Presentation on theme: "Publishing Academic Articles: a way through the maze"— Presentation transcript:
1 Publishing Academic Articles: a way through the maze Ian White, Routledge and Dr Karen Smith, University of GreenwichThis presentation is called ‘Publishing in Academic Journals: tips to help you succeed’ but it could equally be called ‘How to get you through the journal peer review process.’ The aim of the presentation is to help you learn from the mistakes, we as publishers, have seen academics make in the past.It is not really designed to teach you how to write a paper, but instead to offer you advice on presenting your paper in the best possible light, choosing the correct journal to send it to and then tailoring your article to your chosen journal. This will hopefully give your paper the best chance of success.Towards the end of the presentation we will give you our ‘Top Ten reasons why papers get rejected and hopefully by the time we get there we will have told you how to avoid them.Introduce each other and get the participants to introduce themselves – ask them to share their experiences of publishing higher education research (KS)
2 session overview We will cover: the mechanics of getting published in journalshow to choose the right journalworking with other people; gaining and using their feedbackidentifying the differences between writing for journals and other forms of writing with which you may be more familiarKS to overview what will be covered
3 start of the publishing cycle 1. Idea2. Choose Journal3. Read back issues4. Write first draft5. Use critical friend6. Refine further drafts7. Check notes for contributors8. Proof-read and submitIW to talk through the processTo begin, let’s examine the journal publishing cycle. This is how academics generally work. They get an idea of what they want to write about. They then choose the journal they want to publish their article in. Hopefully they go and look at the journal in some detail before they actually write their article and look at past issues and papers. They produce a draft of their article then get a critical friend (not just someone who will tell you the paper is good regardless) to look at it and critique it. After this, the author will then write a further draft. They will check the notes for contributors for the journal and make sure they adhere to the individual journal’s submission guidelines. Then they submit it to the journal’s editor – but only after it is a finished piece of work.
4 what makes for a good idea for an article? An interesting topic (to you and others)Something newNot been researched beforeNot been researched before in that way (different methods and methodology; different context)Extends / builds on previous workA thesis chapter, dissertation or conference paper that has received good feedback from othersWhat are your ideas?KS – overview of what makes for a good idea and ask them to share their ideas for an article – and where that idea has come from
5 choosing the right journal Which higher education journals are you familiar with?KS to lead a brainstorm on the journals they are familiar with
6 journals Discipline specific Themed General higher education Biochemistry and Molecular Biology EducationJournal of Nursing EducationLaw TeacherThemedAssessment and Evaluation in Higher EducationJournal of Online Learning and TeachingGeneral higher educationTeaching in Higher EducationStudies in Higher EducationGeneral educationBritish Journal of Sociology of EducationResearch Papers in EducationKS to offer her brief overview of a selectionIW to share the Routledge list and give away the small flyersRoutledge list
7 how to choose? Ask other people See where the people you read publish Read other articles in that publicationTrack key issues/topics, and see where they are publishedset up content alertsuse social media (twitter, linkedin)Contact the editorLook at the journal’s aims and scope (or calls for special editions)Think about the audienceConsider the quality of the journalIW to overview how you choose - could also draw on material in Routledge vimeo presentationAdapted from Black et al (1998, pp.86-87)
8 what does an academic article look like? In pairs, look at a few examples of higher education research articles. Consider the following questions:Can you identify common structures in these articles?How does these compare to the forms of writing you are more familiar with (research in other disciplines, essays, chapters)?KS to set up the activity
9 the shape Most research papers look like this. The introduction moves from a general discussion of your topic, to the more specific question or hypothesis you will investigate.The discussion section becomes increasingly more generalised.Introductory sectionsGeneralSpecificMethodsResultsKS to talk through the structureSpecificGeneralDiscussionFrom Swales & Feak (2007, p.222)
10 Purposes Introductory sections Provides rationale for the paper – moves from general overview of the topic to the specifics of your question.MethodDescribes the methodology, materials (or subjects) and procedures.ResultsThe findings are described, accompanied by commentary.DiscussionOffers an increasingly generalised account of what has been found out in the study.KS to overview what the parts look likeAdapted from Swales & Feak (2007, p )
11 what might publishers be looking for? Educational Studies offers author guidance on what it expects from submissions in terms of:General adviceAbstractIntroduction / literature reviewMeasures of assessmentSamplingData collectionInterpretation of findingsReferencesIW to highlight Educational Studies guidanceIt is based on a model of empirical research – but it might offer a useful checklist: (instructions for authors)
12 article compared to other piece of learning and teaching writing Focussed literature review / background stating a claim for the need for the studyClear structure to argumentConcise overview of methodologyDiscussion of findings in relation to existing knowledge / researchAccurately referencedBound by (often) tight word countKS to discuss how the forms of writing differ – and ask them if they would add anything else
13 working with critical friend(s) What is a critical friend?Why might you need one?Choosing the right oneIn the same field?SpecialistGeneralistExperienced writerProof readerIW to highlight the importance of the critical friend – ask the participants the first two questions
14 refining your articleCheck you’ve followed the authors’ instructions (word count, page layout, referencing, figures etc.) -Thank you for submitting your manuscript, "International Students’ first encounters with exams in the UK: superficially similar but deeply different," to IJTLHE. Unfortunately, the manuscript is not being considered for publication within IJTLHE. After an initial review, it was determined that your manuscript did not meet the submission guidelines described by IJTLHE atSubmission is increasingly online – be ready to register – exampleKS to lead – share example of her submission to IJTHE
15 the peer review process 1. Editor receives manuscript2. Reviewers3. Accept Minor amendments Major amendments Reject4. Feedback to author5. Amend6. Publisher proof stage7. Article Published!IW to talk through the peer review processAfter the Editor receives the manuscript he or she may well reject the paper without sending it out for peer review. Many academics don’t understand this and can get annoyed because their paper hasn’t been reviewed. However, many of the top journals may only accept as little as five per cent of the papers which are sent to them and although we know there is a lot of debate about this, we think it is best that the editor says no at this stage, as this could save you a lot of time in the future.If the paper does go out for peer review, the process can take six months and then be rejected.Reviewers are often difficult to find and in general, do not get paid, so Editors prefer not to send them papers that in the editors opinion will not make it through to publication.If a paper gets through this initial screening stage it will go to reviewers who are anonymous. Reviewers will not know who the author is and authors will not be told who the reviewers for their paper are.Different journals have different methods of reviewing. On some journals the editorial board sit as a panel and discuss all the papers. More commonly, journals will send each paper to two or three academics who are knowledgeable in subjects relevant to the article, who will review it and then provide written feedback to the Editor with a recommendation.Of course, two reviewers may have different views on the same paper, so sometimes the editor will need to send the article to a third reviewer. Once the Editor has received the views of the reviewers, he or she will respond to the author with a decision. The decision may be to accept the paper straight away, but that doesn’t happen very often. More commonly, the recommendation provided by the reviewers is that the paper requires minor amendments, which the author then makes and resubmits. If the reviewers comments are taken into consideration and necessary changes made, these papers are then most often accepted for publication.When the reviewers suggest that a paper needs major amendments for it to be publishable it is often difficult to know what to do next. Some academics do all these major amendments, send their paper back and it still gets rejected. So if you get major amendments as a reply from the editor, we suggest that you check whether you would be better to submit your article to another journal rather than making the amendments, going back through the review process and still getting rejected. Most editors will be willing to advise you.The reviewers’ feedback that goes to the author is usually amended by the editor. If you have to re-submit your paper it generally goes back to the same reviewers. After all the amendments are made and the paper is accepted, it is sent to the publisher who will send you a proof of your article as a final check, after which your article is eventually published.Out of every 100 manuscripts that come into an editor, only about 30 will get published. So in our list of journals, 70% of papers are rejected. They might go back into the system again with another journal, or keep going round and round the review process, but you must remember only about 30% of manuscripts submitted to Routledge journals actually get published. So you should accept that some of your papers will be rejected at some point in your career.
16 the journal life cycle in practice Aug 2009Notification of project fundingMay 2011Start to draft paperAug 2011Submit paper to British Journal of Research into EducationSept 2011Reviewers’ comments (rejected)Submit paper to Studies in Higher EducationOct 2011Reviewers’ comments (corrections)Nov 2011Re-submit final draftReceive acceptanceFeb 2012Published on journal web siteSept 2014Print publishedKS to show what it looks like in practice
17 feedback ...what to expect Acceptance98% not immediately accepted/2% accepted on receiptRejectionReasons forRevisionReviewer’s mediated response(s)detailMajor, minor amendmentsIW to highlight the decision areas
18 dealing with rejection …. KS to facilitate sharing of rejection stories
19 why some articles are rejected Sent to the wrong journal, does not fit the journal’s aims and scope/fails to engage with the issues addressed by the journal.Not a proper journal article (i.e. too journalistic, or clearly a thesis chapter, or a consultancy report).Too long (ignoring word limits for the particular journal) or too short.Poor regard to the conventions of the journal (failure to consult Notes for Contributors) or to conventions of academic writing generally.Bad style, grammar, punctuation; poor English (not corrected by native speaker).Continued…IW to go through reasons for rejectionHere are ten reasons why papers are rejected, so avoiding them is a certainly advisable.They were given to us by Professor David Phillips who edited the Oxford Review of Education for over 25 years.We have discussed many of them on previous sections of this recording. Remember that your paper may be rejected for a number of reasons; it may not be just one.Paper sent to the wrong journal/does not fit the journal’s aims and scope/fails to engage with the issues addressed by the journal.Not a proper journal article (i.e. too journalistic, or clearly a thesis chapter, or a consultancy report).Too long (ignoring word limits for the particular journal) or too short.Poor regard to the conventions of the journal (failure to consult Notes for Contributors) or to conventions of academic writing generally.Bad style, grammar, punctuation; poor English (not corrected by native speaker).
20 why some articles are rejected Fails to say anything of significance (i.e. makes no new contribution to the subject) or states the obvious at tedious length.Not properly contextualised (e.g. concentrates on parochial interests and ignores the needs of an international or generally wider readership).Poor theoretical framework (including references to relevant literature).Scrappily presented and clearly not proofread.Libellous, unethical, rude.IWFails to say anything of significance (i.e. makes no new contribution to the subject) or states the obvious at tedious length.Not properly contextualised (e.g. concentrates on parochial interests and ignores the needs of an international or generally wider readership).Poor theoretical framework (including references to relevant literature).Scrappily presented and clearly not proofread.Libellous, unethical, rude.Avoid these and your paper stands a much better chance of success!
21 referees’ comments Accept feedback with good grace Revise as requested If you can’t – admit it, and explain whyTurn the paper round on timeThank the referees for their timeKS – to discussAdapted from Black et al (1998, pp.98-99)
22 preparing your response Be specificExemplifye.g. author’s response to Reviewers’ commentsDefend your positionRe-submit within the given timeframen.b. version controlKS to talk through and to share her examples of responses to reviewers.
23 Post-Acceptance Article Proofs (CATS) Copyright Publication Promotion Author RightsPublicationOnline (iFirst)PrintPromotionPublisherWhat can you do?IW to highlight what happens when something has been accepted.Ask the audience to share ideas about what they could do to publicise their work
24 self-publication Reading lists Departmental web pages or personal websiteSocial and academic networkingTwitter, facebook, Linkedin, MyNetResearch, Academici, CiteULikeDiscussion listsBlogsLibrary recommendationsFree sample copysignatureIW
25 help for prospective authors We have a new Author Services websiteThe site contains audio interviews with academic editors providing advice onhow to get published and how to write a research paper.Guidance is also available on:writing an article, editing or language polishing, translating, checking references, artwork, providing supplementary data, how to choose a journal;systems and interfaces (ScholarOne Manuscripts, CATS, Rightslink);the review process and what to expect;the production process and checking proofs;post-publication, errata, reprints, optimising citations;article versions and institutional repositories: what authors can and can’t do with their articles.We are particularly aware of increased demand from Chinese authors.Our Authors’ Newsletter is freely available online.IW to share the resources that are often availableMany publishers have websites where they offer help and services to authors and the Taylor & Francis version is called our Author Services website and the URL is Here you will find lots of information about how to write an article and hear podcasts from some of our Editors. It also gives information on copyright and what you can and cannot do with your paper after publication.
26 where will you go from here? KS to lead discussion on where the students go from here ... And also to have a Q&A session
27 referencesBlack, D.; Brown, S.; Day, A.; & Race, P. (1998) 500 Tips for Getting Published, London: Kogan PageSwales, J.M & Feak, C.B. (2007) Academic Writing for Graduate Students, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press
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