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Professor Simon Haslett
Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor
Presentation at the
International University of Malaya-Wales
Wednesday 19th February 2014
Aims of the Workshop
• This seminar is about
publishing and not about
the academic writing
• Explore your motivations for
• Overcome barriers to
writing and submission for
• Approaches to writing for
• Submitting your work to
• Responding to editors and
• Due to limited time, and to keep the discussion
going, following the seminar today please visit my
Getting Published blog at:
• Under the IUMW blog post, if you’re happy to do
so, please click on ‘comment’ (this ppt is posted).
• Please reflect on how the workshop might inform
your future approach to writing and publication?
• Please comment on others ‘comments’ too.
• If you have a Google Account please ‘follow’ the
A bit about the facilitator
• Since 1990 Simon has published:
– Over 130 academic articles, mostly peer-reviewed
– 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
• What are your motivations for wanting to
write and publish your research work?
We‘ll share some points, but please add them and
others to the blog.
Barriers: from a writing retreat
Writing in chunks
Reworking a thesis
‘Permission’ to write
Fear of rejection
Are there others?
Making a start
Set out on your own
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
• Write working papers
– Practice in writing academic papers
– Useful feedback
– Does not count as prior publication if revised
• Create your own website
Choosing the Right Journal 1
• Research the journals in your field
– Library and websites (perhaps not as easy as it used to be)
– 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 or rejected
by your preferred journal)
Choosing the Right Journal 2
• What is the readership and usage?
• Is it peer reviewed
– How long will this take?
– Who is likely to review your paper – can you suggest reviewers?
• Prestige in your field
– Who is the editor and who are on the editorial board?
– Who publishes in the journal?
– Is it published by a major publisher or association?
• Is it on the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) Citation
– How often is it cited?
– Is journal ranking (tier) and impact factor important?
• Is it available online and in print?
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; it’s best
to be explicit about its widest context.
• Ask a colleague to read your paper prior to
submission – maybe? Definitely where English may
need to be checked/improved.
Preparing the Manuscript
• Read the guidelines carefully.
• Comply with minimum and maximum limits
• Expand any acronyms
– Especially if the audience is international or
• Provide an abstract that conveys the content, results
and main conclusions (add keywords) – important.
• Check spelling and grammar
• Follow formatting styles (double line spacing, etc).
Manuscript Preparation Cont’d.
• Ensure references cited in text appear in bibliography
– and vice versa
– Perhaps not too many self-references – could compromise
• Figures, tables and photographs
– Check they are ALL present
– Resolution and file type is important e.g. TIFFs, dpi
– Observe conventions e.g. maps should have scale bars and
– Place in a separate file? Or collated?
– Make sure they are all numbered and referred to in text
– Consider/suggest how they will appear in the journal
– Ensure you have the correct copyright clearance
– Some journals now accept audio, video clips, and graphical
What not to do
• Don’t try to boil down your whole PhD/Masters thesis
into one article
– Best to plan articles before you start your thesis
– Thesis could be published as a book
• Don’t put the submitted article on your website first (if
you want feedback, some journals now offer a
discussion facility e.g. some European Geoscience
• Don’t send your article to more than one journal at the
• Don’t plagiarise, including self-plagiarism – there are
some tolerated exceptions e.g. methodology
• Don’t repeat the same article with just small changes
• Don’t wait for a decision before you start your next
• 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!
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
•Manuscript is poorly prepared
•Too short or too long
•Article is submitted to the wrong journal
•Nothing new is stated or found
•Not a proper journal article
• Be resilient – academics need to be
• Rejection can be a positive result - it is sometimes
better than major revision.
• Prestigious journals only accept 20% of
• Very few papers are accepted without revision
• Mentoring function of editorial boards
– feedback from respected in field
– Address comments/suggestions
• Try again
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
• 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 to
provide previous reviewers comments?
• You will usually be emailed a pdf of the proofs of
• Check them very carefully – your last chance!
• 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 – you
need to promote the publication if you want it to
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?
• Discuss with a colleague and 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)?
Bibliography & Resources
• Getting Published Blog http://academic-publishing.blogspot.co.uk/
• HEA-ICS, 2007. Writing for Publication.
[accessed 28th June 2010].
• Murray, R., 2009. Writing for Academic Journals. Open University
• 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.
http://www.vitae.ac.uk/researchers/1298/Publishing-yourresearch.html [accessed 28th June 2010].