Demystifying the academic publishing process - event summary

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woman writing in a notebook

On 20 April 2023, we held an interactive workshop on the process of academic publishing convened by Dr Natalie Jester.  

Worthy of note was the importance of having an ORCID ID as an academic. An ORCID ID is a unique identifier for publishing any academic work and allows us to log in to most journals instead of having a new username and password for logging into different journals.

Steps on publishing articles

1. Come up with an idea and how it would be structured 

2. Decide which journal to reach out to keeping in mind the aims and scope of the respective journal. 

How to decide which journal:

  • have a look at your reference list and think about the journals that a number of papers in your reference list have been published in. This is sending an article to a journal you have cited in your writing. 
  • Does the piece you are writing fit within the scope of the journal you are hoping to submit to?
  • What is the length of the piece and the length your chosen journal prefers?
  • The reputation of the chosen journal (is the journal hosted by one of the big publishing houses? Are they asking you for money? The REF: journal with impact factor reflects how much people are engaging with the journal. This might be important for getting a job).

3. Sign up to register on the journal webpage

4. Once it is submitted, editors make a decision on the article by reviewing it. Many editors reject papers at this point because it does not fit within the aim and scope of the journal. If your article crosses this stage, this is huge even if the article gets rejected by the reviewers. 

5. Once the article is accepted, there is still some work to be done, such as checking a copy-edited version, approving proofs, promoting the article (via Twitter, blogposts, seminar sessions, etc).

Being invited as a writing reviewer 

  • eligible even at PhD level
  • Approach editors of relevant journals and offer to review
  • Register on the system of relevant journals, adding your keywords
  • Sometimes there is a box to indicate that you are happy to review. Note to say no if you cannot do it. DO NOT ACCEPT AN INVITE TO REVIEW WHEN YOU KNOW YOU CANNOT. 

What are reviewers asked to comment on?

Contribution (does it add something interesting to the field?); Novelty; Literature (does the word cite the right materials. Is it missing key debates?); Writing (does it flow well?); Consistency (is it coherent) and; Fit (is it a good fit for review).

  • Getting involved with peer reviews shows you are part of the community in your field. It can boost your CV.

We also considered how to read and respond to comments made by reviewers and editors on articles that were sent for publication.