I recently caught up with Dr. Chris Anson of the CRDM program to get his thoughts on the art of scholarly publication. Here is his advice:
And here is the “source code” for the infographic (aka Dr. Anson’s original answers):
What would prevent a seminar paper from being publishable?
Here are some common reasons why submissions (from anyone, not just students) are not accepted or sent back for major revision:
–Not enough familiarity with the journal or context of publication
–Shallow lit. review or some indication the writer doesn’t know what has preceded his or her idea, theory, research, etc.
–Poor methodology or poorly described methodology
–Too localized a study (e.g., when someone does a study that’s very specific to a program or institution and it doesn’t generalize to other contexts)
–Poorly structured or stylized writing, writing that’s trying too hard to sound sophisticated, writing that’s filled with errors and not carefully edited and proofread, or writing that shows the writer doesn’t understand the conventions of the community
What is the most important element of a publishable paper?
It needs to contribute to and advance existing knowledge.
How do you go about *beginning* the process of writing an academic paper?
I’m usually engaged in an investigation of some sort, and then I begin thinking about contexts where my work might be of interest to readers. I also keep a notebook of ideas that could yield studies or research that’s potentially publishable. Also, putting in a proposal for a conference paper (if it’s accepted) forces you to complete enough work to make your ideas presentable, and the results are then more easily transformed into a publishable piece.
Any other advice or suggestions about the topic of academic publishing?
–Once you start a project, keep it open on your screen. Never close it. Every time you look at the screen, the text is there, inviting more work. Even if you reread a bit and then write for five minutes, or just revise and edit, you’re moving it forward.
–Set aside a modest amount of time every day to work on your research agenda, then stick to it.
–Create a flowchart of ideas, seminar papers, conference papers, and the like, and literally map their way to publication. If a piece is rejected, add to the flow chart (e.g., revise and submit to another journal). The visual nature of the chart helps you to keep track of what’s in the hopper and what you need to do next.