Having recently enrolled at UCL I’ve been taking advantage of the brilliant range of graduate skills development courses on offer. I know that getting work published is important in academia; I’ve heard it can be a long and frustrating process yet I had no idea where to start… It is also one of my objectives for this year to prepare and submit a paper for publication – so I decided to enroll on the course “Getting Your Paper Published – a beginner’s guide”. Here are some reflections and things I’ve learnt from the course (provided by the UCL Library Service).
There are many reasons and motivators to publish work. Our group came up with the following reasons:
…whatever your reason, it’s important to know the different options available for publication.
First, consider matching your subject to your audience – there are so many journals out there, but which ones are most relevant to your subject area? Here are some tips:
Once you have a journal in mind, it is worthwhile checking what types of articles they publish (e.g. research findings, case reports) which is often journal-specific. It’s important to read the ‘instructions to authors’ section carefully.
Publishing in a high impact journal is an attractive proposition; they are well-regarded and the chances of your paper being cited by other academics is great. However, it’s important to consider also…
Unfortunately you are only able to submit your paper to one journal at a time, so choosing the right journal for your audience, subject matter and research impact is an important part of the process.
(NB – the preferred method is to select a journal prior to writing your paper, however if you have written an abstract there are some clever websites which can suggest likely journals such as JANE (Journal/Author Name Estimator) and Edanz Journal Advisor).
There are two main categories of Open Access (OA);
OA publishing is on the rise following the Finch Report which recommended the UK moves towards an OA model of publishing. Personally, having managed the Public Health Twitter Journal Club I believe there are real advantages to OA publishing – both for researchers and authors, and certainly would like to explore publishing OA myself. Although, its worth scrutinising any OA journal you are considering, as there are some rubbish ones out there (steer clear of any which promise to publish anything and everything!)
Aside from ‘formal’ publications in journals, one should also remember that there are many means to share your research, ideas and gain rapid feedback through social media.
Many researchers have their own blogs (such as this one!) or contribute to subject specific / institution blogs, and increasingly it is becoming acceptable to cite blogs in academic work. Blogs can help to create your academic identity, engage with peers and reflect upon topics, as well as a means to practice writing skills.
Social media can also be useful in informing the research cycle. You can build professional networks through LinkedIn an Mendeley, share information (such as when at conferences via Twitter), and keep up to date by monitoring blogs, people and organisations important to your field.
I did a Prezi last year which showcases some examples of how social media can be used to get the public health message out – click this link to find out more.
As many research findings never get published, and in particular we know that positive research findings are more likely to be published than neutral or negative findings (known as publication bias), I feel that social media provides a range of means to disseminate research output.
I hope these tips have been useful, and I’m keen to hear from others.