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Writing for Academic Journals

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Gerard Goggin talk for postgraduate researchers, Dept of Media & Communications, University of Sydney, 11 Sept 2015

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Writing for Academic Journals

  1. 1. writing academic journal articles Gerard Goggin Dept of Media and Communications University of Sydney 11 September 2015
  2. 2. why journal articles? • important part of advanced research (i.e. higher degrees by research) is disseminating your work by publishing • journals remain important part of this • many reasons for this: they define the field; they are laboratories for thinking; they are now – more or less – accessible via databases & Internet search; they allow people (e.g. future academic employers) to evaluate your work and potential; they offer great way to get feedback – peer-review – from experts in the field; they provide way for other researchers to know, interact with, and cite, your work
  3. 3. contemporary context for research • local university context • International context: discipline & fields (standards, norms, questions, agenda) • quality discourses & frameworks: Excellence Research Australia (ERA) • justifying research: expectations of different publics – ‘end-users’, ‘stakeholders’, ‘media’, ‘taxpayers’, ‘communities’ • expectation that researchers will seek funding • new emphasis on collaborative, team-based research in humanities • new idea of the research career in humanities & social sciences (cf. sciences) • Expectation that researchers will work across disciplines, universities, and sectors (i.e. with industry, communities)
  4. 4. contemporary context for journals • the quality turn: Excellence Research Australia; ranking of journals (ISI listing; university & national rankings) • means greater emphasis on quality/standing of journals – and pressure to publish in top journals in field • other factors: great proliferation of journals; transnational companies that dominate academic journal publishing (Taylor & Francis; Sage; etc); Internet/new media models of circulating journal content; emergence of open access journals; issues concerning independent journal publishing; Google Scholar (and emergence of h-index in academia)
  5. 5. writing & publishing • build writing into your research – and research career – early on • aim to publish 2 very good journal articles by time you have finished your PhD • develop strategies for sustaining your writing practice • seek different kinds of feedback for your work • think strategically about where you publish • gain experience in academic publishing (reviewing; editing; publishing)
  6. 6. Journal selection • It’s important that you familiarize yourself with academic journals • Which are the journals in your field/s • Which are ‘best’/most influential • What the characteristics/style of journal & what kind of work they publish • Who their communities are
  7. 7. Journal selection • What are the journals in your field? • What are the top journals? • Which do you wish to publish in? • Are their journals that aren’t best, but are important for communicating with particular audiences – e.g. national audiences, professional/practitioner audiences? • Where you do want to publish over a 3-5 year period?
  8. 8. Top journals Most widely accepted (still problematic) ranking is ISI Journal Citation reports For communication, ISI lists 76 journal journals & measures their number of citations and impact factors You can access this via the USYD library Google Scholar is rising in importance, it offers an alternative ranking of journals now - see, for instance, its ‘top publications - communication’
  9. 9. Which journal for this paper? • Think about which journals you wish/need to publish in; • Think which journal is best fit for this paper/piece of research • Know the journal! – read it, understand its place in field/history/etc • Take advice from your supervisor, other academics, colleagues about suitability of journal
  10. 10. rationale • Why are you writing this paper? • What’s its point? • What your approach/methods? • With whom are you hoping to communicate?
  11. 11. writing a journal article 1/3 • abstract • journal – sense of audience/outlet • drafts of paper • conference paper are great way to work up draft & get feedback (quickly revise afterwards for submission) • pre-review critique • adhere to style (as many don’t); keep to length; be professional in dealings with editor • article submitted; will be assessed; then, if thought suitable, will go to review
  12. 12. writing a journal article 2/3 • follow up to see if reviews have been received (after time journal stipulates – e.g. usually 2 months); NB: always follow up – don’t wait for months or years • editor will advise decision, and include reviews • usually: accept w/o revisions; minor revisions; major revisions; reject. Or points of this spectrum.
  13. 13. writing a journal article 3/3 • when editor advises decision (even rejection), do write back, be professional, and acknowledge email • negative reviews are tough to receive; so read them, feel the pain, then make considered decision (in consultation with trusted advisors) • be careful about understand what decision actually was – e.g. editor will signal if they want paper, even if one (or more) review was harsh • revise quickly, and resubmit; include cover letter detailing response to reviewer feedback (take all reviews seriously: don’t try to dismiss out of hand; but there is an art-form to responding to reviewer comments) • if accepted, the paper will go into production • deal with any further requirements (final queries; proofs; contracts; etc) quickly and professionally • create an open access version of your paper to put on website/in repository before it is finally published • when article is published, especially if in special issue, please consider thanking the editor (whose contribution is generally unsung) • send copies of paper/links to it to interested colleagues • Create an open access (OA) version of your paper through a repository
  14. 14. publishing strategies • publish in the journals that – help you communicate your work to the audiences you wish to reach & be read, & cited by – affirm and place your contribution, to the intellectual communities and traditions, in which you wish to belong • ensure you publish in top journals in field because – It lifts & endorses the quality of your work – Australian & international universities will increasingly require it
  15. 15. publishing strategies • continuing publishing in other, less prestigious or top, journals too, as they will often – be the most suitable & reach the audience with whom you wish to communicate – be where the cutting-edge thinking is happening • Think about your other publication, and communication strategies – Always put your work in open access & institutional repositories, as well as publishing it in books & journals – Give conference papers, talks, media, on your research – Write op-eds in newspapers; esp. new online publications (Inside Story; Online Opinion; New Matilda; The Conversation) – use potential of digital & social media to distribute & communicate your work & ideas (website, blogs, Twitter, Facebook)
  16. 16. publishing • Book publishing – While book publishing is changing dramatically (esp. sustainability of academic and quality presses; and new publishers emerging specializing in print-on-demand, e-books, or publishing theses), there are many opportunities for publishing your research as a book-length study – Depending on the expectations of your field, publishing a book is important to do, so devote some time to thinking about suitable publishers, and learning how to approach them • Book collections & chapters will remain important – in the humanities, especially, book collections can be field- defining, and enormously important, so it is worth publishing book chapters in well-conceived, influential anthologies (& proposing book collections)
  17. 17. resources on writing & research Excellence Research Australia: http://www.arc.gov.au/era/ Rowena Murray, The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach (Open UP, 2006), and Writing for Academic Journals (Open UP, 2006) William Germano, Getting It Published, 2nd , (Chicago UP, 2008) Lagoze, C., Edwards, P., Sandvig, C., & Plantin, J.--C. (2015). Should I stay or should I go? Alternative infrastructures in scholarly publishing. International Journal of Communication, 9, 1052-1071. Publishing discussion by 6 editors of leading media & communications -- Australian Journal of Communication, 35.1 (2008): 90ff John Hartley, Graeme Turner, Roslyn Petelin & Richard Nile, ‘Beyond the classroom: publications, career development, and further academic study’. Australian Journal of Communication, 27.3 (2000): 143-162 Graeme Turner, ‘The ERA and journalism research’ Australian Journalism Review, 33.1. (2011); 5-7. Graeme Turner and Kylie Brass, Mapping the humanities, arts, and social sciences in Australia. Canberra: Australian Academy of the Humanities. Special section of Communication Research and Practice, 1.3 (2015), including Terence Lee and Sue Turnbull, ‘ “Parochial Internationalism’: Publication in Australia’, DOI 10.1080/22041451.2015.1079151 & Gerard Goggin. ‘The Surprising Value of Regional Journals in International Media and Communication Research and Publishing.’ Communication Research and Practice 1. 3 (2015). DOI: 10.1080/22041451.2015.1079152