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Academic writing: how to prepare an article for publication in a foreign publication

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People faced with the problem of publishing. Usually, that regards postgraduate students, especially those who are going to get their Master’s degree of Ph.D. Publishing their thoughts have an influence on what job will they at in the future, how successfully will they defend the diploma and lots more things.

This article is intended to serve especially those people, professors or students, who simply need to get it how to make their article perfect one, and how to publish it in the best way. The advice contained in this article refers to publishing in peer-reviewed academic journals. Students should also seek advice from their supervisors, who will have detailed knowledge of publishing in their specific field of research.

What to publish?

First things postgraduate need to cope with is the topic or theme he needs to publish. The premiere thing you will face is whether to publish a chapter from his or her thesis into a journal article or to write a stand-alone journal article from a separate piece of research. And here are merits and demerits of both.

Where to publish?

It is very important to choose a journal where you want to publish. Each magazine has its own formatting, style, preferable information to post. If it is your first time in publishing, you better follow their rules very attentively.

There are many factors by which you may choose an appropriate journal.

One thing you need to do is to make a list of journals that are appropriate for you and your preferences. How? Search in your university’s library website maybe there you will find good journals. After that, you can make a list more narrow or wide according to the quality of chosen magazines. Also, pay attention if the magazine has already published topics as you have in the past. You can also check your bibliography or reference list as you might find that the majority of your sources have come from one or more journals. If this is the case, these journals might be a good place to start.

Also, you understand that quality and reputation of the journal is important, but, don’t try to get into a very high-qualified journal for the first time.

Writing Tips

How to write the journal article?

After you decided with the journal, look for some information with details about what is convenient for the magazine. Format, style, language, style – it is very important that you follow the specific and individual guidelines of the journal correctly. These guidelines will also let you know approximately how long your article should be, and will normally provide minimum and maximum lengths. Also, don’t forget to get the information if the journal prefers British or American English.

How to approach publishers?

Well, when you finished with all previous steps, next one is to convince publishers that you are exactly that person which they need. Premiere thing you need to remember is that your publication will be refused if it was published somewhere before.

First, ensure that you follow all the publisher’s guidelines correctly when writing your article (or submit your article to us for academic editing to ensure it follows these guidelines).

Second, visit the journal’s website to find information about their submission process. Again, it is very important that you follow the specific and individual guidelines of the journal correctly. Some journals only accept electronic submissions, some journals only accept hard copy submissions through the post, and other journals will accept submissions in either format or require both. Submit your journal article to your first journal following their submission guidelines.

Okay, after your article is accepted, it doesn’t always mean that you will be approved. Editors can read and make a preview up to month or more. Usually, articles have two stages of approval. Premiere is the period where editor reads and checks if the article worth being in the magazine. After that, if the article passes editors, it will go to anonymous reviewers. Only after that, you may get a letter or a call from the magazine. If for some reason you will be rejected – don’t worry! Don’t you forget that you have other magazines and a lot of chances? And it is a very small chance that journals will accept you from the premiere chance. Try and try more. Also, usually magazines say why they don’t want to publish you. That is why you can make changes and increase the level of acceptance with further magazines.

Perhaps you will need to change the style; format and referencing of your article each time you submit your article to a different journal, in order to ensure that it adheres to the journal’s guidelines. You can either do this by yourself or submit your article, along with the journal’s guidelines, to one of our professional academic editors, who will then do it for you.

If you are open to criticism, and you are ready to improve and make better and better texts, then congrats!

The writing stage – more pieces of advice just for you

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

Take some time before even writing your paper to think about the logic of the presentation. When writing, focus on a story that progresses logically, more than the chronological order of the experiments that you did.

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

Open a file on the PC and start writing your headings and sub-headings and then fill in under any of the headings where you have the ideas. If you reach your daily target (mine is 500 words) write any other ideas down as bullet points and stop writing; then use those bullet points to make a start the next day.

If you are writing and can’t think of the proper word (f.e. for elephant), don’t worry - write (big animal long nose) and move on - come back later and get the proper term. Write don’t edit; otherwise, you lose flow.

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 that in clear, everyday language? This clear argument should appear in your abstract and in the premiere paragraph of your paper. Don’t make us hunt for your argument as for a needle in a haystack. If it is hidden on page seven that will just make us annoyed. Oh, and don’t forget that your argument runs all the way through the different sections of the paper and ties together the theory and empirical material.

4) Ask a colleague to check your work

One of the problems that journal editors face is badly written papers. It might be that the writer’s native language isn’t English and they haven’t gone the extra mile to get it to proofread. It can be very hard to work out what is going on in an article if the language and syntax are poor.

5) Get published by writing a review or a response

Writing reviews is a good way to get published - especially for people who are in the early stages of their career. It’s a chance to practice at writing a piece for publication, and get a free copy of a book that you want. We publish more reviews than papers that is why we’re constantly looking for reviewers.

Some journals, including ours, publish replies to papers that have been published in the same journal. Editors quite like to publish replies to previous papers because it stimulates discussion.

Writing Tips 6) Don’t forget about international readers

We get people who write from America who assume everyone knows the American system - and the same happens with UK writers. Because we’re an international journal, we need writers to include that international context.

7) Don’t try to cram your Ph.D. into a 6,000-word paper

Sometimes people want to throw everything at once and hit too many objectives. We get people who try to tell us their whole Ph.D. in 6,000 words, and it just doesn’t work. More experienced writers will write two or three papers from one project, using a specific aspect of their research as a hook.

8) Pick the proper journal: it’s a bad sign if you don’t recognise any of the editorial board

Check that your article is within the scope of the journal that you are submitting too. This looks obvious, but it’s surprising how many articles are submitted to journals that are completely inappropriate. It is a bad sign if you do not recognize the names of any members of the editorial board. Ideally look through a number of recent issues to ensure that it is publishing articles on the same topic and that are of similar quality and impact.

9) Always follow the proper submissions procedures

Authors don’t spend the 10 minutes it takes to read the instructions to authors that wastes enormous quantities of time for both the author and the editor and stretches the process when it does not need to.

10) Don’t repeat your abstract in the cover letter

We look to the cover letter for an indication from you about what you think is most interesting and significant about the paper, and why you think it is a good fit for the journal. There is no need to repeat the abstract or go through the content of the paper in detail – we will read the paper itself to find out what it says. A cover letter is a place for a bigger picture outline, plus any other information that you would like us to have.

11) A common reason for rejections is lack of context

Be confident that it is clear where your research sits within the wider scholarly landscape, and which gaps in knowledge it’s addressing. A common reason for articles being rejected after peer review is this lack of context or lack of clarity about why the research is important.

12) Don’t over-state your methodology

Ethnography is a trendy method of the moment, that is why lots of articles submitted a claim to be based on it. However, closer inspection reveals quite limited and standard interview data. A couple of interviews in a café do not constitute ethnography. Be clear - early on - about the nature and scope of your data collection. The same goes for the use of theory. If a theoretical insight is useful to your analysis, use it consistently throughout your argument and text.

13) Respond directly (and calmly) to reviewer comments

When resubmitting a paper following revisions, include a detailed document summary all the changes suggested by the reviewers, and how you have changed your manuscript in light of them. Stick to the facts, and don’t want. Don’t respond to reviewer feedback as soon as you get it. Read it, think about it for several days, discuss it with others, and then draft a response.

14) Revise and resubmit: don’t give up after getting through all the major hurdles

You’d be surprised how many authors who receive the standard “revise and resubmit” letter never do like that. But it is worth doing - some authors who get asked to do major revisions persevere and end up getting their work published, or others, who had far less to do, never resubmit. It looks silly to get through the major hurdles of writing the article, getting it past the editors and back from peer review only to then give up.

15) It is acceptable to challenge reviewers with good justification

It is acceptable to decline a reviewer’s suggestion to change a component of your article if you have a good justification, or can (politely) argue why the reviewer is wrong. A rational explanation will be accepted by editors, especially if it is clear you had met with all the feedback received and accepted some of it.

16) Think about how quickly you want to see your paper published

Some journals rank more highly than others, and that is why your risk of rejection is going to be greater. People need to think about whether or not they need to see their work published quickly - because certain journals will take longer. Some journals, like ours, also do advance access and once the article is accepted, it appears on the journal website. This is important if you’re preparing for a job interview and need to show that you are publishable.

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

Publishing in top journals is a challenge for everyone, but it may seem easier for other people. When you read published papers you see the finished article, not the premiere draft, nor the premiere revises and resubmit, nor any of the intermediate versions – and you never see the failures. 
So, here you got all the most necessary, useful and qualitative pieces of advice that will help you succeed with first publishing. If they are complicated or this entire situation strings you up, you can always order the essay and continue enjoying your life.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 8th August 2018.

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