Presentation on theme: "Publishing in academic journals"— Presentation transcript:
1 Publishing in academic journals Alistair R Anderson
2 My experience of publishing First – no claims for any particular expertiseHowever been fortunate, now have some 80+ journal articles published in a range of journals (from just ok to very good; but almost all in business journals) but h23I have also had a substantial number of rejections and only two papers ever accepted without revisions( I have even had a reject from my own journal!)Editorial experience-editor of Entrepreneurship and Regional DevelopmentEditorial board member of several journalsAd hoc reviewer for many journalsSo considerable experience of the publishing process
3 Plan for our session Why publish? The publication process Discussion about reasons why and why notThe publication processHow the system operatesThe publishing processIs there any one “best” way to do it?
4 Why publish? I see two types of good reasons for publishing ‘Personal’ and ‘Institutional’Good publications build your reputationObviously improves job and promotion prospectsOpportunity to put your efforts into public domainBut also opens many doorsInvitations to do interesting thingsCollaborative projectsFunding opportunitiesThis is simply because people get to know who you are, and what you do, by reading your workPaula called this your identity
5 ‘Institutional’ reasons to publish Your institution’s reputation is enhancedAttracts better studentsImproves standing in academic communityFunding can be attractedEnhances teaching, and of courseAcademic duty to make new knowledge known!So not just PhD but your career prospects
6 Why some people don’t publish Benefits are often indirect and long term(Interestingly some US and Canadian universities pay directly for publications)It isn’t easy and takes a lot of effortIt takes a lot of timeSometimes, even with effort and time, it doesn’t workMany people are frightened of “failure” and don’t understand that a rejection is only part of the processI will have much more to say about this point!
7 First thoughts We look at a paper in a journal and think Wow that’s good, it’s a polished, thoughtful and well presented piece of work orGosh how did that get in there? It’s poorly written and seems trivial and doesn’t seem to say very much that’s significant!We “forget” all that has gone before the publicationSo thinking about the process may help to understand why some good stuff doesn’t get published and some poor stuff does
8 The publishing process First write an INTERESTING paper (!!)Send it to a journal editorS/he looks at it and decides if it’s worth reviewing (sometimes R&R)One, two or three reviewers read and comment and proposeRejectRevise and resubmitAccept
9 The publishing process 4. The editor collects and “collates” the reviews5. Decides on next stage and advises authors6. You, as author, then decide what to do- Stage 2
10 The publishing process Stage 2 You have been advised - Reject Most journal have a high rejection rate, the best reject over 90% of submissionsOrganizational Studies received over 390 submissions last year and rejected 94%My journal, over the last 6 months had a 95% reject rate, with about 55% desk rejectedHowever, one less prestigious journal I know eventually accepted some 45%But, some journals probably have a 90% acceptance rate at certain times- but…..
11 So need to change target journal and/or improve/alter paper or Actions- do not take it personallyIt is the article that has been rejected not youSo need to change target journal and/orimprove/alter paperorAim for less prestigious publication?Don’t just forget about it- think through the optionsI know of one paper rejected but accepted with no changes for top ranked journal ( so editor’s tastes and requirements vary!)
12 Rejection in context On the basis of a 90+ % rejection rate Crudely put, you need to submit 10 paper to get one accepted!And have 9 rejected!!!So- reject is the norm, acceptance is the exception
14 Rejection is part of the process All authors, no matter how famous have rejections!Even if you get a straight reject, the editor should tell you whyNot suited for journal – (style or topic area)TARGET TARGET TARGETInsufficiently theoretical/practicalBrief outline of major “faults” of paperRemember it is the article that is rejected not YOU
15 Rejection is part of the process Often you get a rejection after review -unless you have targeted the wrong journalSo you now have at least two reviews and the editor’s commentsThe reviewers will (usually) explain, in detail, why they rejected the paperSo you have now the basis for improving or changing the paper and submitting elsewhere
16 Rejection is part of the process Remember that editors have a difficult jobConflicting requirements-All want high quality publications butAll have to fill the journalThey may need to try to keep both authors and reviewers sweet!They may have a lot, or few, publications in the pipelineSo its the paper, and in this specific context, that has been rejected- not you, your methods or even your topic
17 Rejection is part of the process Remember that editors have a difficult jobConflicting requirements-All want high quality publications butAll have to fill the journalThey may need to try to keep both authors and reviewers sweet!They may have a lot, or few, publications in the pipelineSo its the paper, and in this specific context, that has been rejected- not you, your methods or even your topic
18 Revise and resubmitThis is good news, but does not mean any obligation to publishYou will have been given a chance to rework the paper along guidelines to improve the chance of publicationSome editors will advise you about chances of publicationI’d guess that about 30% are accepted for highly ranked journals andAbout 70% for less well known journals
19 Revise and resubmit Read the editor’s and reviewers’ comments briefly Put the paper aside for a week. You may feel that you hate them for “not understanding your work”; “not reading it properly” or simply being “ignorant”But they are the gatekeepers and should know the job!Some journals,e.g.JMS, never accept outright!So now read what they have said very carefully!
20 Revise and resubmitThe editor should have “reviewed” the reviews and provided you with a synopsis of what needs to be doneThe referees should have explained what they liked, what they didn’t like and explained why.A good review will also make some clear suggestions about how the paper can be improved
21 Revise and resubmitHowever, sometimes they don’t do their job very well (but the very best journals always do)If the editor doesn’t give you “a steer”Use the referee’s comments as a guideIf the referees give conflicting opinionsSelect the points you like and work on these BUT prepare a convincing explanation of why and why notGet to work! ( some journal have a tight time limit)Some journals may have several cycles of r & rSo be prepared for that
22 Revise and resubmitWhen you are satisfied that you have managed to address most points raisedWrite a careful letter explaining in details what you have done, what you have changed and how you have responded to the various commentsYou can challenge points raised, but avoid emotive responses, keep them reasoned
23 Revise and resubmit Before you send it off, (again) Get some other opinions on-The paper itselfdoes it still read well, is it consistent, logical and clearly presented2. The revisions- ideally someone familiar with your first version and the journal, get them to read the paper and your letterINVITE CRITICISMS, BUT USE THEM REFLECTIVELY
24 Accept without changes You are either very lucky or very goodso congratulations!This does happen but not very often !
25 Accept without changes You are either very lucky or very goodso congratulations!This does happen but not very often !
26 Review GuideIs the subject of the article withinthe scope of the Journal?xyxxIs this a new and original contribution?Does it refine, substantiate or clarify existing knowledgeof entrepreneurship?Are the ideas soundly developed andclearly presented?Is the research methodology adequate?Are the interpretations/conclusions sound and justified by data or other evidence?
27 Is the presentation, organisation and length satisfactory? Is the paper well written, coherentand logical?Does the paper bridge the gap betweentheory and practise?Do you suggest any reductions in thepaper, or deletions of parts?Are the references adequate and are they all necessary? all necessary?Do you suggest any reductions in thepaper, or deletions of parts?Are the illustrations and tables necessaryand acceptable?
28 Is the paper acceptable for publication in its present form?with minor revisions ?after major revisions?or unacceptable for publication
29 Reflecting on the process The journals gatekeeper’s roles, duties and expectations?The editor’s – good, well cited workThe reviewer’s- “peer” review, engagement?Gatekeeper’s abilities and attitudes?The reviewers’ – highly variable, seems to depend on motivation; journal status; own expertise; interest in topic ?
30 Reflecting on the process What makes a good paper?As authorAs editorAs readerAre these all commensurate, conflicting?
31 Finally When you come to referee submissions Think of the author Think of the audienceTry to be “constructively critical”The sandwich usually works
32 a good paper? Formal – Contribution to knowledge ( the so what test?) Relevance?Good research?Insights?Attractiveness to audience? What does this mean?Informal- ? New topic; expansion of existing;
33 Thoughts? Collaborate or single author Which journal With whom, how many, where?Which journalTarget, first or last?Quality and peer esteem, specialist or general?