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Getting Published! Exploring strategies, myths and barriers of academic publishing.

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Getting Published! Exploring strategies, myths and barriers of academic publishing.

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Publications are an important aspect of the work of an academic; remaining the principal vehicle through which research is reported, opinions aired, reviews undertaken, and knowledge transferred, and writing is also a useful learning exercise. For many, it also underpins teaching and curricula, means greater success in research grant applications, and a good publication track record is still seen by many institutions as a key recruitment and promotion criteria. Yet traditionally how to get your work published has not been taught, but learnt through trial and error, mainly from rejection by journal editors. This seminar is aimed at inexperienced academic authors and explores and discusses the issues surrounding the strategy and publication of academic work, and addresses some of the myths and barriers that might discourage would-be authors after the research and writing process is complete.

Publications are an important aspect of the work of an academic; remaining the principal vehicle through which research is reported, opinions aired, reviews undertaken, and knowledge transferred, and writing is also a useful learning exercise. For many, it also underpins teaching and curricula, means greater success in research grant applications, and a good publication track record is still seen by many institutions as a key recruitment and promotion criteria. Yet traditionally how to get your work published has not been taught, but learnt through trial and error, mainly from rejection by journal editors. This seminar is aimed at inexperienced academic authors and explores and discusses the issues surrounding the strategy and publication of academic work, and addresses some of the myths and barriers that might discourage would-be authors after the research and writing process is complete.

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Getting Published! Exploring strategies, myths and barriers of academic publishing.

  1. 1. Professor Simon Haslett Short-Term Visiting Fellow @ProfSHaslett Jesus College,Turl Street, Oxford OX1 3DW Tel. +44 1865 279701 | simon.haslett@jesus.ox.ac.uk jesus.ox.ac.uk © Copyright Jesus College 2021 Jesus College is a registered charity (No.1137435) Event Title: Doctoral Network and Advisory Seminar, Hong Kong Management Association Date and Location: 21st January 2021, online presentation via Zoom Getting Published! Exploring strategies, myths and barriers of academic publishing.
  2. 2. A bit about the facilitator • Since 1990 Simon has published: • Over 150 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 societies).
  3. 3. Aims of the Seminar • This seminar is about publishing and not about the academic writing process. • Exploring motivations for publishing. • Some strategic issues in academic publishing. • Recognising barriers to writing and submission for publication. • Approaches to academic publication. • Submitting your work to publishers. • Responding to editors and reviewers comments.
  4. 4. Strategic and personal motivators • Some issues that may influence you: • UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) • High impact, ISI-listed journals, careful wording • UK Research Degree Awarding Powers (RDAPs) • Learned/professional society journals • Institutional/Departmental Strategy • E.g. Research-informed teaching, research-led learning • To assist in gaining internal/external funding • Career progression • Prioritisation and personal goals • e.g. always wanted to publish in a particular journal
  5. 5. Barriers: from a writing retreat • Making time • Distractions • Getting started • Writing in chunks • Perfectionism • Reworking a thesis • ‘Permission’ to write • Emotions • Fear of rejection • There are others ….
  6. 6. 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 academics themselves). • Write working papers? • Practice in writing academic papers • Useful feedback • Does not count as prior publication if revised • Create your own website and/or active on platforms e.g. Researchgate, Academia.edu, etc.
  7. 7. 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).
  8. 8. 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)
  9. 9. 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? • Local/national/international? • Is it on the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) Citation Database, Scopus, etc? • How often is it cited? • Is journal ranking and impact factor important? • Is it available online and in print?
  10. 10. 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.
  11. 11. Preparing the Manuscript • Read the guidelines carefully – most submit through an online gateway now. • Comply with minimum and maximum limits • Expand any acronyms • Especially if the audience is international or interdisciplinary • 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).
  12. 12. Manuscript Preparation Cont’d. • Ensure references cited in text appear in bibliography and vice versa • Perhaps not too many self-references – could compromise anonymous review • 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 north arrow • 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 abstracts.
  13. 13. 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, or • 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 Union Journals) • Don’t send your article to more than one journal at the same time • 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 article.
  14. 14. 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!
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. Overcoming rejection • 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 submissions. • Very few papers are accepted without revision • Mentoring function of editorial boards: • feedback from respected in field • Address comments/suggestions • Try again!
  17. 17. 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 each of 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 to provide previous reviewers comments?
  18. 18. Proof stage • You will usually be emailed a pdf of the proofs of your paper. • 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 as many people who you think may be interested as you can – don’t be shy – you need to promote the publication if you want it to be cited.
  19. 19. 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 or supervisor 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.
  20. 20. Thank You Diolch yn Fawr Name– supporting reference Name– supporting Jesus College, Turl Street, Oxford OX1 3DW Tel. +44 1865 279701 | simon.haslett@jesus.ox.ac.uk jesus.ox.ac.uk © Copyright Jesus College 2019 Jesus College is a registered charity (No.1137435)

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