Dr. Elizabeth Catlos, UT
Dr. Eric Peterson, Illinois
Univ. in St. Louis
Pressure to publish
Consider your departmental/university expectations with
„For tenure they say two articles or a book or whatever. I’ve made up my
own rules for what I should do based on what I think I understand of all
the expectations. I’ll have a couple of articles and several conference
One the one hand, this faculty member demonstrates autonomy, self-
direction, and personal achievement.
On the other hand, he could be heading down a road of self-destruction.
(Menges and Associates, 1999)
What is your h-index?
The h-index is an index that attempts to measure both the productivity
and impact of the published work
A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations
each, and the other (Np − h) papers have no more than h citations each
How important is your h-index (or other indices) to your department?
How can you increase your h-index?
How can you increase the value of your work to others?
Consider having an active academic social networking profile
Other researchers can follow you/your updates via numerous on-line
Easy for those tasked to evaluate your tenure application
Easy access to download your publications (important to those who may
not have subscriptions)
Facebook, Linked-In are standard not as important as
Google Scholar includes # citations, h-index, i10-index; follows your
Researchgate (www.researchgate.net) can upload all pdfs, keep track of
downloads, compare to colleagues in dept. and university
Researcherid (www.researcherid.com) Can manage their publication
lists, track their times cited counts and h-index, identify potential
collaborators and avoid author misidentification. Integrates with the Web
of Knowledge and is ORCID compliant.
Support your writing
Be aware of your writing rituals and make them work for you
Read and study manuscripts in your field regularly
Set aside a regular time without interruptions. The more you write, the
easier it is
Refuse frustration and „defeatist‟ attitudes
Read books about how to improve your writing
Record the amount of time spent writing
Start as you collect data
Make use of an outline
Use larger blocks of time to cut the project into manageable pieces
Post key „data‟ where they are easy to view and write to them
Organize around key sentences
Write, and then continually revise and update
Write with the journal in mind
Importance of the impact factor
Open access? Contact your librarian if “invited” to submit a
paper to an odd, but reputable sounding journal or issue
Color figure cost, publication costs, urgency?
Consider breaking up the research
1 paper? Many papers?
Work on improving your writing
Read books about scientific writing, how to improve your writing
Read and try to emulate authors your respect and understand
Write to convince an imagined
Cite literature appropriately
Assume no one will read the entire paper
Assume someone will check your references and count the
Structure your paper like an hourglass
Introduction/background discuss the big picture then zone into a particular topic
Write the title carefully
Least number of words to describe what has been done
Introduction first, then methods/background, then your results
Importance of the abstract
The abstract is like an expanded title
Consider abstract like a series of headlines
Make sure all figures/tables/images convey critical information
Write a cover letter to accompany your submission
Not exceed 2 pages
Long enough to help the editor see the relevance of your work and choose
Logical flaws or rhetorical leaps in the text
Problems in the science
Errors in interpretations or data collection
Reviewers unconvinced of the value
The manuscript does not fit the content or style of
the journal to which it has been submitted
New observations, data, or interpretations appear in the
Summary or Conclusion sections
Critical arguments appear late in the text.
Figures are cited out of order or are missing.
Incorrectly cited references or too many references.
Spelling errors or other grammatical mistakes
Have someone (mentor/student) read before submitting
Seek feedback before submission
Review manuscripts if asked
Suggest possible reviewers
Make the most of your reviews and revise your manuscript if its not
Take *all* reviewer‟s and editor‟s comments into account in revising
“Reviewers have now commented on your paper. You will see that they are
advising that you revise your manuscript. If you are prepared to undertake the
work required, I would be pleased to reconsider my decision.”
Communication is the key
Strive to communicate as clearly as possible in your writing – keep the exposition
Use your cover letter to facilitate communication with the editor.
Answer each criticism and „communicate‟ with the editor and reviewers. Indicate
in the letter both the positive comments made about your manuscript and the
issues that you have addressed.
Do not be discouraged if the paper is rejected
Boice, Robert. (1989). Procrastination, busyness and bingeing. Behavior Research Therapy, 27, 605-
Boice, Robert. (2000). Advice for new faculty members: Nihil nimus. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, & Joseph M. Williams. (2003). The craft of research. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Fiske, Donald W., and Louis Fogg. (1990). But the reviewers are making different criticisms of my
paper! Diversity and uniqueness in reviewer comments. American Psychologist, 45, 591-598.
Gopen G. D., and Swan, J. A. (1990). The science of science writing, American Scientist, 78, 550-558.
Gray, Tara (2005). Summary (by the author) of Publish & Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar, posted on
„tomorrow‟s professor (see footnote 1) Tue, 6 Sep 2005. Publish & Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar is
available at http://www.teaching.nmsu.edu/acadbookstore.html
McCloskey, Deirdre. (2000). Economical writing (2nd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
Menges, R.J. (1989) Faculty in New Jobs: A Guide to Settling In, Becoming Established, and Building
Institutional Support. Jossey-Bass, 338pp.
Van Hinsbergen, Douwe, Video lecture on writing papers, available at
Williams, Joseph, with Gregory Colomb. (1990). Style: Toward clarity and grace. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press.