How To Get Published In An Academic Journal: Top Tips From Editors | The universities

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Writing for academic journals is very competitive. Even if you overcome the first hurdle and generate a valuable idea or research, how do you then summarize it in a way that captures the interest of reviewers?

There is no simple formula for publishing – publishers’ expectations can vary both between and within domains. But there are certain challenges that will face all academic writers, regardless of their discipline. How should you respond to reviewer comments? Is there a correct way to structure an article? And should you always bother to revise and submit again? We asked journal editors from a variety of backgrounds for advice on getting published.

The writing stage

1) Focus on a story that progresses logically rather than chronologically

Take the time before you even write your article to think about the logic of the presentation. When writing, focus on a story that progresses logically, rather than the chronological order of your experiences.
Deborah Sweet, Editor-in-Chief of Cell Stem Cell and Publishing Director at Cell Press

2) Don’t try to write and edit at the same time

Open a file on the PC and put all your titles and subtitles there, then fill in under any of the titles where you have ideas for doing it. If you hit your daily goal (mine is 500 words), bullet point any other ideas and stop writing; then use those chips to start the next day.

If you write and can’t find the right word (eg for elephant), don’t worry – write (large, long-nosed animal) and move on – come back later and get the correct term. Write do not edit; otherwise you lose the flow.
Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Advanced Nursing

3) don’t bury your argument like a needle in a haystack

If someone asked you on the bus to quickly explain your paper, could you do so in clear, everyday language? This clear argument should appear in your summary and in the very first paragraph (even the first line) of your article. Don’t make us look for your argument like a needle in a haystack. If it is hidden on page seven, it will only annoy us. Oh, and make sure your argument goes through the different sections of the paper and connects theory and empirical material.
Fiona Macaulay, Editorial Board, Journal of Latin American Studies

4) Ask a colleague to check your work

Poorly written articles are one of the problems that journal editors face. The writer’s mother tongue may not be English and he may not have gone the extra mile to have it proofread. It can be very difficult to understand what is going on in an article if the language and syntax are poor.
Brian Lucey, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Financial Analysis

5) Get published by writing a review or a response

Writing reviews is a good way to get published, especially for people who are just starting out in their careers. This is a chance to practice writing an article for publication and get a free copy of a book you want. We post more reviews than articles, so we’re constantly looking for reviews.

Some journals, including ours, publish responses to articles that have been published in the same journal. Editors like to post replies to previous articles because it stimulates discussion.
Yujin Nagasawa, cho Editor-in-chief and editor-in-chief of the European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, philosophy of religion editor of Philosophy Compass

6) don’t forget about international readers

We have people writing from America who assume everyone is familiar with the American system – and the same happens with British writers. Because we are an international journal, we need writers to include this international context.
Hugh McLaughlin, Editor-in-Chief, Social Work Education – the International Journal

7) Don’t try to cram your PhD into a 6,000 word document

Sometimes people want to throw it all away and hit too many goals. We have people trying to tell us their entire PhD in 6,000 words and it just doesn’t work. More experienced writers will write two or three articles on the same project, using a specific aspect of their research as a starting point.
Hugh McLaughlin, Editor-in-Chief, Social Work Education – the International Journal

Submit your work

8) Choose the right journal: it’s a bad sign if you don’t recognize any member of the editorial staff

Check that your article is within the scope of the journal to which you are submitting. It seems so obvious, but it is surprising how many articles are submitted to journals that are completely inappropriate. It’s a bad sign if you don’t recognize the names of the editorial board members. Ideally, browse through a number of recent issues to make sure that it publishes articles on the same topic that are of similar quality and impact.
Ian Russell, Editorial Director for Science at Oxford University Press

9) Always follow the correct submission procedures

Often, authors do not spend the 10 minutes it takes to read author instructions, which wastes an enormous amount of author and editor time and lengthens the process when they do not need to. do it.
Tangali Sudarshan, Editor, Surface Engineering

10) Don’t repeat your resume in the cover letter
We look at the cover letter for an indication from you on what you think is most interesting and important about the document, and why you think it is best suited for the journal. There is no need to repeat the summary or go through the content of the article in detail – we’ll read the article itself to find out what it says. The cover letter is a place for a bigger overview, as well as any other information you would like us to have.
Deborah Sweet, Editor-in-Chief of Cell Stem Cell and Publishing Director at Cell Press

11) A common reason for rejections is lack of context

Make sure that your research’s place in the larger academic landscape is clear and the knowledge gaps it addresses. A common reason why articles are rejected after peer review is this lack of context or lack of clarity on the importance of the research.
Jane Winters, Editor-in-Chief of the Historical Research Journal of the Institute of Historical Research and Associate Editor of Frontiers in Digital Humanities: Digital History

12) don’t overdo your methodology

Ethnography seems to be the fashion of the day, so many of the articles submitted claim to be based on it. However, a closer look reveals fairly limited and standard maintenance data. A few conversations in a café do not constitute an ethnography. Be clear – from the start – about the nature and scope of your data collection. The same goes for the use of theory. If a theoretical overview is useful for your analysis, use it consistently throughout your argument and text.
Fiona Macaulay, Editorial Board, Journal of Latin American Studies

Process comments

13) Respond directly (and calmly) to reviewers’ comments

When resubmitting an article after revisions, include a detailed document summarizing all the edits suggested by the reviewers and how you edited your manuscript in light of them. Stick to the facts, and don’t be mad. Do not respond to reviewer comments as soon as you receive them. Read it, think about it for several days, discuss it with others, and then write a response.
Helen Ball, Editorial Board, Journal of Human Lactation

14) Review and resubmit: don’t give up after overcoming all major obstacles

You would be surprised how many authors who receive the standard “review and resubmit” letter never do. But it’s worth doing – some authors who are asked to do major revisions persevere and end up getting their work published, still others, who had much less to do, never resubmit. It seems silly to jump over the major hurdles of article writing, get it past the editors, and come back from peer review and then give up.
Fiona Macaulay, Editorial Board, Journal of Latin American Studies

15) It is acceptable to challenge reviewers, with good justification

It’s okay to decline a reviewer’s suggestion to edit something in your article if you have a good rationale, or if you can (politely) argue why the reviewer is wrong. A rational explanation will be accepted by editors, especially if it is clear that you have considered all the comments received and accepted some of them.
Helen Ball, Editorial Board of the Journal of Human Lactation

16) Think about how quickly you want your article published

Some journals rank higher than others, so your risk of rejection will be greater. People need to consider whether or not they need to see their work published quickly, as some journals will take longer. Some journals, like ours, also offer early access, so once the article is accepted, it appears on the journal’s website. This is important if you are preparing for a job interview and need to show that you are publishable.
Hugh McLaughlin, Editor-in-Chief, Social Work Education – the International Journal

17) Remember: when you read published articles, you only see the finished article

Publishing in the best journals is a challenge for everyone, but it may seem easier for others. When you read published articles, you see the finished article, not the first draft, not the first review and resubmission, or any of the interim versions – and you never see the failures.
Philip Powell, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Information Systems

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