This section provides a brief guide to the process of academic journal publishing, and how to successfully navigate the world of publishing. It also discusses how to use social media to communicate your research to a broader audience. Academic publishing is complex and there are many aspects to consider along the way.
Refer to the journal’s ‘guidelines for authors’ to learn how to prepare a manuscript for publication including word count and citation format. Make sure your research aligns with the journal’s mission statement, editorial perspective and audience.
When you submit an article for publication, you must confirm that the manuscript has only been submitted to the one journal and ethical clearance has been made for your research (if required). You must never submit a manuscript to more than one journal at the same time. It is professionally disrespectful to submit an article to be reviewed that you might then withdraw if your work is accepted for another journal.
Practical tips for submitting:
State why the paper will be of interest to the readers of the journal if there is an opportunity to do so.
Once submitted, you will need to be patient as the process takes time. Editors read manuscripts to screen out unsuitable submissions and then pass the remainder to reviewers in a similar field of research. Quality journals will go through a “double blind” peer review which means that the author’s name does not appear on the paper going to the reviewers and the names of the reviewers are not made known to the authors. It may be your responsibility to remove your name and perhaps acknowledgments to ensure anonymity.
Reviewers are generally given between three weeks to three months to review an article. Once all reviews have been returned, editors make a final decision and respond to authors via letter or email. If you have not heard from the Editor after six months, it is reasonable to contact the journal to inquire regarding your submission’s progress.
The peer review process may identify weaknesses in your writing, your research methodology or your argument. Many high ranking journals will respond with a “revise and resubmit” letter to most manuscript submissions. Formally, the manuscript has been rejected at this point. However, if you use the reviewer’s comments productively and revise your manuscript to incorporate suggested changes, then you have a strong chance of having the revised manuscript accepted for publication.
Revised and resubmitted papers can result in more citations than first submissions (Ball, 2012). Try to reframe criticism in a positive way to see how the manuscript can be modified to improve the strength of your argument.
Your chances of being published improve if you respond quickly to the recommendations of editors and reviewers. Where the advice of different reviewers appears to conflict or where you disagree with comments, indicate that you have considered each objection or suggestion carefully and respectfully. When resubmitting, include an extensive cover letter:
Social media provides alternative forums for publication outside the formality of scholarly publishing. Blogs and Twitter are accessible ways to engage a wider audience with your research, enabling them to respond, collaborate and comment and providing a more socially interactive way to work. They are also useful tools to get you into the practice of writing and self-reflecting on your research.
ResearchGate is a popular social networking site for researchers. It functions as a profile page, a communication space and a mechanism for sharing copies of publications with other researchers. ResearchGate uses information in the profile to match the researcher to publications. If the researcher 'claims' a suggested publication, they are prompted to upload a full-text copy. However, when uploading a full-text publication to ResearchGate, the researcher assumes full responsibility for checking that the upload does not constitute an infringement of the publisher's copyright. Note that publishers have escalated legal battle against ResearchGate.
The recent report, 'Feeling Better Connected': Academics' Use of Social Media (linked below) identifies the benefits, limitations, insights and strategic ways academics and postgraduate students are using social media to maximise attention to their academic work.