Top tips on getting your work published

Today’s Career Advice post on the Inside Higher Ed blog has some great tips for getting your work published.

You can read the post at: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/hoelscher/werder4

Most of the tips are great and definitely worth knowing – the only one I might question is ‘On occasion publish where you can’. To some extent I’d agree, although most academics that I’ve spoken to have always impressed that quality is preferable over quantity when planning your publications. It’s true that the better journals can take longer to review articles, and that acceptance rates are lower, but it seems that it is worth the time and effort. Before lowering your sights and sending work to lesser journals with quicker turnaround times, you might take the following steps to increase your chances with the top journals…

  • Find out what journal editors look for. Take the opportunity to attend any training sessions that give you access to journal editors and find out what the successful authors do to get their work accepted. Alternatively, you may know that some academics in your field or school are editors – ask them what they like to see in the work that they accept.
  • Get a good sense of the process – how long is it likely to take, what steps will you be expected to go through as the author and what are the potential outcomes of the review process? This information will help you to plan your time and come up with a publication strategy.
  • Have a publication strategy – if you’re submitting work to the top journals it will take a while for it to be reviewed. In the meantime, get to work on the next article so that you always have something in the pipeline. This will keep your momentum up and will show potential employers that you are a productive writer.
  • Include work that in ‘in submission’ or ‘forthcoming’ on your CV. Just because it isn’t in print doesn’t mean it can’t appear on your CV. Ensure that you use the correct terminology to convey what stage your work is at, though. Generally ‘in submission’ means that your work has been sent to a journal and is in the review process whereas ‘forthcoming’ means that it has been accepted by the journal but hasn’t yet appeared in print (check these conventions in your discipline). If you don’t have many publications, you might also include work that is ‘in progress’ (ie that you’re working on but hasn’t been sent to a journal yet).
  • Build in time to get feedback before you send your work to a top journal.  You don’t want reviewers to focus on minor issues or small problems with the argument. Reviewers are busy academics and are likely to reject an article with lots of mistakes or flaws rather than trying to work through it.
  • Try to get some experience as a reviewer or editor. This gives you an inside view of what reviewers look for and how the whole process works. It also gives you access to lots of different articles so you can begin to get a sense of what makes a good one.

If anyone has any other top tips, feel free to add them via the comments section…

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