to stop, revise, and start again. good sign! You’re most likely in!
Do a good literature review. These are very There will be a LOT of back-and-forth with
important to editors. But also don’t freak—if your editor, in terms of revisions and questions.
you miss important sources, they’ll tell you. Don’t worry—this is good.
Write, write, write! And stick with the organiza- If you disagree with suggestions your commen-
tional scheme that your journal uses. (Don’t tators make on your manuscript, talk with your
worry – if you have to switch publications later, editor. Remember that the comments are often
these usually translate well.) If you write sec- helpful – but they are only opinions.
tion by section, you’ll be surprised at how Watch your copyright rights! If you don’t un-
quickly your paper goes together. derstand or agree with the agreement you’re
Get trusted, experienced colleagues to read asked to sign, talk with a colleague – or a former
your manuscripts. library school advisor – who knows copyright
well. Retain the rights to your own work!
6 If it doesn’t work out the first time… Keep in touch!
Got rejected? No worries…you’ve got your manu- We’d love to hear about your experiences and help
script ready. When an editor rejects a manuscript, you out with your questions. Also, please let us
he or she will often suggest other publications that know if our advice helped (or if it didn’t), so we can
might be interested. They’re generally right on better advise new librarians in the future.
target! Pick another journal, revise your manu-
script to fit that journal’s traits, and send it in. Do you think future ALA conferences should
offer more programming for new librarians? We do!
Getting published for the first time feels fantastic. Let the New Members’ Round Table, or any other
It also helps you gain confidence and learn more divisions you participate in, know that you’d like
and more about the process. You can do it! more sessions that address your needs.
Good luck! Write us!
Lisa (firstname.lastname@example.org) &