I recently caught up with Dr. Susan Katz of the CRDM program to get her thoughts on the art of scholarly publication. Here is her advice:
And here is the “source code” for the infographic (aka her original answers):
What would prevent a seminar paper from being publishable?
In recent years, I have noticed several recurring problems with manuscripts that I have reviewed. Note that these are not necessarily ms. that were written by grad students! (1) Poor organization. (2) Insufficient research (inadequate literature review). (3) Minor grammatical and typographical errors that interfere with comprehension (PROOFREAD!). (4) A general lack of consistency and cohesion.
What is the most important element of a publishable paper?
Implications. The readers have to see the value in what you have written about. Ideally, the study will have implications for teaching, future research, and practice, but it MUST have implications for at least one of those areas.
How do you go about *beginning* the process of writing an academic paper?
I’m a serendipitous researcher, which means that I just pay a lot of attention to what’s going on around me. I listen to colleagues for the possibilities of collaborative work, respond to suggestions that arise from reading or discussion from courses I teach, and get involved in various groups around campus that are of interest to me. I also just try to pay attention to what I find really interesting and see if there is something that I can contribute to the conversation on that topic. When I actually start writing, I’ll try to tailor the project to a specific journal. I will, on occasion, discussion the paper with the journal editor first to see if they would be interested.
Any other advice or suggestions about the topic of academic publishing?
Don’t get discouraged if an initial draft is rejected. When I was a graduate student, the first paper I submitted to a journal was rejected. I read the first paragraph of the rejection letter, and then stuffed the whole thing back in the envelope (this was before electronic submissions). I never even looked at the feedback to see what I might have done to revise the paper or if they had suggestions about other venues that might have been more appropriate! Learn to take criticism as something helpful–most reviewers are going to want to help you improve, they’re not just being mean. And just keep at it.